Calabaza Blanca - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Calabaza BlancaCalabaza Blanca

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very good

898 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 898
Reviews: 441
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.05%
Wants: 25
Gots: 68 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2004

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 898 | Reviews: 441
Reviews by mrchrisray:
More User Reviews:
Photo of thelagerheads
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the "Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" the mystical G. P. never arrives much to Linus's chagrin. In the Jolly Pumpkin's world it's the pumpkin ale that never arrives. What? Contrary to popular belief and local legend these guys don't put out a brew befitting their moniker. Anywho...what they do deliver is a spice-rack bed of Procrustes. Of the few I've tried (at the brewery from the tap and in single bottles) the spices over-ride the smooth creaminess of otherwise excellent beer. This one is the exception so far. There's enough tang in it to let you know that you've been with a tart but not enough spice to make you fret that you have been infected with her malty infarction. Scared little man? Ish Kabibble...I should worry? No! Not me!

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.11/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: White peach body, thick white head. Carbonation is small but mobile.

N: Coriander and oranges. Less cheese wiz aromas then many Wits. (If you don’t know this cheese wiz aroma of which I speak, pick up a Blue Moon, think cheese, and inhail. You’ll soon know what I’m talking about.) Some tangerine. Too much “perfume” like chemical attributes to fully enjoy.

T: Pretty much on. Plenty of spice and citrus. Quite fitting in the style.

MF: Medium to full body. Metallic powders distract. Chemical perfume quality (negatively) burns palate slightly.

D: Low. All the sweet fruit of a wit (that diminishes drinkability for me to a point, without the smooth, light qualities that increase it). Harsh.

The style is well captured here but with some strong detractors.

Photo of ricke
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy orange with a medium-sized head. Good lacings.

S: Wheat, oranges, spices, hints of tobacco and brett. Good, rather mellow. Good balance.

T: The taste is somewhat sweet with dry wheaty flavors and dry orange notes. Spices (mostly coriander) and mild bretty notes. Very tasty juicy fruit flavors, mostly tart citric notes. Hints of yeast. The finish is dry with note of wheat, fruits and minerals.

M: Moderate body, rather dry texture. Nicely refreshing carbonation.

D: A good beer. Very easy to drink. I'm not usually a big fan of witbiers, but this one was rather pleasant.

Photo of brewdogmrb
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jolly Pumpkin is one of my favorite American Breweries and they have all the characters that a classic, high quality micro-brewery should posess, including a healthy dose of outsider/weird sensibility and a diminished sense of risk avoidance. Calabaza Blanca is a Belgian by way of Dexter, Michigan style Witbier, which is spiced in the traditional sense with orange peel and corriander, and is also oak aged and bottle conditioned. Jolly pumpkin pretty dependably offers a weird and infected take on a classic style, and this is no exception -- the usual spice and funk of a Witbier, which is found in the background and almost entirely caused by yeast and lack of filtration, is all the way up front on this beer, a massive nose full of sour and puckering farm stink procedes any sips you take. Which of course is a good thing.

So yeah, this is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a sour Witbier, but one that is very nicely balanced, very dry, and very Champagne like. This is not an easy thing to pull off and once again Jolly Pumpking doesn't disappoint. They manage to create a drinkable, even sessionable beer here with a less than 5% ABV and a truly refreshing finish. Another Infected Session beer that you would be super stoked to have a six pack of at a barbecue or for a hang out day in the yard. Glad to have grabbed a six pack of this at State Line Liquors on the way back from a trip down to Maryalnd, which by the way, lives up to its reputation for having great craft beers in what is quickly becoming an exciting part of the world for beer in general.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Calabaza Blanca pours from the beautifully labeled 750ml bottle a bright, cloudy sunshine yellow with a two finger foamy head of tight bubbles. Aromas of fresh pale grainy malts combined with a vibrant lemony/orange citric aroma. Slighty spicy coriander and yeast. Nicely nuanced.

