La Roja
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

La RojaLa Roja
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Sour - Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #25
Ranked #5,162
4.06 | pDev: 12.07%
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Michigan, United States
La RojaLa Roja
Notes: An artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice, and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age from two to ten months.
Reviews: 798 | Ratings: 2,023 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From untappd... I had this beer at the brewery
The beer is pretty sour and tart but with lots of fruity sweet cherry. Had a medium dry body with a lighter carb.

Jun 19, 2021
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stcules from Italy

3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red, clean. A veil of foam.
In the smell acetic notes, with red fruit, wood, cherry stone. Fruitiness of cherry, sour cherry, a bit of raspberry.
Dry, acetic taste, wood and tannins, again red fruit and cherry stone.
A bit of astringency.
Very dry, very good.
Tannins and fruitiness in the aftertaste too, with acetic spikes.
Very well balanced. Great.

Apr 07, 2020
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip. Date on the back stamped "08/16/2018."
The appearance was a rugged muddy amber color with a slight transparency about it. Thin white film of a head stays on top throughout my sips. Just some spotty legs of lace here and there.
The aroma had some balsamic vinegar sour character running through some Belgian malts and tart dark and red fruits, soft lemon pulp confiscates the backbone. Keen earthy hop structure. Tart fruit skin.
The flavor leads with the sour vinegar tones while pulling in some Belgian malty crackery tones with some clean caramel hints. Clean Belgian malty and vinegary sour aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a kind sipping quality about it. Carbonation seemed like it was starting to fall off but didn't seem to effect much of any of the aspects of this beer. Awesome finish of caramel dry malts with balsamic vinegar and red fruit skin tartness.
Overall, Flanders Red Ale, yup, I'd absolutely say so and definitely want again.

Oct 27, 2019
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snaotheus from Washington

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I think it was poured from a bottle at E9. Tried it when I was there for Zwanze Day.

Kind of a muddy peach color, smallish head. Flavor was moderately tart, strongest thing that came across to me was fruit skin bitterness. Was pretty good, but didn't stand out much to me.

Sep 29, 2019
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npolachek from New York

4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Red colored beer with a great taste of beer funk. Good sour, but not too sour. Some solid dankness making this similar to a beligan style brew with some extra elements.

Aug 04, 2019
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TheSixthRing from California

4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From tasting notes 03/03/18
Had on-tap at HopCat in Ann Arbor, MI

Appearance - Served in a 12oz snifter, slight haze and reddish copper in color with a thin, broken layer of suds sitting atop with a thin ring encircling the edge of the glass. No lace.

Smell - The aroma is mildly tart and sweet with cherry, berry and a hint of funk. 

Taste - Follows the nose. Flavorful and equally sweet as tart, hitting mostly on cherry character with lesser berry. Minimal funk. Hints of oak emerge mid-taste and strengthen into the finish. Aftertaste lingers with pleasant cherry tartness and woody oak.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with spritzy, bitey carbonation. Slick upfront before a dry, biting champagne like finish.

Overall - A really easy, relatively balanced flanders red that doesn't get overrun by tartness. One I would drink time and time again.

May 26, 2018
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750ml bottle into glass. Label is stamped bottled on date of '06/09/2017',
Medium amber colored body, with just a hint of red. Totally murky body. Any head quickly dissipates to thin ring. No lacing.
Aroma of berry fruit, mated with cherry. Funk and oak also.
Tart, sour taste of berry. Just a touch of sweetness but strongly countered with the sour. Lots of oak tannins. Caramel and spice are complimentary, but this is touched with the sour. Leather and funk are there too.
Medium mouth feel, which is greatly influenced by the sour nature of the beer.
From the appearance, aroma, and taste, this is a sour beer through and through. A good example of a sour beer, with funk, without fruit added. An excellent and well done barrel aged beer, then bottle fermented.

Feb 11, 2018
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Mister56 from Texas

4.93/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you're considering a sour beer this is an awesome sour. I have a drank several dozens of sours and this is one of my favorites. Everyone has a different pallet, but this one has a good balance and is not overpowering in any direction.

