Beers We’ve Loved & Lost 001: Pretty Things Jack d’Or

It was an amazing run, that of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project. With their whimsical imagery, and spot on beer quality, as well as their creative bent, Dann and Martha Holley-Paquette took the Boston beer scene on a wild ride for seven lovely years.

Dann was a Boston area brewing mainstay for over 20 years, and also brewed professionally in Yorkshire, England; which, just so happens, in where Martha is from! She had moved to the US to further her scientific research career, but met Dann, and the rest, as they say, was history. 


From Our Finest Regards, to Baby Tree (who can forget that label?), Meadowlark IPA, Fluffy White Rabbits, and their Once Upon a Time series, this “project” brewery certainly churned out some special beer. But it was their first beer, Jack d’Or, that for me, was always the diamond in the rough. Jack d’Or, or Jack of Gold, was a Belgian-style Saison; the main character, Jack, was a simple grain of barley, complete with a mustache, and an unwavering commitment to making the “sacrifice” needed to brew Jack d’Or. The phrase, “Jack d’Or Must Die”, came about from the feeling that Dann and Martha had about Jack; he was the unifying force behind all of the Pretty Things, they said. And, it was a pretty sure bet that once plunged into a boiling brew kettle, Jack most certainly would perish. All in the name of one amazing and quirky beer!


Jack d’Or poured a yellowish-gold color, with a full and pillowy white head. Aromas of citrus peel, black pepper, and an earthy hop nose were prevalent. Jack d’Or was quite dry, yet at the same time, had a smooth and rounded mouthfeel, likely due to the oats used in the recipe. There was a bit of a tangy quality to the beer, thanks in part to a touch of wheat. A lemony, grassy hop character was just right, and balanced so well with the dry finish of the beer. Even better, was being able to drink this beer in one of Pretty Things’ iconic glasses.        

Jack d’Or was one of the most perfect beers I’d ever had. It was the kind of beer that I could drink for any occasion, anywhere, with any food, and be so absolutely content. As a retailer, it was a joy to sell. To be able to tell the story of the beer, and to introduce people to Pretty Things, is still one of the biggest highlights of my beer store life!


Dann and Martha called it a “Project” for a reason; as they said, “All projects end.” And with that, came the end of Jack d’Or, and Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, in November of 2015. There is still a cardboard cut-out of Jack hanging on our wall, and a “Jack d’Or Must Die” poster on the ceiling. There is still glassware in our cabinet. Who knew a tiny grain of barley would have such a lasting impression . . . Cheers to you, Jack d’Or!


For those of you wishing to rekindle the Pretty Things feeling, check out Dann and Martha’s newest adventure, St. Mars of the Desert, located in Sheffield, England. If you find yourself in the UK, they should be open soon, and I for one, can’t wait to go visit!

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