DEXTER – Sour Beer aficionados will want to be at Null Taphouse this Saturday. Sour Beer Day, celebrated on the second Saturday of September each year, will be observed at the production home of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.
The term “sour” refers to brews that have been affected positively by bacteria that change the character of a base beer into a tart, acidic flavor. This is commonly accomplished by introducing Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, or the yeast strain Brettanomyces, often through the wood of a barrel. The intentional infection is taken into the brew by surface contact.
Jolly Pumpkin gets its unique results from naturally occurring local wild yeast introduced via air through open spontaneous fermentation. The quickest a sour is produced in their facility is two months, with some taking as long as two years to fully develop.
Master Brewer Ron Jeffries takes the individual batches of beer and blends them.
“It’s all about tasting and flavor. I keep track of the amounts so I can tell the cellar folks when they’re racking. We have electromagnetic flow meters so they can very accurately tell the amount of beer they’re racking from each tank,” said Jeffries. “As we get bigger and bigger, it’s more and more important to keep the ratios consistent with the smaller blends I create,” Jeffries said.
The latest blended creation, Ursae Majoris, had its official release last weekend, but if you’re lucky you’ll still be able to get some. It’s made of “three ages of Oud Bruin that Ron did, blended with Roja, Maracaibo, Bier de Mars, and Noel. It’s big, it’s deep, while being super balanced,” said Dan VanDuinen, General Manager.
Visitors will enjoy 25 percent off the price of all Jolly Pumpkin brews on tap by the glass, in to-go growlers, as well as bottled selections only at this location.
Jeffries said, “Every day is sour beer day, it’s what we do,” but the sale is valid only during this celebration.
Jolly Pumpkin beers, brewed entirely in the Dexter facility, can be found in more than 35 states and many countries. According to Jeffries, the 11-year-old boutique brewery produced 3500 barrels last year and will continue increasing production to meet demand.
Collaborations are in the works with several breweries and so-called gypsy brewers including another with previous collaborators Anchorage Brewing. It’s a yuzu lime Gose with Alaskan sea salt harvested locally by the brewer’s father.