Nick Carr on December 14, 2015 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Location: Dexter, MI Style: Spiced Autumn Seasonal ABV: 6.1% IBU: 22 Appearance: Burnt amber with two-finger smoky-tan head; Slightly hazy. Aroma: Bold sour notes; Sweet caramel wit a nutty quality; Notes of lemon, spices and chestnuts. Flavor: Tart sourness with mix of caramel and nuttiness; Notes of sour cherry, orange zest and apricot; Oaky & nutty with hints of cinnamon & vanilla. Hops: ? Malts: ? Special Ingrediencts: Chestnuts & Spices Shelf Life: 9+ months Suggested Glass: Tulip Serving Temp: 50°F – 55°F Availability: Fall Seasonal Pairs With: Indian Curry, Beef Roast, Asiago Cheese, Apricot Tart The first thing that should probably be cleared up is, despite their name, Jolly Pumpkin does not produce only pumpkin beers, though they do make one. That seems to be the overriding thought process whenever I mention the name to someone. So, why the name Jolly Pumpkin? Who knows really? It’s just a name after all and you could ask the same question of many breweries. Why did you choose that name? On the Jolly Pumpkin website there is a short post describing why the name was chosen. Though once you get away from the connection to pumpkin beer it isn’t all that hard to see why they choose it. It’s a happy name, triggering images of happy Halloweens, fat “jolly” entities, and the fullness and fun that should be a part of brewing. Like Ron Jeffries says in the post the name is “simple yet complex.” Simple in its statement, complex with the imagery and feelings it can conjure. This is my first Jolly Pumpkin Ale and another off the “Drinking Autumn” list. It’s a beer I was extremely excited about especially coming from a well regarded artisanal beer company like Jolly Pumpkin. Jolly Pumpkin is the only brewing company in America that barrel ages every beer they make. Most of the beer they create are variations on the Farmhouse style. They use open fermentation vessels exclusively and bottle condition every beer. So all in all, Jolly Pumpkin is a bit of a throwback to what you’d expect an older traditional brewery to look like — and I have an affinity for traditional. So, Jolly Pumpkin was already ahead in my book. Another thing you’ve gotta love about them is their beer labels. They’re beautiful. Each label is lovingly created by Adam Forman. They are simple, fun, and seem to exude the playful passion of the company. The label for Fuego del Otono shows a delicate possibly sorrowful woman sitting against a tree as autumn leaves blow by. She holds something aloft in her hand… maybe the gift of autumn?? The colors are all earthy and it feels like it’s an ode to autumn’s passing. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Fuego Del Otono. If you’ve tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Fuego del Otono pours a nice burnt amber. A color kin to, and easily lost among, the earthy tones of Fall. Topped by a two-finger smoky-tan head that asserts itself than slips down to the width of half a finger and sticks. It is only slightly hazy. Sour notes are big in the aroma. Horse blanket and wet hay with undertones of sweet caramel. There is also a nutty quality probably a mix of malt and the added chestnuts along with woody/oaky murmurs from barrel aging. Nice notes of lemon come through. Spices are heavy and warming, though as individual presences remain indistinct. Mouthfeel and Taste: The body runs medium to medium thin. Good carbonation enhances the sour qualities pushing the astringency and crispness. A hint of warming from the spice. Sourness is tart without being overstated. Mix of light caramel and a stronger nutty base. Sour cherry, orange zest, and apricot all flit across the palate never truly showing themselves as individuals, instead building an overall impression of tart fruits. Oaky and nutty at the back with hints of cinnamon and just the barest signs of vanilla. Aftertaste sits tart with sidelong glances of oaky warmness. FINISHING THOUGHTS Fuego Del Otono surpassed all my expectations. I think Jolly pumpkin hit this one on the nose for a fall seasonal. It carries memories of wood, dampness, and fall harvest in its play of earthy slightly tart flavors. Something could be said about the beers thin body, but I think in this case it works well with the tart fruitiness. Also the finish could have been a little sweeter, less drying, harkening more to the fall season. But both of these are very minor points and do little to detract from this beer’s drinkability or pleasantness. If you’re a fan of sours and still want to get into the spirit of fall with a seasonal beer I’d suggest you give this one a go. Actually this one may be great for those unsure about sours; it’s tart but never really enters the realm of “sour.” Cheers!