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Calabaza Blanca - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Calabaza BlancaCalabaza Blanca

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

837 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 837
Reviews: 432
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.31%
Wants: 26
Gots: 55 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-25-2004)
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Ratings: 837 | Reviews: 432 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrkrispy
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Large form bottle says Batch 382/383

We just started getting JP distro back in San Diego summer of 2009, so I am hoping to try more of their beers. This is one I haven't had before.

Pours a very clear golden, more vibrant and yellow than a pils.
Quite bubbly, but no head. No sediment or haze, doesn't look anything like a wit but does look good.

Trademark Jolly Pumpkin funky nose, not sure what bugs are in here. Doesn't smell like brett though. A mild funk, bit of spice, wood, and vanilla? Very mild.

Wow, almost no flavor here. Tastes like a funkified version of a BMC lager. Thin, extremely dry. Tiny amount of lemon and spice far, far, away. Almost no tartness even though it is mentioned to be tart on the label. Double checked with the girl - same opinion... just no flavor. Clean and drinkable, but not in a refreshing way. This is a very poor representation of a witbier (almost no spice, no wheaty mouthfeel, filtered, etc) so it should get lower marks but it at least has some of the JP uniqueness.

This might be the first total disappointment I have had from Jolly Pumpkin. I was concerned about the shipping out here but I had a La Roja that arrived at the same time and it was fine and as I remember it.

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

First JP beer, found it for a steal at $4.99, how could I resist the big bottle. Normally not a fan of the style so I was a little hesitant but had to try after hearing so much. Poured into tulip, hazy and light orange, almost yellowish in color. Creamy white head, good retention and a little lacing. Smell is citrusy, tart, and a littly yeasty. Taste is sour, somewhat fruity, little lemony and other citrus. Some bread and yeast, a relatively dry and bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel was light. Overall a good beer but could have been a sour for all I knew.

Photo of cjgator3
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle
Batch 313

A- I've had this beer a few times before, don't know why I've never reviewed it. Anyways, here it goes. Poured into a snifter. Pours a golden yellow color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is sour and fruity with some citrus and a touch of spices and hints of oak as well.

T- The taste is very light and intricate with a very dry finish. Almost a little champagne-like. The taste is light fruit and spices with some sourness and hints of oak.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Like just about every beer they brew, this one puts an interesting twist on the style. Not the best Wit out there, but definitely something different that is worth trying.

Photo of allengarvin
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, poured into my favorite beer glass, the St Bernardus chalice. This beer features a hazy peach color and a small head, with little lacing. The nose is sweet, with notes of wheat and coriander, and is moderately fruity. Ah, another sour beer from JP--it wasn't apparent from the aroma. It's quite tart, and quite dry, and the flavors I expect from a good wit do not stand out in such a beer. The coriander is the only part I can really taste. Very dry at the finish.

Not a very good witbier, style-wise. However, I like the beer. It's tart and very refreshing. I bet it'd stand up well in meal with lots of pickled items.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Has a sticker for the batch number: 279. Very cool label, one of JP's best. Pours a light gold color and the first couple pours are surprisingly clear. Head is huge, fluffy and white with great retention and lacing.

Has the rather distinctive JP nose on it...Smartees and SweeTarts candy, rotting wood from the brett. Once past that, the orange and coriander come out to play and are plenty distinctive.

A bit of the crisp wheat flavor comes through upon tasting, as well as some orange and coriander spices on the finish. But the main flavors here are provided by the wild yeasts and bacteria, a touch sour and earthy wood. Mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated, finishes dry for a witbier. Adding the yeast accentuates the wit characteristics, but I think I actually prefer this one without it. I dont think this is Jolly Pumpkin's best beer, but still is very delicious and drinkable. I would buy this again without hesitation.

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

Batch 304/305

pours a hazy yellow gold with a thin white head.

Tart nose. Green apple, a bit of lemon. Yeasty. Sweet tarts.

Fine bubbled carbonation, medium bodied. Slightly dry finish.

Taste is not as complex as nose insinuates. Tart green apple.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 313 shared with newtonty, soundbarrier and DrewOSU on this fine, overcast July 5th...

