Elysian “Hansel and Gretel” Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner is 4.5% ABV.
I poured some of a 22 oz bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A careful pour tossed up an inch of fizzy off-white head, which dwindled to a mere dollop on top of the beer. This beer has a bright golden yellow color with great clarity. It looks to have heavy carbonation.
Smell: There is definite strong fresh-smelling ginger to the aroma, some white pepper, and some slightly funky and earthy yeast. I’m not getting much by way of pumpkin, but some slightly astringent vegetal something or other. There is some slight honey sweetness, mild toast, and some acidic overtones. I’m interested to taste it.
Taste: To begin there is a lot of punchy ginger and some white pepper. You get some earthy notes from the spicing in this, which are enjoyable. This has some astringent squash to the flavor, but is otherwise overtaken by the strong ginger and pepper. The malt in this is slightly toasty, clean, and bready. Towards the end there is something like candi sugar, and some more mild bitterness from some fairly mellow hops and the strong ginger. This strong ginger and peppery bitterness gives a bit of a bite for the finish, and leaves some mild coarse bitterness for the dry aftertaste.
Feel: This is light bodied, with moderate to heavy carbonation. The strong ginger and pepper add some coarse texture to an otherwise pretty unassuming and flat feel. This is pretty dry, and runs a little hot because of the ginger.
Drinkability: This is pretty low in ABV, and has some smooth and mellow malt to it. The strong ginger and pepper is a nice addition, though does detract from the drinkability. It is a bit harsh, especially on the back end. Not so smooth here.
Overall: I like the pumpkin pilsner idea. I’ve had a few pumpkin lagers before, and a few hybrid styles. But everything else has been squarely in the ale camp. So this is unique. I also really enjoy the ginger presence in this. It is crisp, and has a lighter body. It doesn’t have much pumpkin to it, which I wish were a little different. Also, as noted, I think the ginger and pepper are overpowering and a bit too harsh. They do make for an interesting beer, though. This would be a nice beer to have with a curry. I’m planning on having the rest of this bottle with some Thai-style curry with peanuts, garlic, and chilis.
Overall Rating: **1/2
Elysian Brewing and “Hansel and Gretel”: Elysian Brewing was founded in 1995 in Seattle, Washington by Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca and David Buhle. Dick, who is the brewmaster, produces more pumpkin ales than any other brewery in the world. I wrote a little about Elysian in this post, when I reviewed their “He Said” collaboration beers with 21st Amendment. Elysian now consists of three different brewpubs, where they often offer more than 20 different offerings across their locations. They have also won Large Brewpub and Brewmaster of the Year three times at the Great American Beer Festival! As of 2011, Elysian opened up a new production facility in Seattle’s Georgetown, which allows them to make more of their great beer and still keep its production close to home.
Elysian makes their Hansel and Gretel with pumpkin and spicing from fresh ginger. This lighter offering is hopped with Czech Saaz hops, and sits at 4.5% ABV. Hansel and Gretel is one of four pumpkin beers that Elysian releases in bottles. Check in tomorrow when I’ll review their “Night Owl” pumpkin ale.