Jolly Pumpkin Cafe And Brewery Ann Arbor

Not Rated.
Jolly Pumpkin Cafe And Brewery Ann ArborJolly Pumpkin Cafe And Brewery Ann Arbor
Based on:
4 Beers
63 Hads
Place Score: 92
Reviews: 45
Visits: 110
Avg: 4.14
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

311 S. Main Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104
United States
phone: (734) 913-2730

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: Hokenfloken on 10-21-2009

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Visits: 110
Photo of 98green
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Went at 7 on a Saturday. Place was packed, but was able to get 3 seats at the upstairs bar. ~12 of their beers on tap. I'm not a sour fan myself (my companions were), but they do have North Peak (same owners) beers on tap for more traditional styles. The menu is slightly upscale bar fare. I had one the pizzas. The crust was awesome, but the sauce was a bit bland.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Cool upscale artisan vibe in a dark wood, vintage bar setting. Top-notch local farm-to-table food that generally pairs well with many Jolly Pumpkin beers. North Peak beers and civilized spirits available as well. Great vegan desserts, cool merchandise options and beers to go.

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Photo of king75
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Glad I finally stopped in here! The quality of the beer is spot on, if you like sours or are thinking about trying sours this is the place to go. The only knock is that the service is not great. I did not have food while I was there but it looked good and smelled good.

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Photo of ARoman
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

On a Tuesday afternoon, during spring break, this place was quiet and chill. There were a handful of other craft brew enthusiasts, and a cool alt rock / indie rock playlist. The bartender was cool, and friendly, and cute (in that hipster-punk kinda way), but she seemed either overwhelmed or distracted - to be fair there was some kinda plumbing issue going on behind the counter. There was a solid selection of a dozen or so beers on tap, mostly Jolly Pumpkin, but also a handful of other brewers in the Northern United Liquid Libations group. The food was tasty, although the prices were on par with city levels. Overall a place I'd like to visit again; however, I could also see this place being crazy packed on any given weekend (it is in the heart of U of M's campus afterall).

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Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Pretty cool place. My girlfriend and I stopped in for lunch and a beer. Food was really good (had the nachos and a cheese plate) and some delicious seasonal beers. They have a pretty good selection of their own beer and North Peak's. The burgers/sandwiches also looked awesome. Only complaint would be that if you didn't want a sour beer (their specialty) then your options would be much more limited. But really if you go there just know what you're going for (great food + sour beer) and you won't be disappointed. I will be returning, perhaps for one of those burgers.

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Photo of aboyd87
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 5

I have mixed feelings about JP. A few years back, the brews were unbelievably good. But more recently in the past 2-3 years, the beers taste rushed and not aged long enough. There also has been times where I'd travel to this brewery, and they would have 1 or 2 JP beers on tap, while they have 10+ north peak beers.

Also, the food is INCREDIBLE. This alone keeps me coming back over and over again.

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Photo of KornWallace
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

During my 3 day trip to Ann Arbor I visited this place three times. That's how special their beers are. And clearly the secret is out because every time I went I had to (gladly) wait in line.

Their pizzas and burgers seem to be the most popular items on the menus and for the most part they were very good if not a little greasy. Just to keep it healthy I also had a salad there which I enjoyed very much.

The restaurant is nicely decorated and kept very clean despite how busy they can get. I ate at the bar and at the tables as well and both experiences were very nice. They also seem to do a lot of take out business.

The servers were always very friendly and talked about their beers fairly well. They also made some pretty good recommendations which my party appreciated. A few of them were unfamiliar with sours. A definite Jolly Pumpkin specialty.

Their pricing was only slightly more expensive them what I found elsewhere in Ann Arbor but absolutely worthwhile.

Given the opportunity I would definitely go back.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

I have been to Jolly Pumpkin several times over the years. It is my second stop after Ashley's. It has a very unassuming facade. I have actually walked by it and missed it. (The beers at Ashley's may have played a role.) You walk in to a hostess stand with merchandise along the wall. There is a bar to the left which is where I always set unless it is packed. Then I go to an almost identical bar upstairs.

The food has been great on every visit. I have had several of the sandwiches with the lamb and pork shoulder ones being my favorites. My friend has gotten a pizza and I tried a slice. It was good, too. The truffle fries are a must try. The service is generally good. Of course, I usually go after witnessing the Wolverines destroy an opponent in football, basketball, hockey, or baseball, so it is packed.

The beer is fantastic with Noel de Calabaza and Marcaibo Especial being two of my favorites. They also have North Peak beers on tap if saisons and sours are not to your liking. It is a great place, and I recommend it to everyone who will listen.

