Elysian The Wise ESB holds a place of honor as Batch 0001 in the Elysian Brewing Company brewing books. And the tributes don’t stop there. This uniquely Pacific Northwest take on a traditional ESB has won three Great American Beer Fest gold medals and ranks as one of the highest-rated ESBs in beer circles around the world. But this flagship beer is notoriously hard to find anywhere other than its natural habitat – in the heart of the Seattle beer scene where it grew up. That’s why we collaborated with Elysian Head Brewer Josh Waldman to bring homebrewers everywhere the exclusive recipe that launched 20+ years of Elysian Brewing.
One Flagship Beer, Two Ways to Brew
The BREW: Elysian The Wise ESB
In classical mythology, Elysian Fields was the paradise reserved for the heroes immortalized by the gods. In Elysian speak, it’s where the gods took their favorite heroes when they died. You’d go the The Elysian Fields and during the day you’d hack each other to bits with swords then at night your bodies would come back together and toast to beer all night long. And when the co-founders were naming their now 20+ year old brewery, Elysian stuck. So when it came time to name its first beer, the brewery decided that The Wise -- a reference to Athena, goddess of wisdom and craft – would be the perfect fit. The Wise ESB is also a perfect fit for the Pacific Northwest hops country it calls home. Its hops-forward take on a classic ESB leans heavily on some local favorites to provide its signature character – Chinook for bittering, Cascade and Centennial for finishing. The result is a delicate citrus and floral hop profile that perfectly balances this ESB’s complex, malty depths.
To capture the essence of The Wise ESB, we paired up with Elysian’s Head Brewer, Josh Waldman, and brewed a recipe specially scaled for homebrewers. From there, we tweaked and tested, added and experimented until we came up with the perfect combination of malty, hoppy, bitter and crisp. Your Brew. Share. Enjoy.® Brewery Edition Recipe Kit produces a Wise ESB that pours a brilliant copper-red, with a creamy, lacy head and notes of caramel, honey, citrus and a touch of pine, as well as pronounced hoppiness and a crisp, bitter finish.
The Good Stuff: Brewing & Tasting Notes
TASTING HIGHLIGHTS: Caramel · Honey · Citrus · Delicate, Floral Hops · Complex Malts · Well-balanced and Delicious
|Original Gravity:||IBUs:||SRM||ABV:||Fermentation Range|
|1.060||60||12.5||6.2%||65F - 67F|
PAIRING HIGHLIGHTS: Roasted Chicken · Fish and Chips · English-Style Cheeses · Maple Bread Pudding
Brewmaster's Tasting Notes:
Reddish-copper ale that pours with a thin, creamy beige head. There are sweet, subtle aromas of caramel and honey, with notes of citrus and a hint of pine. Pleasantly bold hop flavors (bittered with Chinook, finished with Cascade and Centennial) against complex, malty depths. Well-balanced and delicious.
Brewmaster's Pairing Ideas:
Perfect with traditional English dishes like Fish and Chips, or a sharp British cheddar. Also pairs well with anything from Roasted Chicken to Game Hens and spicy Barbecue. With well-rounded malts and a crisp, satisfyingly bitter finish, it complements just about any meal. And because it’s medium-bodied, but relatively lower on the ABV scale, it won’t leave you feeling full before the main course.
Meet the Brewmaster
Head Brewer Josh Waldman is no stranger to off-beat breweries known for challenging the norm and brewing on the wild side. His first pro-brewing gig was with Magic Hat in 2002. After Magic Hat, Josh made his way west to Seattle, brewing with Georgetown and then ultimately joing the Elysian crew in 2012. Notorious for irreverent beers and innovative ingredients, Elysian has allowed Josh to explore exciting, eccentric flavors to his heart’s content. Here’s his take on everything from beer crushes to life choices.
Who developed the recipe for Elysian The Wise and what makes it so special? The Wise was Elysian’s first batch of beer…Batch 0001, brewed 21 years ago by Founder and First Head Brewer, Dick Cantwell. It stands up as a strong version of the style and really was an early example of an American, or Northwest, take on a style.
What's your favorite food to pair with The Wise? Soft pretzel and mustard. Fish and Chips.
What’s a typical day like at Elysian? Like a day in any other brewery (sort of). Clean. Brew. Fix the stuff that broke. Clean again. Beyond that, just figuring out how best to get more into (and out of) every beer you’re making, be it Blood Orange, Cold Brewed Coffee, or just more hops.
What was the first beer you fell in love with? I was first fascinated with Guinness. Then I met the beers from Magic Hat. I loved them so much, I just had to work there.
What are your favorite beers in the world? The signature beauties of the world, the beers all brewers covet, like Orval. Saison DuPont. And then, and then, there’s Anchor Porter.
If you could brew anything, and budget, sales and feasibility weren’t an issue, what would you brew? I’ve been toying with a Shiso Leaf Pilsner, and MAN! is Shiso expensive for a commercial size batch.
Do you have a guilty pleasure beer? Nah, no shame here. Although, I was caught grabbing a second Lemon/Rosemary Shandy in South Africa by a hop grower. That was tough. The beer was nice though.
With so much great beer in the market (especially in Seattle) how do keep your brews different, unique? You have to work to stay relevant, and you have to work harder to stay ahead. Looking to other industries, culinary trends, checking in with home brewing circles, and just taking chances when brewing are what helps us. Talk to farmers, growers, and suppliers to better understand the ingredients you’re working with.
If you weren’t a brewer, what would you be doing? That does not compute.
The Inside Scoop on Elysian Brewing Company
There are classic brew styles and there are experimental brew styles. Few breweries excel at both. But that sweet spot of intersection is where Elysian Brewing Company has made its name…and made it in an undisputed, award-winning, world-class kind of way. Whether it’s golden beets, pumpkin or yerba mate, Elysian is constantly seeking ways to make great beer even better. And that’s why they got so excited about helping homebrewers do the same with the beer that started it all -- Elysian The Wise ESB. According to Elysian, innovation and collaboration are the cornerstones of the brewing world – for both pros and homebrewers. So here’s your chance to collaborate with one of the world’s most experimental brewers!