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Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Biere de Goord

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Biere de Goord

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club


Oaked, Spiced, Sour Saison


United States

Alcohol by Volume:

7.0% (approximate)

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Biere de Goord

  • ABV:

    7.0% (approximate)
  • Serving Temperature:

    45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Goblet or Tulip
Well first off, you gotta love the name (not to mention the cause). Brewed as a Saison, we’ll excuse the name’s stylistic incursion into French farmhouse ale territory because it’s basically genius—the beer is brewed with pumpkins and pumpkin seeds, hence the Goord reference (a clever take on Biere de Garde). A beautiful beer—almost sunny with butterscotch hues—and a very inviting nose (we expect nothing less from Ron Jeffries & Co.). But with the very unusual ingredient list, and references to pumpkins and pumpkin seeds and kale(!), we weren’t sure what to anticipate. It doesn’t smell like what you’d expect from your typical seasonal pumpkin beer. Instead, look for notes of melons (honeydew comes to mind). Offsetting the sweetness comes a small whiff of minerals, like iron, possibly from the kale, but perhaps from the peppercorns. Also look for a distinct note of powdered green tea, wonderfully earthy and just a bit musty. Notes of oranges abound, and there’s even some hoppy grapefruit in the mix. This beer just might have a little something for everyone. And in typical Jolly Pumpkin fashion, there are also plenty of Brettanomyces notes coming through, moderately funky, with a bit more pineapple Brett than hardcore funk in our samples (but this may shift from bottle to bottle with age). Then you take a sip and the trickery of the Jolly Pumpkin emerges. The beer is far less sweet than the nose suggests, in fact, it’s almost shockingly tart upfront, quite like Berliner Weisse, sans syrup, yet far more complex. Notes of unripe cantaloupe, watermelon rind and hefty earthiness develop quickly as the initial pucker fades. Green tea comes through and adds to the earth levels, but also gives a slightly bitter note like you’d get from chewing on fresh tea leaves. We missed the peppercorns entirely at the start, but once we allowed the beer to come up in temperature, they jumped out at us; their influence shows up early in the sip and the sourness dominates them until a little warmth lets the pepper notes blossom a bit. Interestingly, this beer’s prominent tartness is not in the finish—it’s at the start of the flavor profile, and it’s ultimately replaced by a decent level of bitterness, which, along with the Brett, makes for one seriously dry, borderline champagne-like fade. The bitterness is complex and multifaceted; the kale (a bitter green) contributes an almost tannic character to the lingering bitterness, with tettnang, vanguard and styrian goldings hops doing their thing, supplemented by a gruit beer like herbal astringency that grips the palate and hangs on for dear life. Wow!

Hard to imagine a better cause or a more apropos beer to drink this September, being that it is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month. The creativity is impressive (there is no way you’ve ever had a kale and pumpkin seed beer before, we don’t care where you’ve been!) Designed by Los Angeles based tattoo artist Adam B. Forman, the label art is an expression of craftsmanship as well. Forman describes the imagery in his own words: “About the Fox and Bird. I chose these images because of their psychological and symbolic significance to our dear cause. The Fox is an ancient symbol of intellect, spiritual creativity and mischief, this is probably Ron [Jeffries, Jolly Pumpkin’s President and Brewmaster]. The Titmouse bird is symbol of great resourcefulness and bravery in the face of danger, there is an R.W. Emerson poem about the titmouse being the ‘antidote of fear’ and I thought this would be an appropriate companion to our friend fox. This is why the words ‘Wit’ and ‘Will’ [are] written above our heroes, sort of a motto for us to stand by and definitely appropriate to the pirate ship we call Jolly Pumpkin.”

We spoke to Ron Jeffries about what to expect as this very rare, one-batch only beer ages. He explained that as a matter of personal taste, he enjoys this and many other sour beers on the fresher side. Biere de Goord was allowed to mature for quite a while in their famous, buggy, almost magical oak barrels, so it’s already grown up in funk and tartness levels quite a bit when it hits the bottle. For about the first six-to-eight months, the funky, dry Brettanomyces character of this beer can be expected to grow, however, in an almost paradoxical phenomenon seen in many funky brews, secondary oxidation will eventually set in around the 12-month+ mark, somehow giving the impression of enhanced sweetness. The beer will hold up beyond a year for sure, but for maximum sourness impact, crack your bottles in under 8-months. If you enjoy the subtle candied character that develops with deeper oxidation, check back in 12-to-18 months down the line.

