Why be normal when you can be EXTRAARGHdinary?
Hugh Sisson - Managing Partner, Clipper City Brewing Co, LP
Most people have never heard of this line, but with a little luck on your side, you might be able to find it at your local packy. Brewed down in the Baltimore area since 1989, this young brewery has grown tremendously; introducing their HEAVY SEAS line in 2003 and most recently their MUTINY FLEET series.
The best way to get introduced to these beers is to find one that you like. They offer a great mix pack called the Sunkin Sampler... they give you very hoppy varieties with there LOOSE CANNON offering (one of my favorites), to Pilsners, to Imperial Stouts...
And as I stated earlier, they've introduced a new line called MUTINY FLEET; all of which are in 22 oz bombers. Let me just say that I'm a huge fan of bombers in general. It's like drinking a fine wine - there's a process before consuming. You have to pour it in a glass... let it breath... and even in some cases (with dark beers), you have to let it warm up a bit in order to get a better idea of the flavors at work... Plus with 22 oz of fun, you probably will be more inclined to enjoy them WITH a friend(s). Now, in terms of this MUTINY FLEET, I honestly haven't tried all of them... but, I will shed some light on the ones that I have sampled. Note that all of these varieties contain an ABV of 8.0% or higher. So these are not for the faint-hearted. Now class, let's begin...
THE GREAT PUMPKIN:
STYLE: Pumpkin Ale, ABV: 8.0%
Not the first offering of the MUTINY FLEET, but the first one that started gaining some ground on the competition. I believe their Oktoberfest "PROSIT" was the inaugural release, but was extremely limited. Luckily, my local brewmaster saved me a bottle and I did have the chance to sample. In short, it was good, not my favorite Octoberfest. It had its far share of sweet malts but the booziness was too strong for my liking. BUT, shortly after this release came The Great Pumpkin. Heavy Seas hit a home run here. In the world of Pumpkin Ales (which is what started this blog to begin with) you have your Shipyard Pumpkinheads, your Southern Tier Pumkings, etc... The Great Pumpkin is a very nice balance of ABV, hops, malt and a little extra pumpkin spice. Note that this is much "boozier" that other kinds; so if Pumpkinhead is more your speed, you probably won't like this one. Lucky for me, the local packy that I like to hit up, overstocked on this variety so I literally just bought another bottle last week. If you missed out on this one, put this on your list for next year.
STYLE: Belgium Style Tripel Ale, ABV: 10.0%
Now that the MUTINY FLEET had my undivided attention, I couldn't wait for the Seasonal release of Yule Tide (love the label too... It's like Santa Claus meets the Goonies). I will say that Belgium Ales are not high on my list. But it's nice to change things up from time to time. Pours brownish-amber with Belgium yeast particles floating throughout. It has a very sweet; almost candied aroma. Much like the aromas, the taste has a strong sweetness and does hit you in the classic Belgium (fruity) style. I did capture a hint of cloves in the smell/taste which gave it that holiday feel. In my opinion, this is one of those beers that you share. Not that its not good; but the sweetness and boozy qualities make the drinkability tough. I had one by myself... and by the end I was full, slightly buzzed, and I felt like I got a cavity from finishing the entire thing.
STYLE: Belgium Strong Dark Ale, ABV: 9.0%
Now, Holy Sheet was first introduced to me in the Sunkin Sampler. (How can you not like the name?! Ok, I'm a sucker for Marketing.) Anyway, I enjoyed this variety because it wasn't like any of the beers that they offered in their mix pack. As a Dark Belgium (different from the Tripel), this has more of a dark fruit aroma to it (i.e. raisins, plums). There is a strong maltiness to it as well... And the alcohol is very present here, this one is a sipper (not as much as the Yule Tide). HOWEVER! My opinions are based on the 12 oz bottle that I got out of the mix pack... rumor has it that Heavy Seas listened to their critics and tweaked the recipe ever so slightly. The MUTINY FLEET re-release represents their NEW 2010 variety. So... if there anyone out there that has tried it; please feel free to send us your feedback!
If you've made it this far (I had some making up to do since my cousin has been on fire with her entries lately!!!) I felt like I should have a surprise for you... there are rumors of a NEW Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet release... and while I enjoy my IPAs and seasonal brews... this one looks like it could be one of their best...
Obviously, since this one is yet to even be announced... I haven't had the chance to try it. But let's go over the basics... Chocolate-AWESOME, Beer-AWESOME, Chocolate Beer - FRIGGIN AWESOME!! Ever since my appreciation for the darker beers as of late, I think my palate is ready for this one. (SEE BROOKLYN BLACK CHOCOLATE STOUT) Although at 22 oz, I wouldn't recommend drinking this one yourself. Go with the buddy system.
Another great offering from this line is there DIPA (Double IPA)... set to be released in February (if it isn't out already). I haven't had this one myself, but am a big fan of Double IPAs and have heard very good things. Again, for those hop heads that are reading this, feel free to send us your thoughts on the Heavy Seas DIPA!
To read more about the Mutiny Fleet line and other great products from the Clipper City Brewery, please visit: http://www.ccbeer.com/beerlist/Mutiny+Fleet