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Bière De Mars - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Bière De MarsBière De Mars

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

447 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 447
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 102
Gots: 67 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-05-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 447 | Reviews: 193 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of malty
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 750ml that's been aging in my cellar for 1 yr. Sunset orange with copper hues in color with a light beige 1/2" fine head. Fine racing carbonation.

Winey sour nose is predominant with a graceful cinnamon & lemon grass overtone. I swirl my wide-mouth goblet - the head rebuilds instantly evoking more spice, but this time I detect a white pepper scent commonly found in world class Belgian Triples.

A delicate but sustained tartness ushers itself through the main gate while a doughy rye bread-like flavor segues into a warming alcohol presence in the middle of my chest, definitely more felt than tasted. A dryness evolves as the tartness weaves in-and-out of the white pepper flavor also.

Mouthfeel is spot-on. Fine carbonation and a medium body dance seamless together. Nice warm and slightly dry/spicy finish.

Drinkability is great. I'd love to pair this with a corned beef on rye sandwich. A sturdy, rustic ale that's also very graceful. JP proves itself as a passionate & worthy brewery.

malty, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new bottle of Jolly Pumpkin is always a delight to this beer lover. The Biere De Mars pours from the 750ml hand labeled bottle a deep reddish brown with nice clarity and lots of active carbonation. A two finger cap of tight bubbly off white foam sticks to the top and draws me in. Aromas begin with a burst of spicy, earthy yeast tones. Caramel, brown sugar and sour fruit predominate (apple, cherry, grape skin). Underneath there's a nice dry, woodiness that's a touch wild and funky. Classy.

First sip brings a big fruity, caramelized maltiness. There's a big grape skin flavor with hints of apple and sour cherry. Spicy yeast intertwines and brings in an earthy, musty aspect to the brew. It flows down a bit dry with a well paced oak flavor. A touch funky with a slight touch of acidic vinegar. This is a tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the lighter side, smooth and refreshing with a just enough bubbles. Keeps me coming back for more. I'd have to say this is one of my favorite JP brews so far and perfect for a 50 degree March day. Thanks to marburg for the opportunity. I'm planning on doing a Michigan trip this summer and can't wait to visit JP!

orbitalr0x, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one stashed away in the cold cellar since October, waited for the "ides of March" and "to welcome the warmer weather" as the bottle suggest. The bottle, by the way, very heavy 22oz. hand capped with a wicked illustration. Beyond excellent presentation for sure. Pours a hazy orange and red hued with lively carbonation which would persist. Strong, but not overly complex bouquet. I was happy to find the oak notes transcend as it warmed. I'd consider this fairly heavily bodied, in fact perhaps too bold in some respects. Strong hints of yeast with a gritty malt backbone. An off-putting sour mouthfeel but with a good, lasting finish. This is reminiscent of many sour Belgians - a la Rodenbach - but comes up very short in comparison. You can detect what others have referred to as 'grape' notes through its almost wine-like character (probably the effect of oak aging) Seems a fantastic brewery I hope to come across again. This one could stand to age a little, I find it perhaps too bold, but enjoyed rather much like this. A most appropo beer for (a Canadian in particular) March indeed.

biegaman, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky red, small white head forms, some spots of lace, head disappears to a ring that sticks around. Smell is sour cherries, vinegar, oak, vanilla, strange mix but neat. Taste is sourness up front, vanilla/oak, honey/wheat, cherries and yeast in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. A treat, thanks DrJay!

Viggo, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a big Jolly Pumpkin bottle into a Delirium chalice. Murky translucent burgandy color with nice clingy off-white colored foam. The foam quickly dissipated to a thin but lasting film across the entire surface.

I'm not really sure what a Biere de Garde is, except for what I've read on BA. I think this is my first one, so the ratings are no fair...

Smells slightly acidic like the JPs I've had before. I can smell a little caramel too. The taste is pretty good, a little sour and malty. I couldn't taste the alcohol but I could feel it in my stomach.

I think this is a seasonal because I couldn't see it on the JP website. The bottle also says something about "beware the Ides of March", so maybe it's a pre-spring seasonal... Anyway I was lucky to find it in Ann Arbor a week ago.

Try it if you find it, but only if you can't find La Roja first.

