Shipyard Brewing Company

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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #269
Ranked #48,447
3.33 | pDev: 14.11%
Shipyard Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Notes: Shipyard GingerBreadHead Ale is like a spicy, rich, gingerbread cookie you can drink. The warm flavors of molasses and brown sugar are accented with ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 215 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Today in New Shipyard Beer Sunday (Week 672) & I am very excited about the prospect of a brewery horizontal with/from these guys! The best summer of my life was 1990 in Portland, ME while the U.S.S. Normandy (CG-60) was in PSA at the BIW shipyard.

From the bottle: "Ale with natural flavor added".

Dang! Another screwed-up screw-top cap! This was the second time that I have been burnt in Pop!ping the cap, but no further today. I had no choice but to do a slow, gentle pour since this one had been awaiting my undivided attention for a while. Once sufficiently decanted into the awaiting glass, a vigorous swirl raised just over a finger of foamy, rocky, light-tan head with modest retention, quickly reverting to wisps. Color was a gorgeous Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. An ex had hair of this color, like rusty wire, & I used to call her "Rusty", much to her chagrin. Nose was redolent with ginger, treacle & bready malt. Liquid gingerbread! Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The spiciness was immediate on the tongue. I really liked the way that it had established itself in the beer over time as well as allowing the slight sourness of the treacle to round the sharp edges of the ginger & (maybe) cinnamon). It was very evocative of biting into a gingerbread cookie! I took HomeEc (Foods) in high school & my favorite thing was baking. Cookies, cakes, meats, meats wrapped in dough, I just loved firing up the oven to see what would come out. We made banana bread for Thanksgiving & gingerbread cookies for Christmas that first semester & the smells still stick with me. This beer was so evocative of that! Mmm. Finish was appropriately dry as is to be expected when adding spices to beer. What a great beer on a frigid winter's day!

Jan 07, 2018
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass.

Hazy dark brown pour. Medium head. Bready, spicy aroma. Apple, cinnamon,allspice, cloves.
Taste is sweet and malty; a nice mix of all the flavors found in the aroma. Spicy Ginger kick at the end.

Pleasantly surprised. One of the better holiday beers I've had.

Jul 24, 2017
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.31/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I purchased this at a grocery store, poured chilled from the bottle in a mug.

The color is dark amber bordering on copper with translucent clarity and thick light beige head with fine bead. The smell is very much like a gingerbread cookie -moderate spice with some sweet dark sugar in the aroma. The feel is okay -medium high carbonation and moderately sweet texture with some spice in the middle and mostly dry finish.

The taste is not bad with some ginger in the flavor with a mild sweet malt yet not a lot of flavor other than sweetness with a subtle yeast in the middle and some molasses in the back. This is not a bad beer but it does not make me want to have it again -it is basically as described beer with gingerbread flavor spice and sweetness

Jun 20, 2016
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Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts

3.46/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This gingerbread flavored brown ale pours a dark amber color with a medium foamy tan head with a fairly large amount of carbonation. The smell is sharply sweet and like the name implies of gingerbread. The taste is of molasses, brown bread, and most prominently of sweet gingerbread. The flavor is slightly artificial, but really not as much as you would expect from a gingerbread flavored beer. The gingerbread flavor is a little bit overwhelming. You can tell this is a beer, but the gingerbread flavor mostly out-competes the natural beer malt flavors. This is a difficult beer to rate because I actually like the taste in a strange way. However, it’s not at all what I would want if I really felt like a beer, so I can’t really rate it that highly. Still as far as flavored beers go it is better than average.

Jun 12, 2016
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of fresh baked gingerbread cookies. Taste is gingerbread cookies, molasses, a bit on the sweet side, spices at the finish. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a unique and enjoyable beer.

May 24, 2016
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

3.56/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger khaki head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Crystal clear deep amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Gingerbread nose and flavor lives up to name, like drinking liquid gingerbread. 12oz bottle was a gift.

Feb 25, 2016
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.16/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear yet almost opaque very dark brown in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy foamy tan head that reduces to a medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of molasses, ginger, and brown sugar with a light to moderate amount of sweetness. Light notes of toasted malts. Overall, this one reminds me of a gingerbread cookie.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of caramel + toasted + roasted malts with a moderate amount of brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of molasses and ginger spice with a hint of clove + cinnamon. No perceptible hop flavors but a light amount of bitterness in the finish which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin/watery.

O: The smell of this beer really reminds me of gingerbread but it seems to be missing something from the taste (especially when compared with other beers that feature gingerbread flavors). The mouthfeel is much too light in my opinion and I want something with a richer malt flavor. Easy to drink though.

Jan 26, 2016
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superspak from Ohio

3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/23/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, light roast, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, spice, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, light roast, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spice bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice robustness, balance, and complexity of dark/bready malt, spice, and earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium body; with a very smooth and lightly creamy/bready/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.6%. Overall this is a good spiced brown ale style. All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/bready malt, spices, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

Jan 23, 2016
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Marraybay from District of Columbia

2.24/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Look: Red amber; No head; Some residual soapiness on glass.

Smell: Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, molasses

Taste: Opens with an initial volley of unsweet gingerbread (artificial) flavor
that quickly transitions into tart note that carries thru to the finish.

Feel: Prickly and biting oddly enough. Not smooth.

Overall: Yuck - Bitter, prickly sour gingerbread.

