Even though they call it “Golden Ale,” Terrapin Beer‘s Golden Ale does in fact fit the Cream Ale style bill—and the ratings sites both classify it as such. Intrigued, I contacted Terrapin to find out if they would provide a sample for review; they generously sent two bottles to me. (They in fact arrived just this week—in the nick of time!)
Terrapin is based in Atlanta Athens, Georgia (updated—see comments, and you’d think I’d do my homework more diligently), and this may well be my first Georgia craft beer. So far it’s a nice introduction.
The spec sheet they included with the package indicates an alcohol content of 5.3% by volume (the website says 5%), and has an interesting grain bill: 2-Row Pale, Munich, Vienna, Malted Wheat, Flaked Barley. (The site indicates Carapils as well, but it’s not on the sheet.) The wheat is what caught my eye; it’s not a component of Cream Ales I’ve seen much in commercial beers (though I’ve used in it my own recipe), though it would help to lighten the body and aid head retention.
Appearance: Hazy honey-gold in color with one finger of ivory head.
Smell: Nice malty nose, toasty and a touch floral. A mild fruitiness as well… mango or something tropical?
Taste: It’s got a tart bite punctuated by a wheaty bread crust flavor and a touch of green apple. Tart enough to be dry but not off-putting—a nice thirst-quenching quality to it.
Mouthfeel: Light, slightly puckery, effervescent with a tart, dry finish.
Overall: Definitely grabs you, in a good way—lots of character for a light beer.
On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of B-. On RateBeer, it scores 2.75 out of 5, and is in their 24th percentile.