Wednesday, July 21, 2010

386. Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza

More of the deliciousness that is Jolly Pumpkin. Jolly Pumpkin is the George Clinton of the brewing world. You heard me. We want the funk. Gotta have that funk. And if you’re still confused, you should consider taking some remedial classes with Dr. Funkenstein. Previously, we’ve experienced Baudelaire IO Saison, Bière de Mars, E.S.Bam, and La Roja. That makes 5, but more importantly, Jolly Pumpkin puts a glide in our stride and a dip in our hip. And we’re heading on up to the Mothership....

Oro de Calabaza pours a clear golden straw with a mousse-y persistent head—it is here to stay, let me tell you. The nose is candy sweetness mixed with banana plus a bit of oaky tannin thrown in for good measure—which as we all know is pretty much par for the course for Jolly Pumpkin. Opening with tart, spritzy candy flavors that move into light earthy barnyard flavors and oakiness mixed with fruit yeast esters in the middle, Oro de Calabaza finishes light and dry but also creamy and slightly bitter—there is a dry tart tang on the tongue that is a mix of hops and brett funk, and/or some other wild yeast yumminess. The golden ale components are there, but they are mixed with wild yeast components. Thus, the candy sweet front is in place, but it is dried out across the body, and replaced with earthiness and oakiness, even though there is still a decent dose of yeast fruitiness. The dry tang and hops at the end fill in and round out the drier body created by the higher attenuating dry yeast. The mouthfeel is thus dry and sweet with a bit of creaminess, even though the body is closer to a medium-light for a golden ale, while the carbonation is light but bright, giving lightly spritzy effects on the palate—it rounds the beer nicely without ever striking a sharp note. There is a bit of alcohol warmth at the end, but it is quite subtle, and masked well by both oak and wild yeast earthiness tang. A delicious beer, although we do like some of the tarter and funkier beers that Jolly Pumpkin produces. Nonetheless, and interesting and original take on the golden ale, one that I do like a bit better than the traditional version of the style. Light-year groovin’, Ron Jeffries—you are the mo-diggety.

Photo stolen from

From the bottle: “Aged in large oak casks and refermented in the bottle, Oro de Calabaza is brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of special golden ales. Spicy and peppery with a gentle hop bouquet and the beguiling influence of wild yeast.”

From the Jolly Pumpkin website: “Brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of strong golden ales. Spicy and peppery with a gentle hop bouquet and the beguiling influence of wild yeast.”

ABV: 8.0%


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