Situated on the west coast of Old Mission Peninsula in the Grand Traverse Bay Jolly Pumpkin has a location few breweries can match. I was excited to go here on a recent day trip with my girlfriend. It wasn't the best part of my day but my complaints were few. JP describes the location as "historically situated among the generous cherry orchards and distinguished lakes of northern Michigan. Inspired by natural surroundings, our esteemed restaurant and brewery offers a rustic atmosphere marked by fireside warmth and earthy woods in a comfortable cottage like setting." This is an apt description of the structure but some good and bad things happened once I got inside.
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The menu was good. The food was good. The service was better than expected. They even suprised me by having some rare Biere De Mars Grand Reserva for sale. My table had a nice view. The wings game was on every TV I could see. What could be the problem? It's the beer.
No I know Jolly Pumpkin beers are naturally fermented. What's your beef then? My beef was the number of beers on tap. They had 2 Jolly Pumpkin beers on tap, Bam and Bam Noire. They had four north peak beers on tap. North Peak being their 'clean' beer brand. It's spring why wasn't their spring seasonal on tap? How about other year round beers like La Roja? Perhaps something unique and special like Sombre Humano? Negative.
So Bam Noire was good I only had a glass because none of my favorites were on tap. I've had bam beer and I like it but not $5-7.50 per glass like it. I can get it at any number of stores in my area for $7.50 a 22 oz. The dark Bam beer was more brown than black, and had nice flavors. Any sour flavors were subdued by musky funk and stronger grain characteristics. The thin wispy head is a give away for how little body this had despite being a brownish beer. Bam Noire might better be classified as Bam Rouge or Bam Brune.
So would I recommend it? Yes/no. Yes it was a pleasant place with good food and good service. They had pizzas, smoked food, and upscale american options. The food was reasonably priced. The beers weren't tragically expensive. They have a good bottle selection of jolly pumpkin and north peak as well as some Artisan Spirits if that is your sort of thing. The no comes from would I recommend it as a beer destination? No, they only had 6 beers on tap. I have 2 beers on tap in my apartment.