The Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery in Grand Rapids is one of the many pubs owned and operated by the Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.
As the name suggests, the Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery has both beer and food offerings. The venue itself, seated at 428 Bridge Street NW Grand Rapids, looks primarily like a restaurant. It has table and chair seating in the customer area. It is well lit and has wide spaces between tables so patrons can move easier. It also has multi-user restrooms so patrons will not have to fall in a long line just to do their business.
Ron and Laurie Jeffries, the owners of the pub, also allow the customer area to be somewhat noisy, especially during busy hours. This makes the pub the perfect place for people who want to dine, drink, relax, and have fun – all at the same time.
Its mother company, the Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, is proud of its oak-aged sour beer. In fact, the company is considered as one of the founders of the oak-aged sour beer movement in the United States.
The company takes advantage of the microbiological cultures in the oak to give their beers a very complex flavor profile. Their beers are often described as earthy, funky, leathery, and even wild. They age these beers for up to 18 months until they get the perfect flavor profile.
And this is not just a gimmick. The Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has won awards for their beers. Take a look at their Oro de Calabaza, for example. In 2004, it has won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2005, it has been recognized again and won the bronze medal.
Another great example is their Bam Biere. In 2009, it has won the bronze medal in the same beer festival. It has also been named by the Men’s Journal as one of the best beers in America.
And of course, the company is bringing these offerings in Grand Rapids too, in the Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery. This Grand Rapids brewery has a lot more to offer, divided into categories. They have the year-round beers, which are available throughout the year. They have the seasonal and limited beers, which the company has described as beers that are “only released once in a blue moon.” Other categories include the specialty beers, the collaboration beers, and the non-wild collective. These categories are unique in their own ways.
The year-round beers category currently has 6 offerings, and one of them is the La Roja Sour Amber Ale. It has hints of caramel fruit and spice. It has been aged for about 2 to 15 months. The most remarkable thing about this beer is that it has won multitudes of awards. It has won the double gold medal in the New York International Beer Competition in 2018. It has also won the gold medal in the Flanders or Brown category of the Best of Craft Beer Awards in 2015.
The seasonal and limited category currently has 6 offerings, and one of them is the Biere de Mars Wild Flanders Style Ale. Like the La Roja, the Biere de Mars has won numerous awards. It has received its most notable award in 2014, where it has won 1st place in the World of Beer Expo. The Biere de Mars has rich notes of bourbon, caramel, leather, and tart oak. It has been aged for about 4 months.
The company describes its specialty category as beers that tell a story. One of the 6 offerings in this category is the Single Hop Simcoe Wild Pale Ale. The company mentions that it has created this wild pale ale to highlight the unique characteristics of a hop variety. This time that hope variety is the Simcoe. This wild pale ale has refreshing notes of apricot, grapefruit, and pine. It has been aged for about 10 months.
The company also partners with other brewers to create unique beers. And thus, the collaborations category is born. 6 of the most recent collaborations have been posted on the company’s website. One of these is the El Monstruo Del Norte, or “The Northern Monster.” It is a wild ale with chestnuts, made in collaboration with the North Peak Brewing Company.
The Northern Monster is made with the North Peak Brewing Company’s Gnarl and the Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales’s La Roja. The mixture has been aged for about 4 months. What results is a wild red chestnut ale with hints of caramel and chestnut.
The last beer category is the non-wild collective. It is a collection of 4 non-sour beers. One of its beers is the Poetic Pestilence. The company describes it as a “big bold double dry hopped IPA.” It has undertones of floral rose petals and pineapple. The other beers in the collection are the Pure Speculation, the Rugged Lands, and the All the Trees. Their ABV’s range from 7.2% to 8.4%, with Poetic Pestilence having the highest percentage.
These are all great offerings. But unfortunately, the company’s pub in Grand Rapids, the Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery, is currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company, however, has mentioned that they will be using this opportunity to re-train and rest their staff and clean the entire facility.
The Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales currently owns and operates seven pubs. These are in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Dexter, Grand Rapids, Hyde Park, Royal Oak, and Traverse City. The pubs in Grand Rapids and Hyde Park are closed until further notice.
The pubs that remain open are under strict safety protocols because of COVID-19. Seating capacity has been limited. Staff members are regularly being checked for coronavirus symptoms. High traffic areas and things patrons touch are constantly disinfected. Everyone in the pub is also encouraged to practice social distancing, so make sure you are ready to follow rules if you want to visit.
The Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery is located in 428 Bridge Street NW Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aside from oak-aged beers, this pub also features artisan pizzas, gourmet salads, truffle fries, and sandwiches.