Shipyard Brewing Company are often cited as one of the driving forces in the first wave of the American craft beer movement. They were founded in 1994 in Portland, Maine, originally brewing in-house as part of a restaurant and brewpub. Demand for their beers soon proved too much for their premises, and so they opened up their own brewery on the Portland waterfront, where they remain to this day. Over time they have acquired a number of other smaller breweries and are now the fourth largest microbrewer in New England, and largest brewer in Maine. They remain family-owned, and have a range of popular beers in the American Pale Ale (APA) style, including ales flavoured with pumpkin, blueberry and watermelon.
Shipyard Low Tide is the company’s first and only low alcohol beer as far as we could tell. However, it is not actually brewed in the States, but instead is produced in the UK under license by Marston’s Brewery, who are now part of the Carlsberg Group. Famous for their traditional mild ales and bitters, Marston’s are an interesting pick to brew a beer in the APA style. Instead of the earthy and herbal hops in a traditional English pale, the American-style favours stronger, bolder citrus and resinous-pine hop flavours, such as those given by the Cascade and Amarillo varieties. An East Coast pale will also tend to have a more fruity flavour profile, usually without veering into IPA territory. This will my my first Marston’s brewed beer for over a decade, and I’m interested in what standard they can now offer.
A decent-sized 500ml bottle for once, the beer pours a pale golden colour with good clarity but not much carbonation visible. We get a fluffy white head, though like the froth on the tide it’s soon gone, but we get some minimal lacing. On the nose we get a good burst of resinous pine, with some fruity peach and lemon citrus. There is also a touch of dank earthiness, and some brown sugar sweetness. Good aromas here, let’s hope they continue into the taste.
Fruits are what hit you initially when we taste, with the juicy peach from the aroma returning and being joined by tropical mango. Then we’re joined by a clean citrus bitterness. This is all supported by a caramel/brown sugar backbone which helps to round out and balance the drink. As evidenced by the lack of visible bubbles, the carbonation level is medium at best. But I don’t think this effects the mouthfeel too much, indeed I find this slips down rather nicely – maybe the lactose at work here? We get a short slightly bitter finish to round off the beer.
This is the most impressed I’ve been with a macro-brewed ale for a long time. Shipyard’s faith in Carlsberg Marston’s has paid off and they’ve managed to produce a great tasting APA-style non-alcoholic beer that certainly sings to my taste buds. It’s maybe more an English interpretation of an American pale, with less hard-hitting hops than many beers from the States’ East Coast, but I’m happy it’s readily available over here.
Buy Shipyard Low Tide
It’s actually quite easy to obtain a bottle or two of Shipyard’s Low Tide, I’ve seen them for sale in both Tesco and Morrisons supermarkets. It’s also available from the usual suspects online too:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)|
|Water, Barley, Hops, Lactose (Milk), Yeast|
|Country of Production||United Kingdom|
|Brewer||Carlsberg Marston’s – https://www.marstonsbrewery.co.uk/|
|Vegan Friendly?||No, contains lactose|
Shipyard Low Tide Non-Alcoholic Pale Ale Review
Very drinkable APA-lite, full of fruit with a touch of bitterness to round it off. Best thing to come out of Marston’s Brewery ever in my opinion!