My husband found that the Golden Dragon, that evening's cask ale, shared a similar fresh, smooth organic flavor with those he had enjoyed in England. Most of the draft beers also elicited glowing reviews. A friend found Bam Biere, Jolly Pumpkin's signature brew, citrusy, refreshing, and nicely hoppy. Another, who tried the sampler--an incredible value at $7 for five choices--preferred the Diabolical IPA as richer and rounder than the Bam Biere or the Siren Amber Ale, but others at the table thought the IPA exceedingly bitter. Even I enjoyed the Chocolate Stout, which was chewy and pleasantly bitter, with a delicious roasted coffee/chocolate background. The Noel de Calabaza also surprised me, tasting fruity, green, and almost winey. Another night, a bottled beer, Baudelaire Ale Absurd, with 8.5 percent alcohol, was the crowd favorite, while the group found the gluten-free draft, chosen by a beer lover newly diagnosed as sensitive, overly hoppy and bitter.
The Jolly Pumpkin's wood bar, bench seats, and wainscoting are warm and attractive, and the light fixtures--Moroccan-inspired glass pendants and kitchen-art chandeliers--give a whimsical touch. Family and travel photos and large renditions of the strange labels that adorn Jolly Pumpkin's bottled beers litter the long walls. High ceilings and hard surfaces mean the restaurant can become very noisy on a busy night, but the overall feeling is congenial and friendly.