Tonight … Yes, I drink at night. Not exclusively, but when I am doing reviews, I find it helpful to have reruns of “Millionaire Matchmaker” in the background. You know what sucks about that show? Well, everything. How the eff hard is it to find a broad who’s looking for a desperate millionaire? Oh my god, a broad who’s open to dating a rich dude who’s willing to advertise his riches as a way to snag dames? Well, that must be as rare as a leprechaun or Whoopi Goldberg fan? I mean, where would one even start to find one of these elusive creatures in a down to Earth town like Beverly Hills? Further proof this is Satan’s most diabolical creation since David Hasselhoff? My wife hates it. This is a woman who watches all the “Real Housewives”, “Jersey Shore”, and thinks I’m worth marrying. Her standards aren’t what one would call refined. At any rate, tonight, I am delving into a Smashed Blueberry from Shipyard Brewing Company. [info]
Apparently, Portland is a good beer town. All you here is how many breweries there are, how beautiful it is, and how great the people are. I really gotta get out to Ore … wait, whaaaaat? Shipyard is based out of Portland… Maine. Ohhhh. Yeah, but still. Well, Portland, ME is the home of Steven King. Wait, actually that’s scary. Will this beer be scary, too? Like how I made that transition there? That’s what we in the writing game call “tying it all together.” At least that’s what they taught me at the Learning Annex course I took to become a “writer”.
Short answer, NO!
I have to admit, I thought this beer would suck. Maybe not suck (eh, maybe), but be wildly disappointing. I am not what you’d call a Shipyard fan. Most of their beers don’t do it for me. I recognize some love them. People rave about Smashed Pumpkin and Lost Continent, not to mention some of their regulars. But, I put them in the same category of many foreign-brewed IPAs. Likely good, but probably traveled so far that they lost that essence of deliciousness. Like “Captain America” screening in Turkey, it may not translate. Still, I do like blueberries, and this beer got an A- on Beer Advocate. Maybe those nerds have a point. I guess I‘ll sink $8 bucks into this fool’s errand.
What is it like?
[quote2 align=right]Whoa! Hold on. This smells amazing. Myself, once brewing with blueberries, I have to say, they are tough to work with. Shipyard managed to get the aroma just right. Familiar to most (especially those of us with parents not exactly concerned with nutrition), Fruity Pebbles are the hallmark of fruity aromas. Not always is this a good thing in beer, but that sweet, fruity aroma works here. It could be the signifier of a mess, but based on what follows, the blueberry aroma is welcome and a taste of wonderful, inviting the drinker to dig in. Is it real blueberry aroma? I don’t know. I’m thirsty (and on a deadline). Time to dig in.
Holy lord. This tastes good. Yes, the blueberry is sweet. Hmm, I shouldn’t like this. It’s sweet. The bottle says “with natural flavor.” Kinda vague, huh? It’s like one of Hef’s girlfriends advertising she has original parts. I am sure she does, but which ones? Not impressed by the fact you still have your original brain, sweet pea. Likely it’s what got you into this problem in the first place.
Does it sound like I am complaining? I feel like I should be, but damned if this beer is not so overwhelmingly good that it overcomes all of its obvious obstacles.
Six hundred words into this, and I haven’t really gotten into the beer. Well, as every word is precious, I should get down to it. I mean, I can’t just sit here, writing random thoughts, delaying the necessity that is completing the task at hand, can I? I mean that would be irresponsible, right? Far be it from me to be … ohh. I did it again.
Alright you weirdos that have continued reading till this point, let’s get down to it. (It’s a big bottle, and I’ve got plenty left in my glass). It pours a dark brown. Dark. Even in appearance this feels imperial; perhaps daunting. A decent head, but nothing more than would be appropriate for the style. Then you’ve got the nose. You know how I feel about the nose.
Shipyard says it’s a porter meets a scotch ale. Really? I mean, I get sweetness, which would be redolent of scotch ale. But is that the malt, and not the blueberries? I kind of doubt it. Scotch ales are notoriously low in hops, their country of origin being a poor region for growing these delicious beasts. But here, I get a slight kiss of bitterness towards the end.
Moreover, the roasty malt, chocolate character, and less acidic coffee qualities make for a beer that feels hefty, but not heavy or cloying. There’s substance here; a bulky body. But, on this bulky body, you have balance- the malt against the fruit. The roast counters the sweetness. What would be a beefy imperial porter (or scotch ale, if you don’t scoff at the brewer, as do I) is now a balance of a beer for dames (those that are looking for loser millionaires) and a big, fatty nerd-centric tank that would be impressive on its own. [quote]
Most fruit beers are lame. You thought it. I said it. I get paid for saying it. Not really, but I am trying to embezzle from the company. This beer will change your mind. Shipyard has find a way to make a beer, great on its own and use the fruit to enhance it, not try to be the star on its own.
Shipyard! With Pumpkin Head and Smashed Pumpkin making appearance now(ish), I have to revisit. Well done. You may have turned me around. Mazel Tov, as most people in Portland, ME are apt to say.