In order to free themselves of the glut of pumpkin beers that seems to grow with each Fall season, many breweries go above and beyond in order to separate themselves from their like-minded peers. Some simply relay on crafting a well balanced brew, some utilize foreign yeast strains and others opt to forgo the traditional route of using an ale base and combine the Autumnal fruit with a different genre of beer.
Terrapin Brewing falls into that last category with Pumpkinfest, a 6.1% ABV Marzen style brew that brings the spices and pumpkin of your typical seasonal release to a wonderfully malty party. This beer has wonderful balance between the adjuncts, the malt blend (Munich, Vienna, Munich II, Caramunich II, Melanoiden) and a combination of hops (Vanguard, Hallertau Hersbrucker) that gives a subtle tingle to a smooth drinking experience.
The brew pours a bright amber in color with a cap of off-white foam that fell to a decent ring.
A solid lager character with plenty of toasted malt and caramel arrive with a moderate amount of pumpkin and a smooth spice presence. The beer has got an earthy character and smells nicely balanced.
Pumpkinfest starts off with a great malt driven flavor as toasted bread and caramel arrive first, followed quickly (and smoothly) by a pumpkin and spices. Neither the pumpkin nor spice blend become too aggressive like some pumpkin-driven beers, but instead compliment the malt in a nicely balanced fashion. The lasting finish is clean with a touch of hop bitterness.
This is certainly a pumpkin beer that leans heavily toward the malt side of any spectrum of flavor. It’s incredibly well balanced and goes down quite smoothly. I ended up buying more of Pumpkinfest after the review was initially done early last month. It’s also a beer that I will be expecting to stock my fridge with next year.