Pours like light urine (sorry, that's what came to mind first). The head is initially about 3/4 of an inch, but quickly fades to a nice, white halo in my snifter...

The nose is a mild sour pang, followed by some sweaty gym socks.

Very light bodied and mildly sour with high carbonation. This is very nice, crisp and refreshing. I barely taste the light wheat aspects of this beer, as the dryness and mild sour comes first.

The pedio and lacto sourness plays the dominant role in this beer, so I find it hard to be considered a witbier.

Nonetheless, this is a very nice beer.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 750ml capped bottle poured into my nonic pint glass. Appears a cloudy muted straw yellow color with an inch of fluffy white foam to top things off. Nose and flavor are of light tart/sour funk, green apples, spicy yeast, citrus such as lemon and orange, coriander, woody oak. About a notch better than medium bodied with adequate carbonation for a witbier. Tart and quite quenching overall.

Photo of bonbini26
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blind Tiger 06-19-09 (actually listed as an oaked-aged version)

Poured into a tulip glass, a hazy golden yellow, little head or lacing. The nose is a tart/sour/funky, wood smell, sweet with some citrus hints. The taste is of dry, tart and sourness, almost candy like. A zesty finish with some pepper notes and coriander. A little funk lingers also. A light bodied summer drinking beer. A little bit more sour than i was expecting. Overall worth a try for something different.

Photo of Scriba
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours yellow and hazy. Looks like a nice witbier. The head is two fingers deep and white. It leaves a lot of lacing.

S: A fresh smell of citrus. A little acidic. Perhaps some green apples. The smell of Belgian yeast is easy to recognise.

T: Tastes like a good witbier with sour notes. There is also something - perhaps the yeast - that reminds me of Orval. A very nice and complex taste for a witbier.

M: Very refreshing with a lot of bubbles.

D: I would love to drink this one again. And I would not mind paying for another bottle (although it is quite expensive).

Photo of imagineiii
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this in my fridge. Moving soon, so its coming out tonight.

Poured into a pint tumbler. surprisingly translucent, two fingers of fluffy white head. minimal carbonation is fine.

VERY bright fruits such as green apples, pineapples, and mango. some pepper, some flowers, some citrus? vinegary tart notes are surprising for the style.

tastes are amazingly complex for a 4.5% beer. im kinda blown away. malty and bready almost biscuity, while still tart and citrusy, borderline sour. pepper thrown in there. what a brew.

mouthfeel is bright but slightly undercarbonated.

with an alc% this low, and a beer this tasty, i could drink plenty of these.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first foray into Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. I actually had no idea they even distributed to Minnesota. I had never seen them before until yesterday, on a whim, I decided to go to Zipps. They had Calabaza Blanca, Bam Biere and Oro De Calabaza. I was in utter shock. I decided to try this one first, and only purchased one, because they were a little pricey (11.99 per 750 ml).

Batch 318/319

Pours a light hazy golden color. Looks like many other Witbiers I've had, maybe a little lighter. Huge pluming pristine white head produced. Retention is damn good, lacing is impressive. Maybe the most lively carbonation I've ever seen, this thing is literally swimming. There was a large amount of yeast and sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

The nose on this one is very impressive. More complex than your average Wit, and I swear there is Brett in here. I know that Jolly Pumpkin uses Brett extensively, however I had no idea they used it in this brew, and I wasn't expecting it. So complex. Fruity and citrusy, while spicey and funky at the same time. Just a touch of funk to take it to an entire new level.

The taste doesn't disappoint either. I'm very impressed with the complexity. It could be very easy to ruin a brew with Brett yeast, however Jolly Pumpkin pulled this off with flying colors. Just the perfect amount of funk, not too much, but more than enough to get the job done. There is also the typical components of an average Wit, coriander and orange peel, spices and citrus. The Brett just kicks it up another notch.

The mouthfeel is pretty dang good too. Normally too much carbonation is a turn off for me, but for some reason it works with this. This could be because of the size of the carbonation bubbles, they seem to be very fine. Incredibly smooth.