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Photo of Brenden
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Jolly Pumpkin is along the stretch downtown at Main and Liberty. Walking through the door, you end up right in front of a reservation desk with a full view of the downstairs bar and seating. Individualized mugs for J.P.'s mug club hang over the bar. There's plenty of seating, with three different seating areas; a bar and tables both downstairs and upstairs, and a rooftop patio, which is the best place to be when the weather's nice. We sat outside. One thing we noticed was that, along with tables and chairs, there was an area off to the side with wicker lounging furniture where people could sit and relax if they're just drinking.
The food was impressive, and everything we ate was good. The sample platter offers a whole bevy of local foods from breads to cheeses to meats and olives. Burgers are very good, as are the pizzas.
The beers are as good as they are in the bottle, but at the brewery I got to try a few I'll never see outside of Ann Arbor.
Overall, Jolly Pumpkin is an excellent experience that I'll be enjoying as many times as I visit the town. Service was prompt and helpful, as well as being knowledgeable about the beers and able to make helpful recommendations. Samples are offered as well.

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Photo of qcbrewer
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great location in downtown Ann Arbor. Parking is a little frustrating, and a few passes around the block(s) will likely be in order.

Small restaurant style atmosphere with a 12 seat bar, plenty of seating inside, and a few tables outside. Wood flooring, with earth tones as an overall scheme, and a painted tile ceiling. Large "classic" wooden bar, with a large mirror backsplash with unique antiques on top. Neat chandeliers with kitchen utensils hanging from the side, otherwise a mixture of glass lighting all around (drop down small rusted metal lights over the bar). 7 large prints of JP labels hang from the walls as well.

Great draft beer list with 15 on tonight (would have been 16 but they were out of La Roja). Bottle sales as well, with a few rarities based on being "out of season". I've loved Jolly Pumpkin for close to 7 years now, so this is a joy to be "here" (even though this isn't the actual brew site for many of their delicious brews). Small merch area next to the hostess stand as well.

While there isn't anything that is really unique about the atmosphere of this place, based on beer alone I would recommend everyone visit. I'm not often in Ann Arbor, and won't likely be for a while, but I will certainly come back when I get the chance!

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Photo of hotsudge
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Some excellent beers... some not very good ones but at least they have 5 or 9 flights to try out the vast selection.

The truffle fries are out of this world. The butchers board excellent - actually anything we've had to eat there has been very good.

The servers are generally students and only ok for the most part.

It's a must visit.

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Photo of theecaleb
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Food: Excellent, I'm not a big pizza fan normally but I decided to give it a try. Well worth it. Above average food for a brew pub.

Value: Pretty average for your local craft brewery. The bottles get a little more pricey, but drafts are not bad.

Service: It seems like everytime I eat at a pub I get awful service. It was a little better this time around, still waited a bit to long for him to check back and get more drinks. Other than that it was about average.

Atmosphere: Dark, but cool. Two stories with an upstairs patio and second bar. It definitely needed to be dusted though. The 'Chandler' (made from kitchen utensils) had about an inch of dust hanging over my head... Nice.

Overall: If your into craft beer its worth checking out. Very unique taste in their brews, and they make their own whiskey and vodka (didn't try them, but heard they are good).

Keep in mind, they don't serve any alcohol they don't make. So no Jack and Coke, or fizzy light lager..

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Photo of cratez
4.1/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

When I visited: March 2012.

What I had: Bam Bière (draught), La Roja (draught), some of my friend’s Bière de Mars, Sauteed Duck Breast entree.

What I liked: Bustling cosmopolitan vibe, awesome artwork, comfortable seating, quick service (though not the warmest), killer draught list with a solid range of styles, kick ass beers.

What I disliked: My duck breast was overcooked, but the rest of the dish (fingerling potatoes, wilted greens, roasted brussels sprouts) was superb.

Would I go back? Definitely.

Overall Rating: 82

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I was really looking forward to visiting this place since I've heard so many good things about Jolly Pumpkin's beers. The atmosphere is very nice. It has sort of an old-time feel with wooden bars, tables, chairs, floors, etc. which I really appreciate. Decent selection of food and of course a good selection of beers. The food was very good and surprisingly the beers that I had were only alright. I'm not sure what was going on but they tasted different (and not in a better way) than the bottled varieties of the same beers. It took a lot of swishing around in my mouth to get all the subtle flavors out of some of the beers. Service was only ok but the place was really busy, so it was understandable. For the quality of the food/drinks/atmosphere, prices were definitely reasonable.

I love Ann Arbor and I would definitely come back to this place. I would definitely recommend it if you're in the AA area.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.39/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Jolly Pumpkin creates some really unique beers and has the best food of any brewpub in Ann Arbor. If you are here at the right time, you have got to try the Baudeliere IO Saison. Really not like anything I’ve tried elsewhere. The taps rotate nicely, and there are JP staples in large bottles at all times. Brew their own liquor here, so don’t expect to find any standard mixed drinks or liquors. Highly recommended, and a really fun feel upstairs. If you’re on a brewpub crawl in AA, this is the place to start and eat your dinner. Only knock is it’s almost always packed and getting a table is tough unless you’re there early on Thursdays through Saturdays.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited a few Sunday's ago for the La Roja GR release.

