Beer Review 0404: Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale

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Terrapin Beer Company, brewing out of Athens, Georgia, have a special series of beers they call “Side Projects.” These brews are limited release, a bit on the experimental side, and are released in bomber bottles.

Today’s beer is inspired by that series: Side Project #7, released three years ago, was the original Maggie’s Farmhouse Ale; it was a Saison brewed to 6% ABV (alcohol by volume). The popularity of that beer convinced Terrapin to brew up a new version, this one with 1,000 pounds of peaches per 100 barrels, and add it to the seasonal lineup for summertime.

Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale is brewed with the aforementioned peaches, US Golding hops, 2-Row Pale, Munich, Wheat, and Acidulated malts, and comes in at 5.3% ABV. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are 22; despite the low alcohol content, Terrapin claims this beer will age well.

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The pour produced an average size, soap sudsy head that diminished quickly. The beer was golden in color with a cloudy body; while I wouldn’t call it the most clouded beer I’ve ever seen, it was opaque. The body is clear of particles and sediment, and lacing was fair, leaving behind just a few wispy pods of suds.

The aroma is dominated by fruit cup peaches and cereal grains. There’s no frills here; that’s not exactly a bad thing — while the peaches did remind me of your standard fruit cup, they do seem really fresh and quite sweet, almost like they have sugar dosed on top. As it warms, there’s a faint grain presence, and the peaches are powerful. There are no typical Saison qualities like funk or spice to be found.

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On the palate, this one starts out with some natural peaches, not quite sweet but not quite underripe, either; this quickly turns moderately sweet, taking on the fruit cup quality. The peaches mix well with an underlying cereal/wheat grain note; the finish brings on just a subtle note of Saison spice, and a hop bitterness that serves to tone down some of the sweetness in a good way. Final conclusion is a peachy bitter bite that remains sweet when you click your tongue to the roof of your mouth, but has enough complexity in the bitterness to make you want another sip.

Give peach a chance, indeed! To be completely honest, I had a couple of these before I officially reviewed it, and the more I had, the more into Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse I became. I think this is a great summer beer, and while it doesn’t really have any Saison attributes, it is a refreshing beer that has complex peach flavors that span the range from organic fruit to really sweet fruit cup, and hoppy peach bitterness.

Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale, 85 points. Price: $8.99 US for a four pack.

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