Saturday, March 8, 2014
By TOM ATWELL
Federal Jack's in Kennebunk tapped the first of a test batch of Shipyard's next year-round beer last week.
The brewery's newest year-round beer will be arriving in stores in a few months.
Shipyard American Pale Ale is a full-flavored, hoppy ale, crystal clear and with fairly high carbonation that comes in at only 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. Tami Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Shipyard, said this version hits the beer judges' definition of an American pale ale right in the middle.
Fred Forsley, Shipyard's co-founder and president, said that almost all of Shipyard's beers have been created first as a pilot batch on Federal Jack's seven-barrel system, and that the beer will be available there until this pilot batch runs out.
The APA recipe was created by Alan Pugsley, Shipyard co-founder and brewmaster, in collaboration with the head brewer of Marston's in England, the parent company of the Ringwood Brewery where Pugsley received his training. Marston's has been selling Shipyard APA in England for a couple of months, and it has been very popular, Pugsley said.
The beer has a complex hops recipe, and Forsley had to telephone Pugsley -- who was vacationing in Canada -- so I could get the listing.
The beer starts with Pilgrim hops early in the boil, followed by Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand and Citra later in the boil, and finally with Summit hops. It is then dry-hopped with a mix of Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Chinook, Pugsley said.
Despite the long list of hops varieties, this is not a hops bomb. It has a combination of citrusy and floral hops aroma, and good bitterness, but it has enough malt to stand up to the hops. And at 4.5 percent alcohol, it is a nicely refreshing beer.
Forsley said that Nelson Sauvin can be scarce, and you have to order it a year ahead of time, but he does not think it should be a problem with this beer.
The Shipyard APA sold in England is under the Shipyard name, and Marston's has to pay a fee to Shipyard for all of that brand that it sells. In the same way, Shipyard has been paying a fee to Ringwood for all the the Old Thumper it sells in the United States.
"It's good to have some of that money coming in the other direction," Forsley said.
Forsley said the American Pale Ale will be arriving in stores in a few months, and I think it will be a great addition to the lineup. It's more flavorful than the Chamberlain, the English-style pale ale already in the lineup, and easier drinking and more refreshing than the company's two IPAs, Fuggles and Monkey Fist.
A sheet Shipyard published in England suggested food pairings for the APA as "Tex Mex favorites like fajitas, sticky BBQ ribs or a pulled-pork sandwich." I could see it going with a hamburger and fries, or even fried clams.
Forsley hinted that Shipyard might be adding even more beers to its lineup, with one possibility being an oyster stout.
Now that would be nice.
I STOPPED BY BIER CELLAR in Portland with the desire to try some beers from away, which I had not been doing much lately.
Cigar City in Tampa has a great reputation nationally, and I liked its Jai Alai IPA that my sister-in-law brought in cans during her visit, So I was I had to have the collaboration between Cigar City and De Proef Brewery in Belgium that was available.
Tropical Tripel has a mild strain of brett yeast, so it had a tiny bit of Belgian funk but was not overly sour. It was aged on oak chips with coconut and peaches, and it had a highly complex flavor, with fruit and hops and Belgian yeast, and was 9.5 percent alcohol. Nancy is not a fan of this kind of beer, but I liked it quite a bit. It was $17.99 for a 750 milliliter, cork-and-cage bottle, so it was not cheap.
Greg Norton, co-owner of the Bier Cellar, said the he got the beer through the De Proef distributor, so this is no sign that Cigar City will be coming to Maine soon.
Christian and I both liked Cambridge Brewing Co's Sgt. Pepper, a farmhouse ale brewed with peppercorns. The pepper was just a hint in the background, it was a good farmhouse ale.
Christian -- who has a better memory than I do -- said we had had Kapuziner Bavarian Scwharz-Weizen before. It is the original black wheat ale, and was strongly flavored and quite nice. It was $4.59 for a 500 milliliter bottle.
Lia Fail, a Scottish Ale, was a disappointment. It was malty, but its flavor was one note, with very little complexity. It was $6.29 for a 500 milliliter bottle.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: