Sometimes I feel like I may be the only person in the world who prefers plain coffee over a Pumpkin-Spiced Latte when fall comes around.  I love the smell of pumpkin, I love carving pumpkins, I love fall. But don’t put it in my coffee.  You can however put it in my beer! I know, I know, pumpkin beer, can be an acquired taste – but not for me. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, and pumpkin beer tastes like Thanksgiving. That’s one reason why Elysian Brewing’s annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival (GPBF) is something I look forward to every year!  The 13th year of all things pumpkin beer did not disappoint!

Elysian also partnered with Fred Hutch this year and ​100%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​proceeds​ ​from​ ​GPBF​ ​were ​provided​ ​to​ ​Fred Hutch​ ​in​ ​their ​joint​ ​and​ ​continued​ ​quest​ ​to​ ​search​ ​for​ ​the​ ​cure to cancer. How awesome is that?

Hello giant, beer-filled pumpkin! (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Bringing it back to a two-day event, I attended the Saturday festivities. The rain came and went as the day went on, but as anyone who lives in the Seattle-area knows, that’s why you bring a rain jacket!  This year’s festival was held at Seattle Center, and you can’t get any more iconic than having the Space Needle in the backdrop of all your photos!

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

The GPBF boasted over 80 ​pumpkin​ ​beers​ that were poured​ ​from​ ​brewers​ ​across​ ​the​ ​country,​ ​including​ ​about​ ​20​ ​from​ ​Elysian’s​ ​own pumpkin-crazed​ ​brewers.  Elysian’s Night Owl is one of my favorite pumpkin beers of all time (there are bottles in my fridge right now as I type this), but I always try to expand my pumpkin palate at GPBF.  A few of the notable beers I tried included Avery Brewing Co.’s Rumpkin, a rum barrel pumpkin that contained 18% ABV!  That sucker burned going down!!

I also tried Bluebird Brewing’s Boo Bird Ghost Pepper Pumpkin Porter, made of course, with ghost pepper and rounded out with cacao nibs. Add a little Goblin Party pumpkin ice cream and voila, a hot ice cream beer float!

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

With food trucks galore to choose from to soak up some of the pumpkin beer, my husband and I went for the Cuban Bowl from Snout and Co., made with garlic and citrus marinated mojo pork over black beans and rice, served with plantains and smoked tomatillo-coconut sauce. There was enough in one serving for two people, but I like food and I bought my own and ate almost the entire thing. No shame.

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Many guests embraced ​the​ ​color​ ​of​ ​the​ ​festival​ ​–​ ​​orange​​ ​– in​ ​every​ ​way,​ ​shape​ ​and​ ​form! Pumpkin​ ​Fest​ ​​judges​​ roamed​ ​the​ ​crowds​ ​to select​ ​and​ ​award​ ​the​ ​most​ ​festive​ ​attendees​ ​with​ ​a​ ​thirst-quenching​ ​prize.

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Chaotic Noise Marching Corps performed throughout the day, and if you haven’t seen them perform, I highly suggest you find out where they are playing next! Oh hey look, their schedule is right here!

(Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

This year’s giant​ pumpkin came from ​farmer​ ​Joel​ ​Holland’s​ ​winning​ ​Great Pumpkin​ ​Weigh-Off​ ​1,790​ ​pound​ ​pumpkin​ ​(a​ ​record!)​ ​that​ ​was ​scooped,​ ​scorched, sealed​, conditioned,​ ​and​ ​finally​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​Elysian’s Punkuccino ​and​ ​tapped​ in the evening ​for​ ​all​ ​attendees to​ ​enjoy.

Elysian co-founder and CEO, Joe Bisacca teasing the crowd before tapping that pumpkin! (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

As always, Elysian knows how to throw a party and how to make a good beer. Here’s to fall weather and all things pumpkin….except for in my coffee!

And all was alright with the world, even if for just a moment. (Photo Credit: Lesley Haenny)

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received two comped tickets for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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