I’ve had plenty of Blueberry beers in my day, let me tell you. But I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve never had anything like Shipyard Smashed Blueberry Ale. Let me tell you why. Most blueberry ales, you see, are wheat beers. That’s a good thing, because the tangy, fruity essence of blueberry combined with the tart refreshing qualities of wheat make for a wonderfully quenching brew.
Shipyard Smashed Blueberry, however, is not a wheat beer. Instead, it’s a beer that Shipyard calls a hybrid of Scotch ale and porter, with blueberries thrown in for good measure. It also departs from most fruit beers in its magnitude: at 9.2 % alcohol by volume, this is a hefty beer indeed in alcohol strength and body. A beer for gentle sipping instead of quaffing to be sure.
Specs from the brewery:
Pale, Crystal, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Light Munich, Torrified Wheat
Hops: Summit, Tettnang, Cascade
Yeast: Top-Fermenting English
Shipyard Smashed Blueberry Ale pours to a dark chestnut color with a very prodigious creamy tan head formation of tightly packed bubbles and a very unique butterscotch and blueberry nose. The blueberry is the more pronounced aroma of the two; in fact I didn’t even need to pour the beer into my glass to detect it. It wafted to my nostrils as soon as I popped the cap off the bottle.
I have to say, I was simply amazed when I sipped this beer. Chocolaty dark malt ala porter mixes with some decidedly raisiny Scotch ale notes as well. A hint of vanilla underneath complements the blueberry that absolutely permeates the brew wonderfully. The beer finishes balanced, a hint of sweetness at the fore is balanced out by some herbal, grassy hops and warming alcohol in the finish.
I think this is a beer that won’t be for everyone, simple because it’s a fruit beer. It hit store shelves for the first time in May of 2011, but will keep for some time thanks to its strength. I can easily imagine sipping this one on a cold winter’s eve, perhaps along with its companion brew Smashed Pumpkin. Perhaps the only downside for me was the price, $9 for a 22-ounce bomber bottle.
Still, it worked wonderfully for me and it’s definitely a beer I’ll buy again. And again. And again.
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.