Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire Beer iO Saison

By: Benjamin Welton

He was lazy, bad with money, hopelessly romantic, and thoroughly dedicated to poetry. In short, he’s the archetype—the boldfaced caricature of any pretentious graduate student in the humanities. His name is Charles Baudelaire, and despite dying in 1867, he is still very much a part of our shared culture in the West. For us Americans, Baudelaire, an unrepentant Frenchman whose politics can best be found in the personage of the arch monarchist Joseph de Maistre, deserves a special place of appreciation because he was one of the first to recognize the unique genius of Edgar Allan Poe.

While lovers of literature have much to fawn over with Baudelaire, beer snobs and other hopheads probably would’ve hated the genuine article. While living in exile in Belgium (an exile brought about because he was dodging landlords and debt collectors), Baudelaire sent letters back to friends in Paris bemoaning the lack of culture in Brussels. Baudelaire especially hated the Belgian love of beer, for the drink made him sick.

Ironic then that Dexter, Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisian Ales decided to name one of their saisons after the great French decadent. Even more tragicomic is that this beer, which clearly seeks to sing the praises of Baudelaire whilst appealing to the palette of beer aficionados across the world, is actually pretty terrible. I think it might have given me the colic, too.


First Impression: Three words: head, head, head. No, this is not my attempt at an Al Snow revival, but it is rather a diatribe against the Baudelaire Beer iO Saison’s ridiculous amount of foam. Since I drank my portion of this beer from a 25.4 oz. bottle, I initially assumed that my foam ocean was the usual first start to an otherwise thinner, more drinkable remainder. No such luck. This beer is too much foam, period.

Pour: Again: foam, foam, foam. Other than this, the beer does exude a pleasant smell, with hints of berries, rose petals, and hibiscus. I smells like tea, but its copper coloring helps to give this beer a rustic feel that weakens its overall effeminacy. This is an interesting mixture and it gives the beer a unique character.

Taste: Unfortunately, this unique character cannot make one forget the dreadful flavor. Initially tart then saccharine, this beer is sugary sweet but it will make you pucker with distaste. The Baudelaire Beer iO Saison is also over-carbonated, thus giving it unwanted similarities with soda pop. I don’t know about you, but I want to know when I am drinking a beer. So, accordingly, I’ll have a Porkslap and just stick to reading Baudelaire instead.

Grade: D

ABV: 6.8%

IBU: 15

Jolly Pumpkin Saison