Jolly Pumpkin Aristan Ales - Noel de Calabaza
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales was founded in 2004 and quickly gained notoriety for producing fantastic farmhouse ales using traditional methods. Fermented in open vessels with a variety of French and Belgian yeasts, the beer is then aged in oak casks for months where it undergoes a secondary fermentation with wild yeasts in the barrels. After aging, the beer is bottled with additional yeast and left to bottle condition (develop further flavours and carbonation in the bottle). All of that fermenting and aging results in beers with complex and unique flavour profiles.
The Noel de Calabaza is the first and only farmhouse or sour beer on the Twelve Beers of Christmas list. Not because I don't like them, but because I don't think I have any others. The aroma is surprisingly light, but the smell from the wild yeasts definitely let you know that this is not a traditional Belgian dark Christmas ale. If you can get past the funky yeast smell, you can also get hints of oak and dark fruits in the aroma. Although the flavour is predominantly tart and funky from start to finish, it's not overpowering. If you take the time, you can get a lot of different flavours out of this beer. Dark fruits like raisins, figs and plums with maybe some green apple, grapes and sour cherries. Some of the oak even starts coming through in the dry and tart finish. The alcohol is 9% ABV, but it really doesn't even come in to play. This was definitely a great change of pace from the traditional sweet and spicy Christmas beers and I savoured it down to the last drop.