Enjoyed on 1/15/2010
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC.
Location: Dexter, MI
Beer: Fuego del Otono (Autumn Fire)
Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle
Style: Belgian Wild Ale
Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees
Notes from the bottle: “To catch a bit of soft radiance in each bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malt blend smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to sip, contemplate and enjoy.”
Bottled on: “Bottling 3” (?)
Flavor will continue to develop for some time to come.
Food Pairings: Indian, Shellfish
Cheese Pairings: Nutty ones such as Asiago, Colby, Parmesan
Beer Advocate: A-
Rate Beer: 96 (3.75)
Ron Jeffries should be more of a household name in the brewing industry. He has created, in my humble opinion, one of the elite breweries in America today. The so-called “Brett Pack” (Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey & Port Brewing, Adam Avery of Avery Brewery, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River & Rob Tod of Allagash) has a glaring omission.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has all of the qualities that I would want in a brewery of my own. They create unique and innovative ales (with a profound respect for history) on a small scale, with an ample dose of tender loving care, and most of all, passion. They have been making delicious beers for the local community, and not forgetting about all of the beer nerds (like myself) in somewhat far off places, for a mere 7 years.
I think the word “artisan” is such an apropos word. I strive to be an artisan in my own life. Jolly Pumpkin seemingly achieves that descriptor, almost annoyingly, without effort.
A few facts about Jolly Pumpkin: Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are created by using open fermentation. Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are aged in oak barrels. Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are bottle conditioned.
This is how they do business. This is simply – what they do. The trends in American brewing have had to catch up to them.
What does all of this mean? Well, we will be witness to the earthy, funky, sour, acidic, and most importantly complex flavors of the Flanders region on Belgium, but made right here in the great U.S. of A. The Great Lakes region will be our Senne Valley.
[Briefly, while we are on the subject – Michigan…what a magical beer land it has become. Headline: Quite possibly stricken the hardest of all 50 states by our current economic woes, residents drown sorrows in really freakin’ good beer. Enter: Arcadia Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co., Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co., and the list goes on.]
Fuego del Otono is a seasonal for Jolly Pumpkin with an October release, and is brewed with chestnuts and spices. I don’t believe that this one is currently being shipped to Washington. When I picked this up from a bottle shop in Portland, it was the first time I’d seen it. Do you think I hesitated to get it?
Let’s see what she’s like.
A cautious pour reveals a beautiful, slightly orange tinted amber glow. A nice off white head built on condensed tiny bubbles rises high, and though it eventually settles, it settles slowly and never fully disappears. In fact, a solid centimeter or so of creamy head lasts nearly my entire experience with the brew, seemingly protecting it from the air above and offering a second taste on my upper lip after each and every marvelous sip.
The scent is all that I expect from an ale created and stored in the method that Jolly Pumpkin embraces. It is simultaneously sweet and sour, like a mandarin orange. Spices and fruit are in full effect, reminding me of that most gluttonous Autumnal celebration of ours we call Thanksgiving. A Belgian yeasty essence brings a tint of dough and bread deep beneath. Vinous and acrid. The nuttiness seems to be hidden until it harms a bit, and is easiest to spot if you open your jaw and let the fluid move around beneath your tongue and hit the back corners of your mouth. There is also a bit of chestnut buttery accent throughout, but most relevant well after the swallow.
The flavors linger and my mouth waters for some time after the swallow. My tongue longs for another sip and aches at the thought that, eventually, the glass will empty.
Thank you Jolly Pumpkin, and keep up the good work!
If you like Fuego del Otono, you should try: Russian River Brewing’s Consecration; Lost Abbey’s Cable Car; and Brewery Ommegang’s Rouge Grand Cru
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop and aged to perfection on my own.