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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)


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)