I was sort of worried before I tried this one. I was worried I would find just another average Witbier. I was wrong. I doubted Jolly Pumpkin and it rocked my world. I am proven wrong, and I'm going to seek out other JP brews and give them a try.

Photo of bgjohnston
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into an antique Champagne flute, and it did not disappoint. Pours like a Champagne or sparkling wine, with lots of tiny bubbles and excellent carbonation. Heavy lacing on the glass: I could see where each previous sip was as I drank it.

The beer drinks like a very good sparkling wine, too. Nice acid bite that fades into a persistent bitterness in the finish. My only regret is that the finish was more bitter and less dry than promised.

Having tried one other of Jolly Pumpkin's offerings before, I will happily look for more.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 279.

Appearance: Pours out a cloudy, straw-colored body with a frothy, tall, white head.

Smell: Pleasant mixture of tangy wheat with tart-scented fruits, earthy, freshly-ground spices, piquant oak, and some punchy lactic notes.

Taste: Soft white wheat with a scant, brief honey-like sweetness. Tart fruity flavors of pears, white peaches, and, lastly, some tastes of sweet and bitter orange peel. Then, in comes the spice hints of coriander and powdered ginger. Relatively smooth, but still slightly puckering oak wood hints. There's sort of a ubiquitous lactic sourness throughout. Finishes rather dry with lingering, lasting touches of oak, spice, and tartness.

Mouthfeel: It's just a hair under medium-bodied. Well carbonated, no question there, and quite bubbly from beginning to end.

Drinkability: To help "set the mood" for this beer, I stepped out into the unpleasant, grotesquely humid, hot Atlanta weather for a few minutes. Though it ultimately lacked the body and creaminess of some witbiers, I felt it excelled surprisingly well in terms of both refreshment and enjoyment (at least with Batch 279). With some beers, clearing through a mere twelve ounces is a chore, but finding the end of this 750ml was a breeze!

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

a very complex wit that is not of the conventional herbal orange peel and coriander. pour is typical with some lace. earth quality in nose. wood oak and tart with a chalk dry wheat quality. this accentuates in the palate as more herbal. quite woody... not at tart. slight berliner weisse style with a grape skin mineral quality. unripened orange peel bitter and lemon. very dry finish. oak, wheat, lemon balm, the rosemary of a decent white wine. excellent beer. a must for this time of your.

Photo of twelvsies
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited to try another beer from the folks doing it right at Jolly Pumpkin. Pours into the glass a slight hazed golden, big fluffy head and healthy carbonation. Smells slightly spicy, zesty, with a touch of wild zip to it. Flavors common to your average wit are present, coriander and hints of orange peel, yet where it usually bores me, here it is combined expertly with a mild sour funk and earthy yeastyness not generally found in the style. Fruity, wheaty body. Great combination of ideas here. Artisan indeed. Finishes nice and dry on the palate, delicate yet with substance. Quenching and satisfying, this will certainly be something I get again, especially this summer. Bravo Jolly-folk.

Photo of vrazionale
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature into a snifter. The bottle reads "Batch 382/383."

A - Pours a hazy light golden color. The head is pretty consistent, with clusters along the sides of the glass. The head very easily redevelops with a swish of the glass.

S - I get sweet oranges, subtle coriander, floral notes, sweet bread, candied fruit, and the twang of wild yeasts. The nose is very well balanced and integrated, inviting the drinking to take big whiffs of the many subtle nuances.

T - Something is missing for me. It just doesn't have the tart "pop" that I expected from the wild yeasts. I expected it to be much funkier. I found the finish to be lackluster, especially considering the promise of the wonderfully complex nose.

M - This brew is pretty highly carbonated, and my concern (however correct or incorrect I may be) is that the high carbonation overstimulates the palate and destroys the possibility of tasting the nuances of this beer. The mouthfeel is not unpleasant by any means, it just follows along with the surprisingly lackluster taste.

D - I'll be honest, I was disappointed with this brew. Maybe I got a bottle from a bad batch, or something - entirely possible when you work on the scale that they do. I love Jolly Pumpkin and I will continue to support their beers, but I'll steer clear of this one moving forward. It's not a bad beer for warm summer evenings, but you can easily find better beers for cheaper. Far be it from me to offer advice to the brewer, but maybe this beer could stand a kick-up in alcohol content? Maybe a little less carbonation? They'll likely work out the kinks, but don't use this beer as an example of what Jolly Pumpkin can do.

