Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Smashed Blueberry

"...And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry (Pugsley's Signature Series)
Brewery: Shipyard (Portland, ME)
Style: Fruit / Porter / Scotch Ale
ABV: 9.0%

Nothing says "Happy Birthday America" than a cold beer on a hot day. So when I heard my sister was coming down to visit with her family, I asked her if she could bring some Smashed Blueberry, the latest offering from Shipyard Brewery. I've been looking all over the place around here... everyone is sold out. "Can't keep it on the shelves!" they tell me.

So my sister Care walks in the door and says, "They were sold out at the local packy up there..." Apparently, THEY can't keep it on the shelves either! (But she did bring down some excellent local summer brews up there... Geary's and Gritty's!)

Ok, now my interest is PEAKED. Granted, I understand that it was a limited release, but not being able to get it only 20 minutes outside of Portland?!

Then, totally unsuspecting, my girlfriend and I walked into a package store down in Danbury, which had a good selection of bombers... and VOILA! There it is, SMASHED BLUEBERRY!!! Two bottles please and thank you.

On the eve of the 4th, we opened up the highly sought-after bottle. We were instantly reminded that this ain't your normal blueberry summer brew... in fact, I can't really put it in the summer brew category if it wasn't for the blueberry. Coming straight out of the Porter family, this beer is DARK with about a finger and a half of khaki colored head. Interestingly enough, when you held the beer up to the light, the darkness had a purple/red hue to it... like a blueberry skin. Getting my nose in there, I got dark chocolate, bitter coffee, roastiness and a very very slight hint of blueberry. The taste followed suit... My girlfriend, Michelle said it reminded her of eating dark-chocolate covered blueberries... I got some black licorice notes in there as well, with more of the bittersweet chocolate hints.

The mouthfeel follows the characteristics of a solid porter... nice malt qualities, as you can see by the good head retention along the sides of the glass. Decent carbonation and subtle booziness. The scotch ale is most present here if you ask me. The finish had a dry bitter-hoppiness to it, which I do enjoy. But overall it didn't really stick with you.

Overall: B+

It was good, not great. But I think back to the first Smashed Pumpkin I had from Shipyard about two years ago. Heavy alcohol and almost a medicinal taste to it. But with some tweaks in the recipe, it has slowly become one of my FAVORITE pumpkin ales to date. So, I applaud the "outside the box" approach from the Shipyard brewers. Who would even think to combine a Porter, a Scotch Ale, and a Blueberry Ale?? (Sounds like the beginning of a joke...) This is a good start. But as difficult as it was to find, and $10 for the bomber, I won't be getting it again this season.

Happy 4th EVERYONE!!

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