Most people who drink beer understand that hops are an
essential ingredient, and that they are the component that adds bitterness
to the brew. What most of them more than likely do not consider is that
there are many different types of hops that are added to their beer to
balance off the sweetness of the malt. Brewers will generally pick and
choose among hop varieties, often picking several for their beer. One
variety may be added for the aromatic, floral quality it imparts, while
another may possess high alpha acid content and therefore be a good
Shipyard Fuggles India Pale Ale is brewed with a single hop, the UK Fuggle. This is normally used more as an aroma hop since its alpha acid content is moderate, but here it does a good job adding bitterness to the brew. The Fuggle is fairly resistant to disease and insect infestations. It is a frequently used hop in both English and English-style ales.
On May 11th of 1997 I wrote the following about Shipyard Fuggles IPA:
The Shipyard Brewing Co. of Portland, Maine, has added an
IPA to their line of beers. The first thing that strikes you about this beer
is the label: the traditional Shipyard logo surrounded by hop cones and
flowers. Upon closer examination, one notices that Shipyard has added a
"Best By" date to their labels, and also that this IPA is a "single hop
IPA", that single hop variety being Fuggles. When one gets by the label and
pours the beer in his glass, a russet brew with a light, fine head is
revealed. A bit of the fuggles are apparent in the nose, and upon sipping
the brew very little of the signature Ringwood butteriness is present.
Instead, one gets a smooth malt character complemented by a spicy, bitter
fuggles finish. This is definitely an English style IPA, with very little in
the way of aromatics to it. A welcome addition to the Shipyard line.
Shipyard combines the imported UK Fuggles with pale, crystal, and wheat malts to make this IPA. It’s a great example of what I call a showcase beer, since it gives the Fuggle the spotlight to strut its stuff under. Fuggles IPA is a relative newcomer to the Shipyard fleet, arriving in port in 1997. It is a bit low in original gravity for the style, weighing in at 1.055.
Fuggles IPA pours to a deep golden color with good head formation and a flowery hop nose. The palate is smooth, firm and crisp, with good English biscuity malt character and a noticeable buttery diacetyl. The butter character intensifies in the finish where it combines with a pleasant, lingering bitterness that doesn’t overpower but doesn’t let you forget you’ve just sipped a great brew. This is definitely an English style IPA, and a very good one.
I like IPAs with spicy foods, and I’m enjoying this one with a very spicy pork and beef chili.
Update, December 2, 2005: Having moved to Georgia in 2001, it's been a while since I've been able to acquire some of this excellent brew. But lo and behold, Shipyard is now available in Florida and Georgia. And Fuggles IPA is as good as it ever was.
A firm malty palate with a bit of toasty character makes a fine stage for the spicy, grassy hop flavor to play on. I get a bit less buttery diacetyl than in the past, and a gently lingering hop bitterness. Perhaps a bit more bitter than in the past. Really an excellent brew, I am partial to Ringwood IPAs, and though I can't say I enjoy this one as much as say, Middle Ages Impaled Ale , this is well worth picking up all the same.
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.