Jolly Pumpkin has quickly become one of my favorite breweries. All the beers I’ve had from them (which is only a handful, but they’re that good) are funky and tart, but not overwhelmingly so, and still possessing plenty of other characteristics.
This was actually my first time having Bam Bière, one of the many farmhouse ales they brew. This 4.5% ABV beer is light and refreshing but still has plenty of character. I drank it on a cool evening a few days ago, and while I greatly enjoyed it, I think it would be much better on a warm summer day.
I purchased this 750ml bottle for $13.99 at Texas Liquor in Carlsbad, I realized later that I had over payed for it by about $4, I’ve seen it at other liquor stores for $10 since. There was no date code on the bottle but it had a sticker that said “Batch 470”. I wasn’t able to find any sort of list online that matched batches with brew or bottle dates but a bit of searching leads me to believe this is could close to a year old. If so it’s certainly held up well, but I would like to try it from a known fresh bottle sometime.
The bottle foamed up quit a bit when I opened it, but I wouldn’t call it a gusher. The foam reached just past the top of the bottle but didn’t spill. I started carefully pouring it into the glass but there was no hope, it ended up more than half foam. I spent about 10 minutes letting the foam settle and pouring more until I got what you see in the picture. The foam was a fine silky white and the beer itself was a hazy light gold color.
The smell was tart and reminiscent of green apples, Granny Smith apples to be exact. There was a little bit of breadiness in the aroma, but it was mostly tart apple. The taste was much the same. The first sip was almost overpowering with it’s tart green apple flavor. After my taste buds adjusted it got better, the apple flavor seemed to fade (or I just got used to it) and it was more of the regular sour/tart flavor you might expect. There was a lot of citrus, maybe lemon peel, and more bread flavors as well. It felt a bit thin, but not enough to detract from the beer. The thinness might help make it more refreshing when it’s warm out.
Bam Bière was far more sour and tart than most other Saison/farmhouse ales, but that is to be expected with Jolly Pumpkin. There weren’t many spices or spicy yeast characteristics that many other farmhouse ales have. This could be due to the (potential) age of the bottle. It’s a solid beer, good with age on it, but I do plan to make a point of trying it again when I know it is fresh.