10/30/17: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales' La Parcela, An Early Halloween Post

5:17 PM

Man, I just can't get the timing right on this whole "Halloween post" thing. Last year, and the year before that, I was late. This year, because I work tomorrow night, life necessitates that I write this post early. But maybe there's some silver lining there. Maybe, if this beer's good, you can go out and find a bottle to drink while giving out candy long before trick-or-treaters show up at your door. That'll make the holiday more fun, right?


So, without further ado, let me introduce my final Spooky Beer of the Season: Jolly Pumpkin's La Parcela. I wrote about their Christmasy offering the day after Christmas last year, and I really enjoyed it. I'm excited to see what the brewery does to something as divisive as a pumpkin ale.

If you've been here at anytime since I started the blog, then you know I like to kick things off by going into a bit of the history/mission behind the breweries that craft each of the beers I drink. This way, I go into each bottle/can with a little more appreciation as to what its makers were attempting to create.

If you're new here, welcome! Did you get all that? Good. Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, as described on their "History" page, has a mission of crafting great beers through small-scale production while maintaining all the complexities that come from simple ingredients and brewing processes. Founded by Ron Jeffries in Dexter, MI, the brewery's made quite a name for itself--when I went to a MadTree bottle release earlier this year, MadTree's founders were sharing some Jolly Pumpkin with us punks in line.

According to the official page for La Parcela, the 5.9% ABV sour ale is brewed with real pumpkins, some cacao nibs, and a pumpkin spice blend (containing, I assume, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and maybe a touch of allspice). The description alone has me practically drooling for the bottle at my side.

The bouquet is giving me a lot of sourness with a solid backing of pumpkin pie. It's funky. It's vegetably. It's sweet. I only wish that I was getting the bit of cacao talked about in its description (see the link above). With the exception of the caco, the aroma definitely lives up to what was promised. But, apparently, none of this is for Purrl. She gave it two whiffs before turning her nose up at it.


The ale's flavor doesn't match perfectly with its nose. It's not as sour as I would have thought. Instead, there's more earthiness here. The beer's name, the patch, is incredibly fitting. Layered between the earthiness and funky finish, I find the pumpkin pie sweetness and the touch of the cacao. This is a pumpkin beer the likes of which I've never before experienced. That's a damn good thing and I mean it in the most complimentary way imaginable.

La  Parcela has a lightness in its mouthfeel. It's not an obvious carbonation here, more of a mild effervescence. It perfectly pairs with the ale's flavor and aroma.

One time during our undergrad Michelle, my fiancée, and I were driving back to Athens, Ohio, from Lancaster, also Ohio. If you take that drive now Ohio State Route 33 bypasses the small town of Nelsonville. But, at the time we were making that trek (one of countless times), that bypass didn't exist. One simply drove through Nelsonville on 33--speed limit reductions, red lights, and all.

Anyway, on this particular drive we passed a small farmstand selling pumpkins on our way into the town. It was the week of Halloween and we hadn't yet acquired pumpkins to carve. I did a quick uie and pulled in front of the little stand. The pumpkins were some of the biggest carvers I'd every seen, and since they were only $2 or $3 a piece we grabbed two, took them to her apartment, carved jack-o'-lanterns, and baked the seeds. It could be the earthiness of the ale. It could be the fact that it's the night before Halloween and we're pumpkinless. Whatever the reason, La Parcela makes me think of swinging back to that stand to find the pumpkins that would become ours for the season.

Here's the rub: I'm glad Jolly Pumpkin makes an actual pumpkin ale. Because this is super good. It call back to an earlier, more primal Halloween feeling, which is rad. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. Be sure to track some down for your trick-or-treating needs tomorrow night.

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