Beer Review – Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Joe Stump and I (fellow Michigander and co-founder at Simple Geo) decided to try some Michigan beers and see how they stack up to some of our favorites. 

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Jolly Pumpkin Brewery out of Traverse City, Mi has always made a really nice pumpkin ale that I get from time to at  the Kitchen Upstairs, but this was the first venture to try their other brews, specifically their Noel de Calabaza Special Ale and their Bam Noire Dark Farmhouse Ale. 

Noel de Calabaza: Joe and I liked this beer.  The nose is really full of fruit and spice and the taste does not disappoint.  As with all Christmas beers, which are usually a “what we have left in the brewery” beer, I can’t pretend to understand all of the things that I tasted, but the cola brown, foaming thick Belgian-styled offering had hints of spice, yeast, apples and several other fruits.  There is also definitely cinnamon, which some of you know if a very large plus for me. 

Mendelson Rating: 7/10

Bam Noire:  While billed as a farmhouse ale, I found none of the barnyard qualities that so please me with beers like the Saison Dupont Farmhouse.  Joe immediately recognized a metallic front end to the beer, which I later found as well.  On the plus side, there was a very nice nose and a nice gummy quality to the beer.  However, overall, this beer disappointed.  I do look forward to trying their regular farmhouse ale to see how that differs from this one. 

Mendelson Rating:  5/10

So, the “homeland” is making some nice beers.  And it’s another good reason to visit Traverse City. 

  • mummey

    Jolly Pumpkin brewery is actually based out of Dexter, MI. Its right on the bottle. They have restaurants in Ann Arbor and Traverse City though.

    I live in LA these days but grew up in that area of Michigan. Lots of beers there that are hard to find outside the region.

    • Very cool.  I wish that I could try out the places personally. 

  • Also originally from MI, I feel comfortable saying Michigan knows beer. Maybe not quite as well as Colorado, but it holds its own. I love the brews at Short's up in Bellaire (near Torch Lake).