Wednesday, February 03, 2016

A Romance of Beers Inspired by Art - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales serve as muse for elaborate label designs

Written by  Paul Starr
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It’s easy to be drawn to Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. One look at the elaborately-designed labels, and you’ll be curious to taste what’s in the bottle. A certain harmony exists between the barrel-aged, sour ales, and the art that represents it, according to those involved in the process.
Adam Forman is our label designer. He’s a tattoo artist turned graphic designer and a long-time friend of Laurie and I,” said Ron Jeffries, Jolly Pumpkin co-founder. “When we launched Jolly Pumpkin and needed an artist to design labels for the beer, we knew just where to turn.”

Detailed and quirky, Forman’s work is reflective of the original barrel-aged, sour ales Jolly Pumpkin is known for brewing. The designs are inspired by the character of each beer and together they tell a story. One of the best examples of this is the Baudelaire series.

The Baudelaire Beer series was inspired by a graphic novel that Forman and Jeffries started years ago. Part of the story includes an older, quixotic man who is fixated on iO, a young girl. These two characters were embodied into the iO Saison and Ale Absurd Rye Tripple-Ale. Barrel-aged with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus, the iO Saison is sweet and beautiful and pours amber in color, highlighted by pink hues when struck by the light. Complemented by the Ale Absurd, bolder of the two beers, it is brewed with rye presenting darker notes and hints of citrus and malt.

“Beer is an art form,” Jeffries added. “It excites our senses and stirs our imagination. Our labels and beer come together in character and taste, allowing our sour ales to take on the creative spirit of their muse and enliven the taste buds and minds of fans.”

The same art that graces the Jolly Pumpkin beer bottles is displayed on the walls inside Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery in Midtown.

“There’s something mysterious about the art. It really adds to the ambiance and feel of the restaurant, while giving patrons an opportunity to reflect on the character of the Jolly Pumpkin brand,” said Shelby Oberstaedt, general manager of Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery.

Since opening in April 2015, the pizzeria and brewery has been an exciting addition to the local community.  “Each batch of Jolly Pumpkin beer takes on its own flavor during the aging process, which makes the beer more interesting and enjoyable for enthusiasts.  You truly experience something unique every time you pick up a tulip glass of Jolly Pumpkin beer,” Obserstadet added. “Locals are really attaching themselves to the restaurant and visiting frequently, just to taste what’s new.”

The Jolly Pumpkin staff in Detroit is expertly trained to help patrons find his or her own beer muse.  Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery is located at 441 W. Canfield in Detroit. Patrons can stop in 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit

About Jolly Pumpkin

Brewmaster Ron Jeffries operates Northern United Brewing Company’s Jolly Pumpkin line of sour beers aged in oak barrels, brewed in Dexter, Mich. and collaborates with the North Peak family of beers. Jeffries initially established the lines as Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in 2004 – the first brand of its kind to foray into a line of all-sour ales. The brand is distributed nationwide and available at the company’s four restaurant locations, its Dexter tap room, the Ann Arbor café and brewery, the Traverse City brewery and beginning in April 2015, the Detroit pizzeria and brewery. Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery is located at 441 W. Canfield, Detroit, Mich. 48201. For more information about Jolly Pumpkin visit  and visit Jolly Pumpkin on Facebook, Twitter @ jollypumpkindet.

Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr is the creator of the I'm a Beer Hound and one of the organizer and the driving force behind Art & Craft Beerfest, Lansing Beer Fest, Beerfest at the Ballpark Spring & Fall. When he's not working on Beer Hound he's probably watching the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings. Being a recent new Dad of twins, he doesn't have much extra time these days for mischief.