Friday, June 7, 2013

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry

I absolutely hate writing a bad review.  But sometimes I have to suck it, pull up my big girl panties and do the deed.

When I heard about Shipyard Smashed Blueberry, I was really excited.  I've had some really excellent blueberry beers and this one sounded absolutely yummy.

Smashed Blueberry is from Shipyards Pugsley's Signature Series.  So, I would expect something of a higher than normal standard.

The label indicates it is a "malt beverage with natural flavor".

Wait . . . what??

Isn't "malt beverage" just a fancy shmancy name for malt liquor? Uhm, ew!  To me, malt beverage equals malt liquor equals Haffenreffer or Mike's Hard Lemonade or Colt 45 or Zima.  You get the picture.

Now I'm confused.  Malt liquor is brewed using bottom fermenting yeast and yet Smashed Blueberry uses top fermenting yeast.  Malt liquors also are generally not hopped, but this brew is.

My confusion is compounded by the fact that they describe Smashed Blueberry as a "beer" that "is a hybrid between a Porter and a Scotch Ale."  If it is a beer then why specifically label it as a malt beverage?

Let's move on to the other descriptor on the label "with natural flavor".  What is that supposed to mean?  I'll tell you what I think it means based on a little bit of research.  Natural flavor means that it doesn't actually use fruit to flavor the beer or malt liquor or malt beverage or whatever the schmuck it is. What it means is this: natural flavors may be oils extracted from a natural source or they may, in fact be derived as the result of blending hundreds of individual chemicals to make a flavor that tastes like, say, blueberries.  

I'm not saying that's what Shipyard does or did or whatever.  Because, frankly, I don't know. But that is certainly what can be inferred by simply reading the label.

So, anyway, on to the review.

Note that I didn't notice the "malt beverage with natural flavor" on the label until after I drank the  beer or malt liquor or malt beverage or whatever.

Smashed Blueberry (9.% ABV) pours a deep cherry red with a quickly dissipating tan colored head.  The complexion in the glass is impenetrable blackness.

As I poured I was immediately struck by a huge blueberry aroma that reminded me of fresh blueberry pie.  Very promising!  A big boozy quality was evident in the nose as I was sipping.

The taste?  It wasn't the luscious blueberry yumminess I was expecting.  It was alcohol.  In a very BIG way but not in a good way.  The booze was all I could taste.  This was followed by an overt bitterness at the end.  No blueberry, no coffee, no chocolate.  I'm not sure what it was; something akin to what you would swab a wound with.

An awful mess.  I literally poured it down the drain.  It was that bad.

I was so disappointed because I wanted to like it so much.

I would like to point out that I waited a full two weeks to write this review.  I deliberated wanted to wait to temper the ire I felt in the wake of my dashed hopes.  It didn't help. Apparently time does not heal all wounds, but I guess I could pour some Smashed Blueberry on it to disinfect it.  Oh SNAP! 


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