Ah, summer ales. From the fruity and over-sweet Straw-Ber-Rita to the tasty, half-lemonade-half-beer Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Summer is all about light, refreshing beers with a nice zip to them. Sam Adams busted out a great lemony Summer Ale, and so did the Maine brewery, Shipyard.
I've been blessed to spend the summer in Maine because their brewery scene is off the hook. There's Shipyard, Sea Dog, KBC, Atlantic, and many more. I'm starting to think Maine's big selling point should be beer and not lobster (although the lobster's great). Anyway, one brew I keep coming back to this summer is Shipyard's Summer Ale. It's a great seasonal. How good? Well, let's break it down:
Like most summer beers, Shipyard Summer is hazy and light in color. It produces some nice head, but not anything spectacular. Still, for a summer brew it looks nice and perhaps just a little deeper in color than the average summer brew.
Shipyard Summer has a nice lager-esque aroma to it. It smells like... well, beer. There's a note of lemon in the nose, but otherwise it noses just like the average lager. It's not bad, but it's not the most impressive aspect of this brew.
This beer is delicious! While the average summer shandy or summer ale will go for an overpowering flavor of lemon, this particular brew goes for a less lemony and more beer-y taste. The lemon comes through, for sure, but it's much more balanced by hops and malts (at least in my palate's opinion).
The lemon aspect to this brew leaves a sour feeling in my mouth, but there's also a great amount of body to this beer. It feels like a beer and not some fruity summer refresher. I like the complexity and it leaves a great taste lingering in my mouth.
The finish of Shipyard Summer isn't spectacular. It finishes with a nice amount of lemony sourness and also a good amount of malty thickness.
Total Score: 79/100
As far as summer beers go, which aren't meant to be 25/25 material, this is a strong frontrunner in the field. If you have the chance, I highly recommend picking this brew up while summer is still in its height. It's refreshing, delicious, and quite enjoyable for beer-drinkers everywhere.
Until next time, cheers!