Monday, July 02, 2007

Jolly Pumpkin

Brettanomyces. The word alone will send shivers through any winemaker. But what is considered a mistake in wine, with beer it can yield some fantastic results. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales out of Dexter, Michigan is taking the use of this so called pest to new heights. Russian River, Lost Abbey, and other brewers are experimenting with this wonderful, complex yeast and giving beer lovers an entirely new taste sensation. Here in Asheville, the availability of Jolly Pumpkin opens the door to a whole new world of sour, funky goodness.

Jolly Pumpkin is one of the few brewers in the United States that ferments their beer in the open. This allows any number of wild yeasts to help in the fermentation process, including our friend Brettanomyces (which can also be found growing on the inside of the oak barrels that Jolly Pumpkin uses for aging). While this may seem experimental, it actually harkens to the way beer used to be brewed for centuries. When most people think of beer, they think of hops and malt, but the yeast can impart all sorts of interesting flavors. Open fermented beers, or wild ales as they are called, are often sour, earthy, spicy and full of funk.

Thanks to our good friends at Bruisin' Ales, Jolly Pumpkin is now available in the Asheville area. If you are looking for something unusual and different, be sure to give them a try. Feel the funk.

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