Jolly Pumpkin Release: Bambic and Collababeire

Jolly Pumpkin Bambic and Collababeire

Jolly Pumpkin Bambic and Collababeire

Living in a great craft beer city often provides the opportunity to take part in cool events, and recently just such an event took place at Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor. A couple weeks ago, the taphouse had a release for two creations from their Dexter brewery, Collababeire and Bambic.

The release itself was hectic, with patrons lined up to purchase bottles of each beer (some of them trying to game the system to get more than the maximum – which, uncool, dude). In no hurry, I grabbed a seat at the bar, and although it took a while to be served, it certainly beat out waiting in line to not even drink the brews immediately.

Jolly Pumpkin Collababeire

Jolly Pumpkin (WSGs Stone and Nogne Ø) Collababeire

Collababeire, as the name implies, is a collaboration between Jolly Pumpkin and a couple other breweries. Stone in California and Nogne Ø from Norway were involved in the creation of this farmhouse-style ale. The three have collaborated twice before, and this was the third leg of that relationship. Each brewery created their own beer from the same recipe, and they were blended in Dexter and aged in oak. This is a “holiday ale,” although, as you may note, it was released well after the holidays.

Jolly Pumpkin Bambic

Jolly Pumpkin Bambic

Bambic is Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Biere blended with their Lambicus Dexterius (yeah, I didn’t even notice until writing this post that the title referred to “lambic.” I’m slow). The label says “Winking Lizard” all over it, so one must assume this beer was created primarily for Winking Lizard Tavern, a chain across the state of Ohio (further research shows it’s to celebrate WL’s 25th anniversary).

I won’t talk too much about how they tasted here, but there will be full reviews coming soon. I picked up a 330mL bottle of the Bambic and a 750mL bottle of the Collababeire, so I’ll let Paul take place in the tasting before putting official thoughts to paper.

Hopcat Turkey Tears

Hopcat Turkey Tears

Seriously. Turkey.

Just in time for the holiday, Hopcat made it possible to drink your Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, cranberry sauce, and all. Turkey Tears is based upon the Sage Against the Machine Pale Ale, but as the flyer says, is brewed with real turkey, cranberries, and honey. Though including meat as an ingredient in beer seems… odd, to say the least, I couldn’t resist trying something new.

The beer was a light amber color (slightly lighter than it seems from the included picture), with very little head. The aroma was mostly sage with a bit of malt and, yes, a hint of turkey. The flavor itself was mostly sage. There was a slight hint of turkey flavor, but the main thing I got out of the turkey was a really salty taste. The cranberries didn’t seem to add much, and I could barely even detect them in the background. The honey flavor was what you’d expect.

So, despite my initial hesitance to try a beer with turkey in the brewing process (alas, my server didn’t know when in the process it was introduced, though I would guess the boil), it turned out to be not bad. I wasn’t a huge fan of the saltiness, but as a gimmick beer, it certainly wasn’t repulsive.

Schmaltz He’Brew Jewbelation Fourteen

Schmaltz He'brew Jewbelation 14

Schmaltz He'brew Jewbelation 14

I’m not a member of The Tribe, but I do enjoy puns, and this beer packed a double whammy in He’brew Jewbelation 14 (the chosen beer). Beyond the name, it’s a pretty cool concept beer. Starting with Jewbelation 8, which had 8 different types of malt and hops, each year they add one more type of malt and one more variety of hops. This is the last year of the series, and they took the seven numbered Jewbelations (8-14), mixed them in a barrel and came out with Jewbelation Vertical. Now, they’re having a special where they’re releasing the 8 beers during the 8 days of Chanukah to 88 different bars. Silly puns, mixed with interesting brewing ideas and a high-minded, yet tongue in check concept? Sign me up for that beer!

Schmaltz lists the 28 different malts and hops that are in this beer on their website. It’s worth checking out and flipping through the evolution of the Jewbelation series. You can also check out if any local bar is Chosen. Anyway, as today is the beginning of Chanukah, I figured it was as good a time as ever to crack it open write a review.

Appearance: Dark, opaque copper with ruby notes when held up to the light. A nice, two finger, tan head that only reluctantly dissipates. This is a very good looking beer.

Aroma: Caramel malt with some floral, spicy hops and a fairly noticeable alcohol burn just in the nose. There’s something I can’t quite place, maybe a holiday spice, but it’s certainly intriguing.

Taste: The taste starts out with a rich, full caramel malt flavor. It’s not cloying, but it’s almost overpowering, not quite. After the rich malt, there’s a wave of balanced bitterness. It ends with a nice acrid note almost as an after taste. The acridity really helps the flavor from being too rich.  There is a very pleasant, delayed alcohol warmth that hits me in the belly and throat.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy. It leaves my lips sticky. The head is incredibly creamy, and really adds something to the sip.

Overall: This is a really ambitious beer. I think it hits a lot of the notes you want with a big, winter warmer/strong ale style beer. It has an amazing malt profile with enough hops to balance out and keep it from becoming cloying. The alcohol also works well with this ale, cutting through the richness and serving to warm your whole body. I kind of wish I had some of the previous vintages to compare.

Happy Chanukah everyone!