McNeill's Sunshine India Pale Ale | McNeill's Brewery

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McNeill's Sunshine India Pale AleMcNeill's Sunshine India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by NEhophead on 07-20-2010

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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 49
Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours gold with light copper highlights with a slight chill haze. A persistent 3” finely bubbled light cream colored foam collar owns the top and sides of the glass.
S: Biscuity malt and citrusy, piney hops.
T: Rich caramel malt with light biscuit gives way to big bitter grapefruit and grapefruit rind with a little pine. There is a little more bitterness in the foam collar than the body of the beer which adds a layer of complexity.
F: Very creamy texture and a rich medium body sit very softly in the mouth.
O: Well made, well balanced, wonderful texture and very easy to drink.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.26/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

1 Pint 6oz brown bottle. A best before last day of a month is located at the top of the label, but there is no notch or mark indicating when the last day might be.
Poured into an Innis & Gunn stemmed glass.
It pours a hazy yellowish golden color with a fairly solid 3" off-white head, along with some patchy and webbed lacing.
Smells of grapefruit zest, white grapefruit, pale malt and gin burst out at first pour. Smells of resinous hop and a grassy field of sunflowers follow close behind.
This is one citrusy and juicy IPA! Tastes of grapefruit and mixed citrus dominate, while mild tastes of tart apple, gin, pine, black pepper and a slightly metallic tang come into play.
There is a fairly sweet malty backbone here, but this is certainly all about bitterness.
The mouthfeel is a tad raspy and edgy at first, but it becomes quite quaffable as it warms.
It's a bit puzzling why this very solid IPA doesn't receive higher marks. My only guess might be that there's some consistency issue with the brewing, but this one is certainly delish!

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Photo of PieOhMy
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into pint glass

A One finger head. Hazy amber/orangeish.

S Potent. Orange, lemon, and grapefruit peel. Floral - dandelion, tulip. Hops. Nice smell.

T This definitely mirrors the smell. Lemon/citrus zest. Nice malt backbone. Good hit of hops. Got a little soapy aftertaste. This doesn't linger though.

M A little watery, but also some breadyness. So, medium.

O I like this IPA. It is kind of off balance, but it works. The flavors are subtle and smooth. Very refreshing. Hides the ABV well. Drinks like a session.

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Photo of Hendry
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

$9-$12 bombers are plentiful and a gamble: so many times the price doesn't meet the quality,
so when you grab one in the $4-$6 price range the expectations tend to be much lower. Vermont has proved itself worthy in the arena of fine beers, and McNeil's Sunshine IPA is an underrated beer worthy of closer attention in the $4-$6 bomber class.

Pours a cloudy golden orange with a pleasing nose that is simple, clean and crisp: grapefruit and tangerine rind with a biscuit background. Nice 2 finger head in the imperial pint glass lasts a good long time with very impressive lacing for a lower to moderately priced IPA bomber.

The carbonation is slightly aggressive but not displeasing, mouthfeel is medium, and the flavor follows the aromas pretty closely. Not overly complex, but the simplicity is enjoyable and straightforward. Nice bitter aftertaste, but again not overly aggressive with some oily resins in there.

Bottom line: a very solid and thoroughly enjoyable IPA that competes solidly with the $6 West Coast bombers that have lined our Vermont shelves. Outshines the overrated and bland Bear Republic Racer 5 as well as Gigantic IPA, which has a slightly soapy aroma and aftertaste. Sunshine IPA offers strong bang for the buck with regard to quality, drinkability and overall enjoyment. Well worth a try, and a pleasant surprise for the money.

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Photo of JackieTH
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gold orange with a sticky, persistent cap of foam. Muted orange citrus pith with sweet caramel, honey oat cake nose. Assertive carbonation and mild bitterness, citrus pith and pine resin flavor elements appear briefly but are washed away by lightly sweet caramel biscuit malt body. Not enough bitterness is established and thus is very balanced probably a little too much so for my IPA preferences. Mildly sweet finish.

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Photo of snilsen13
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One man's fancy is another man's filth. I think there's something in the tastebuds of McNeill's brewers that jives perfectly with my own.

Here's the thing. Any McNeill's beer, to me, tastes as clean and uncontaminated as could possibly be. The flavors tend not to be complex, however, they are very very deep. This brewery has it over any other nearly any other in the US, regarding this particularity, and it seems to me, no matter what bomber of McNeill's I drink, I get a gut feeling that I haven't ever tasted the style better.

