December 22, 2009

Oro de Calabaza

I had a little fun with this beer, and by fun I mean I had to clean up after it, and by clean up after it I mean I had to clean up the beer (no, I did not have to clean myself up as a result of drinking the beer). Anyway, here's the Oro de Calabaza from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Michigan. It comes in 750 mL bottles and is a Belgian-style golden ale, aged in oak barrels and bottle conditioned. My bottle had an extra, homemade white sticker on it that said "Batch 292". Oro de Calabaza was a Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Winner 2004 and Bronze Medal Winner 2005 in the Belgian & French Ale category.

I pulled the beer out of my refrigerator and set it on the counter. Then, I walked into the other room to grab my girlfriend's camera (because it's better than mine). I came back, took a few test shots, then set the camera down and proceeded to open the beer. Surprise! Foam explosion! Needless to say, this beer has a ton of carbonation, and left a nice, fizzy, beer mess all over my countertop...

Fast forward through the cleaning process, and I'm pouring the beer into a goblet. The color is a deep, pale yellow, and hazy. It has a huge, thick, bubbly head that subsides to a thin ring around the edge of the glass that doesn't leave much lacing but follows you all the way to the end. Pinhead sized bubbles are constant. Thanks to all the carbonation, there is a very refreshing, tingly mouthfeel. There is a light to moderate hop flavor, with a lot of peppery spiciness going on, in addition to lemon. Despite the oak aging it has only a subtle woody flavor, and wasn't nearly noticeable as it is in say, Oaked Arrogant Bastard. The woody flavor is light and not something that should scare off any drinkers who normally avoid that sort of thing.

I was worried that the beer was bad when it exploded, but I didn't pick up any weird flavors. It does have wild yeast, which could explain the extra foam and carbonation. This isn't my typical beer, so I think I was actually able to pick out the flavors a little more easily (as opposed to the subtle differences between two IPA's for example... my palate is still learning).

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