Jolly Pumpkin – E.S. Bam

Well good evening their faithful readers, I just popped open a very special brew tonight. I know I say that…almost every time, but I really mean it this time! I popped open this special farmhouse ale from Jolly Pumpkin only to have it foam completely out of the bottle, this baby has some serious carbonation. You can see from the picture it’s quite thick, but well get to that in a bit. There’s another reason this beer is special to me, it’s another beer on my journey of sours. I’ve been trying more sour beers recently and really enjoy them, partially because of the process in which they’re made. I won’t bore you (again that word seems violent…) with details, but bacteria makes it sour so a lot of the flavor is left up to nature, quite like wine. There are even vintage year sour beers from single barrels, but generally the beers are blends of different barrels to make it taste just like the brewer wants. Alright, asleep yet? Good, let’s pour this baby!

Now I know what your thinking, that’s a mountain of head right there! You’d better believe it partner, and seeing a beauty willing to give so much head really gets my heart pumping. In fact, the head has died down now and it looks like a lace pattern covering the whole glass…ah no wonder they call it lacing. This is the most impressive head giver I’ve ever seen, I have to give this baby an award for: “Best Head Giver 2012.” For this prestigious award she shall receive her own category and will forever be the lone beer in it. Now if I can take my eyes off the generous helping of head for a moment we can see a lovely clear amber beer, almost a honey color. It’s fairly opaque but not greatly, you can trace the outlines of your fingers through the glass. Well we certainly have a special girl here tonight, let’s see what she smells like.

Mmm… it’s tart and very complex, but you definitely are hit with a punch of tartness up front. Afterwards, a fruity scent sneaks its way into the aroma, possibly an apple flavor. It’s so incredibly subtle though, nothing more than a whisper in the middle of wall street. Let’s see if this whisper can get any louder shall we?

Ahhh, very interesting… The sour bomb I was expecting up front is absent. I guess he didn’t get the memo about the meeting we scheduled, but pinch hitting for Mr. bomb is Mrs. sweetness, in all her seductive glory. It’s almost like an apricot to me, though I’m no advocate of apricots, it is what comes to my mind so I’m writing it. This is quickly washed away however, swept aside by a more acidic vinegar tartness than a sour cherry tartness. I must be honest, I am not enjoying this type of sourness over the more fruity sourness, but far be it from me to judge to quickly. It took me time to appreciate the other sours I’ve had, this is just another side to them I haven’t experienced yet. Actually, it’s the aftertaste that is most vinegary, the middle of the flavor is a dry somewhat fruity tartness> I think of a red sheet of hard candy for some reason. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it flashes in my mind during the middle of the tasting, I should probably see a professional after I write this. It’s a pretty complex flavor that’s very hard to pin down, almost like a chameleon sightly shifting it’s flavor to blend in with other flavors in a never-ceasing dance of camouflage.

Overall, it’s not my favorite sour but it’s one of the most delicately complex ones. The head alone warrants a standing ovation, and the complexity behind this petite beauty is a testament to the art of sour beers. Not overly tart, not overly sweet, not quite like any other sour I’ve sampled.

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Best Head Giver 2012, Farmhouse Ale | Leave a comment

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