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5.2% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Light gold with bubbles and a small to medium head.
Aroma: Sour grapes and a bit of apple.
Taste: Very well balanced for a sour…contains flavors of orange peel, coriander, grape and apple. Very much of a champagne or cider-like profile.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Being brewed by Jolly Pumpkin, Leelanau Brewing Company’s Whaleback White is a sour that sticks out in one way from the rest — it’s extremely well balanced. There’s not a lot of bitterness, and overall the brew is just very pleasant to sip on. Coriander and orange peel are what’s described as being flavors on the label, but I also get a bit of grape and apple. It reminds me of a bit of a champagne or dry cider in that it’s refreshing yet still holds true to the qualities of the style.

6.8% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Cloudy amber with a medium to high head.
Aroma: Spices, lots of sour smells with some floral aspects.
Taste: Starts out very sour, and finishes with a bit of a hop to it. Spice with a bit of bread is present as well.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Jolly Pumpkin’s Baudelaire IO is a dry saison with spice, floral and sour characteristics. While the flavors don’t have a ton of depth, the spiciness and sour aspects play well with the floral-like qualities. I also get a sense of sourdough bread with this beer. It’s overall pretty smooth, without a lot of carbonation compared to other sours.

6% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Burnt orange, topped by a high, frothy head.
Aroma: Smells amazing. Strong cherry, but obvious hints of tropical fruits, such as pineapple and passion fruit. At the tail end, I caught a scent of bitter tartness (grapefruit-like).
Taste: This brew is packed full of flavor. Initial tart cherry leads nicely into full-on tropical fruits. Beer meets tropical punch with a sour twist. Somehow it cohesively balances into an amazing flavor. Slight bitterness makes this drinkable and helps the tropical fruit juice lead not so much in sweetness as it pulls each individual flavor.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and slightly creamy entering the mouth, Sobrehumano is light to medium bodied with just the right carbonation level.

Jolly Pumpkin proves again it is the king of sour, and they play well with other dogs (in this case, Maui Brewing Company) with Sobrehumano Palena’ole.  I enjoyed the fact this brew is not sweet. Its hints of bitterness coupled with sour overtones make it a perfect summer brew.

6% ABV, Bottle
Appearance: Burnt orange, topped by a high, frothy head.
Aroma: Smells amazing. Strong cherry, but obvious hints of tropical fruits, such as pineapple and passion fruit. At the tail end, I caught a scent of bitter tartness (grapefruit-like).
Taste: This brew is packed full of flavor. Initial tart cherry leads nicely into full-on tropical fruits. Beer meets tropical punch with a sour twist. Somehow it cohesively balances into an amazing flavor. Slight bitterness makes this drinkable and helps the tropical fruit juice lead not so much in sweetness as it pulls each individual flavor.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and slightly creamy entering the mouth, Sobrehumano is light to medium bodied with just the right carbonation level.
Jolly Pumpkin proves again it is the king of sour, and they play well with other dogs (in this case, Maui Brewing Company) with Sobrehumano Palena’ole.  I enjoyed the fact this brew is not sweet. Its hints of bitterness coupled with sour overtones make it a perfect summer brew.

ANN ARBOR — Big changes are underway at Northern United Brewing Company (NUBC) — the maker of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak and Grizzly Peak beers. The company announced that it will open a new 70,000 square foot brewing facility in Dexter, where Ron Jeffries will oversee all brewing operations for Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak.

The new site allows for expansion up to 150,000 square feet in the future.

“I’m very excited to be making the 1.5 mile move to our new plant.  More sour beer can only be a good thing!” says Jeffries. “And did I mention IPAs?  Taking over the brewing of the North Peak line with those fantastic hoppy beers — are you kidding me, it’s a(nother) dream come true!”

The move means that NUBC’s 5,600 square foot facility on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City will be dedicated to the production of Civilized Spirits and North Peak’s Nomad Hard Cider, under the auspices of Mike Hall.

“We’re excited for the North Peak and Jolly Pumpkin brands to have a new home to continue to meet our growing demand.  This will allow us to focus on our micro distillery, and expand our production of Civilized Spirits,” says Hall.  “We will continue to create the highest quality craft spirits, and we are also looking forward to knocking out some exclusive experimental brews at the JP pub.”

NUBC has also announced the hiring of Tony Grant as the company’s chief financial and chief operating officer, effective July 1. His primary focus is working with the executive team to develop the near and long-term strategies for the company.

Tony has more than 10 years of Fortune 500 experience in strategic finance, operations and executive management in retail, commercial and industrial real estate and manufacturing operations. Most recently, he served as director of corporate development with Owens Corning where he focused on all aspects of global acquisition and divestiture activity and various strategic projects for the company.

“We are extremely excited to add a person of Tony’s caliber to our executive management team,” according to Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, who along with Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall are managing partners of NUBC. “His experience along with his tremendous work ethic and ability to lead will allow NUBC to continue on the path of growth that we have been experiencing and allow the company to reach its full potential.”

6.1% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Cloudy caramel with a medium white head.
Aroma: Fruity; sour citrus.
Taste: Caramel, spice, lots of citrus — specifically lemon. Some minor chestnut as well.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Jolly Pumpkin’s Fuego Del Otono, or Autumn Fire, is one of my favorite sours to date. While the brew initially screams sour on the nose, the taste is not as overwhelming, featuring sour citrus (specifically lemon), caramel, spice and a hint of chestnut. Despite the other flavors present, this isn’t the most drinkable sour I’ve had, but it should be at the top of any sour lover’s list. While it’s not currently in season, there are still a few bottles on the shelf — if you see some, definitely grab it!

We talk with Charlie Psenka, Chief Liaison at Northern United Brewing Company, the parent company of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, at the World Expo of Beer about summer collaborations and releases for the brewery.

~4.5% ABV

Appearance: Slightly cloudy and orange-amber in color; well carbonated with a foamy white head that lingers.
Aroma: Vinous, slightly oaky and fruity, with the typical Jolly Pumpkin sour funk smell.
Taste: Sharply sour and tart to start, oaky and dry to finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, dry with a pleasant fizz.

Brewed to commemorate local grocer Plum Market’s fifth year in business, Cinco Años Anniversary Ale is rumored to be based off of Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Noire Saison. A side-by-side comparison, however, yields a beer lighter in both body and color as well as distinctly less roasty and malty in flavor than the Noire.  A funky sour-forward taste quickly melds into delicately tart, fruity notes (presumably from the Royal Diamond plums the beer was aged with) before being overwhelmed by a dry, woody finish with only the slightest hint of plum. A solid and worthwhile beer, but not quite as impressive as other Jolly Pumpkin offerings.

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