Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jolly Pumpkin

The Deschutes beer release this week completely overshadowed some other tasty beverages that found their way to our shelves on Monday. We received a fairly hefty Shelton Brothers order on earlier this week. The Sheltons are known around the globe as being the distributors of some of the best breweries on the planet. Taken from their website:

Beer should have depth, texture, and nuance – it should sometimes even be a little rough around the edges. There are a few (very few) exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, that means the following about a brewery’s beers:
  • Brewed in small batches using traditional methods
  • Unsweetened
  • Unpasteurized
  • Unfiltered / Bottle-conditioned
  • Little to no use of spices or adjuncts
  • Slow-fermented
  • Distinctive house yeast or yeasts
  • Dry as opposed to sweet
We at Zipp's couldn't agree more. Tonight, I'm going to profile one of (in my opinion) one of the best breweries that Shelton Brothers carry...

From the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery in Dexter, Michigan come some seriously wild and funky ales. JP uses traditional open-vessel fermentation and oak aging for their beers. They also use very distinct strains of yeast; those yeasts in combination with the barrel aging gives the JP beers a very distinctive funky, tart and slightly "wild" house character.All of their beers are unfiltered and bottle conditioned.

This excerpt from the Jolly Pumpkin website sums up all the qualities why I think JP is one of the best breweries in the United States today:

Welcome to a land of open fermentation, oak barrel aging, and bottle conditioning. At Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales we are dedicated to more than the traditions of old world craftsmanship. Everything we do is designed to create ales of outstanding art and flavor. Focusing on traditional rustic country style beers brought to life through labor and love, we strive to create beers to lighten the spirit, and soothe the soul. Sharing our joy to the betterment of mankind is the most that we could hope for.

Here's a brief rundown of what we currently have in stock:

Oro de Calabaza: A slightly tart and spicy Belgian Strong Ale. The nose and palate both show notes of white pepper, dusty hops, tart cherries, wood tannin and spicy yeast. Crisp, refreshing and highly drinkable finishing with a zesty kaffir lime bite.

Bam Biere: Jolly Pumpkin's take on the saison style. Musty, sour and spicy on the nose: cheese, bananas, new oak and grass. Bracingly dry with a hint of acidic sourness on the palate with flavors of tart lemon zest, dried pineapple, earthy brettanomyces yeast. Bone dry and insanely drinkable. A wonderful summer sipper. 

La Roja: JP's interpretation of a Flanders Red Ale. Dry and oaky with flavors of tart cherries, musty wet wood and a melange of spices. Lighter notes of vanilla, red wine and apple cider vinegar, with a good dose of acetic acid on the finish. Complex and quite robust, La Roja drinks great fresh, but has some serious aging potential... I've had 4 year old bottles of La Roja that were absolutely stellar: crazy funky and tart with lots of acetic and lactic acid on the finish. 

Bam Noire: Another saison, except this one has a much darker malt base than the Bam Biere. Wonderful aroma of lemon zest, wet oak, some lactic funk, yeast and a hint of tart, pineappley brett. Great flavor profile: Lots of wood tannin hitting you in the back sides of the tongue. Some raisiny tart/sweetness from the malt, but balanced quite nicely by the funky yeast and drying oak. Lively and crisp carbonation. Finishing with a blast of dry wood tannin.  

Madrugada Obscura: JP's Belgian style stout. This is one of the more unique beers in their portfolio. The dark malt base of the stout blends seamlessly with the tart and funky JP house style. Awesome stout/sour aroma. Loads of roasted sweet malt and a sour funkiness An odd, but delicious sour stoutiness (is that a word?) on the palate. The beer is mostly dry, but slightly sour  with notes of lightly roasted malt. Tart cherries and baker's chocolate. Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Very unique. 

If you haven't had any of Ron Jeffries' (the head brewer) creations, you need to come and buy some of their beers. The guys at Jolly Pumpkin are certainly pushing the envelope of what craft beer can be in the US today. We try to stock these beers at all times, but the demand in the States for their beers is so high, that we can't keep them in stock year-round. Once this latest shipment is gone, it may be a few months before we get more in stock.

Cheers and mahalo plenty from Jolly Pumpkin (and Zipp's)!


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