Owner and Brewer Ron Jeffries
Tells the Story of the name Jolly Pumpkin
The name bubbled forth years ago
on a warm spring afternoon. It was one of those rare sunny March Michigan days,
the kind that seems much warmer than March really has any right to be. Small
piles of snow still dotted the yard as my wife and I sat on the patio in our
shirtsleeves. Sipping beers and enjoying the sun on our faces after the long
dark, cold Michigan winter. After firming up our business plan for months, the
dream had finally evolved enough to need a name. So we sat, pen and paper in
hand, brainstorming, smiling and laughing.
Many great names came forth that afternoon, but as the weeks
passed, and spring finally sprung, the name that always made us
smile was Jolly Pumpkin. It encompassed everything we wanted to
express about our brewery. Fun and quirky, all that needed
adding were the last two words; “Artisan Ales”, the description
of the brewery’s products and mission; The creation of fantastic
beers of truly outstanding artisan quality. Maintaining
traditional small scale production, keeping beer a beverage of
both outstanding complexity and simplicity, this would be our
laudable goal. Complexity of flavor, simplicity of ingredient
and process. This duality was perfectly balanced in the name.
Simple and complex. Complex yet simple.
Brewing at Jolly Pumpkin
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is a brewery in Dexter, Michigan founded by Ron
Jeffries in 2004. It operates three pubs, one in Ann Arbor, Traverse City and
Detroit. Jolly Pumpkin produces a variety of unfiltered and unpasteurized
"rustic country" beers.
Jolly Pumpkin ages their beers in wine barrels which contain naturally occurring
microbiological cultures including brettanomyces. These cultures produce a
complex flavor profile in their beers, which includes flavors described as
leathery, earthy, wild or funky,and which may approximate how some beer tasted
before the advent of pasteurization and industrialization. This style of beer
has been described as "farmhouse ale" or American wild ale.
Their Oro de Calabaza won the 2004 Gold and the 2005 Bronze Medal in the
Belgian- and French-style ale category at the Great American Beer Festival.
Their Bam Bière won the Bronze Medal in the 2009 Great American Beer Festival
and was named the 21st best beer in America by Men's Journal.