I got some good news recently: Shipyard's Chamberlain Pale Ale is no longer a Maine-only, 22 oz. and draft-only release. Shipyard, based in Portland, Me., first brewed Chamberlain in 1995, and I'd been grabbing 22s of it whenever I visited Maine. But last month Shipyard sent me a sixer with a press release: the rest of the country was now getting this Brit-type pale ale named for the hero of Gettysburg and governor of Maine.
That calls for a celebration, and me and my opener are going to start one. I smell hops and esters as soon as I open the bottle: lively number. Mmmm...the nutty malts and Ringwood character, the firm bitterness of tri-traditional hops (Cascades, Fuggles, and Tettnang), smells like ale. I like Sierra Nevada and its cleanly-fermented descendants, but I've always loved English ale yeasts. It's flavorsome, it's distinctive. I know there are plenty of hardcore beer geeks who hate Ringwood yeast and Shipyard, the brewery run by Ringwood's chief advocate in the U.S., Alan Pugsley. But Shipyard sells a lot of beer, and there are still plenty of successful breweries using Ringwood yeast.
Eh, no need for debate. I'm enjoying my beer. Welcome back to Pennsylvania, General Chamberlain!