Browse Tag


Cold River, keep on freezin’

Maine Distilleries “Cold River” Vodka (Maine) – Stale butter and old wax. I’m told, by gurus of my acquaintance, that this is likely ethyl myristate or ethyl palmitate. Well, Ethyl Mermanate can take her margarine-stanky tail back to vodka school, because this is offensive when used in any situation in which one might actually think to use vodka rather than Napa chardonnay. (8/11)


Shipyard “Pugsley’s Signature Series” “Smashed Pumpkin” Ale (Maine) – Of the various seasonally-flavored ales, pumpkin-enhanced is the only one I’ll come back to year after year. I don’t really have an explanation, either, because frankly many of them aren’t very good. This is one of the major exceptions, though it’s a pretty thermonuclear expression thereof. It’s a beer the note for which SHOULD PROBABLY BE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. HUGE PUMPKIN, LAYER UPON LAYER OF SPICE, CHURNING ALE CRASHING AND PULLING LIKE RIPTIDE. In other words, it’s a big’un. (2/11)


Shipyard “Pugsley’s Signature Series” “Smashed Pumpkin” Ale (Maine) – Kind of the neutron bomb of pumpkin ales, absolutely exploding with both the raw and spiced versions of the squash, and yet managing to hold onto its ale status just enough for one to remember that this is a beer, not a Halloween soup. Pretty extraordinary. That said, I doubt everyone will like it; it’s really a lot to take. (9/10)

Nicoll Kidman

Nicoll Dry Wildflower Mead (Maine) – Yeah, it’s mead. Dry-ish honey in drinkable form. And then? Nothing. The problem is less this beverage than my tastes; once one has delved into single-source meads, the blends seem…well, boring. So that’s my bad. I can recommend it for those whose palates haven’t been ruined by, um, varietal bottlings. (6/10)


Shipyard “Pugsley’s Signature Series” Smashed Pumpkin Ale (Maine) – As much pumpkin as I’ve ever tasted stuffed into one of these ales, and light on the spice (but not absent its lurid influence). Mostly, pumpkin ales are exceedingly heavy and a very acquired taste. Usually, that’s due to excess spice. Excess pumpkin is a new experience, for me, and just for the sake of originality this has appeal. But it really, really tastes like pumpkin. (4/10)

Wassails in the sunset

Shipyard “Woodstock Inn Brewery” Winter Seasonal Ale “Wassail” (Maine) – Heavy, with the suggestion but not the actuality of wintry spices. Not that interesting, in that it attempts to replace character with density. (1/10)

Drunk Addams

[vineyard]Shipyard “Pugsley’s Signature Series” Barley Wine-Style Ale (Maine) – Heady, but not rich, with a malty/grainy tang and some spicy stone fruit. Good. Not really more than that. (6/09)


Peak Organic Maple Oat Ale (Maine) – Whether intentionally or not, the combination of elements here makes the beer act more like a very light Stout, or perhaps a Porter, than a regular ale. That’s not a criticism so much as it is a warning; those expecting a light brew that replicates their maple-drizzled morning oatmeal will be a little surprised. The first bottle is a bit of a struggle for me, for this very reason, but subsequent bottles reveal the beer’s qualities, which are considerable. Not something for every day, but a fine effort. (10/08)

TN: Allabord

[bottles]Allagash “Grand Cru” Batch 14 (Maine) – Thick roasted-nut spice with a thin midpalate and some bitterness on the finish. A little thinner than I’d prefer. I always want to like Allagash, but they’re persistently mild underachievers. (3/07)

TN: Ça, c’est curieux…

[bottle]Allagash “Curieux” (Maine) – June 2006 bottling, aged in oak barrels previously employed for the production of bourbon. This is a strong (11%) alcohol beer, and it wears on the palate to little salutary effect. There’s a very minor bit of actual ale flavor buried under a monotone din of raw and toasted wood, alcohol, and general dreariness, and the overall impression is one of extreme boredom. (2/07)