They say that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Shakespeare, I think, is the one responsible for that particular piece of wisdom. I think old Willy was right, after all, and as a corollary, I think an IPA by any other name would (or should anyway) taste as bitter.
So, don’t be too concerned that Kennebunkport IPA, from the Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine, is really nothing more than Sea Dog Old East India Pale Ale in disguise. After all, Shipyard Brewing makes both of the beers at its Portland location.
Which is not to say that there is no Kennebunkport Brewing Company, because there is, after a fashion. It’s also known as Federal Jack’s Brewpub, and they do make beer on premises in a small seven barrel brewhouse. But the beers bottled under their name are really just re-packaging of other brands in the Shipyard line.
I saw several of these beers at a local Trader Joe’s the other day, and grabbed a few samples. The IPA struck me as follows:
Kennebunkport IPA pours to a bright coppery orange color with a very thick head of rocky cauliflower foam and a spicy floral hop nose. The body has a decent amount of chewy caramel and toasty malt laced with a bit of earthy, subtly buttery Ringwood yeast notes. Bright, slightly citric herbal hops spice the beer nicely, and add a decent amount of lingering bitterness in the finish.
By American beer geek standards, though, this is a moderately hopped IPA. Not so for one in the English style, however, and along with the buttery Ringwood notes a few of these will have you singing God Save the Queen in no time.
Oddly enough, the beer does strike me as a tad different from the Sea Dog Old East India Pale, but maybe that’s because it’s been a while since I’ve had one of the latter. Still, this is a nice, drinkable beer with plenty of hop character, and at $5.99 a six-pack, who cares if it’s really a different beer?
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.