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Beer Review #198 Shipyard Applehead

I’ve surprisingly only reviewed on Shipyard Brewing Company beer on this site thus far, but I have had about a dozen or so of their beers. Heck, I’ve even taken a tour of their brewery in Portland, Maine. It scares me sometimes to think about the number of beers that I have had that I haven’t had a chance to review or drank before I started this site. One day I will get back to Shipyard and properly review their other offerings.  I was a bit surprised when I saw an apple based beer on the shelves. Shipyard makes a pumpkin beer named Pumpkinhead, so I guess this beer is the counterpart to their fall seasonal.

Applehead pours an apple juice color (shocker). The thin head quickly fizzles out and leaves a clear liquid below. The nose is strong on apple (again shocker) but there is more than just apple. I found some toasted odors along with an ale smell. This beer had esters! There was also some good cinnamon in the background which I half expect with anything apple based.

On the first taste I was again shocked (/sarcasm) by the strong apple flavors. There is some interesting toasted notes about halfway through which added some decent complexity and a change from apple. Cinnamon finishes the beer nicely as there was not hop flavor. I don’t think that hops would work in an apple beer as the flavors just don’t compliment each other. This beer comes in at 4.5% and is very light and watery in the mouth. I’m not a fruit beer fan and I did hesitate on buying this beer, but I’m glad I tried it. As far as fruit beers go this is one of the better ones I’ve had (I’m on a streak). There is some nice balance and the apple flavor isn’t overwhelming/the only flavor. While it’s not a beer that I would pick up often, I am open to purchasing this beer again. (more…)

Beer Review #171 Prelude Special Ale

My then girlfriend (now wife) and I visited the Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine a few years ago during a road trip through the northeast. I remember being surprised at how small the building seemed to be for the amount of beer they produce. I generally like their beers but there are a few that have been disappointing me recently (namely their pumpkin beer).

Prelude Special Ale is Shipyard’s winter beer and one of their better beers. The beer pours a nice caramel color with a slightly off-white head. The nose is full of caramel and toffee. There is some slight biscuit sweetness in there as well, but no hops of any kind.

On the first taste the caramel makes an appearance right away. It isn’t an overwhelming caramel flavor, but provides a solid malt base. A nice biscuit flavor then mixes in along with some slight toffee. Hops make their appearance on the backside of this beer and they linger on your tongue for awhile. They are not overly bitter but they do add a nice punch of flavor. This beer also drys out very nicely.

I really liked this beer. This beer is classified as a Winter Warmer but that particular category is pretty open in terms of flavor and alcohol. Prelude Special Ale seems to fit more into the English style of Winter Warm according to my taste buds. I found it very drinkable and it really fits nicely with the winter season. I would be happy to try this beer again. (more…)