What it is: Breweries are increasingly employing the word "artisan" to describe themselves — actually, it seems to be happening across food and beverage — but one of the first was Dexter, Mich.'s Jolly Pumpkin. And for good reason. Jolly Pumpkin's line of farmhouse ales evoke both classic beer-making practices (such as bottle conditioning and wood aging) as well as a simple, beautiful rusticity. It doesn't mess around with India pale ales and whatever beer style happens to be in at a given moment; Jolly Pumpkin sticks largely to what it does exceedingly well, and Bam Biere is a stellar example that happens to be just right for summer.
In the bottle: A cloudy, lovely golden-yellow, Bam Biere bursts with a web of earthy flavors: lemon, rind, straw, hay and a touch of oak (all Jolly Pumpkin beers are oak aged), which reveals a bit of a tart tealike character as the beer warms. Because Bam Biere is bottle conditioned (that is, carbonated in the bottle), it presents an aggressive carbonation that makes those complex flavors all the brighter. Bam Biere is layered and complex, but at its relatively low alcohol percentage, approachably refreshing.
Alcohol: 4.5 percent
Drink it with: Bam Biere is a versatile food beer that can ride alongside a shrimp salad just as easily as a pizza.
Find it: Bam Biere is one of the easiest-to-find Jolly Pumpkin beers; it's available year-round in 375 milliliter bottles at better beer stores.
More information: http://www.jollypumpkin.com