So, as a massive advocate for something being done unquestionably super well, I qualify this beer an outstanding beer.

Specifically, they've chosen an herbal hop over a citrus or piney hop. The bitterness isn't excessive, it is well balanced and strong. Each drink to the last drop still tastes bitter and the complexity of the bitterness swirls to reveal layers of depth rarely experienced in a single sensation of bitter.

The mouthfeel of this beer, like all of McNeil's that I know, is perfectly light yet not thin.

It looks great. It tastes great. At $5 a bomber, it is a tad pricey, but you get back something to be very happy about. So, if you haven't, you must. This is such a great brewery and sooo under-rated here, it makes me think the bulk of the reviews here are worthless.

Of course, being a long-time hobby brewer, I don't have the average palate for beers any longer, so take it for a grain of salt. McNeill's caters to people who have drank a lot of beer and just want something really simple done really well.

You would think I know these guys - I don't. This is just my opinion.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1219th Review on BA
Bottle to Piraat Tulip
22 oz

Thanks to Scott (Cliffbrake) for this one

App- Like the bottle says. A peach looking orangey blended yellow with a huge two finger very frothy long lasting white head. Great stick and cling as it falls like a puck not leaving.

Smell- Its got a lot of grapefruit behind it with a touch of pine tree. A bit thin on the nose with a touch of alcohol.

Taste- A lot of flavor but a bit damp and muddled. A bit creamy on the first taste and a touch of smooth booze and layered old orange/grapefruit juice with pine and a thick hop presence.

Mouth- A very medium creamy body with a low medium carbonation. Residual grapefruit and pine with some creamy notes.

Drink- A nice beer but a bit old tasting to me. Had a thick creamy layer but needed more pop. I would like this again but I thick cask is right avenue for this one.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample bottle. 22 ounce bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy deep golden, orange-ish hue with a creamy off-white head that slowly settles, leaving sticky lacing all over the glass. As this bottle is not super cold, I suspect it's not chill haze, nor was it a hard pour.

S: Lots of west coast character on the nose. Some caramel malt presence, along with grapefruit, pineapple, and floral notes.

T: Grapefruit and pineapple hop character dominates, with some honey character from the malt. Slight astringency on the finish, with floral, grassy notes.

Notes: Moderate in body, with decent flavor and viscous mouthfeel. It's pretty drinkable, although the astringent character on the finish takes some getting used to. A solid effort, but not a beer that I would seek out over and over.

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Photo of UDbeernut
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber aquired in trade with shcufj, enjoyed with buddy coldbrewky.

tan capped by a luxurious silky off white head that refuses to go away. Stong hop prescense in the nose, mainly pine. taste is all hop up front slightly cleansed by and good malt backbone, bitterness is there but not overpowering. More balanced than what I generally like in an IPA, but tasty none the less. medium bodied.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
2.91/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a fluted pint glass, color is pale copper with off white head thats about 2 inches thick, nice lacing and presence.

Smell is citrusy, earthy, piney hops with a presence of malt sweetness backing it up. Something off, but can't define it.

Taste is a little over sweet, pale malt, light caramel with solid hop bitterness, balanced between some pine and citrus.

Mouthfeel is way to cloying and sweet for my preference, but the bitterness comes back around after a while.

Overall, a pretty standard ipa, a touch sweet.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.14/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber into a Weyerbacher tulip. Thanks to vonschplieffen for sharing.

A: Slightly hazed, medium amber body with an inch of fine, creamy off-white head on top. Terrific retention, sticky lace. Great looking beer.

S: Strange, almost smoky character on top of some caramel malt and grapefruit hops. Very fruity.

T: Pretty standard, sweet IPA: fruity hops, caramel malt. There's almost a grape note in there as well; weird.

M: Very frothy, hugely carbonated medium body. Ok.

O: I don't know if this was an old bottle (no date) or what, but it was just not that good. Too sweet, borderline overripe with the fruit, and just muddled overall. Drinkable, yes; enjoyable, not really.


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Photo of spinrsx
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Appearance - Hazy copper colour with an average size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. I can't make out the carbonation level and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, grapefruit, pineapples

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and a decent amount of hops. The beer has a very sweet sugary flavour and there is quite a bit of pineapple flavour and a touch of grapefruit. It finishes with a tropical fruit sweet aftertaste with a bit of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - This was an enjoyable beer that came across as more of a DIPA. It's very sweet and I don't think I would have been able to drink much more than 1 bomber in an evening.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Union Square Whole Foods in NYC.