The Rare Beer of the Month Club is extremely pleased to bring you this truly one-of-a-kind beer brewed by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Not only is the beer a one-off, single-batch brew which, once gone, will be gone forever, and, not only is membership in this club just about the only way to get it (other than a couple cases at a Denver rare beer tasting and a couple kegs onsite at Jolly Pumpkin), it supports more than one good cause: prostate cancer awareness, and, craft-brewed beer. Clearly, as a member of the club, you regularly support and advocate for the latter. But this month you can add prostate cancer awareness to your philanthropy.

According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer will kill more than 32,000 men in America in 2010. Few people realize that there will be 218,000 prostate cancer cases diagnosed this year, 25,000 more than the number of new breast cancer cases. But with early detection and proper treatment, prostate cancer has a survival rate of nearly 100 percent. Clearly, these sorts of statistics scream that awareness and early detection are critical.

As a better beer fan, you may be familiar with the writings of Rick Lyke. As a drinks journalist, he’s written regularly for All About Beer magazine and contributes to various other publications, including DRAFT, on all things beer, wine and spirits. His blog, Lyke2Drink.com, is another great daily read—fun and informative. Now, it’s easy to think that those of us who write about beer have it easy and that somehow we operate outside the confines of “the real world.” It’s not an entirely accurate appraisal, still, Rick did get a frightening reality check a few years back. At the urging of a good friend who had previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer, Rick saw his primary care physician to get tested. The doc told him he didn’t need a PSA test until age 50 (he was 47) and since he presented with no symptoms and did not have an enlarged prostate, that there was simply no need for the test. Rick pressed to have it performed anyway, even though insurance wouldn’t cover it. That $75 test caught the cancer early, led Rick to have surgery, and saved his life.

Realizing the general lack of awareness, and the fact that guys typically avoid talking about their health, Rick created the Pints for Prostates campaign in 2008 to reach men through the universal language of beer with an important health message: silence on this issue is costing men their lives. Get aware, get talking, and if you’re over 40, get tested.

As a nonprofit campaign, Pints for Prostates gets the word out in various online and print publications, and supports various activities to fundraise for the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, a 501(c)3 charity that works to support, educate and advocate for men with prostate cancer and their families. One of those activities was partnering with the renowned Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, The Rare Beer Club, and beer distributors (and importers extraordinaire) Shelton Brothers to create a rare, one-of-a-kind beer to be featured in The Rare Beer Club and at a Rare Beer Tasting this September in honor of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The beer features the Pints for Prostates logo on its label, which includes the blue ribbon to remind people of the ongoing search for a cure. A donation of $3 from every 750 milliliter bottle of Biere de Goord sold will be made to the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The recipe was developed by Jolly Pumpkin. Speaking about the project, President & Brewmaster Ron Jeffries said “At Jolly Pumpkin we are super excited to be involved in this project.  We were flattered and honored when we were asked to come up with a special beer to help raise awareness of the Pints for Prostates campaign. It gave us the chance to stretch our collective imaginations and come up with a saison that not only tastes fantastic, but is full of ingredients rich in lycopene [and other antioxidants]. While we can make no health claims about Biere de Goord, we wanted to use the project to do a little education for men about some of the foods that contain [antioxidants such as] lycopene, which many researchers point to as being essential for prostate health.”

We couldn’t think of a better place to develop this intriguing recipe featuring antioxidant rich ingredients such as pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, kale, green tea and peppercorns. Set foot inside their small brewery and not only will you find shiny brewing equipment, you’ll encounter row upon row of wooden barrels in which beer of various ages, blends and funk-levels is maturing. The brewery performs barrel aging on ALL of its beers. The time, labor and expense required to age every ounce of beer they make in traditional wooden barrels, is, some would say, madness. But it’s what breeds their awesome array of truly distinctive beers. Well, that and open fermentation, meaning the yeast are left to work their magic in a container that’s left wide open—instead of being inside a closed stainless steel tank. This means that any wild yeast floating about in the air can get into the beer and apply a bit of their own “natural funk” to the flavor of the beer.

The results are truly something special—so we’ll let you get to it. Raise a glass of beer to your health and really mean it!  Check out www.jollypumpkin.com for more information about this impressive little brewery from Michigan, including what’s behind their unusual name.

Visit www.PintsForProstates.com to learn more about their important campaign and their ongoing activities (lots of good beer events to attend!).

And do pay a visit to our partners in philanthropy, Shelton Brothers, who have donated their services and profits to this effort. They’re distributing some of the best beers in the world and are playing an active role in improving the quality of beer available in the US today, regularly selecting rare beers and even sole survivors within traditional styles on the verge of extinction: www.sheltonbrothers.com.

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