Jolly Pumpkin brings sour beer, pizza in April

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Detroit — Pucker up: sour beer maker Jolly Pumpkin will open the doors of its new restaurant in Midtown next month.

The pizzeria and brewery will join long-standing breweries Traffic Jam & Snug and Motor City Brewing Works to expand the craft beer pocket in the walkable Canfield and Cass area, which has grown in the past few years. The 5,000-square-foot casual restaurant will offer wood-fired pizza and beverages from Northern United Brewing Company's Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and North Peak Brewing Company.

Northern United Brewing Company co-founder Jon Carlson says the existing beer-based businesses on the block are the reason Jolly Pumpkin wanted to open another location in the area. (There are also Jolly Pumpkin restaurants in Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Dexter, where the whole operation started.)

"What we want to do, at least when we open, is round out the experience. We didn't want to come in and be a Traffic Jam or a Motor City, but the reason we're coming here is because of this neighborhood," Carlson says.

"Those are places that we've been going to for the last 20 years. Then we got lucky enough that a place called Shinola opens up before us, then Willys, Fellow Barber, Run Detroit, Nest, City Bird ... we're the last people to actually come into the neighborhood, so we're lucky."

"But our beer is sour beer," he says, explaining that Jolly Pumpkin offers something different than the other breweries on the block. "It's all aged in oak, it's spicy at times, it's tart, it's sour. It's a very different type of beer and I think it complements what Motor City and Traffic Jam are doing."

When it opens in April, Jolly Pumpkin's Midtown spot will have 32 of its beers on tap, as well as bottled products. Beer will be brewed on site and brought in from the Dexter brewery. There's about a dozen black metal seats at the bar, and additional seating in booths and at long communal tables.

The vibe will be casual and family-friendly. Food is ordered at a counter and customers will seat themselves. The menu is largely pizzas made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The bar and dining area is decorated with artwork from the Jolly Pumpkin beer labels and beautiful hanging lamps with colored glass.

Jolly Pumpkin's Canfield restaurant also has a drive-through window, though it's yet to be determined exactly how it will be used. Customers may park in a lot behind the building.

Those interested in employment at the new Jolly Pumpkin should apply in person at 441 W. Canfield, Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.