Building is located in beautiful downtown Ann Arbor (hipster capital of MI, duh). The building is a very nice older style building with dark wood trim and brick. Very inviting, but doesn't stand out. You have to be on the look.

The inside is the same way. Beautiful long wood bar in a very thin pub room that stretches way back with booths lining opposite the bar. Awesome beer label paintings and pictures hung on the wall. A small brew kettle lays to one side of the bar, real cool like.

The service was absolutely fantastic. This place was packed with beer geeks (many of us enjoying the worst hang over of our lives from Dark Horse the night before) and the staff handled us flawlessly. They were ready, thank you JP! Myself and a few others grabbed a table, settled in with a nice Noel de Calabaza on tap (which was fantastic!). Each one of us were supremely impressed with our meals. Everything was delicious. Get the olive sampler, how unique and tasty. Prices were reasonable, what you would expect for DT Ann Arbor.

I can't wait to go back and check this place out on an even keel. I enjoyed it thoroughly, even though I was feeling a little rough.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I have visited the Traverse City location of Jolly Pumpkin numerous times and was excited to finally go to the pub in Ann Arbor after hearing so much about it. Came last Sunday for the La Roja Grand Reserve release.

Located in downtown Ann Arbor, this is a awesome looking building and completely how I expected it to look. Inside is somewhat dim, lots of dark wood, awesome blown up pictures of the beer labels on the wall. Upstairs there is an additional bar and “family” portraits of Ron and other random stuff. Love the layout and décor.

The vibe was amazing – they let us come in and eat/drink before getting the bottles and it was bustling and filled with both BA nerds and other normal patrons. The service was excellent and everyone working accommodated our large group with honestly better service than others there. I did not have food, however, everyone around me did and they all gushed about how good it was. I opted for a Bam Biere on tap and enjoyed it thoroughly. The selection was fantastic in the sense they had MANY of their JP beers on tap (the TC location only has a couple normally). I was a bit disappointed they did not have any La Roja GR on tap for the release, however.

Price wise, it was not crazy expensive and cheaper a pint for their JP beer than anywhere else I’ve been.

All in all, I can’t wait to come back and enjoy some food and more beer. A wonderful experience.

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Photo of Sammy
3.59/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Large and nice place right downtown. Patios upstairs in back, as well as in front. Good sized bar. Bartender was neither too knowledgeable nor friendly with my group, an knowledgeable bunch of regulars. Lots of experimentals on, though mixed opinion about them. Nothing mind boggling on, but still worth a trip to this place and this great little beer city. You can buy all their regular beers here as well. Friendly college town crowd. I do not know how the other JP locations stack up, but nice for me to try other experimental JP beers.

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Photo of mrbeermug
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Having lived around and frequented the brewpub since it opened, I've seen all sides the place offers.

BEER - There are always rotating seasonal taps, experimental taps that don't get bottled, standards, and new releases from Ron Jeffries' other joint business venture North Peak Brewing Co., which has some solid IPAs. Also got to buy and taste some 6-7 yr old beers from Jolly Pumpkin's first batches thanks to Ron holding a charity rare beer auction from his personal cellar. My favorites have been:

- Spring Sour (1 time only blend of several different beers)

- Raspinnicle - The 2nd in the "Green Leaf" experimental series of non-sour beers, brewed with spinach. Solid, unfiltered, biscuity pale ale. The other two beers in the series were good as well - a kale beer, and a nettle imperial ipa.

- Oro de Calabaza - world-class, lightly sour belgian golden ale with wonderful belgian yeast and punchiness. The best of their regular brews.

- Madrugada Obscura - Wow. Sour imperial stout - talk about breaking new ground in a beer category and doing it well! Phenomenal depth, complexity, and balance and I've still never had any other beer quite like it. Generally only brewed in Feb-Mar, it's still avail in bottles this summer.
- Biere de Mars - big, funky, biere de garde similarly complex to a Oud Gueze and just packed with flavor without being overly heavy. Wonderful beer.

Lots of other beers I like there too...

FOOD - I had lunch with the head chef and talked with her about her philosophy when it opened. She sources as much local/organic/seasonal food as she can and then does things like maker her own kimchi in-house. Very solid food for the price, but definitely a little more pricey than normal brewpub fare.

AMBIANCE - Gorgeous artwork from the bottle label designs, crafty chandeliers and sconces, dark woods, and friendly people abound. Big, spacious outdoor deck for the summer. Well-designed.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stop #214 on my brewery tour of the world.