First sip brings a rush of cirtusy pale, wheaty maltiness, a bit bready. A somewhat spicy coriander comes in midway through the sip with hints of dry lemon and orange peel. Crisp and refreshing with a mellow earthy yeast character. Finishes clean with a hint of woodiness on the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel is fairly light with an abundance of fast moving carbonation that rushes across the mouth. Slightly dry and crisp...very refreshing. This is definetly a nice summertime brew and an enjoyable witbier. I'm glad that Jolly Pumpkin has found it's way down to Illinois now...and thanks to marburg for this bottle I'm sampling today.

Photo of blitz134
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge head on the pour. Pure white dense foam that reduced itself to a thin cap. Slightly hazy yellowish straw colored body.

Tartness is evident in the aroma. Some tart apple, pear, and white grapes. A bit of corriander and pepper as well. Tart on the tongue, but doesn't make my jaws hurt. Taste is somewhat light, a bit of spice initially and then some muttled light fruit all over a light wheat base. Some farmhouse funk rounds it up with some subtle hints of the barrel aging when allowed to warm. Interesting flavor for a wit.

Mouthfeel is thin as expected. Coats the mouth well. Fair amount of carbonation, probably too much actually. I think it cuts down on the amount of perceived flavor. Drinkability is good. Unique flavor that I like on occassion.

Just expect a bit of funkiness with some tart. JP brews always seem to have a bit of a unique edge to the style which they attempt which draws me to their brews. I think they are easily approachable for one getting into beers fermented with some natural bacteria.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer, but I've been more impressed with some other Jolly Pumpkin beers. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass, this was a yellow, faintly hazy beer with a small head. It had a fruity, spiced wheat aroma. It had a citrus taste, orange mostly, decent tartness, and some warming spice. I thought it was a little too bubbly, and not a beer I'd want to drink a lot of.

Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 518; Bottled 3/4/10, into a tulip

A - A slow motion slight foamer after uncapping, but not too bad. Pours a hazy golden brown with three fingers of white head and an intense stream of rising carbonation. Head has very good retention and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

S - Coriander is the first smell I notice, followed by yeast funk and orange zest. Has a bit of spice beyond the coriander as well.

T - A sharp tartness, with orange zest and a bit of lemon to start with, followed by coriander, faint pepper, and a nice funky yeast presence. Pretty refreshing, with a lingering lemon taste.

M - Light, crisp, and intensely carbonated.

O - I haven't had a fresh bottle, but aging doesn't seems to have bothered this beer one bit. A bit simple compared to other JP brews, but it is refreshing and tasty, so no complaints there. The lemon aspect is very nice.

Photo of grynder33
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lemony Belgian Yeast aroma,lots of esters ,easy to see how the style came to be known as Wit ,looking at the body and color. Nice to see what a good brewery can do with a style that is normally soft and timid. All the spicey orange,lemon corriander and tang of the best Wits you've had ,only amped up .Thanks to Chris at Murray's for this beauty.

Photo of Beaver13
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a cloudy brownish yellow with a fizzy white head that quickly recedes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing. It has some chunky yeasties in the bottom.

The aroma is musty yeast, wheat, some floral hops and sweet and tart citrus.

The flavor is musty earthy yeast with some peppery spices and some tart and slightly sour citrus. The mouthfeel is is medium with a ton of sharp carbonation.

Overall, an enjoyable lighter beer. It's interesting for a wit - a little more tart fruits than spices. This is more of what I was expecting from the Bam Biere.

Photo of Duster72
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a faint yellow with a two finger head. Aroma is very enticing orange peel and spices. Definitely has that signature Jolly Pumpkin taste, which I am not sure how to explain. Must be the yeast. Very pleasant blend of orangey citrus with the mild wheat. Very tasty. Too much carbonation and slightly thin mouthfeel. Would be interesting to try a slightly sweeter version, although I like the clean aftertaste.

Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served into a Kapuziner half liter weissbier glass, slightly chilled. Cloudy canary yellow body is brimming with excitable small bubbled carbonation. Large and pillowy vanilla head hangs around for a few minutes, until reinvigorated by the next pour. Lots of sticky globs of lace are left on the glass as it slowly empties.

Aroma has a citrusy aspect, with lemon and orangezest up front. White pepper and coriander add a soft spiciness. Hops are here, as well, lending a grassy and fresh hay presence. An odd, but pleasant, note from the barrel aging chimes in with a hint of coconut/vanilla.

Mouthfeel is light bodied, zesty with carbonation and mild pepper.

Very refreshing taste is dominated by citrusy lemon, orange peel, coriander, and cracked wheat. Lively carbonation throughout, mildly spiced with white pepper and soft coriander, dry not bitter. Yeast presence is clean and outdoorsy. Goes down the gullet quick and easy.

Another excellent, oak aged artisan ale from the Jolly Pumpkin folks. This one is as well crafted as their higher alcohol releases, and more of a quaffer. Excellent any time of the year, but this would be an exceptional summer ale.

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 298

Appearance: orange-brown in color, cloudy, 1 inch head, high carbonation, sediment

Smell: orange, lemon, and hay

Taste: orange, lemon, cloves, coriander, and hay

Mouthfeel: slightly bitter/funky, high carbonation, light bodied, dry

Drinkability: Super sessionable beer. Different for the style as this one is a bit more sour and funky. Another winner from JP that is among the best I have had in the style.

Photo of Mora2000
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 298.

The beer pours a straw gold color with a huge white head. The aroma is classic Jolly Pumpkin. I get a lot of wheat and lemon/orange notes, as well as a ton of brett character. There is a little bit of funk as well as a lot of leather notes in the aroma.

The flavor is great. I get a lot of leather notes as well as some orange citrus. There is some nice wheat and lemon notes mixed in as well. The beer is very dry overall and is very drinkable. As the beer warms I start to get some cherry notes in the flavor.

Medium mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. Outstanding overall.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours hazy gold under a 1” cream colored foam cap that grips the side of the glass.
S: Citrus, barnyard funk, spice aromas.
T: The palate showcases wild yeast with lemony citrus, barnyard, tart, and spice flavors.
F: Has a very fine, soft carbonation and a dry, medium light body.
O: Excellent wild wit.

Photo of BGDrock
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance: aggressive carbonation, pour slowly; huge white head, like meringue, and long retention; foggy, gold coloured body

Aroma: orange and spice are prevalent, a touch of aluminium; peach jam

Taste & Mouthfeel: light and bordering on watery with a champagne like effervescence; mostly bready, wheat flavour with hints of spice, orange rind, clove, coriander, white pepper; once the chill dies down, the mouthfeel improves, growing more full, and the flavours become more clear as well

Overall: in the end, a good witbier but can't say it gained much from aging; might want to have this one a bit warmer than you normally would

Photo of Chrisco88
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very pale gold color, almost yellow. A bit of yeast cloudiness which fits the style. Large creamy head that lasts a while.

Aroma: Very light and citrus-y, a bit of a sour twang that I really enjoy but seems to dominate the senses.

Taste: A little sour but perfectly balanced with a clean, tart aftertaste. Tastes a bit like cider but has a great brett taste that I loved. No hop character at all.

Palate: Pretty thin but very intensely carbonated, finishes clean with a nice tart pucker.

Overall: Hands down my favorite wit (my favorite style mind you!) and definitely in my top 5. It's a fantastic tasting beer and stands out among every other wit I've tried, but like most wits it doesn't hold your interest for more than a glass or so.

