Thursday, October 14, 2010

419. Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale

Those of you who know me know that I’m not much of a fan of the pumpkin beer—something about an overabundance of spices and/or a mouth full of potpourri just doesn’t sit well with me. However, if someone is gonna pull it off right, it’s gonna be Ron Jeffries. So when I saw this beer sitting on the shelf, it was already in hand before that voice in the back of my head said “Wait, that’s a pumpkin beer.” But before I had a chance to say something, some other voice responded “Yeah, but it’s a Jolly Pumpkin pumpkin beer, fool. That’s money in the bank.” That’s right—bring on the funky pumpkin. This is our sixth Jolly Pumpkin beer; we’ve had Oro de Calabaza, Baudelaire IO Saison, Bière de Mars, E.S.Bam, and La Roja.

La Parcela pours a hazy toffee-colored tan with an abundant and mousse-y eggshell head. The nose has a hint of the spices referred to on the label—I get nutmeg, cinnamon, all-spice, and possibly cardamom—but there is also a light funky barnyard backdrop that, coupled with a touch of citric brightness, blends well with spice aromas. Flavors start sweet but dry, with a slight emphasis on the spice in the front before the funky flavors come to the forefront, mixing well with the low levels of citric tartness. The lively, bright, and effervescent carbonation helps blend spice and funk, leaving lingering nutmeg and barnyard flavors in the finish along with some citric tang and light mineral touches. La Parcela has a medium to light body, and, as noted, bright, popping carbonation, while the mouthfeel is spicy dry funkiness. This is easily the best pumpkin beer I’ve ever had; the combination of sour funkiness and light spicing works amazingly well, and the balance is phenomenal. I wonder if the funky characteristics would continue to develop over time—I may have to buy a second bottle to sit back and find out.

From the bottle: “OK, so the joke was Jolly Pumpkin doesn’t brew a pumpkin beer. Well, now we do. Just this one. Packed with real pumpkins, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cacao to liven the soul. An everyday easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Guess now folks will have to find something else to joke about...”

ABV: 5.9%
Batch 611
Bottled: 8-18-2010

Funk-y Pump-kin!
Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!
Funk-y Pump-kin!
Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!


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