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    Entries in Jolly Pumpkin (4)

    Wednesday
    Sep302015

    Pumpkin Beers 2015 - Saranac, Alaskan, Jolly Pumpkin and Ballast Point

    Well, it is that time of year again. There is talk of leaves changing color, cooler weather is on the way, football games with meaning are finally being played, and the About Beverages Pumpkin Beer Podcast is here for your enjoyment. It is hard to believe, but this is the 6th year we have had a podcast devoted solely to pumpkin beer. We always enjoy trying and discussing beverages of all kinds with you, but one of us enjoys this particular podcast a little more than the other. You may already know who that is, but if you don’t, it won’t take you long to figure it out. That being said, we have a good time doing this seasonally themed podcast every year.

    This year, we have six new-to-us pumpkin beers that we will be trying. Since we are trying a cornucopia of beers this year, all made with pumpkin, we decided to split this into two podcasts. This week’s episode will cover the first four, while next weeks will be the remaining two plus discussion and the big reveal of this year’s winner. This year we did something a little different and decided not to bring back any of our champions from years past. This leaves one to wonder, “What has become of the previous year’s winners?” The choice we made was to officially “retire” the Punkin Ale from Dogfish (Champion in 2010 and 2011, runner-up 2012), and the Smashed Pumpkin from Shipyard (Champion 2012, 2013, and 2014). They have become the inaugural members of our “Pumpkin Beer Hall of Fame.” If they were sports jerseys, they would hang from the rafters in the tasting room for all to see. As great as they are, we have decided to give six new beers a shot at our coveted pumpkin beer crown.

    The beers we will be trying this week are the Saranac Pumpkin Ale, Alaskan Pumpkin Ale, Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela No. 1 Pumpkin Ale, and Ballast Point Pumpkin Down Scotch Ale.  We invite you to listen or watch as we begin this journey to what we hope will be a new and delicious champion.

    If you have any ideas for future episodes of "Give It A Shot" or just have a question, you can always send us an email to AboutBeverages@q.com.

    You may click on the media player to listen directly on our website, right click the link below to download and listen to it later, or subscribe to us and never miss an episode. Enjoy!

    Link Lounge

    Here are the links to the things we talked about during the podcast. 

    Tasting Notes - Pumpkin Beers 2015 - Saranac, Alaskan, Jolly Pumpkin and Ballast Point

     

    Right click to download podcast

    Wednesday
    Aug122015

    Give It A Shot - Anchorage / Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Boreal Saison

    Collaborations can go either way.  Peanut butter and chocolate?  Great collaboration!  Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page?  Terrible collaboration for an even more terrible movie!  Two brothers tasting beverages and sharing good times?  Totally fantastic!  A farmhouse saison created by two well respected breweries?  That question will be answered today at the tasting table.  Anchorage and Jolly Pumpkin Brewing bring us a unique collaboration called the Calabaza Boreal.  The unique part of this brew is not that Gabe of Anchorage and Ron of Jolly Pumpkin created a beer together, but that they each brewed a batch at their own facility to give their personal spin on the same recipe.  As you can see from the video we are trying the Anchorage version which uses a different primary yeast and some of Jolly Pumpkin's own Oro de Calabaza right from the barrel.  Time to taste and see if we are glad these to were able to come together or if they should have gone their separate ways.  If you have any ideas for future episodes of "Give It A Shot" or just have a question, you can always send us an email to AboutBeverages@q.com.

    You may click on the media player to listen directly on our website, right click the link below to download and listen to it later, or subscribe to us and never miss an episode. Enjoy!

    Link Lounge

    Here are the links to the things we talked about during the podcast. 

    Tasting Notes - Anchorage / Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Boreal Saison

    Right click to download podcast

    Tuesday
    Dec312013

    These are a Few of Our Favorite Things from 2013

    ...These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

    It is hard to believe that the year 2013 has almost come to a close.  Before the year takes its final bow with the completion of the holiday season, we thought it would be nice to take a moment and look back upon all that has come our way this year via the beverage industry.  Looking forward into the unknown is always exciting, but you don’t ever want to forget about the taste experiences you’ve had previously that may be informing your next decision.  Depending on how many opportunities you have had to try new beverages in this past year, that could mean quite a number of items to mentally recall and sort through. For us, having a website and making videos helps us out a great deal when it comes to remembering all that we have had throughout the year.  An easy way to catalogue your likes and dislikes if you so choose, is to either start a small journal of “Tasting Notes” or simply take pictures on your phone of things that have left an impression.  Being able to flip back through this information later on can be very useful when you are trying to make a recommendation.

