jolly pumpkin

Chicago, IL—Jolly Pumpkin is heading across Lake Michigan to open a new restaurant and bar in Chicago.  Jolly Pumpkin has announced it will be opening a location in Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago, in 2017.  The 5,800-square-foot restaurant will serve craft beers, distilled spirits, and wines available through the Northern United Brewing Company (NUBC) brand – including Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak Brewing Company, Nomad Cidery, Civilized Spirit and Bonafide Wines, as well as a full pub menu.

“We’re excited to expand our restaurants outside of Michigan,” says NUBC partner Ron Jeffries. “Hyde Park is the perfect location for us, the vibrant neighborhood shares an eclectic vibe with that of our company and Chicago’s craft beer scene parallels some of the greatest in the US.”

Jolly Pumpkin will be located at Harper Court, a 12-story University of Chicago office tower with retail on the ground level. “There has long been community interest in having a pub-style restaurant at Harper Court,” said James Hennessy, the University’s associate vice president for commercial real estate. “The addition of Jolly Pumpkin will enhance Hyde Park’s growing reputation as a new dining destination in Chicago while introducing a brewery to the neighborhood.”

This will be the fourth restaurant in the Jolly Pumpkin portfolio. The original being in Traverse City, followed by a downtown café in Ann Arbor, and a casual eatery in Midtown Detroit. While Jolly Pumpkin restaurants are known for their namesake sour barrel-aged beers, each location features a distinctive menu and identity.

Jolly Pumpkin Hyde Park will be a casual 30-plus tap bar with walk-up ordering service, indoor and outdoor seating. A unique bar will offer patrons a variety of draft beer and cider, as well as featured craft cocktails and wine. One beer that is sure to be featured on tap is Jolly Pumpkin’s Oro de Calabaza, an Artisan Golden Ale that the New York Times named the #1 Belgian Beer in the World in 2010.

As with all its locations, Jolly Pumpkin will be working with local purveyors in developing its menu.  While the restaurant will offer a menu all its own, it will include some iconic Jolly Pumpkin favorites like the JP Burger, truffle fries, the Perfect Chicken Sandwich, and artisan pizzas.

Located at 5251 S. Harper/1504 E. Harper Court, Chicago IL 60615, Jolly Pumpkin will be opening in late spring / early summer 2017.

Jolly Pumpkin is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and North Peak craft beer brands, as well as Nomad Cidery, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices.


jolly pumpkin

Detroit, Michigan–The craft beer world’s most infamous feud has sparked a collaboration brew that no one ever anticipated.

In 2014, Ron Jeffries, owner and master brewer of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, hosted Mikkel Borg Bjergso of Mikkeller at his Dexter, Michigan brewery to work on a few collaborative brews.  Later that year, Mikkel’s identical twin, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso of Evil Twin Brewing, stopped in to work on a few new creations.

Then the unthinkable happened; Jeffries blended the Bjergso brothers’ beers, despite the twins’ complicated relationship.

The resulting brew is called Hamajang—Hawaiian slang for “that’s messed up, bro.”

jolly pumpkinAll three collaboration brews are available now at Jolly Pumpkin’s Detroit, Michigan tap room:

Sea Buckthorn Fandango
(5.7% abv.) Sour Ale with Sea Buckthorn Juice

This collaboration with Mikkel Bjorg Bergso of Mikkeller Brewing was brewed in August 2014 and spent 1 year 4 months in oak barrels.

Innovatorman (6.8% abv.)  Sour Ale with Strawberries

This collaboration with Jeppe Jarnit-Bergso of Evil Twin Brewing and Charles Psenka from Leelanau Brewing Company was brewed in September 2014 and spent 1 year 3 months in oak barrels.

Hamajang This blend of Sea Buckthorn and Innovatorman combines the work of the Bjergso twins (perhaps without their knowledge) for the first time.

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.

There’s this phenomenon occurring right now on Canfield in Detroit. On one corner representing an older, distinguished Detroit, there’s Traffic Jam and Snug, the first brew-pub in Michigan. On the other corner, there’s the new HopCat Detroit, bringing over one hundred taps from around the world. And now sandwiched in the middle is Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery.

It’s the perfect evening for an opening — it’s the end of a long work week, and the spring sun is actually shining, making the Michigan weather seem much warmer than it is for a moment. One can envision the casual, outdoor seating buzzing during the upcoming summer season. Inside it’s cozy and welcoming — I’ve barely said hello when multiple servers hand me food and drink to sample.

“Shaved Brussel sprout salad?” Yes please.

“Margherita pizza?” Yes please!

“May I bring you another beer? Yes. Always. Please!

It’s classic hospitality at its best, fusing together excellent service with the artisan concept that has always defined Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Everyone is smiling and having a great time — and brewmaster Ron Jeffries, the Captain Ron, just keeps saying “super excited.”

“Super excited” seems to define the evening. Tonight the conversation is all about the celebration of present successes and future possibilities, for both the region and the brewing company. Michigan has always been enthusiastic about expanding the craft industry, and the Jolly Pumpkin Detroit opening definitely signifies the local support and teamwork that goes into the continued development.

This venture combined the determined powers of Northern United Brewing Company, Midtown Detroit Incorporated as well as numerous other Detroit institutions.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has always been a proud Michigan brand, with locations in Dexter, Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Adding Midtown Detroit to this list was ideal.

“We’re always looking for new places, and we’ve been looking at Detroit for awhile,” says Jeffries. “We thought this would be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

I have to admit as a huge craft fan that this stretch of city-block gets me “super excited.” Within walking distance there are so many Michigan craft possibilities offering a slew of varying atmospheres and experiences.

One attendee commented, “Can you imagine being a Wayne State student right now? With all of this around? There would be no studying!”

Indeed, with 32 taps and a mouth-watering menu, there’s plenty of delicious distractions. And locals will be happy to recognize familiar products from Avalon International Breads, McClure’s pickles, The Brinery, Guernsey Dairy and plenty of others.

“It’s about being Michigan-based. Our chefs, our owners, everyone recognizes how important it is to use local product to fit the region,” says Jeffries.

“We’re just super excited,” he continues. “It’s a great spot. Our staff is excited. And so far a lot of people have come in and enjoyed our food and our beer.”