In honor of it being American Beer Month Beer Town , the fact that it's hotter and stickier than hell and this is, in fact, a tavern, I'll preview Shipyard's Captain's Collection of ales. This variety pack contains a brown ale, Shipyard Export, Old Thumper and a summer ale. I could swear the last time I bought this collection it had an IPA in it. It must've been some other collection of Shipyard's. Too bad because their IPA is one of the best around. Shipyard
Let's start with the brown ale. No Sam Adams brown ale is this, I'm afraid. It's good, mind you, but much mellower than a Sammie brown ale. It's almost too mellow for an ale. It doesn't have that deep toasted malt and caramel taste I expect in a really good brown ale. In fact, it simply needs more hops. If you're used to drinking American mass-produced, watered-down lagers and want to experience something more tasty and hearty, then this ale would be a good bridge. I prefer ales to lagers. So I'm picky about ales. So it's a good ale, just not a very good brown ale.
The Shipyard Export is better, mostly because it's supposed to be lighter than a brown. It's smooth with just the right aftertaste. For me it would be better if it were a tad more robust, but it does a nice job of being tasty yet smooth enough to be a good thirst quencher on a hot day like today. I would certainly recommend it.
I found the hops and malt. They're in Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper. The bottle states that this is bottled and brewed by Shipyard here in Maine as well. So I suspect the Ringwood Brewery mention is because it is either a Ringwood recipe or a Ringwood recipe is the genesis of this recipe, paying homage, as it were. This has enough hops for a full-bodied flavor, yet is still nice and crisp, with no overpowering aftertaste...pretty much right on the spot for me as a very good ale. It has that lightly toasted flavor you're looking for in a good, hearty ale. How about we put this is the highly recommend category. The only one of the four that really does it for me, I'm afraid. It gives good head when poured too.
And now for the summer ale. Maybe it's my smoker's tastebuds, or lack thereof, but they all taste very similar to me, too similar; or I've been spoiled by Sam Adams. It's good but it has no full-bodied flavor in my opinion and no panache. It's a summer ale...give it a little spice, a little something different...or at least more malt. So if you want something that's only a little more flavorful than a Coors Light, give it a go; you'll love it. If I didn't know it was an ale from the label, which in this day in age usually means more flavorful than say a Bud, I couldn't tell. Actually Bud has more flavor, even if it is bad flavor.
Some info from Shipyard on the flap of the box, for what it's worth, "You are opening a very special 12-pack. The Captain's Collection features a sampling of our award-winning, year-round, and seasonal ales. This selection is packed at random (that explains no IPA this time) and varies according to the season. Every time you open a Captain's Collection inside you'll find an exciting new assortment of Shipyard ales. All our beer is hand-brewed using time-honored methods and only the finest ingredients. Our award-winning beer is hand-crafted from recipes developed by Master Brewer Alan Pugsley, who apprenticed at the world-famous Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, England under the tutelage of renowned Master Brewer Peter Austin. We're committed to brewing the freshest, most flavorful, full-bodied ales available and hope you enjoy the variety found in our Captain's Collection."
beer Samuel Adams ale Shipyard Captain's Collection hops IPA Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper Maine Hampshire Peter Austin