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First Trans-Atlantic Crossing


My inane desire to try beers I haven’t sampled has come over me and so I’ve banded together all the American beers in my stash that herald from breweries I’ve not tried before. (I really need to stop theming my evenings so much.) I ordered all of these in the hope that some of the less readily available American brewers were hiding some hidden gems. I’m excited. (As there are 6 I’ll try to keep tasting notes brief. I’ve also not bothered with individual pictures, because nearly all the beers look the same in the glass this time – seriously!)

Shipyard Brewery:  IPA - Think American Craft IPA and you have the style pictured in your mind, or on your tastebuds. There have been some truly fantastic ones, so it’s always interesting to try one’s you haven’t. I’ve never heard of Shipyard, but for under £2 a bottle it seemed like it was definitely worth a go. I shan’t be bothering again. This is an English IPA that Caledonian brewery wouldn’t be proud of. It’s not BAD, there’s a bitter fuggles taste for sure and a toffee nose. But it’s like drinking average English bitter, hence my disappointment. This is only just shy of 6%, but that’s not apparent at all. If you told me this was 3.8% I’d be more inclined to agree, before not speaking to you again.

Kentucky Ale - This is described as the meeting of Irish Red and English Pale ales. They obviously don’t think much of either of those styles.  This has an awful lot in common with the Shipyard, except a flat head with no fizz. The nose is Werther’s originals and treacle. The taste is not enjoyable though - tap water with a hint of malts and an added bit of astringency. The least flavourful  5+% beer I’ve ever had. The highlight of this was pouring it down the drain in the knowledge it probably works better than Domestos.  

Kona Brewing Co. Fire Rock Pale Ale – Well this is a bit more like it. A nice, settled amber colour but it’s a little plain on the nose. .But there’s a nice malty bitterness followed by a floral sweetness that’s very pleasant. Not a million miles away from being as good as Sierra Nevada’s. I’m surprised this is my first from them. Not bad with a mild curry either.

Bear Republic: Hop Rod Rye - A dark amber colour, especially when you consider it’s an Imperial IPA. The nose is toffee apples and a hint of banoffee. Tastes like sweet dates and figs with a big kick of rye. Lovely bitter hoppy aftertaste. Its really well balanced and has travelled well. Easily the best of the night.

Weyerbacher:  Double Simcoe IPA - This was the one I was most looking forward to as this brewery seems to be popping up all over the place, and what better way to introduce myself to anyone than with a DIPA. Immediately though I’m surprised by how dark the beer is. Every beer tonight seems to be the same colour. The nose is piny with a small hint of mango but not really what I’d expect from a simcoe based beer. Again, this Imperial IPA is a little different, it reminds me of a barley wine. I don’t think it’s travelled well or maybe I just needed to have it fresh. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OKAY, I was just expecting excellence.

Indigo Imp Brewery: Winter Solstice - This pours a lovely ruby colour with a frothy head. The nose is cloves and a lot of orange. That orange is prominent in the taste, like a delicious spicy marmalade. It starts off a little too carbonated but settles down. I like it though its probably one for the Christmas period. It probably suffers from being a little light at 5.8% and doesn’t really pack that killer punch to make it moreish.

I think tonight has shown why certain American breweries have become so popular in the UK and why others are being left behind. Tonight was a night of experimentation, but I’m left a little disappointed. Bear Republic certainly came up trumps, though I’m interested in trying other beers from Weyerbacher, Kona, and Indigo Imp. Overall though, the next time I want American brews at their best, the brewery better have Dog in its name.

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