Dexter’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has produced yet another award winning libation which just may their most unusual creation yet.
Draft Magazine, in collaboration with All About Beer Magazine, recently released their list of The Top 25 Beers of 2017 in the U.S. With the explosion of craft brewers across the country there were many top-quality beers to choose from and competition was stiff making the final choices difficult for Draft who stated, “More than ever before, in fact, which makes narrowing down a list such as this all the more challenging.”
Founder and owner of Jolly Pumpkin, Ron Jefferies, had this to say about his most recent award: “It’s always great to receive recognition for one’s hard work, for sure. The production team, in particular really enjoyed it. We’ve been very fortunate to have won many awards over the years. “
Without further ado, here’s the winner, the only winner from Michigan: Gigantic Phuket; It’s Not That Far From Laos, a saison with lime peel and palm sugar.
Draft Magazine’s review: “This tart saison demonstrates a mastery of ingredients, a weaving of each’s best aspects that enhance rather than overwhelm each other. Jasmine rice and palm sugar in the mash dry out the texture, while lime peel and a trio of Cascade, Chinook and Jarrylo hops float delicately at the periphery of the beer, introducing flavors of honeysuckle, citrus zest and grains of paradise. Each addition feels purposeful, contributing to an irrefutably food-friendly sip that closes slightly tart, dry and bitter, leaving just a whisper of green pear and gewürztraminer flavors behind. ‘Tropical’ was perhaps the beer word of the year, and this beer exemplifies the trend’s elegant, finessed side.”
The beer is a sour fruit saison that Jolly Pumpkin did in collaboration with their friends from Gigantic Brewing Company. Ron Jeffries of Jolly Pumpkin and Ben Love of Gigantic first met in Hawaii and they quickly became friends. A year or two went by and they again found themselves both in Hawaii at Kona Fest. Ben said “Hey, we should do a collabo” and Ron said, “You’re in big trouble now, Ben Love” and that’s how it all started.
The concept of the beer came one day while Ron was skimming through an ingredients catalog. His eyes froze when he saw that dried crickets were available, and he knew that it needed to be a Thai inspired beer. The original recipe included dried crickets, Asian pear, palm sugar, Jasmine rice, and Makrut lime. There were a few changes that inevitably ended up happening. The first was Ben’s partner Van, squashing the inclusion of dried crickets with a “heck no“.
Jolly Pumpkin then brewed the farmhouse ale with the intention of fermenting a pear cider and blending this into the beer. However, upon Ron tasting the pear cider we quickly realized it wasn’t going to work. He decided to scrap the pear and instead get the desired pear notes by dry hopping the beer with Jarrylo hops. The beer is aged in oak for 8 months and clocks in at 6%ABV.
“When Gigantic released the version I brewed with Ben in Portland”, Jefferies says, “Laurie and I flew out for the release party. They had bought kegs and bottles of our Dexter version as well, so folks could try them side by side, and purchase both bottles to go. It was a great release.”
Congratulations to Ron and his crew out there at Northern United Brewing Company in Bishop Circle Industrial Park. If you have yet to pay them a visit, you can enjoy all of Jolly Pumpkin’s and Northern United’s other brews in their Null Taphouse located in the front of the brewery.