I have a huge soft spot for Shipyard. Ten years ago, when I lived in the Canadian Maritimes to the east of Maine [You: ...there is something... to the east... of Maine??] it was a taste of civilization getting across the border to taste the southern delights of their export ale or - madness of madness - the variety of a mixed 12 pack, that apparently mortal sin under Canadian regulation.
Recently, the kind folk of Shipyard - repeat sponsors of the Yule photo contest amongst other things - forwarded me a couple of the new brews under the Pugsley's Signature Series, their richly branded new premium line. This one pours black as the seven of clubs, with only a line of mahogany at the edge, under a cafe au lait froth and rim. Plenty of dark chocolate with a bit of licorice on the nose. On the cheeky swish, a great texture of fine ground cocoa/coffee mixed with thick dark chocolate liquor. Minty and twiggy hop notes mixing with mocha espresso - or does the cream yeast make that cuppoccino - laced with a little black strap molasses. A real treat at 7.1%. The BAers are a little ungenerous.