88 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour with over-generous but otherwise ideal head - off-white, fluffy, pillowy and sunk in uneven place, leaving a trail of thick lace behind. Slightly cloudy. Yeah, spanking great look.
Smells lovely, and infected in all the right ways. Sour, fruited vinegar aroma with big guava hit, touch of fig and orange peel and some raspberry as well. Slight washed rind cheese funk as well for good measure, and a nice dry spice note on the back. It's an aroma blend they knew I'd like. Yeah, I refuse to give them the satisfaction of rhapsodising about it.
Taste starts out oddly creamy with a vanilla note. That vanilla, creamy sweetness retains throughout the palate, and gets even sweeter on the back with a touch of menthol, maybe. Sweet mint. But following the initial sweetness it's all lovely infected sour notes, complex barnyard flavours with guava-infused vinegar and dried orange peel. Touch of chardonnay and some caramel malt just underlying it all. Really lovely, complex beer that so deftly avoids the trap of being overly puckering, with just the right amount of sweet malt added to balance, making this drinkable as all hell. This is a bloody cracker.
A little bit sizzly and puckering from the wild yeast late-mid, but recovers itself, patches the gaps by the end to remain smooth. Got to forgive that slight puckering note when it's this good.
I'd be proud to serve this beer to people, and proud to wear a badge that proclaims I drink it. It's a beer that, if it came across as polarising, I would defend to the hilt. In short, I feel patriotic - jingoistic, even - about this wonderfully complex, refreshing drop.
86 / 100
Every Jolly Pumpkin beer is a treasure to me, and every time I bring one back to Australia, I enjoy sharing it with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe. Let's see how this one fares.
From the pour, it's gorgeous, a lovely bronzed orange colour, like the shade of a colouring autumn leaf. Head is fine and full, leaving a good couple of centimetres in the glass to the bottom. Some patchy, hazed lacing, in true wild ale style. Body is light, but firm, and the carbonation is nascent, but big enough to form that magnificent head. Great looking beer.
Nose is round and mildly acidic, but more beaten with oak fragrance than anything else. Sure, the classic JP funk is there, but here it's very smooth and mellow, and rather lightâI don't expect big acidity on the palate. Hint of nuts and vanilla come through atop this, lending more of that smooth, mellow and restrained character. Lovely.
Taste is very light, giving a mild acidity and a touch of tea leaf, with a mellow but subdued oakiness and some lifting green apple fragrance. Finish has touches of rose and pepper. Never does the acidity grow to particularly noticeable levels, but it underpins most of the other complexities. And this is indeed a complex beer.
This is an exceptionally interesting beer, with plenty of extremely subtle complexities on the palate. Better, though, is the fact that although these complexities exist, they don't overwhelm the palate. For all intents and purposes, this is a light, refreshing and very easy to drink beer, but below the surface, there is a lively and multi-leveled story for the telling.
And that's Jolly Pumpkin all over.