We had an excellent beer haul last weekend at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, though we didn’t intend to. We only needed some low end reliable beers to flesh out our beer chest. Our eyes however, decided we needed all sorts of great beers to try, and we found ourselves putting more and more choice selections into the cart.
I thought of the words late Dr. Hunter S Thompson as I shopped, amended for this adventure of course: “once you get locked into a serious beer collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can”.
Our list of great bounty includes such wonderful beers as Habanero Sculpin by Ballast Point, Framminghammer by Jack’s Abby, Anniversary 17 by Ithaca and Smashed Blueberry by Shipyard.
I was particularly intrigued by the Smashed Blueberry as I had tried Sea Dog, which is another blueberry beer, while Future-Wife and I were up in Maine last year.
Sea Dog is weak as soda, though it has a nice clean and crisp blueberry taste that goes down easily. I had high hopes that Smashed Blueberry would be similar, but at 9% abv have a bit more going on than Sea Dog.
Smashed Blueberry calls itself a hybrid beer that is a combination between a Porter and a Scotch Ale with smashed Maine blueberries added into the mix. It’s part of the signature series that Shipyard has been producing off and on, and is distant kin to the Smashed Pumpkin offered around Fall.
The beer poured a dark brownish black with a tinge of blue about it. Right away it looked different than any other beer I had poured! I got a good two fingers of head on the pub glass and was very satisfied with the pour, but the head went away faster than I could set up the pic.
This beer has a great smell, very malty and an intense blueberry aroma. It actually smells a lot like a blueberry pie, which is very interesting! I caught some notes of chocolate in there, especially when I went in for the first sip.
Let me tell you dear reader, I was not prepared for the complexity of flavor that this beer has.
First sip tastes dark and velvety, strong blueberry flavor dominated and it has a great tangy porter finish. The after taste is a strong blueberry pie flavor with a hint of chocolate. There’s something else that I couldn’t quite catch working in the background, and I pondered it as I studied the bottle.
Thankfully I did, because I noticed the specification from the brewer himself (Alan Pugsley) that this beer should be enjoyed at 55 degrees.
So, as much as I didn’t want to, I let this beer sit right in that beam of sun in the picture and warm on up. It was a thirsty 10 minutes — but the results we’re amazing. It opened right on up as it warmed in some really great ways.
The bottle said there should be notes of coffee and suddenly with the temperature dropping there it was. The chocolate taste slid into the background as the coffee took over; and now the beer had a sweet almost graham cracker finish that was accompanied by a slight amount of blueberry.
If I had to put my finger on the full effect I would say this beer tasted like blueberry pie with a graham cracker crust and a small amount of chocolate thrown on top, washed down with a nice light cup of coffee. Never too sweet either, this is not a dessert beer in my mind.
Now you might be recoiling in horror here — the reviews of this beer are interesting; people either love it for what it is or hate it for the same reason. I can understand that completely, not everyone likes blueberry pie. Thankfully I love it though, and I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.
Shipyard Smashed Blueberry is not something I would drink often, but I think it will fit very well at the next Thanksgiving meal for sure. It’s a curious and good beer and I say this without intending it to sound harsh– a surprisingly complex one from Shipyard.
I give this beer a solid B. It’s not overly sweet, it has a complex blueberry pie taste to it without tasting like someone just added blueberry flavor. The scotch ale meets porter concept is fun and I hope to find more beers doing this.
Do yourself a favor and give this one a shot if you like blueberry pie, just make sure to let it sit for awhile before you take a sip for the full effect!