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Jolly Pumpkin Old Mission

September 20, 2014

  • Jolly Pumpkin13512 Peninsula Drive
  • Traverse City, MI 49686
  • (231) 223-4333
  • Website
  • Menu

Our beer tour of Traverse City continued after we left Mission Point Lighthouse.  It was around lunch time and J asked where were going to eat.  There was a brewery on the way back, so..duh…we were going to another brewery.

Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Brewery, and Distillery is right on the Old Mission Peninsula on Peninsula Drive just a stone’s throw from Bower’s Harbor which is part of the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay.  It shares some land with Mission Table which was waaaay to fancy for the three of us and not open for lunch anyway.

For being away from town, I was actually surprised at how many people were there at just a little after noon.  I noticed we were joined by a few people we saw at the light house, but there also looked to be a good number of regulars and locals as well.

Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak Brewing work together under an umbrella corporation and share brewing facilities in Dexter.  It took me the longest time to figure out why there was so much North Peak gear on display when we walked in.  As we walked to the hostess, I noticed a lot of North Peak merchandise and thought that was a little odd because there didn’t seem to be a lot of Jolly Pumpkin which would have made more sense.  

A hostess took us to a booth near the back of the log cabin style dining room.  As is the case with a lot of breweries, Jolly Pumpkin had a great, rustic atmosphere.

They didn’t have a lot of Jolly Pumpkin beers on tap which is actually fine at this stop because I don’t drink a lot of Jolly Pumpkin.  They make sour beers which are something I haven’t really gotten in to yet.  They had only four Jolly Pumpkin options plus a number of North Peak and Old Mission Brewing beers to choose from.

I started off with one of their more popular beers, Bam Biere.  It’s a Saison that comes in a 12 oz. glass and it’s one of the medal winners taking home the bronze in the Session Beer category at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival.

J was happy to see something on tap that she was really hoping to be on tap the night before at our visit to North Peak.  Jolly Pumpkin had Nomad which is North Peak’s cider.  It’s a dry hard cider that’s made with locally grown apples on the Old Mission Peninsula. Typically J prefers sweet over dry, but she liked this and was happy to see a cider on tap.

The lunch menu at Jolly Pumpkin is upscale bar food.  I ordered the American Wagyu Beef Burger.  Wagyu beef is so damn tasty, so I was looking forward to this.  The beef is hand pattied and char-grilled then topped with Wisconsin cheddar, arugula, and a siracha mayo (which I left off).  Damn, this burger was good.  It was served on an artisan roll that was light and airy.  Not always my favorite, but good with this burger.  The sandwich also comes with fries.  They were a little plain being what looked just to be skin-on fries, but nonetheless, they were delicious.

J selected the Cheesy BLT.  This sandwich looked amazing when it was set down in front of her.  It had more bacon than anyone should eat in one sitting (and fortunately J felt the same way and gave me some for my burger…win for me 🙂 ), tomatoes, baby greens, Leelanau raclette, and Swiss cheese on grilled sourdough.  It also comes with Amber Ale mayo on the side which J had already been introduced with a plate of home made kettle chips to snack on while we were waiting.  She likes LIGHT mayo on her sandwiches and getting it on the side allowed her to decide how much mayo she needed.  It also came with the same fries I got with my burger.  As she was able to speak between bites, she told me this sandwich was by far the best BLT she has ever had.

We let L order her own meal after telling her what the options were.  She told the waitress she wanted the mac ‘n cheese and she made a good choice.  The kid’s mac ‘n cheese is penne pasta covered in a very cheesy three cheese sauce.  L ate about 3/4 before telling the waitress her belly was full.  J and I each took a couple bites but we were so stuffed neither of us could finish it.

While eating, I finished off my first beer and the waitress asked if I was interested in a second.  I decided to try another and ordered the Weizen Bam Biere.  This is a summer release beer spiced with banana, cloves, and nutmeg.  It was pretty delicious even if my palate is still not used to the sour beer Jolly Pumpkin delivers.

Our bill was just under $50 with the three beers.  Once again, we found an amazing brewery serving up great food.  Jolly Pumpkin wasn’t even on my radar when we first started planning the Traverse City trip until I realized we were going to be really close to it when we went out to Mission Point Lighthouse.  Very happy I noticed it on the map.  It gave me a chance to try a couple new styles of beer plus we had a fantastic meal that left us all telling our waitress that our “belly’s full.”

Jolly Pumpkin

Jolly Pumpkin

Home made kettle chips w/Amber Ale Mayo

Jolly Pumpkin

Bam Biere

Jolly Pumpkin


Jolly Pumpkin

American Wagyu Beef Burger w/Fries

Jolly Pumpkin

Cheesy BLT w/Fries

Jolly Pumpkin

Kid’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Jolly Pumpkin

Weizen Bam Biere

Jolly Pumpkin on Urbanspoon

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