“It’s not fall at Terrapin until we can fill our steins with Pumpkinfest.”- Terrapin website, describing Terrapin Pumpkinfest, their fall seasonal pumpkin ale. Maybe that’s the reason that it’s still in the 90s as we approach the latter third of September here in Georgia. There’s no fall because this year, because Terrapin Pumpkinfest is listed as “retired” currently on the brewery webpage.
Terrapin may not be alone in suspending or cutting back production on pumpkin beers. The pumpkin beer craze (part of the pumpkin everything craze actually) is in some state of decline, and breweries seem to anticipate lower sales. All is not lost, however, as Terrapin has a replacement fall beer for you: Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest.
Before we get into my thoughts on the beer, I’ll share this much: there’s a lot more of cranberry than pumpkin to Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest. I spied it at my local Kroger and nabbed a six-pack of cans, and tried one the first chance I got. A week or so later I was at Total Wine, and a gal was asking one of the sales reps there about it. He was telling her how it was packed with cranberry and pumpkin pie flavor, which certainly was not my experience. It can be a lot of fun listening to the silly things some beer salespeople say, and you should try it some time.
From the Terrapin website:
Cranberry Pumpkinfest is brewed with traditional pumpkin pie spices and contains real cranberry juice for just the right amount of tartness. We add pumpkin to the mash for yet another layer of flavor for a beer that is reminiscent of the upcoming season.
Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest has an alcohol content of 5.5% by volume with 20 IBUs. I paid $9.99 for my six-pack.
Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest pours to a murky orange red color with a thick spritzy but short lived head and a luscious tangy nose of tart cranberry with a hint of pumpkin pie spice. Taking a sip, the tart cranberry really steals the show and I love that! You get some drying spice, nutmeg and cinnamon to my taste, and a little squashy pumpkin underneath, but mostly cranberry. Its bright and juicy and finishes the beer with a huge tart quenching finish.
Our friendly neighborhood beer salesman would have done better to explain that this beer was cranberry dominated with a bit less pumpkin pie character. To me, the beer was not unlike that last morsel of pumpkin pie on your holiday plate that gets eaten with a blob of cranberry sauce three times its size. And that’s OK, because I love cranberry. I’ve always maintained that Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic could use more cranberry character; that’s certainly not a comment I would make about Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest.
Try it. You’ll like it. I did.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.