TurdFurgison, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled February 2006
Pours a lightly hazy, ruby-hued, dark amber color. It is pretty well carbonated, which produces a two-finger thick, frothy, lace prone, tan colored head. The aroma is nice and fruity up front with a mix of raisins, sweet plums, and fresh figs. The aroma is quite fruit focused actually, underneath this is a solid caramel malt note, which in its brightness only tends to accentuate the fruit aromatics. Among the fruit notes there is a light tartness as well, but it is fairly subtle. There is also a bit of spiciness that becomes noticeable after a bit of time; I get notes of bergamot, some clove, and perhaps a little bit of something sharp (sort of a cross between black pepper and ginger). The aroma is quite nice, though it is perhaps lacking a bit in the complexity department, I really like the straight forward, appealing fruit notes that are rounded out by the other supporting aromatic notes.

The taste has that same rich fruitiness to it. In fact it almost has a jam-like quality to it, though this beer is certainly not sticky or sweet. There is just enough sweetness to accentuate the fruitiness, but without anywhere near the levels of sweetness that would make this unappealing (this coming from one who is not a huge fan of sweet fruity beers, even of the more complex variety). Definitely ample notes of ripened plums play center stage here, it is joined by some raisin-like notes, which at times are even more prevalent than the plum notes. There is some spiciness here, but mainly that of the sweeter variety; some definite clove, and perhaps some allspice like notes (including a bit of a ginger-like thing). The finish has a certain astringency to it, I would almost guess that some of it is wood derived, and some of it would most definitely be fermentation derived.

This is quite a rich beer, and I don't mean that in a sort of thick, palate sort of way. Instead the fruit notes just give this beer a certain richness, that seem to make it an appropriate after meal time drink. A solid, though light, acidity finishes this beer off at the end of a sip; it is tart like an apple or plum perhaps. This is really accentuates that feeling, for me, that this would make a good after meal drink. The acidity almost acts as a digestif for me, it keeps this light enough on the palate to be drinkable, but the rest of the beer keeps this rich enough to be a contemplative after meal treat.

Gueuzedude, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed reddish caramel colour with an off-white head. Fine bubbles, some lacing. Grassy hop aroma with a bit of sour cherries and some barnyard character. Maybe a wisp of caramel as well. Light tartness with mild to moderate bitterness and a chewy malt sweetness. Some yeast character and faint grain husk. Slightly tart finish with a bit of spice and wood character. Some slickness with creamy carbonation and a full body. A very good beer, quite enjoyable.

DrJay, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of Shovelbum
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a healthy off-white head of cream that piles up over a light mahogany body. Head recedes fairly quickly leaving nice whirls of lace on the side of my new La Choulette glass. Aromas of caramel malt waft up from the glasss before I even begin proper olfactory investigation. In addition to the substantial caramel malt there are also nice notes of oak and earth- also a hint of alcohol. The oak notes switch with the malt for the lead in the taste, although there is still a respectable amount of sweet malt in here. What else?! The malt is quite complex—a mixture of sweet biscuits and caramel malt with hints of coffee and vinousity. A nice little Brett tartness as well. Very little if any detectable hop characteristics. Warming alcohol. Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation. Drying finish.

I cellared this one for about 4+ months before I cracked it (not all that long, but it was calling me tonight). The 'fresh' samples I've had were much sweeter and less tart- both excellent, but different. Either way this is one of my favorite of Capt. Ron’s creations, and the beer that turned me on to the Biere de Garde style. That being said this is definitely an outlier for the style—not that it matters or that the jovial yet menacing Jolly Pumpkin gives a damn. The oak aging makes itself far more well-known in this brew than its francophone brethren. It’s also quite a bit darker and perhaps a bit thicker bodied. But again, the Pumpkin could care less—and I’m with him.

Shovelbum, Feb 07, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

cloudy amber colour, lots of lace. Sourness in nose.Wheaty, biere de garde, aggressively carbonated, making for full mouthfeel Well malted more than Jenlain. Bitterness at end.Woodiness. aftertaste I had problems finishing with Dr. Jay and Viggo, but still nice.

Sammy, Feb 07, 2006
Photo of Fugazme
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Gaisgeil!

Pours a deep amber/red with giant, white mountain head... very thick and foamy... sticks to the glass like crazy... leaves rings when swirled.

First whiff was sweet and malty... some decent earth included. Second whiff was more floral and sweet... a touch of hops. Third smell married the two quite nicely with some citrus and some musty/basement odors... nothing offensive, however.

A touch sour flavor with a hint of alcohol on the swallow. Some tea flavors and sweet malt characteristics. A touch bitter from hops... slightly grapefruit in nature. Musty. Applely at points. Dry.

