Glassware: As with all beers that feature spices, the aroma is important. Cranberry Pumpkinfest has a large pumpkin spice presence and to fully taste the depth of this beer proper glassware is a must. A snifter glass is preferable however a nonic pint glass will also suffice.
Description: Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest pours a dark amber color with a thick creamy beige head that leaves a very thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is enjoyable and alluring, just what you would want from a pumpkin beer with a twist. The spices dominate the nose, especially cinnamon upfront and that fresh pumpkin pie aroma cuts right through with just a hint of sweet malt with tart notes of the cranberry seemingly dancing around the spice notes. The palate is dominated by the spices up front before being washed over with Munich malts that bring about thoughts of a lovely Oktoberfest beer blending with bready and caramel malts. The cranberry notes make an appearance but shine on the back end with a wonderful balance and lingering tartness that offers the perfect yin to the spices yang. The body of the beer leans toward the medium side of the spectrum with a moderate amount of carbonation. This is a well-balanced pumpkin beer that does not over do it with the spices and has an excellent malt selection to give the beer a nice body, a very enjoyable fall beer made even better with a kick of cranberries.
Food pairing: The richness and sweet malty balance of this beer makes it a perfect pairing for rich and hearty foods that are great in the cooler months. Cranberry Pumpkinfest is a perfect pairing with a rich and hearty beef stew. The beer is perfect for highlighting the sweetness of the tender meat. This beer pairs well with many German dishes and is at home with any pork dish. A malt backbone brings out the caramel flavors of the meat but has enough heft and carbonation to cleanse the palate and leave behind a nice balance of spices. Cranberry Pumpkinfest also is a happy partner with roast chicken. Feel free to try it with rich desserts such as carrot cake or some warm pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. Cranberry Pumpkinfest is a fantastic beer to have on hand to cook with, especially hearty breads that are perfect for chilly fall evenings by a fire, so get out there and be adventurous!
The Final Word: Terrapin Cranberry Pumpkinfest is certainly a pumpkin beer worth a taste. In a market that is beyond saturated with pumpkin beers that tend toward being over-spiced, it is nice to find one that is balanced and actually pulls in some Oktoberfest inspiration with the addition of cranberries. Terrapin is a brewery that consistently brews high quality beers. Those who are looking for something a little different then the average pumpkin beer will want to give this one a try. It is also a great beer to stock up on to have handy for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer- Terrapin Beer Company
Beer- Cranberry Pumpkinfest
Style- Fruit/ Vegetable Beer