Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oro de Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

It's Friday night and I'm chilling with a bottle of Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Michigan.  I've been saving this for a night where I could take my time and savor it.  It was given to me by Kyle Klaiber (Youtube user hophedbrewhaus) when he came to be a guest reviewer on the Better Beer Authority earlier this year.

Oro de Calabaza is a golden strong ale with Belgian-influences and 8 percent alcohol by volume.  Their website says to pour it into a tulip glass, snifter, or over-sized wine glass.  They stress that it should absolutely not be consumed from a pint glass and I agree completely.  You want a glass that's going to trap the aroma, because this is an aroma worth taking in.

The first whiffs of the beer reveal fruity esters from the wild yeast, like apple and pear.  You can smell a hint of the yeast, but it's not in your face like some Belgian offerings.

The beer has a hazy, yellow appearance and their is a constant, light carbonation bubbling through.  I wasn't too aggressive on the pour, but I ended up with a two finger head that leaves a slight soapy lace on the glass.

To me Oro is dry with a mildy sour or tart flavor.  The hops are buried a little, but stop by with a little, bitter hello on the finish.  The surprising part of this beer for me was how prevalent the alcohol felt.  It leaves a boozy aftertaste in my mouth.  Overall, it reminded me fermented apples or cider.

This is an interesting beer.  The light body makes it a great summertime drink, but the high ABV makes it a bad beer for thirst quenching.

This would probably be a good beer to give to someone who generally prefers wine to beer.  It has a lot of wine-like flavors and a slight, champagne feel to it.  Honestly, if someone had handed this to me in a wine glass without telling me it was a beer,  I think I might have mistaken it for wine.

I'd give it an 7 on the BBA scale.  It's a good beer.  It's a well-made beer.  But, it's also a situational beer.  It's a little more acidic than I usually like my beers to be.  You're not going to seek this out as a winter-warmer or to satisfy a hop craving.  You're going to have this to compliment a nice dinner with salad and  salmon.

Kyle also gave me a bottle of La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin.  I look forward to tasting that too.  Check back here soon for a written review of that beer as well.

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