Photo of frothyhead
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow/orange with a light one finger mostly white head into a tulip. Expected more carbonation, in line with my other Jolly Pumpkin experiences, but this one was tame.

Nose is relatively light with some citrus, orange peel and lemon zest, plus a little bit of bretty funk, lactic sourness, and grassiness.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation and only a small bit of dryness in the finish brought on by the lemony tartness. Extremely light, crisp, and refreshing. Maybe just a little too light.

Taste is lemon tartness with a tad bit of bretty barnyard funk. Nicely sour without being overly puckering. A nice wheaty malt foundation balances it all out.

Drinkability is spot on. I could drink this all day, especially with the light ABV.

Overall this is a great beer. Extremely tasty and just what the doctor ordered to bring home the first hot weekend of the year. This is just a perfect spring and summer beer, refreshing and tasty without being overly complex.

Photo of blaje
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beautifully witbier! Happily surprised by this beer. Pored in a tall glass, nicely cold, this brew formed a nice white head and revealed itself hazy and golden in colour.

Nose: Vegetal and citrus, but it reminds me of traditional lambic (Girardin white lambel lambic)

Mouth: High carbonation for a witbier. Tatse is citrusy (lemon zest, lime) yeast and wet earth. Spices (which one ?)

Very well balanced, very refreshing and very pleasant to drink.

Photo of goatgoat
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks mikereaser for the opportunity.

Batch 298.

Pours a cloudy lemon yellow. A thick white frothy head falls over the course of several minutes. No lace.
Aroma is fruity, banana, spicy with a hint of tartness. A hint of candy sweetness and a tiny bit of oak behind it all.
Flavor is bright and fruity. The main player is a lemony tartness. A pithy bitterness joins in for the finish.
Nice light body. After a couple of vigorous swirls in the bottle, carbonation is a little low but pleasant.

Started off refreshing. But the tartness is a little much after a whole 750.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml brown bottle with BEAUTIFUL and eerie label; this one is capped, and listed as "Batch 279." When I went to Jolly Pumpkin's website, I found out that this batch was brewed 2/15/08, went into oak barrels 2/19/08 and was bottled 2/26/08.

Appearance: A careful pour leaves most of the yeast in the bottom of the bottle and produces a surprisingly bright medium to dark gold beer with LOTS of streaming carbonation and fine sediment, capped off with a fluffy white head which soon fades to a thick film.

Smell: Much more Belgian tartness, yeast, and funk (maybe some horse blanket as well) than I was expecting in this beer. Is there any Brett in here? It didn't mention it on the website, but I wonder...the aromas are a complex balance of sweet/tart fruit, yeast, and funky earthy tones. It's hard to pick out specifics here; it's not indistinct and muddled like is sometimes the case, but everything just melds together to form an overall impression, rather than individual aromas jumping out. I think I'm picking up some sharp lemon peel here, as well as ghostly woody tones, and what I swear is Brett-related funk.

Taste: WOW! Way tart! This reminds me of a cross between ultra sharp, fresh lemon, sweet/tart sugary candy, and just a bit of malt in the background. The initial round is tart, funky, and fruity with lemon and pronounced banana notes (especially as the beer warms), but this beer ends dry and puckering (in a good way). There are ghostly notes of vanilla/wood toast on the finish as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Light, prickly, and tart

Drinkability: While I wouldn't toss several back (even with the low abv) this 750 (2 beer equivalent) would be perfect on a hot day...this may be the quintessential "lawnmower" beer.

Conclusion: This was not at all what I expected from this beer. Definitely not what's typically expected in this style; the orange kind of understated (though lemony citrus and spice tones are there) and it's way more tart than expected. That being said, there are interesting sweet notes that balance the tartness, the banana flavors are quite nice, and this is quite refreshing. Definitely worth a try.

