Sunday, February 15, 2009

Holy Shipyard...

I was walking through one of my local package stores (liquor store for those who have no idea what a "packie" is) the other day and I came across a couple of bottles of Shipyard Brewing Company's new Signature Series. About an hour ago I cracked open their Pugsley's Imperial Porter. Holy Shipyard this stuff is fantastic. Shipyard has always been a pretty good brewery , but I kind of lost track of them after Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley sold the rights to Shipyard to the Miller Brewing Company. However, they bought back their shares a few years ago and man am I glad they did.

This is the best beer the Brewery has ever produced. While I am a fan of Old Thumper (especially on cask) the Imperial Porter is simply amazing. It pours black with a thin tannish white head and features espresso, chocolate, and maybe a touch of anise on the nose. The first sip is coffee ice cream with a refreshing floral hop finish.

What I like most about this Imperial Porter is that it is not extreme. The brewers did not try to kick it up to 11 or 12%. Instead, they went with a modest 7.1%, which is a touch stronger than a traditional Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, which is 5% abv. It is extremely drinkable and flavorful. It actual shares some resemblance to its great forebearers, Fuller's London Porter and the Taddy and is certainly in the British tradition, but just has a bit more alcohol.

The great roasted and chocolate flavors intensify with each sip, yet are constantly balanced by a refreshing hop tingle on the sides of the tongue and gums. This porter is full-bodied while maintaining extreme drinkablity (no not in the Bud Light kind of way).

At first I thought it was going to be all sweetness, but the hops really do surprise you a bit and balance it off nicely. At $9 a bottle, it is a touch expensive, but I would definitely buy this one again. This is a fantastic porter and by far the best beer that Shipyard has produced. Please, please, keep them coming!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Anything special for Valentine's Day...

Are you drinking anything special for Valentine's Day? I had my favorite burrito today (Bueno y Sano in Amherst), some of my favorite pizza (BBQ chicken pizza from Antonio's), my favorite sundae (Moosetracks from Richardson's Dairy in Middleton), so now one of my favorite new beers...Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout. I have been cellaring this one for a while and figured why not break it out on Valentine's Day, with the chocolate added and all.

This beer is the best of the fantastic Blackwater series by the Southern Tier Brewing Company. The Belgian chocolate added to the beer gives it an amazing aroma, mouthfeel and sweet chocolate taste. It smells like a truffle, feels milkshake thick and smooth, and tastes like European sipping chocolate.

I've mentioned this beer in previous posts. I think I like it even more the second time around...this stuff is amazing. It weighs in at a whopping 11% abv, but the chocolate sweetness masks the alcohol while still allowing for a comforting warming effect. The rich chocolate flavors linger in the mouth well after each sip and lure you into taking another sip. This beer goes down way to quickly and should seriously be consumed with caution. It is certainly climbing up my all time favorite list. Gotta get me some more of this stuff.