Fugazme, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of frazbri
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Jolly Pumpkin's Biere de Mars poured a beautiful, clear auburn in my chalice, topped by a creamy off-white head. The glass teemed with tiny bubbles that replenished the foam. Aroma had apple notes and an ovearll wine like quality and earthiness as well. Flavor also had apple componants with hints of lemon zest and oak. Carbonation was fairly high and body had substance, though the finsih was dry.

This is another ale from Jolly Pumpkin that is worth seeking. The Biere de Mars really does remind me of a farmhouse ale from the French countryside.

frazbri, Jan 25, 2006
Photo of ppoitras
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a frothy 1 3/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head lasts and lasts, leaving sporadic large hunks of foams on the glass sides. Aroma is spicy breads and yeast, over a lightly fruity maltiness. Taste is similar to the nose, but additionally light woody and sour notes come out, and the close is dry and slightly alcoholic. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and drinkability is very nice as well, as per usual for JP. Another hit here.

ppoitras, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of rajendra82
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From BA TheBlackMallard, this 750 ml bomber was quite exotic looking, especially considering the fact that it originated in Michigan. The reddish amber colored beer that resided in it came out bubbly and foamy, and looked quite at home in a tulip. The aroma was mild but complex, evoking soured cherries, plums, freshly cut oak logs, and oranges. The taste was tart and dry with loads of oak tannins. A flash of lemon sourness mixed with some brown sugar was apparent as well. Balanced delicately between all the flavors so none was dominant, which made it very easy to drink, despite the sawdust dry mouthfeel. In the words of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld, “Wood is Good”.

rajendra82, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of benito
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a beautiful bottle describing it as a "French-style stock ale," this poured a deep amber with good head and lots of carbonation. Held to the light, it reveals hints of auburn and cranberry around the edges
with a bloodred core. I immediately detect aromas of sour cherry, oak, nut, and yeast.

The flavor is a complex mix of a smooth oak-flavored center with a slightly hoppy introduction and finish. Indeed, the sourness and dominant flavors of cherry and dirt are offset by a light effervesence that lightens the overall body and makes this surprisingly drinkable.

This is my favorite of Jolly Pumpkin's offerings: a brew with a complex flavor profile that is well-hopped and entirely quaffable.

benito, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of CortexBomb
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out dark amber witha bone white head. The head is small but sticks around. Smell is lightly fruity, mainly white fruits...pears, green grapes with plenty of malt thrown in for good measure.

The taste starts out with a sweet grape hit which gives way to an almost wine-like off-tang. This segues into a strange hoppish bitter and the malts start showing themselves as well. There is a certain lingering tart, woody aspect amidst all of this, as well as some yeast. The finish is a slight bitter which seems to linger. Pretty good...I would have liked some more intensity in the flavour to really mark this up, but it is decent stuff.

The mouth...medium bodies, medium hops bittering...not bad but nothing really special. Drinkability is only average as the beer seems to lose a lot as it warms, which makes it a suffer.

Overall, a good beer at a cheap price from a local place. Jolly Pumpkin has a certain reputation around this area and this is the first thing that I've tried from them. While it doesn't wow me, it is certainly solid enough and I am definitely willing to give some of their other brews a go.

CortexBomb, Nov 04, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A well made brew from Jolly Pumpkin. Poured out to a hazy burnt orange color with a nice white and orange hued head. Medium high carbonation. Islands of lace are abundant in the glass. Aromas of yeast, rotted fruit, mild roasted malts and grass. Taste was a bit of a let down compared to the smell; flavors of malt, wood, yeast, and sweetness went well together, but overall, this brew seemed like it was missing a piece of the puzzle. Mouthfeel was good and hearty without being over bearingly thick or heavy. A decent level of drinkability overall. This is a good beer de garde, but i've had better. Worth a try.

Frozensoul327, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of nomad
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So hesistant to write a review of this beer, especially because time will change it so much, and already has in it short life...

Pours a deep burgundy with strong brown tones from the wood. Seemingly opaque but up to the light it shows. Heads begins even but can lag in staying put, and lacing is occasional.

Smells of vinous cherries, wood, earthy hops, slightly toasted malt, sparse but effective phenols, and notions of dark fruit. Quite earthy yet showing the beginnings of its Brettanomyces influence.

Taste is quite forward and aggressively complex, so definitely let this one come close to room temperature before cracking. Each sip comes across differently, but a general balance of sweet plum-like malt, strong oaky complexity, slight phenols, low-medium but tart Brettanomyces character, and big earthy hop bitterness and some hop flavor. I hesitate to enumerate more because temperature truly compacts or expands the profile's impact greatly, while aging has begun to lessen the initial sweetness, lower the brunt of the hops, and raise the funk quotient. In the least it is quite toasty/oaky, Brett-laced with sneeky pitted fruit accents, and finishes quite hoppy in a European way, like from Styrian Goldings or Brewer's Gold.

