Jolly Pumpkin “La Parcela No. 1” Pumpkin Ale is 5.9% ABV.
I poured some of a 750 ml bottle into a Belgian ale glass.
Appearance: A very careful pour tossed up almost three fingers of bright dull white foam, which clung on for a long time, and left very frothy and thick lacing. This has a beautiful moderately hazy burnt orange/amber color, and its many bubbles rising suggest heavy carbonation.
Smell: This has a rounded sour aroma, with some woodiness. The sour notes are vegetal and citrusy. I get lemon, some earth, funkiness, and yeast. There is some squash present, but the sourness sort of overtakes this. There is some faint spice, though it is hard to tell if this is coming from the yeast and earthiness, rather than some spice additions. Overall this has nice complex sour tones with some rounded wood.
Taste: This has nice complex sour flavors. I get some vegetal squash, as well as some bright citrus, like from lemon and grapefruit. There is a round woodiness which complements the sour tones well. Adding more complexity is some earthiness and some funkiness. This has a kind of mild spice profile with light pepper and something bark-like. Not a lot of sweetness in this beer. This finishes with the bright citrus giving way to more of a bitter hop profile and some dulled bitter spice. Some dull spicing and sour notes hang around in the aftertaste. Great complex flavors to this one.
Feel: This offering is medium bodied, with heavy carbonation. The bright sour tones work well with the round wood, earth, and funkiness. So the feel is interesting. There is also a kind of unfiltered texture to this. Good feel.
Drinkability: This has fairly prominent sour notes, but this drinks pretty well. The sour notes get tamed some by the wood in this and the earth.
Overall: I think the flavors in this are nice. This has great complexity, a nice texture, and doesn’t drag. This is a non-traditional pumpkin ale style, foregoing the strong brown sugar sweetness and heavy “pumpkin pie” spicing. It has nice complex sourness and wood. And it is refreshing. The more I drink this, the more the white pepper and mild spicing comes out, which I enjoy. I think this is definitely worth trying if you like beers on the sour side. It is a bit off the beaten path of pumpkin ales.
Overall Rating: ***1/2
About Jolly Pumpkin and “La Parcela No. 1”: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales opened in Dexter, Michigan in 2004. They use open fermentation and a lot of wine barrel aging to produce some exceptional quality saisons, American wild ales, as well as some other styles. Their Oro De Calabaza (Bière de Garde) won the gold medal at the GABF in 2004 for the Belgian- and French-style ale category. “La Parcela No. 1” is Jolly Pumpkin’s first and only pumpkin beer, which is a little funny given their name. (This is apparently a popular overly-used joke, so I’ll leave it at that.) For this beer they use some light pumpkin pie spicing, real pumpkins, and a little bit of cacao to add subtle richness complexity to this beer. It is then aged in oak barrels, to round it out and impart more flavor. This beer is a bit pricey ($13.99 for a 750ml) given its ABV (5.9%), however it has great complexity of flavor and is certainly very enjoyable. I say definitely grab one of these if you can, if you like this style. Thanks to Ron for helping make this review possible.