If you are ever in Portland, ME, you should try to go to the Shipyard Brewery and take a free tour. The tour includes a brief video of the history of the brewery and the processes they use, followed by a tour of the bottling area. The tour concludes with a tasting of 6-8 beers on tap in the showroom. They also have a very nice shop which is reasonably priced. You can make your own six-pack after trying some of the beers. I made my own six-pack, and one of the beers I included happened to not be involved in the tasting at all. It is not even a Shipyard label beer. It is actually a beer sold in the Virgin Islands.
The second beer on the list is the Virgin Islands Island Summer Ale, brewed by the St. John Brewery in the Virgin Islands. What does this beer have to do with Shipyard? St. John Brewery has contracted their United States brewing and distributing to Shipyard. The St. John Brewery has been brewing since 2004.
To the beer itself. I really like summer style ales, so I was excited about this one. For my first beer from the Virgin Islands, I was very pleased. This 6.2% half wheat, half pale ale was very smooth, flavorful, and light, with the wheat taste coming in right away before mellowing out. It very much reminded me of a Belgian blonde ale, which is one of my favorite styles of beer. I would love to have this beer again, especially on a nice hot summer day. It was very good.
By Jason Olivo