Jul 04, 2017
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft, in a tulip glass

dark amber in color, white head - good head retention. tart aroma. taste is fruity with a sharp acidic bite, but not too strong. refreshing. medium bodied.

Jan 15, 2017
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Nife from California

4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice beer. VeryComplex taste. Based on a Flanders red but much less sweet and more complex than most examples. Tastes like a combination of yeast consistent A wild ale. Finishes w small sour. Getting a small vegetal aroma- but it's cold here, may be stronger when it warms up. Very interesting and enjoyable. Would order again.

Dec 16, 2016
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MaltyPythonsHopCircus from Canada (BC)

4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of Belgian yeast aroma notes. Bubblegum and clove. Flavour is very approachable with a mellow sourness bordering on savoury. Finishes with assertive wood notes

Dec 06, 2016
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joemochas from Florida

4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 17 from 9/16/11. Delicious, way better than fresh. The flavors really explode on the tongue with this one. I'd never had one aged before, and this was excellent.

Oct 01, 2016
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jzlyo from Iowa

4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is cherries/berries, big funk/Brett and a hint of earthiness. The flavor is berries/fruit, mild sweetness, slight earthiness and big funk/Brett tartness in the finish.

Jun 11, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

La Roja is a good example of admiring an ale even if you don't like the style.
Of the beers I've rated on BA, only .45% are Flanders Reds. Hardly a go-to for me.
Yet, I do force my mind open enough to enjoy the better ones... and they do pair well with some foods, like salads and cheeses. (This La Roja went well with pasta and a red sauce, so my tolerance must be improving as I age.)

And while the Flanders Red delicacy is still not for me, its fans have a point. Blending different vintages is an art. Making the tart less so is not easy. But, it is done well in La Roja. While it finishes a bit too acidic for me to drink a lot of, foods save my stomach from the acidity. So my lesson is: if drinking a Flanders Red, eat.

Listed in the "1001" and reviewed by the venerable Randy Mosher, La Roja certainly deserves to be on the list as does Jolly Pumpkin. RM makes the point that in 2004, JP's business strategy was a big risk because of the difficulty in delivering a consistent product to this market niche. Fifteen years later, this blended product is consistent and it helped grow its market considerably. Mission accomplished.

Apr 25, 2016
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GreatStoutman from Texas

4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This was my first venture into sours, and its still one of my favorites. A spicy version of a Flanders Red, its something I make a point to seek out every time I'm back in Michigan.

Jan 12, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Looks like a red ale. Very thin, off white head just under 1/6". Hits all the flanders notes, medley of wood, malt and tartness.

Taste was solid, the tartness took hold, plenty of cherrywood notes. The base beer has ample toffee to be there but not obtrusive. Drying wood notes and tannins in the mouthfeel.

A good, but expensive beer. Better options are Cuvee des Jacobins or Oude Tart, but this is what I would call leader of the pack 2nd tier flanders.

Jan 03, 2016
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BeerSamurai34 from Texas

3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was good but drank a little boozier than I expected. It came off almost like a barrel aged sour. That isn't a bad thing, but I felt like something was a bit off. The flavor was nice but there was a weird combination that didn't work on every level.

Dec 22, 2015
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MIbeer27 from Michigan

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Blend 13, bottled 03-04-2014.

Pour into snifter with a murky dull red and shortly lived, half-finger white head.

Aroma of huge oak with touches of earth, tart cherry, vanilla, and vinegar.

Taste leads with mouth-coating cherry tartness, which is more sour than the aroma led me to believe. As it warms, this tartness is subdued. The earthiness, oak, vanilla, and vinegar are all there in supporting roles. The lingering aftertaste is that of red wine.

Mouthfeel is solidly medium with prickly-at-times carbonation. Sourness is on the lower end of medium.

Overall, La Roja was a nice introductory sour. While I admittedly am a novice to sours, I feel like this showed off what a no-frills, barrel-aged sour is all about.

Oct 17, 2015
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drtth from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer was from Blend 8, bottled in June, 2011, just a tad over 4 years ago and has been sitting quietly in the basement waiting for this particular evening.