    Our friend Eric who is also an AboutBeverages.com contributor often says, “Always taste something twice because the first time there could be an anomaly.”  We couldn’t agree more!  With that thought in mind, it’s time to share some of the beverages that stood out for us this past year. It is a chance to take a figurative (or if you still have some on hand, by all means make it a literal) second taste.  Have a safe and happy holidays!

    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales La Roja (25oz Bottle $15) - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has been creating a wide range of oak aged and bottle conditioned beers since 2004.  It's no wonder we were more than a little excited to try their La Roja.  It is a Flanders Brown Ale blended from barrels ranging from two to ten months and comes in at a mild 7.2% ABV.  It is on the pricier side, but when it comes to these more labor intensive beers you get what you pay for.  The color is what you would expect, brownish red with sediment and a medium head.  The aroma has a bright sour and malt vinegar balance with a slight spice under note.  On the palate you get well-balanced blend of sour tart, cherry, vinegar, caramel, vanilla and oak.  Quite exceptional and available year round.

    Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin (750ml Bottle $32) - For us, anytime is gin time.  It can be refreshing or sophisticated depending on use and there are so many wonderful distillers producing a variety of styles.  This offering was no exception.  Normally we are not ones for broad generalizations, but American Dry gins tend to be on the "softer" side when it comes to flavor.  The juniper is still there, but they try to blend it in a bit more with the other botanicals.  Normally color can be an interesting descriptor when setting the table for the aromas and flavor to come, but when it’s gin there usually isn’t much to be surprised by.  It’s clear.  What is unique about this spirit are the aromas of butterscotch, juniper, cucumber, and cream.  It’s quite an amazing mix!  All of those same notes are passed on to the flavor as well.  Some heat from the alcohol is present on the front, along with cucumber, creamy butterscotch, and mild citrus notes at the end.

    The Burly Gentlemen (Whiskey Mixed Drink) - Those few words when put together simply cry out to be the name of a mixed drink.  Not just any mixed drink mind you.  A blended concoction that is sweet, smooth and delicious while also giving you a stern smoky kick that lets you know it's business time!  The ingredients are simple and if you have been following us for awhile you may even have most of the ingredients necessary:  Bourbon (Jefferson's), Scotch (Laphroaig Triple Wood), Agave nectar and Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6.  While it has some things in common with a traditional Manhattan, the addition of scotch adds a little smoke and the gave nectar adds a touch of extra sweetness.  Mix one up with us and taste along as we explore this new cocktail together. 

    • 2oz Bourbon (Jefferson’s)

    • 1oz Scotch (Laphroaig Triple Wood or any that have a good balance of peat and sweet)

    • 1Tbsp Agave Nectar

    • 1 Dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6

    Fill a drink shaker about 2/3 full of cubed ice. Add all of the ingredients to shaker. Shake well and pour strained contents into a martini glass.  The drink will initially appear cloudy, but if you sip (and you should) the clarity will improve over time.

    Stone Brewing Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine (22oz Bottle $6) -  In 2011 Stone Brewing began their Odd Beers for Odd Years program.  They took two of their seasonals, (Old Guardian Barley Wine and Imperial Russian Stout) and made two versions of each.  The standard version they have been making for years and an "Odd Release" in which they make a change.  That year they used a Belgian yeast in both.  Fast forward to 2013 and we have a new addition to the "Odd" family.  The Old Guardian Barley Wine gets a heavy dose of German oak-smoked malt.  One of the great quests since we started AboutBeverages.com was to get Keith to truly enjoy a barley wine.  This is one that finally made that happen.  The color is a hazy dark amber with a tan head.  In the nose is where this beer really shines with smoke, sweet caramel, and butterscotch.  The taste brings all of those elements together with a medium-full body and just an added touch of a slight sour and notes of alcohol.  This is a great one to sip and savor.  As it warms it gets a little sweet and creamy.