Pours quite a deep, dark amber hue, orange in places, but certainly dark for an IPA. Head is initially frothy and full, but settles to a couple of millimetres of white foam. Lacing is streaky, but not bad.

Nose is resiny and slightly astringent. Pine and menthol come through in a piquant but cutting prominence. Some caramel malt characters come through as well, but they just sit around the edge of the biting simple hop oomph.

Taste is not bad, but again, somewhat overhopped without the flavour or complexity that would justify it. Slightly cutting resin, with a touch of nuts on the finish and a bite of dark leaves. Sweet malt comes through giving a sweetness that melds to form almost an acid lemon candy character. Feel is quite light, but not bad.

Not a bad drop, but a little unbalanced towards the hops, without any reason for it. I like a big hoppy IPA, but only when the flavours justify it, balance it, create some interest and complexity. This doesn't quite pull that off.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.26/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

$5.00 bomber from Abe's.

Very hazy light golden orange body, topped by four fingers of rocky white froth. Good lacing.

So-so pine aroma backed with citrus. The pine comes across as more cleanser than forest.

Overly sweet caramel beginning slops across the tongue, a flood more than a foundation. Tasty juicy fruit follows, then a bit bite of bitterness at the swallow. Bitterness takes a bad turn in the aftertaste, and ends up with a nasty lingering flavor that begs to be washed away. Its that cleanser sensation again.

Mouthfeel is a little overly bubbly for the style.

Not an ipa I'm in a hurry to finish, return to, or recommend.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 6/7/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, piney hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a strong grassy hops bitterness. Then some caramel and citrus sweetness follows. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid IPA worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber bottle into a Ro's Restaurant pint glass.

A: Hazy, orange amber color with loads of yeast and proteins sediment suspended in the brew which lurked beneath a massive, 3 finger head of rocky, off white foam which left some nice lacing.

S: Lots of grapefruit, orange rind and OJ on the nose to go with some leafy, herbal hop resins.

T: Bittersweet and lightly toffeish up front, leading to a juicy malt center where the brew is picked up by loads of citrusy hop resins. Grapefruit, orange peel and a hint of ginger are noted in the sweet, juicy and lingering hop finish.

M: Medium-full bodied IPA with a bit to chew on given the unfiltered nature of this IPA. Lots of yeast and almost pulpy sediment to add to the experience.

O: A really enjoyable, lush, fruity IPA from McNeill's, Sunshine IPA was great on cask at the Brattleboro Brewers Fest a few weeks ago and the bottle doesn't disappoint either. At 7% ABV it's a heavy-hitting IPA, but a damn fine use of citrusy hops and flavorful yeast make this a superb, big summer IPA.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle of this at Premier Gourmet on the north side of Buffalo, NY on a recent business trip.

A - Pours a deep and vibrant, clear copper color with a billowing cream colored head that easily measured three fingers! Once the foam dies down, the beer is still left with a generous covering of fluffy and sticky foam clinging to the glass.

S - Grapefruit, and caramel biscuity malt and the most forward of aromas. There's also some lemon floral character mixed in. The grapefruit is a little bit sharp, and there's a little grass in there as well.

T - Not what I expected, but in a good way. The grapefruit is still there and comes on stronger as the sip progresses, the bitterness alomost starts out as a trot and slowly builds to running speed all the way to the finish line, even after that, there's a dry lingering bitterness that hangs around for easily several minutes before slowly subsiding. The surprising part is, even though I couldn't pick up much in the nose, is a bold, tart lemon presence. The initial hit of flavor creates a BRIEF second of wet blanket and then leaves until the next sip. There's a slight bit of piney & grassy flair.

M - Heavier side of medium body, very dry finish, and the as I work my way through the glass, the throat is showing signs of alcohol warmth.

O - Doesn't jump out and grab me as memorable, however, this is a solid IPA and one that I would definitely keep in my IPA stash. It's assertively hoppy and an IPA I'm rather enjoying right now! I would buy this again, nice job McNeill's!

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Premiere, worth trying. Pours cloudy grapefruit with five-eights of foamy white head. Grapefruit aromas, grapefruit taste, with a little astringency bite in finish that gets somewhat harsher towards the en of 500 ml . Lots of lace. Colombus hops, smooth drinker. Carbonation right there, still very fresh and edgy tasting.. 11 days past expiry date.

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Photo of americanjones
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber.

Great pour, looks fantastic. 2 finger head, nice retention. Grapefruit and grass, not the legal kind, are most prominent on the nose. Nice balance of flavors. Sweet caarmel upfront taste followed by a great big citrusy hop finish. Really a tasty everyday type of IPA. Nothing crazy, just straight forward goodness.