First of all, this beer is fun now, but will get increasingly interesting with age. Its also not necessarily a biere de garde (like Jenlain or Bavay), so don't judge it as such. I'm sure I will greatly edit my review since this a maddeningly complex brew that is guaranteed to change and is built to age.

nomad, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A deep amber, almost red with a slight yeasty turbidity.

An aroma of almonds and raisins, this one is going to be SWEET!

And it was. An elixir of sweet and malty surprises. A very sweet aftertaste as well too. A dessert beer for me.

Upon further aroma detection, I sense some orange peel and floral notes as well.

As I drink my sample, I search hard to find the hops I'm looking for. With an effort, they start to come out, but it's very muted.

Just a little more spice from the hops and this one is fantastic.

Sixpoint, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of xgrigorix
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown 750 ml bottle, no dates.

Burnt amber colour. Dense two fingers of off white foam. Good retentions, leaves some spotty lace clinging lovingly to the glass.

A touch of bannana mingles with a distinct earthiness. Hints of darker fruits lie underneath a sublte but alluring rustic Belgian funk.

Some initial caramel. A subdued complexity that is hard to put into words. The bannana hinted at in the nose becomes quite muted. Some nice plum sort of flavours float around through the middle and lead to a bone dry finish that lingers for a moment and then invites another sip. Some Brett character subtly working its way into the profile. Medium bodied, gentle carbonation. This beer is just crying out to be enjoyed with a meal. Shows some interesting promise for aging. A distinctly American interpretation of biere de garde, that some will treasure (I think you can count me as a fan).

xgrigorix, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 poured into a tulip. ""Beware The Ides of March"- Some guy to some other guy, a long time ago", gives me a good idea of when it was brewed this year. Poured into a tulip.

Burnt amber with a two finger plus head of vanilla that is supported by a steady stream of tiny bubbles. Strong retention with thick, foamy lace.

Green grapes and apples kept ripe inside an old wooden box with a slightly sour note. Dry overall, pleasing with nothing too sharp, but the juice is still there. Sweet, earthy malt underneath.

The taste is very dry. Almost too tart at first, but it fades out into a bitter, almost green, finish that is paired well with a touch of alcohol. Nothing too intense The tart, almost astringent character seems to mellow as this one warms. Fresher juice and some malt come into play.

Mouthfeel starts off malty and a notch above moderate, but the dryness and carbonation clear the palate. I'm left with the impression that this would pair well with a platter of grapes and cheeses such as gouda, baby swiss, baked brie, fresh sliced provalone, and a little stilton to keep it interesting.

I can see this one being a solid session beer when paired with the right grub.

ypsifly, Aug 24, 2005
Photo of walleye
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle (1pt 9.4oz0 bought at a store. poured a reddish color, with a beige head. aroma, sour, orange, floral, as it warms some anise and malt comes out. flavor orange, cherries, caramel , yeast, did get just a touch of wood. nice clean and dry finish.

walleye, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of marburg
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Perhaps the most exciting thing about writing this review is not the beer (though that's exciting to be sure) but rather the idea that I'm putting down thoughts on a beer brewed in Michigan that's guaranteed to improve with age despite its complexity, which is already staggering for an American craft beer.

Dark amber with a fizzy, moderately dense head that rapidly retreats to a patchwork of miniscule bubble colonies.

Wood, brett, and a mild vinous/grape fruit aroma form the semi-sweet base for the nose, which is accented at colder temperatures by a rubbing alcohol booziness and later by a slight lactic acidity.

Dry and, occasionally, bitingly bitter. At times, the potent alcohol overwhelms the nuance, hinting that perhaps this will improve a great deal with age. But at the right, warmer temps, a distinct oak funkiness emerges. Just the tiniest bit of malt sweetness and more potent fruit flavor is immediately wiped away by the varying wild flavors going on throughout the rest of the drink. A bit astringent on the finish. The cleansing, natural, weedy bitterness is balancing and not at all jarring or overtly hoppy.

This is a daunting beverage. I enjoy it a great deal, though I hesitate to sing its praises too loudly until I've tried it again in six months when I think it will be truly amazing. If beers in this spirit comprise the future of American brewing, I'm looking forward to being around for the ride.

marburg, Aug 08, 2005
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Bière De Mars from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
93 out of 100 based on 447 ratings.