For The Best Belgian Beer, Go To ... Michigan?

Ron Jeffries owns Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. i i

Ron Jeffries owns Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Noah Adams/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Noah Adams/NPR
Ron Jeffries owns Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.

Ron Jeffries owns Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.

Noah Adams/NPR

When The New York Times published a ranking of Belgian-style beer — based on a blind taste test — the top spot went to a golden ale from a small brewery in Michigan.

Oro de Calabaza, from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Mich., beat out 19 other beers, several of them from — you guessed it — Belgium.

The beer is the work of Ron Jeffries, who owns Jolly Pumpkin. He had worked nine years for brew pubs before deciding it was time to start his own brand.

And how did he decide on a name like Jolly Pumpkin?

After he and his wife brainstormed brand-name ideas, Jeffries says, "The absolutely most ridiculous name on that list was 'jolly pumpkin,' and it made us laugh every time we would say it."

The name stuck. And now his Oro de Calabaza is taking top honors.

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