Elysian's New Digs in Georgetown - A New Home for Pumpkin Fest
July 21, 2011 - 7:56 AM--by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog--
When you step into the Elysian Brewing Company's new facility on Airport Way South in Seattle's Georgetown district, you’ll immediately notice one thing: it’s big. That is an understatement. It’s vast. Actually, it's 33,500 square feet.
Perhaps the space will feel a bit cozier when all ten of the 240-barrel stainless fermentation tanks arrive. Yep, you heard me right. Ten 240-barrel fermenters.
The brewdeck is huge. It’s enormous, actually. For those who do not know, the brewdeck is where the brewers stand above the open kettles to keep an eye on the boil. It is also the place from which they add specialty ingredients. In this case, the brewdeck needed to be large enough to accommodate full pallets of pumpkins—a design requirement written by Dick Cantwell, Elysian’s Brewmaster, co-owner and pumpkin geek.
Most of the new brewery and production facility still lays in bits and pieces. It is coming together and starting to take shape. The packaging room (which is immense, as you should have presumed) is full of freestanding equipment awaiting proper deployment. Eagerly, a centrifuge awaits its first assignment.
“We won't need to use filters,” Dick tells us, as we gaze lovingly at the pig-shaped centrifuge, a device which essentially replaces a filter. "Yeah, it does kind of look like a pig. Someone said we should paint it pink. No way."
Turning our attention to the soon-to-be bottling line, which will eventually be able to pump out 12 ounce bottles at a rate of 400 per minute, Dick says, “Most of the equipment is not new. We’re reconditioning it. That’s what we’ve been doing: taking everything apart, cleaning, replacing parts and putting it back together.”
Casting our eyes upon what will eventually be the bottling line, Dick tells us that the brewery will venture into the world of 12 ounce bottles, packaged in six packs and half-cases, as soon as they’ve mastered the art of 22 ounce bottles.
There are a lot of other details. The floors in the building—formerly, a paint warehouse—are strong enough to handle things like pallets of beer, stacks of kegs, and 240-barrel fermentation tanks. Paint is heavier than beer. The massive cold room was requisitioned from Columbia Distributing. There are all sorts of details like that. They really don’t matter much to the beer drinking public. We just want the finished product. And we eagerly look forward to Elysian's beers becoming more widely available in retail outlets both near and far.
Here’s something that does matter to Seattle-area beer lovers: the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest will now be in Georgetown. According to Dave Buhler, Elysian co-owner, the permits have already been approved by the city. We even heard rumors that they are contemplating a shuttle bus from the Capitol Hill brewpub so that the old neighborhood, which has always so strongly supported pumpkin fest, doesn’t feel totally abandoned. Will Pumpkin Fest be even bigger now that it will take place at the new digs? Well, perhaps, but most certainly there will be more elbow room.
We'll have more details about the new production brewery in Georgetown when the beer actually starts flowing. We'll also have more information about the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest as the date nears.