With Thanksgiving on the horizon and the Christmas season all but knocking down your door, I wanted to squeeze one last fall themed beer in before it’s all Christmas trees and Santa Claus for the remainder of 2009. So while we enjoy what may seem like our last free weekend of the aughts, it only seemed appropriate to grab something that fits with the harvest, fall and of course, Thanksgiving. With that in mind, my Beer of the Week is Terrapin’s Pumpkinfest.
I have always wanted to brew a traditional Octoberfest for the Fall season, but it seems that these darn pumpkin beers are all the rage right now.
So… keeping up with Terrapin’s out of the box brewing tradition, I have decided to brew a beer that combines both of these delicious brewing styles.
Side Project #8, “Pumpkinfest” is a traditional Octoberfest brewed with over 1 pound of pumpkin per barrel along with pumpkin spices.
All of the malt of a German Fest beer and all the spice of Grandma’s pumpkin pie!
Eat it up! Spike
Malts: Munich, Vienna, Munich II, Catamunich II, Melanoiden
Hops: Vanguard, Hallertau Hershrucker
Spices: Cinnamon, Ginger, All Spice, Cloves
Pumpkin fest is another release under their Side Project label and checks in at Volume 8. If you’re unfamiliar with the Side Projects, they are opportunities for brewer Spike Buckowski to venture away from the regular Terrpin lineup and really get creative (as if their ventures with Left Hand and the Reunion For Hope aren’t enough).
I have to make a confession. When I opened the Pumpkinfest, I hadn’t bothered to read the label. I’ve had enough pumpkin spiced ales to know what the story is. Basically, tell me the ABV and I can get an idea of how intense, sweet and spiced the beer might be. Well, I should have read the label.
Based on my expectations, I poured Pumpkinfest into a nice wide tulip glass I like to use for big rich ales. The flavor was intensely pumpkin with a rich malt backbone but without the usually intense spicing that goes with it. The cliche for pumpkin beers is “pumpkin pie in a glass,” but this was different. The spice didn’t overpower. The pumpkin actually stands out above the malt and the malt is clean and sweet, giving the beer certain decadence. I’d never experienced something like this with a pumpkin ale. That’s because Pumpkinfest is a lager.
Now it all makes sense. A blend of the seasonal pumpkin ale style with the oktoberfest märzen takes the best of both worlds and combines it into one sensational beer.
Now you may be asking where to get this beer. Sadly, it’s going to be pretty tough to buy at this point and you’d have to be in the Terrapin areas even if it were still available. So why do I write about it? It’s time for Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for good beer being brewed around the country. I’m thankful for friends willing to send me beer they know I’m anxious to try (Thanks Dave.) I’m thankful for my readers who give me a chance to share my experiences. Mostly, I’m thankful for my family, my wife, my daughter, for everything else in life that doesn’t involve the economy these days.
So this weekend, make your Beer of the Week one that you can raise a pint of and be thankful. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.