Barrels of Fun
"I've always joked about using garlic in a beer," says Jeffries. "It seems like a hard thing to put in a beer." He also was curious if he could use hot peppers without producing a burning sensation in the throat.
Most of Jolly Pumpkin's fare is not quite so zany, although the flavors--spicy, sour, caramel, earthy--are a far cry from large-scale, industrial beers. Craft brewing, says Jeffries, is a combination of art, science, and craft. If you don't understand the science, you can't make a consistent yet distinct beer. And, like many productions, it requires a lot of repetition: cleaning tanks, checking temperatures, filling bottles. Some of Jeffries' beers age for years, so making a profit in the craft industry--which commands only 5 percent of the American beer market--requires careful planning and a keen vision. But it helps to have an adventurous imagination.
[Originally published in May, 2010.]