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Photo of silentjay
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

very hazy orange/brown with a soapy almost white head that retains and laces well.

biscuity and grainy malts strike first with some floral and piney hops in next. more zesty citrus than bitter, with some butterscotch and light caramel coming next.

butterscotch, biscuit and lemon zest are the most dominant flavors. piney and bitter hops are more abundant in the flavor profile than in the aroma with very little of the grainy qualities I had feared. not bad.

very watery with a slight bitter burn on the finish.

drinks okay. flavors are its best quality, with the thin body being its biggest detriment. not a bad brew, would be pretty damn good with a bit of fine-tuning.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ McNeill's Brewery (Brattleboro, VT) on 2/20/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a thin head of creamy bright-white foam. This retains with some richness on the edges, leaving back a cascade of light frothy lacing. The aroma is zesty and floral smelling, with some sharp grapefruit notes and a touch of earthy spice. The malts have a bit of a flat grainy feel across the back of the nose. They must have used the Ringwood yeast in this as well, as there is a pronounced butter character here that clashes with the hop flavors that are present and completely takes me out of this about every other whiff. What a shame, as I would have really dug this if not for that.

The taste is more of the same, with a grapefruit bitterness, pine, and notes of additional pithy feeling citrus rind. This is mostly balanced by a sweet grainy toastiness from the malts. That diacetyl is once again present but it's not as distracting as it was in the nose, as it gives a bit of a buttered cracker feel to the malts at times. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a crisp feel that holds fairly steady throughout and then some underlying slickness that gives this a bit of smoothness. This is unfortunately showing a tad too much of it's alcohol at times as this warms. The flavors try their best to cover it up but some solvent-like sharpness cuts this about every other swallow.

I wanted to like this more (and could mostly even look past the butter in the nose) but that combo of extreme bitterness and alcohol just made this a bit too much to take at times. I wonder if this presents itself better in the bottle. I'd be willing to check it out sometime, as there were things to like here.

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Photo of smcolw
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rocky three-finger head that leaves some ring lace after each sip. The broth is cloudy and is an orange-amber color.

Moderate hop aroma (especially for an IPA). Nice clean pale malt nose without any graniness.

Very dry brew, the finish is astringent with a bitter hop wallop. The beginning is malty--paler than the color suggests. Full bodied with a decent carbonation.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a tulip glass... nice honey amber color... bright white head that dissapates quickly and leaves a nice bubbly lacing. Very cloudy with nice carbonation.

S- Fresh grass and... get this... manure! Believe it or not, not in a bad way, just brought back memories of living in the country as a kid. Tiny hints of citrus... a little sweet and spicy on the nose.

T- Nice blend of citrus and malt... very evenly balanced. sweet and caramel, then big citrus hops! Hints of flowers, cinnamon, caramel... but then the orange, grapefruit and ripe citrus shine thru! I'm gonna be buying a bunch of this interesting brew!

M- Great blend of sweet candy malts and bright hops envelope the tongue. Citrus wins out as it should with an IPA. Not at all acrid like some IPA's.

D- Forget the $4.49/bomber price tag! As it warms up... tons of citrus explode in your mouth. Almost seems like it's on the verge of a DIPA...

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, purchased at the Brattleboro, VT food coop. (great place for presumably fresh McNeill's as well as local artisinal cheeses)

Has best before dating notched onto the top of the label (months are nice, but a year notation really also would be useful...)

Pours lightly hazed darker almond amber, under an initially huge darker eggshell head, that slowly goes to a frothy fluff, a nice merainge development also is nice to observe. Leaves tons of thick sheeting and dense lace.

Piney hop notes in the nose, with some dark wheat breadyness.

Well hopped up IPA. Nice waves of pine, with some malts in the rear. Hops in control. Pleasant enough IPA. Nothing to squeel about, but a worthy "everday" type of ale.

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale and crystal malt scent along with a touch of biscuit malt breadiness and a fine bouquet of piney hops. Although the hops are up front and bitter, the aroma is well balanced. The taste is good. It has a smooth, bitter hop bite along with a wonderful malt flavor. It has incredible balance, touting excellent pale and crystal malt notes. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very enjoyable beer. It's a good example of an east coast IPA; malty and loaded with piney hop character.

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McNeill's Sunshine India Pale Ale from McNeill's Brewery
3.74 out of 5 based on 49 ratings.
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