Photo of ADR
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yellow, partially orangish appearance, translucent with a slightly cloudy sense. Good head of over 1/4 of an inch and leaving nice complete laces on the glass. Aroma is interesting, quite yeasty with astringent notes and underlying spice. A little sourish overall for a Wit. Light and airy body, medium carbonation. Seems a little creamy and doughy, like a powdered-sugar doughnut, or those small round lemon cookies in a box. Backed up by the more sharp aroma. Decently dry in the finish, but then, a little different, seems a little fragmented without the more integrated spicey estery flow of many beers in this style.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a light golden cider with clouded yeast particles suspended throughout the head is a bit spritzy but overcarbonation doesn't come through at all in the texture. Bright white head dwindles quick with minimal thin lacing. Aroma complex coriander and citrus notes with heavy tart acidity really piercing the senses. Tart oak barrel aging really brings about some cider notes, not the overly sweetened versions but those drier in nature. Flavor brings out perfume like layers of coriander with other possible spices, citrus tartness with bitter pith notes come through. Bready wild yeast notes play their role so nicely adding to the ever growing complexity of Jolly Pumpkin beers, artisan ales at their finest. Dry soothing finish with the spices really leaving a coating on the palate. Mouthfeel is light bodied spritzy carbonation with that slight oil like composition of the dryness blended with oak and spice great mix wonderful finish. Drinkability is so sessionable at 4.8% and in addition it's complex enough to keep one refreshed and intrigued throughout each bottle excellent and don't hold back on any of the yeast sediment. Oh and I get some creamy bubblegum chalky finish thing going on that I really dig. Like stale bubblegum with cardboard accents from a pack of baseball cards, nice.

Photo of mocktm
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clearance shelf for $5.99 at Riverhead Beverage, NY. Blend 810, bottled 5/31/3011.

Over A year old, but, for a barrel aged JP wild ale, that's nothing, right? Poured into a Belgian chalice

Bubbly and effervescent on the pour, like champagne. Sparkling white head on top of a hazy, light golden color. Lousy retention though...

Sour lemon, orange and vinegar dominate on the nose. Slight floral presence and mild sourdough bread.

Typical JP funk in full force, orange and spice dominate with a hint of sourness, although not as puckering as I had hoped. Tad bit of of bitterness on the back end.

Relatively light bodied, this is what 4.5%? Really easy drinking and a nice summer beer.

Another solid beer from JP, although at the regular price tag of $12 or so, I wouldn't bite again. It's a great beginner sour though.

Photo of hagbergl
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sticker on the back of the bottle reads "Batch 867, Bottled 8/11/2011." Despite having three-quarters of a year of age on it, tastes fresh and has not a hint of oxidation on it. This ale is aged in oak casks, so obviously it's going to hold up well as long as it's stored properly. This is my first Jolly Pumpkin beer from the bottle and a departure from my usual IPAs, Saisons, and Belgian strong ales, so I'm very excited. They have a reputation for making weird ales...and I like weird.

Appearance (3.5/5): Pouring the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter produces a three-finger bubbly foam head that dissipates rather quickly to a small ring that sticks with the beer until the end. The beer is a translucent goldenrod color, what you would expect from a Belgian-style witbier. With all the bubbles rising, you can see that the beer is highly carbonated. Appearance-wise, nothing amazing, and probably the most ordinary aspect of this ale.

Smell (4/5): The beer's aroma is very interesting for a witbier, since it has a little bit of citric sourness and Brett-like funkiness going on (not sure if the brewers added Brettanomyces) that is counterbalanced against the sweet aroma of peaches. Did I say this brewery had a reputation for weirdness? It's a good kind of weird aroma though–one that calls to mind Rodenbach and not a beer like Allagash White, which technically belongs to the same style as Calabaza Blanca.

Taste (4/5): The beer has a light lemony tart taste that is balanced by the spicing, wheat, and hints of sweet peach in the taste. No hint of alcohol. The beer's tartness dominates with each sip leaving a dry, lingering sourness on the palette. It doesn't get cloying though, and I had no problem finishing the full 750 mL bottle on my own. I felt the light tartness encourages the drinker to continue drinking. I recommend not babying it; feel free to drink at a good pace! The one downside of ripping through this beer is that it actually warms nicely.