Completed a brewpub tour of Ann Arbor the first week of June 2011 with a couple of my beer-snob-drinking friends. Easily shakes out to…

1. Jolly Pumpkin & Arbor Brewing tied and depending on unique vs. traditional beers
2. Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery
3. Grizzly Peak Brewing Company (very distant third)

We did Jolly Pumpkin as the first stop with the plan to visit again the next day for lunch.

Of all the brewpubs I've had the good fortune of visiting, the interior of this one is among the finest. Very classy, nice upstairs, and they even have a deck off the upstairs back along with a second bar upstairs.

We went with the nine beer sampler and the olive and meat appetizer.

Es Bam
Raspinicle (with spinich!)
La Roja
Spring Sour
Chocolate Stout

Came back the next day for the amazing truffle pizza, a pint of Bam, and drop some cash on shirts and fancy growler (for my homebrew transport).

I'm a huge sour/wild fan and think Bam Weizen is one of the best beers in the world. Other JP stuff I'm mixed on. To me, their beers could benefit from a touch more carbonation and I find some of the sours (like the spring sour) to finish a bit muddy and lack clear definition.

I tied this with Arbor brewing and make a note that if you aren't all that exploratory with your beer (i.e. English Ales rule!!), then JP may not be your cup of tee. If you're into the unique with beer (and food), JP will be right up your alley.

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Photo of jale
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I reall enjoy coming here when I'm hungry for really good food to go along with good beer. This is downtown Ann Arbor and usually busy. The menu is not your typical brewery menu, it is AA you know. The food is of very high quality,not out of a box or a can. The service has always been very good and waitstaff are normally talkative and helpful with any beer questions. If they don't know the answer they find someone to ask who does. They have quite extensive seating here for downtown Ann Arbor. Not the local pub atmosphere but upscale without being snobby.

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Photo of tjohn2401
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I went to Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery for the first time a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised.

You could walk right by the place and not notice it, but it is located right downtown just a couple of blocks from Arbor Brewing and Grizzle Peak. The atmosphere is very nice inside. It's pretty small, but there is a cool, upscale pub vibe going on. There are small 3-4 table areas that are kind of segregated from each other.

The menu is fairly small, but with lots of interesting and unique choices. A good selection of vegetarian fare, as well as some interesting non-alcoholic drinks. My son had a ginger soda and loved it.

The beer is great. They serve Jolly Pumpkin beers as well as North Peak, so there is something for any beer drinker.

The prices are a bit high, in my opinion. It was $60 for 2 sandwiches/fries and a kids meal, 2 draft beers, and a ginger soda($4). The beers were the Biere de Mars Grand Reserve and the Bambic, so that is probably why they were $8 each. Not sure what a pour of their regular offerings cost.

Overall a unique brewery that I will definitely visit again.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Downtown Ann Arbor, 1 block from a parking garage in case street parking isn't available. This looks to have 2 floors, but I just stayed on the lower level. Nicely put together, an upscale brewpub that tends towards being artsy.

The JP beers on tap were great, nothing TOO rare unfortunately (would have loved Lambicus) but still some stuff you don't see too often. Prices were reasonable and the beers were prompt.

The food is upscale pub style, including vegetarian choices which is cool. I'm not a vegetarian but I like tofu, however I recommend against the tofu sandwich as it wasn't very good. The truffle fries are excellent though.

A very easy choice if you're in Ann Arbor, the main competition being Ashley's, where you can get a much wider range of brewery products. If I had 2 nights to spend in Ann Arbor I'd do dinner at both places, if I had 1 night it's a toss-up.

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Photo of david131
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I had some pretty strong recommendations to visit this place, and it did not disappoint.

First of all, make a reservation, I am glad I did. The tap selection isn't mind blowing, but I suppose if I were from out of state I would be going crazy. The food on the menu (check out the menu) almost made my mind numb with anticipation, but the only thing that really blew my mind was the truffle fries. The pizzas looked amazing, but I did not get one. The service was very attentive without being overbearing. I did not test the server's knowledge of the beers because I was familiar with the selection, but she was familiar with what was available and what was not. Hard to beat and highly recommend.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

We stopped in over the Xmas holidays. The decor and layout of the place was cool -- I really liked the large versions of the JP bottle artwork hanging on the walls. The beer list wasn't immense (about a dozen on draft), but it covered the regular JP releases as well as some seasonals and guest taps. Samplers were available, which was appreciated by some members of my party that had less familiarity with their beers. Service was good, attentive without being overbearing. The food was enjoyed by all -- my porchetta sandwich was rich and delicious, fries were solid, and the butcher's platter had an interesting selection of meats and cheeses. Prices were reasonable, though specific items were on the pricey side (see butcher's platter mentioned above). Overall, definitely worth a visit especially if you're not very acquainted with the JP lineup -- and even if you are, you can enjoy them on tap and with some tasty food.

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Jolly Pumpkin Cafe And Brewery Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, MI
92 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.