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!