Mouthfeel (4.5/5): I really enjoyed Calabaza Blanca's mouthfeel. It has a nice, vigorous carbonation that really lends a brightness (for lack of a better term) to the beer and enhances its flavor in a big way. The beer feels pleasantly light on the tongue. Every sip of this tart brew creates a lightly prickly sensation.

Overall (4/5): This is one unique witbier–it doesn't remind me that much of others I've consumed in the past, and that's great. I particularly like the odd approach of barrel-aging a witbier, a good idea that works in this case and sets it apart from other beers in its family. This is an odd but approachable beer that's great for drinking on a warm summer night. With plenty of those around the corner, you should consider buying a bottle or two of JP's Calabaza Blanca.

Photo of coryking
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Im really surprised that this beer is categorized as a witbier. Its truly closer to a berliner weisse...

Tart lemon, lactic acid, brett nose. Enjoyable, but I love refreshing tart brews. The taste isnt surprising, tart, lemon, maybe a hint of spice, almost no influence from any wheat. Finishes with an odd astringency. Too thin. Missed the mark on the finish. Easy to drink with the light body and low alcohol, but the astringent finish slows me from returning quickly for another sip...

OK brew, I really dont think it should be categorized as a witbier, wont seek this one out to have again, but I wouldnt turn one down...

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a hazy light warm orange body with a thick creamy white head that last and last. No sign of carbonation in the hazy body but some nice lacing on the glass.

S- The smell of fruit, mostly citrus, and some soft spices give this light beer some nice complex aroma. There is faint notes of lemon and young oak at the finish.

T- This beer has a soft smooth perfumed citrus flavor with a soft wheat note to it. There isn't any pale malt flavor and the flavor is well blended yet still complex. The finish has a tart and sour note that is soft with a note of lemon. It adds a nice balance to the perfumed flavors at the beginning. The carbonic acid bite at the finish has a faint oak note and a slight dry coriander note. Although I don't think I would have noticed the coriander if I wasn't looking for it.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that appears more full with a fizz texture. No astringency or alcohol heat at the finish.

D- I liked this beer much more this time that last time. I think this beer is all about the nuances. The soft flavors give no room for flaws and when they all come together they have a nice smooth complexity to a session beer. But this is more than a session beer in that I have to focus on the mysterious flavors and try to describe what I am tasting. Very interesting and very delicious.

Photo of pwoods
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from a couple old 12oz. and an oval label. Notes.

A: Pours a dull banana color, very cloudy. Towering pearl head with great retention and a few wisps of lacing.

S: Plenty of spicy, fruity yeast. Tart green apples and gree grapes. Plenty of funky, musky, damp cellar, wet hay.

T/M: Like wheaty grains, tart. Plenty of the tart fruits as well. More of the spicy yeast. A bit of orange peel. Some soft but nice funk has developed with some wet hay and maybe even a bit of vinegar. Light crisp body with a little too much carbonation.

D: Low ABV and very drinkable. Oval labels should probably be drunk now before they turn into gushers but I'd say the 12 ouncers have at least another year or so in them.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The extremely clouded, unfiltered-looking pale gold I expect is the color. A soft, fluffy white head grows to between one and two fingers high, sits well, and deposits patchy lacing as it goes.
The Belgian aspect is just a little subtle in this one, though certainly still detectable. It's very bready with the earthy and spicy touches and the expected tartness to it. There's also a nice citrus element in the foreground and the very lightly soapy /herbal /spicy note of coriander. The touch of funk balanced well with the dry malts, the light sweetness, the sourness, and the gentle hops bitterness. A light grains note lingers underneath the whole way through.
The feel is nice, a gentle but firm carbonation setting the pace in an appropriately light body. It's drier than many wits, but not too much as the feel is balanced well. Smoothness is there under a good, firm crispness.

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Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
88 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.