It’s funny how things work out. One morning I’d been poring over The Official 300 Beers Todo List, as is my wont, and fretting over how on earth to find Shipyard Fuggles IPA, a beer I’d never seen from an American brewery I’d never heard of.
A couple of hours later I walked into my local Oddbins only to find a freshly delivered case being loaded onto the shelves and into the fridge. And here it is.
This could be interesting, because Shipyard Fuggles IPA is an American IPA from Portland, Maine, but as the name suggests, it’s brewed exclusively with Fuggles, a quintessentially English hop that you’d more usually find in a pint of bitter.
The label proudly pronounces this to be “Craft Beer”, which is typically an unambiguous sign that it’s nothing of the sort, and is more likely to originate from a mediocre brewery vainly trying to buzzword their way into a seat on the bandwagon. But maybe this is an exception.
Shipyard Fuggles IPA is a warm copper colour with almost no head at all. There’s barely a wisp of froth on there, despite a reasonably hard pour.
The only way I can describe the taste is that it’s what a not-particularly-knowledgeable American lager drinker probably thinks an English beer tastes like, but then sweetened and with the ABV bumped up to make it more acceptable to that same American guy.
It doesn’t really work. It’s sweet, soapy and slightly medicinal with pronounced notes of fungus, plaster of Paris and disappointment. If you were to imagine a poorly-kept pint of something like Doom Bar that’s been left out overnight, and then industrially condensed to accentuate the unpleasantness within, you’d be quite close.
I’m going to be charitable here and assume that this is a beer which does not travel well. At all. Maybe it’s an absolute delight when sampled in Portland. I suspect I’ll never know, but I do rather wish I’d only bought
the one bottle.
Facts and Figures
|Shipyard Brewing Company, Portland, ME
|India Pale Ales
|Oddbins, Rosendale Road, London SE21