Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza (bottle)
Wine and beer writer Eric Asimov just named this beer the top in a crowded field of Belgian beers in a blind taste testing. Well, he and a tasting panel, anyway. The boilerplate from the NYT article on this beer was that it was "fresh, lively and softly carbonated with complex spicy, floral, fruity aromas and flavors." Sounds good to me; let's give it a shot.
This one is batch 495, bottled on 3-31-10. Pours thick hazy translucent body, yellow/orange, with a very thick foamy white head. Very impressive presentation. Aroma has strong citrus notes backed with a significant sour impression, more sour than I anticipated. Somewhat fruity, notes of grapefruit and... pears?
Sourness is even more present in the flavor than the aroma. Significant lactic qualities, but with a citrus backbone that makes it palatable. A lot of spiciness, hints of coriander and even a hint of black pepper. Somewhat dry on the finish, with a strong yeasty aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thick, with heavy carbonation and a heavier-than-expected hoppiness.
This is a very nice Belgian ale, with a lot of great qualities, but I wouldn't rate it quite so highly as the famed Mr. Asimov. It's the best Biere de Garde I've had, but then again I haven't had that many Biere de Gardes.
My overall BA rating: 4.3/5