Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
I’ve been craving sour beers lately. I don’t know why, but when I saw the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, I had to get this Flanders Style beer. Having heard several interviews with the folks at Jolly Pumpkin and their passion for sours, their beers have been on my must try list.
Jolly Pumpkin describes La Roja as
An artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice, and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age from two to ten months.
This beer is highly carbonated the foam just keep creeping out of the bottle. In my glass it creates a uber-dense head that actually seems to collapse under its own weight. Great rich ruby color to this beer, It really seems to have picked up some of its color from the barrels it’s in. Did I mention it’s well carbonated.
I love that smell of tart fruit and wood. There is no shortage of that in this beer, with a little bit of earthiness to go with it.
With the Flanders tradition of making beer, young and old barrel aged beers are blended together to make a batch; this batch was from June 2008. Jolly Pumpkin says on their website that the beer has been aged in oak from 2-10 months. While the aroma was fairly tart, the tart taste was well blended with the oak. Generally aging beer longer in these barrels will increase the sour up to a point. So by blending a newer and older beer you can achieve a desired sourness. I would consider this beer to have a medium level of sour to it, which is wonderfully blended with a creamy ale base and oak. There is some good malty caramel right up front, sour and a bit of spice in the middle and finished wonderfully with good teeth licking sour. My wife had a sip (she liked it), thought it would go really well with apple pie. I think she’s right.
Glassware: Tulip or Wine Glass
Calories: most sour beers end up being dry beers because of the additional yeast colonies finish off the residual sugars. At 7.2% abv, I’d estimate about 200-225 calories per 12oz. (Calorie Chart)
Overall Impression: I love sour beers, and this is one of the better Flanders I’ve had. It reminds me of a slight more sour Duchesse de Bourgogne, well balanced and very drinkable. If you like sours try this one, if you want to try a sour for the firs time, this might beer a good one to start with.