My boss called me into his office again to present me with another assignment: Drink this 750ml bottle of Bam Noire from the Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Brewery, in Michigan, and write about it. Not being one to argue, that’s what I did. The bottle has a picture of a winged dog creature that looks like a Ralph Steadman drawing (beer drinkers, you will recognize this artist from the labels on bottles of beer from the Flying Dog brewery).
Bam Noire is described as a “Dark Farmhouse Ale.” It was a very dark, slightly cloudy brown when I poured the beer, cold out of the fridge, into a Belgian style beer glass. The head was very lively with tight, tan bubbles that filled half the glass. Definitely a beer you need to tilt your glass to 45-degrees to pour and probably would be a good idea to open the bottle over a sink. I did not get much nose other than a slight citrus peel, yeasty smell, but that may have been because I was pouring it right out of the fridge and did not let it warm up at all. I certainly did not get the, “Aromas of worn leather and cool autumn nights” as described on the company website and I am not sure I would have drank the beer if I did. Seriously, who wants to drink something that smells like worn leather?
I can best describe the taste as weird. Not a bad weird, just something I was not expecting, nor had ever had before in a beer. So, maybe “unique” is a better word. Right up front, you get a very strong white wine citrus taste from the yeast that is then overlaid with the roasted, slightly-chocolate flavor of dark malt that fades back to a sour citrus with a hint of hops. It was like a beer built on top of a base of Pinot Grigio wine, like I said – unique. I expected a noticeably high alcohol content and taste, but it was absent and I assumed by the style it was about 6%, but was quite surprised when I checked online and found it to be just 4.3%. I would definitely like to try this beer again, but I would let the bottle warm up, outside the fridge, to about 50-degrees before drinking. Truly a unique beer that pairs very well with foods. I enjoyed it with some brie, fresh local apples and green olives stuffed with blue cheese.
[techtags: BAM NOIRE, BEER, BEER REVIEW, JOLLY PUMPKIN BREWERY]