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear reddish brown color with reasonable carbonation. The 1/4" head is a light ivory color with lots of varied shaped bubbles that soon settles to a ring, an irregular island of foam with an extra bit of thickness in one area. Eventually all that remains is a small island over the nucleation point. There are several small speckles of foam on the glass. Sipping creates several small patches and speckles of lacing even towards the end of the beer..

The aromas include tart cherry, a touch of vinegar and some clear musty, funky character from the yeast. There is also a touch of oak in the background. There is enough of that musty smell that it is sometimes noticeable in the room even two feet away from the glass.

The flavors are pretty much what is expected from the nose and include some tart cherry, a touch of vinegar, a bit of funkiness and some astringent character. However, the oak seems to have disappeared behind the tart/sour flavors.

The mouth feel is light bodied with a slight crispness from the faint prickly carbonation. The finish is relatively long and begins in the tart cherry vinegar flavor that rapidly fades leaving at first some tartness and finally a faint astringent quality that lingers in the back of the throat for quite a while.

Overall this is a well made beer, which is what I've come to expect from Jolly Pumpkin. The beer seems to be a reasonable expression of the style. While it is a bit pricy for regular drinking I could see having it as a special treat or a companion to certain kinds of food with dinner, e.g., salads involving green apples and blue cheese. Based on my experiences with other Jolly Pumpkin beers I also don't think this beer has improved with age. So I think this particular bottle may be a bit past its peak and on a slow slide downhill.

Aug 03, 2015
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Jasonclick from Florida

3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

aroma: a medium vinegar and medium grape aroma.
appearance: reddish copper in color. no head. appears flat.
taste: slightly tart on the back of the tongue. . has a grape / wine like taste. A little on the sweet side
mouthfeel: no carbonation to speak of... almost flat. Has a medium mouthfeel but slightly watery at the same time. The lack of carbonation makes the sweetness linger on the touge.
Overall: would be better if the carbonation was higher to balance out the sweetness. Nice tartness.

Jul 31, 2015
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bnes09 from Illinois

3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber color with a murky haze. Clean, berry, vinegar aroma. Flavor is mildly tart. Hint of fruit and oak. Deep earthy funk. Not the greatest balance. Medium bodied. Finishes flat and watery. Low carbonation. As far as sour reds go, it's just ok.

Jul 28, 2015
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irrevjim from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a copper red with a thin layer of head
smell of sour cherries, a hint of oak and a hint of cider vinegar and sugar
i don't know what i like so much about the taste, sour cherries and vinegar, some grassyness and malty caramel at the end but the sour cherry stays, it's not a pucker up sour but a nice decidedly sour balance.i am a fan of sours and this one makes me very happy.
feels like just the right amount of small bubbles to enhance the flavors happening, very alive but not too carbonated, medium to large body
i really like this as an interesting hard to nail down very rewarding brew, wish i had the chops for giving it a proper review, also love that it's now available in 12.68 (why 12.68) oz bottles so not to much commitment and less of a hit on the wallet.

Jul 07, 2015
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer blurs the line between styles and falls short of what could be a better beer. Not as sour as other Jolly Pumpkin offerings. Not one that I would buy again.

Jun 24, 2015
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303beer from Colorado

3.64/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful red color. Total sour smell. Wasn't expecting this because the bottle says artisan amber ale. Semi cloudy with small floating debris. Hardly any head when poured. Damn that's a sour for sure. Not bad but it's for sure sour.

Jun 16, 2015
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leaddog from Canada (AB)

4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a copper red with a finger of bubbly tan head.

Smell - tart cherries, oak cask aromas, caramel, spices, apple cider vinegar, earthy hops.

Taste - Starts off with the tart cherries then goes into the apple cider vinegar and the caramel sweetness. The oak cask aromas, spices, and touch of earthy hops help round out the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes sweet from the cherries and then sour.

Overall - A unique and well made beer from Jolly Pumpkin. I like the fact that the sourness doesn't overpower the beer itself and the sweetness is just at the perfect level. A well executed beer. One to try if you haven't yet.

Jun 14, 2015
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2023 ratings