    Dogfish Head Noble Rot (25oz Bottle $12) - Should anyone be drinking anything, let alone a premium beer if the word rot is in the title?  The answer is apparently yes as long as part of that same label contains the words Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales.  Thinking not only out of the box or out of the keg as it were, is what makes them very unique in the craft industry.  That uniqueness is what helped this beer make our list.  Noble Rot is not only the name of the beer, but also a term used to describe a grey fungus (Botrytis cinerea) that can either destroy grape crops or when picked at just the right time can produce a very concentrated sweeter wine.  This beer uses unfermented juice (or must) from viognier grapes and pinot gris must.  The color is what you would expect from a saison;  very clear yellow with good head and carbonation.  The aroma is where things begin to get interesting.  Classic savory and Belgian yeast spices are augmented by sweet grape, and mild funk notes.  The palate features a sour tart that slowly sneaks up on your tongue. There are also sweet grape notes, with mild funk and yeast spices, as well as a tart fruitiness from the wine that comes forward at the end, all balanced on a thin body.

    Laphroaig Triple Wood Scotch (750ml Bottle $58) -  Over the last two years, Scotch has opened our eyes to a world of whisky love that had not extended past bourbon.  As the name suggests, it goes through three maturations in wood barrels before bottling:  American oak, 19th century quarter casks and then finally in Oloroso sherry casks.  Honey gold in color, the aroma is rife with smoke, peat, and sea spray. Once on the palate the smoke hits you first as does the realization that it is surprisingly smooth. There are also notes of cinnamon, a peppery fire on the front of the tongue and a hint of sherry sweetness on the finish. Even if the smoky-peaty scotch variety isn't normally your preference, this is definitely worth trying.

    Stone Brewing Enjoy By Double IPA (22oz Bottle $8) - Holy hops Batman!  That's exactly what you might here either of us yell when we first had this beer.  This beer is hopped every which way you can with seven different types of hops.  In addition to that, a clever bit of marketing lets the name of the beer tell the rest of the story.  Enjoy By the date emblazoned on the bottle or you will begin to miss out on the hop character originally contained within.  They usually have a fresh release of this beer about every 4-6 weeks.  When first poured it is gold with a slight haze but that dissiaptes quickly. The nose features pineapple/citrus hop notes followed by caramel malt with a finish of savory hops. The same notes in the aroma are present in the taste, but they reveal themselves in a different order. The caramel notes are first, followed by the savory and then the citrus hops. Very tasty, easy to drink and pairs well with all types of food.

    Odell Brewing Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout (4pk $10) - The name of this beer is quite straight forward and can be broken into two parts to help explain its origins.  Lugene is the name of the local dairy farmer who takes away spent grain (which you have a lot of after making beer) and feeds it to his cows.  The chocolate milk stout part comes from the milk sugar and milk chocolate used during the brew process to make as they say a "..rich and creamy brew that reminds us of a cold glass of chocolate milk."  The color is non-see through black, much darker than a regular glass of chocolate milk.  The aroma is where the sweet chocolate kicks in along with coffee and roasted malt.  The chocolate takes over as the coffee and malt provide a tasty foundation. There is a surprising amount of carbonation, followed by the delicious waves of flavor which also include a hint of vanilla, all framed by a nice medium body.

    Wednesday
    Oct162013

    Give It A Shot - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales La Roja

    As a loose tie in to our upcoming pumpkin beer shows, we have a new brewery (to us) at the tasting table today.  Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has been creating a wide range of oak aged and bottle conditioned beers since 2004.  It's no wonder we are more than a little excited to try their La Roja.  It's Flanders Brown Ale blended from barrels ranging from two to ten months and coming in at a mild 7.2% ABV.  This 750ml bottle is on the pricier side, but when it comes to these more labor intensive beers you get what you pay for.  Let's see if it lives up to the hype we've given it.  If you have any ideas for future episodes of "Give It A Shot" or just have a question, you can always send us an email to AboutBeverages@q.com.

    You may click on the media player to listen directly on our website, right click the link below to download and listen to it later, or subscribe to us and never miss an episode. Enjoy!

    Link Lounge

    Here are the links to the things we talked about during the podcast.

    Tasting Notes - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales La Roja

    Right click to download podcast