>Brew Review 1: Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otoño (Autumn Fire)

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Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales hails from Dexter, Michigan, just a few miles outside of Ann Arbor. With a fascinating list of styles and flavors, it was hard to decide which to pick to review, so I went with the recommendation from Ian, the resident Craft Beer Guru at Rollin’ Oats in St. Pete. His suggestion was the Feugo del Otoño, or “Autumn Fire”, and it was a good one. From the beginning, I was blown away by the label art (true of all of Jolly Pumpkin’s offerings). Absolutely gorgeous artwork, all done by Adam Forman and each one a masterpiece.

And then the description:
To catch a bit of soft radiance in each bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malt blend smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to sip, contemplate and enjoy. Ale brewed with chestnuts and spices. Aged in oak barrels – bottle conditioned.

The first pour revealed a light coppery color and a near explosion of bubbles that relaxed into a gentle effervescence. The head lingered forever! The aroma was fresh and hinted at the tartness, earthiness, and citrus to come. I was a bit surprised at the first taste, however, and how wine-like it was, probably a result of the wine-barrel aging all of Jolly Pumpkin’s beers enjoy. Very light with the dry, spicy tartness, but not strong, and no chestnut flavor that I could detect. The mildness of the overall taste belies the 6.1% ABV, however. Sitting on my porch in the balmy Florida evenings in August, this was a wonderfully refreshing and flavorful beer without being heavy or overly complicated. I would recommend it for just such an occasion.

Rating: 3.5 of 5

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~ by Sean Nordquist on August 26, 2009.

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