This past month I spent some time traveling through Southwest Michigan and over to Ypsilanti near Ann Arbor for the Michigan Brewer's Guild Summer Beer Festival. Along the way, I stopped in to see Jolly Pumpkin's new digs, where they've secured some space, and enough oak Foudrés tanks to supply half the midwest with sour ales for a good long time. So as a hat tip to their continued success, I've selected one of my favorite Jolly Pumpkin sours, and a new hometown brew by Half Acre + New Belgium, described as a "soft sour" for this week's Happy Hour. Find our where to get your hands on these fines beers below!
Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam
Part of the Bam Farmhouse series, this open-fermented wheat ale/Hefeweizen is a beautiful straw gold with a hazy gradient and a pure white head. Like almost all Jolly Pumpkin brews, it's a bit wild and unpredictable, mixing local sour cultures with a traditional Heffeweizen yeast to create flavors that are nearly unrepeatable. You get all the aromatics of the Heffeweizen esters — clove, banana, spices like nutmeg — but with a sharp, acidic, citrus finish. Off all the Jolly Pumpkin sours, it's the most clean and bright, and my eyes light up every time I see it. LIke a Vinho Verde — young, green Portuguese wine — it's a phenomenal food beer for light summer meals, especially anything with citrus and bitter greens, chicken and fish, and the likes. But it's also a lovely refresher on the patio as the sun goes down. It's Jolly Pumpkin at their best, which is already so much better than most. 4.5% abv.
Available in spots across the country at:
The Craft Beer Temple, in Chicago
Bottles & Cans, in Chicago
Northdown Taproom, in Chicago
Jimmy's No. 43, in New York
Ales Unlimited, in San Francisco
The Cambridge, in Philadelphia
The Local Beer Bar, in Portland, OR
Search for more locations >>
Half Acre / New Belgium 2023m2
A collaboration between Chicago's Half Acre and Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Co., known for its Lips of Faith sour series, this spacey bottle provides some tartness with a bit of floral and boozy fruit notes. Think rum-soaked berry or plum. Light on the acid, and not quite sour, the "soft sour" moniker prepares the palate well for a slightly meandering, but refreshing and cool finish with a bit of grassy bitterness. It's been an afternoon killer for me all month in the Half Acre taproom. 6% abv.
Only available in Chicago at:
Half Acre's taproom! (bottles and draft)
The Craft Beer Temple (3 bottles left!)