Shipyard Brewing Co.’s “Longfellow Ale”

April 30, 2013

Insomnia: that bothersome bedfellow that’s often seen in the questionable company of writers’ block. Even now, in an attempt to type these words, the two are loudly conspicuous in the middle of the dive bar fast-dancing to a slow song on the jukebox.

They’re a distraction to the quiet moment of solitude and reflection. They’re as ugly as your best friend’s sister. They’re the guy who talks to you in a bar while constantly, albeit jovially, batting you with the back of his hand while commandeering the entire conversation between belts of chilled German herbal liquor.

In short, not what I need right now. I need my beauty rest for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be a long, uncertain day. We’re in the process of opening another restaurant and the cattle call has gone out. We’re expecting a couple of hundred applicants; hopefuls in a time when good jobs are scarce and no one, not even our core office staff – well-accustomed to the whole “we’ve done this five times, now” mentality – know what to expect save the usual litany of career kitchen horror stories, societal fringe lunatics barely escaped from the Chattahoochee Institution, well-intentioned college kids looking for a Pell Grant-deflecting dollar and over-qualified lifers quick with the insult and who’ll know more about cooking than any of us put together.

Stay in school, kids. Do not get into the restaurant game.

I kid. I must; after all, I’m still here, right?

So, what keeps you up at night? Girlfriend troubles? Indigestion? The notion that reality TV talking heads will be running this country one day soon? No matter what the ailment – real or hypochondriacal – there is a balm for your troubled soul. Ironically enough, it’s just such a thing that’s got me awake even later.

The writers’ block has held me up from truly enjoying this Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale more than I should be. Let you find temporary solace and comfort in such a wonderful beverage. I, however, shall continue my somnambulistic hand-wringing.

This beer is good. Incredibly good. Curse-word-inducing good. So what’s the problem? Check the name; it’s a winter ale. Seasonal. Gone until next year. Shorter than the sentence fragments in this article.

It’s got that gorgeous dark ruby-garnet-mahogany color found in the best of flavorful, malty beers with a milky white head that settles quickly to an ever-present ring. Spotty lacing remains while the Scotch ale/porter hybrid delivers scents of hot buttered rum, carob, cocoa powder and toasted walnut. Toasty malt immediately washes over the tongue like a warm blanket followed by cushiony pillows of chocolate, pecan, dried fruits and a hint of smoke with a mellow – but noticeable – hop finish.

Good night, all. I’m going to stay up and think about this one for a little while longer.