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

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a clear pale straw color with a big two inch snow white head that takes forever to fall down. When it does it retains very well. Upon closer inspection I can see some mini floaters. Lots of thick lacing down the glass.

Aroma is very funktastic. There's a bit of bready wheatiness, but that's way in the back. The real front runners are a lemony, lactic sourness and some bretty leatherish funk.

Taste is lemony and sour from the start with the lemon peaking right at the end of the swallow lingering into the finish. The coriander and orange peel really don't come out at all here and seem to be blocked out by the funk. This could be even better if those flavors were able to make it through.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, really quite drinkable and refreshing as I find many of these to be. It actually reminded me a lot of a Berliner Weisse.

Quite an enjoyable beer for sure, though definitely not a traditional witbier if that's what you're looking for. I can imagine coming in after mowing the lawn and chugging down one of these to quench my thirst. Of course that would be a waste though.

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

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy light yellow gold color with a 1" snow white head. The head dropped to a skim and left only a few spots of lace behind.

S= A mild wheat malt twang followed closely by a yeasty-slightly sour character. Sourness was present but not overpowering.

T= Wheat ale character up front followed by a serious amount of sourness (but not an unpleasant level). Various spices like coriander, anise, and a citrus present. Finish dried a bit and showed a continued sourness.

MF= Light side of medium bodied with a crisp feel.

D= Though sours are still not my favorite, this was just easy enough on the sourness, to remain drinkable for me. I would happily go back to this ale on a hot summer day or would pair with a nice dinner of grilled ribs or steaks.

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

Picked up a 12 oz bottle from Sportsmans in late November for $3.79.

Beer poured a clear golden with a nice white head that is hanging around. Nose is funk and very little else. Taste is crisp, coriander and pepper with a subtle presence of the funk. Mouthfeel is crisp and clean with a very smooth finish. Drinkability is good. If you want a funky crisp and clean beer this is the one for you.

Photo of davedahl
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great stuff.

Appearance - very light straw yellow brilliantly clear after slight chill-haze drops, big puffy stark-white head, streaming tiny bubbles rise from the bottom for the duration

Aroma - signature JP funk and sour from brett. Horse blanket, barnyard.

Taste - more of the funk and sour, but very clearly there's a nice smooth witbier underneath. Fresh, clean, cinnamon, cardamon, star anise.

Mouthfeel - medium-fullness with wheat malt (to witbier style), finishes surprisingly clean, somehow all the sour/funk cleans up after itself lending huge drinkability.

Drinkabilty - very high. This is a party the cleans up after itself then comes back for more.
Jolly Pumpkin is a relatively small brewery in Dexter, Michigan that cranks out some of the most interesting beers you can lay your hands on. Most of their brews begin as traditional ale's (no lagers here) but quickly take a hard left into Weirdsville. Their fermentation is done in open vats which allows the local flora and fauna to party in the brew. They also age all their beers in oak casks which provides a more full flavor and rounder mouth-feel....and allows the flora fauna funk to continue through the fermentation stage into the cleanup and aging.

So their technique is a bit different and by nature it introduces lots of creepy crawlies during the fermentation stage. Then post fermentation the "bugs" (as they're affectionately called) never get chased out due to the porous nature of the wooden barrels. These twists produce some amazingly distinct brews - specifically all their beers posses varying degrees of their signature funky and sour aroma and taste.

Welcome to the wonderful groove of lactic bacteria and brettomyces yeast.

Now this particular beer, the Calaba Blanca, definitely has it's namesake (witbier) hiding in the background as the JP funk parties in the foreground. It's definitely an ale with plenty of wheat to lay down a smooth but light malt dancefloor. Still following to style are the spices - cinnamon, cardamon, star anise providing the disco ball, strobes, and colored lights. But The Funk has taken over the party - lots of sour apple, barn yard, acid, and horse blanket in the nose and on the palate.

This is definitely the most drinkable Jolly Pumpkin of the bunch. The complexity of the well-executed style is balanced amazingly well with the "less traditional" components and the whole thing finishes amazingly clean and light. Don't get me wrong, there's still some residual flavors there, but somehow the party cleans up after itself and leaves your palate is in great shape for more Calabaza Blanca!

Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
88 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.