I won a Shipyard Brewing hat in Alan's photo competition a few years back. I don't wear this style of hat, but I still have it, against the eventuality I may at some point lose what little fashion sense I possess and change my mind. I also won a Shipyard Brewing t-shirt which is of a size that will likely only become useful should I find myself in either a bedouin caravan and needing to make camp, or attempting to win the Americas Cup but lacking a sail. Anyway, I still have it.
And that, hitherto, has been the sum total of my experience of the Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine. Until I chanced across their Pumpkinhead beer which has just cropped up in Dublin. I'm guessing from the subtle clues on the label that it's a beer made with pumpkins, though the descriptive small-print says merely it is a "Malt Beverage with natural Flovor added". And you know how much I love Flovor.
There's a whiff of spiced fakery from the beer as it pours, like an apfelstrudel air freshener. It's a lurid, limpid, Irn Bru orange and lacks any significant foam topping. Maybe it's just because it looks like an alcopop that it tastes like an alcopop; or maybe it's the watery texture, the overactive fizz and the unpleasantly sickly cinnamon and fruit (pumpkin, I guess, though it resembles apple more) flavour. This is a beer you might put up with once, because it's Halloween, and you're already three t-shirts to the wind, but there's no excuse on Easter Monday. No excuse at all.