Jan 12, 2016
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ChicagoJ from Illinois

2.66/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Chicago 1/9/16 (12 oz bottle poured into pint glass). Very dark, murky brown appearance, minimal tan head which quickly dissipated. Smells of gingerbread and artificial vanilla. Taste of gingerbread, with brown sugar and very sweat.Heavy and bubbly carbonation caused somewhat harsh feel for such a sweet product. Beer was drinkable, but not something I would purchase again.

Jan 09, 2016
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metter98 from New York

3.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very dark brown (or close to black) when viewed from afar, but when held up to the light it is clear dark brownish red in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that quickly died down, leaving only a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of molasses are present in the nose along with notes of brown sugar and hints of ginger.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has flavors of molasses along with notes of ginger.
M: It feels a bit more than light-bodied and slightly thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is interesting in its own respect, but doesn't close to resembling gingerbread nearly as much as some of the other beers that I've had. It seems like it could use more of a maltier base and a better mix of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

Jan 09, 2016
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Antc2382 from New Jersey

3.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a wine glass (random, I know)
A: dark brown, with some ruby accents when light hits. Slight lining of the beer with a tan ring, dusted on beer's surface. S: aroma is of spicy gingerbread. Smells like a gingerbread house. T: there is a slight root beer character to this beer but it does taste like gingerbread. It is good but has a little bit of an artificialness to it. Feels more watery as the beer goes on. F: actually pretty smooth but it does have a watered down feeling. Carbonation is somewhat lacking. This beer could use a crispness. O: I felt like this beer was ok, it had some good flavors and qualities but it had it's fair share of flaws as well.

Jan 03, 2016
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therica from Maryland

3.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer reminded me more of a moderate quality Pumpkin beer than a ginger beer. The spices are similar, the ginger flavor is lightweight and a bit disappointing.

The appearance isn't bad, a slightly cloudy light amber. The nose has modest interest. The finish is slightly bitter.

Overall, it's a modest quality special interest beer for a one-time try. It didn't meet with much fanfare around here for the holidays, in fact my review is much more positive than the reactions of others. I could see someone becoming a big fan of this but it won't be here.

Dec 30, 2015
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Bunman3 from Canada (AB)

3.48/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is remarkably like gingerbread in a glass, which is great if you like gingerbread. If you like beer, I'm not sure you will be a fan of beer that tastes like gingerbread. There is a manufactured phenol feeling that masks the things I love about beer - malt, hops, you know - that good stuff. I've tried it and can assure you I won't be back!

Dec 23, 2015
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Cyrano41 from Virginia

3.21/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I've never been a fan of Shipyard and this beer didn't change my mind. It was, however, better than expected. I may try it again, but it didn't knock my socks off.

Jun 30, 2015
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Jeffreysan from Maryland

3.11/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear-yet, deep, dark, mahogany color with an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly and completely dissolved away into no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic, like freshly baked gingerbread cookies! Strong aromas of ginger, gingerbread and brown sugar, as well as strong notes of maple syrup, toasted malt, hints of black pepper, vanilla and orange peel. Rich, inviting and delicious!

Taste: Unfortunately, the taste doesn’t live up to the gorgeous aroma. There isn’t much in the way of beer flavor, such as toasted malt or hops; rather, it tastes more like a root-beer, and not a good one, at that. It’s extremely sweet, cloyingly in fact, and it has a lot of gingerbread-like flavor, but it tastes like it was mad with ginger syrup or extract, rather than actual gingerbread. Not good at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very, very, smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 5.1%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very disappointing beer, especially after how delicious and inviting its aroma is. The problem with this beer is its flavor, fake and cloyingly sweet. I’m seriously disappointed both with this beer and with Shipyard, as the other Shipyard beers I’ve had have been much, much better than this. Shipyard needs to take this back to the drawing board and come up with a better recipe.

Jun 20, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.52/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i liked this better than others apparently. its really molasses forward, more gingerbread than ginger, true to the name, and if you like sweet holiday beers, this is a good one to try. for me, the residual sugar was a bit much, but i liked the flavors. it seems a little syrupy to me, a little artificial in terms of the gingerbread character, and its way more of than than it is beer. very little hops yeast and grain happening for me in this beer, but in that spiced ale christmas time context, i can see this being really appealing. what i cant see being appealing is these guys pouring it at a beer festival in april. not sure what the thought process was there. anyhow, i like the low abv on this too, usually for these flavors and in other holiday time beers, the abv gets up near 8 or 10%, and it limits how much you can have. this one could theoretically be consumed in mass quantities, although for me its much too sweet for that. everyone hates on shipyard, and i tend to really like most of their beers, but this one was just okay for me.

Apr 14, 2015
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Myotus from Texas

3.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours with a small, white head. Has a reddish brown color. Has aromas of malts, gingerbread, and hops. Initial taste is of gingerbread, hops, and malts. The combination of these flavors persists throughout the aftertaste. Not a very complex melody of flavors. The gingerbread flavor is somewhat weak compared to the hops and malts. Hops give the flavor and added sweetness on top of the gingerbread while the amber malts give it a crisp taste. Overall a good beer, but nothing too impressive.

Mar 24, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.89/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded twist-off pressure cap. 12 fl oz.

Acquired: at a bottle shop in Austin, TX.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served cold into

Vintage: 2014.
ABV: 4.6%.
Style: Herbed/spiced beer (gingerbread).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: Low (given the brewery).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1 inch wide. Off-white colour. Smooth, even, and fairly frothy. Leaves a light coating of lacing as it recedes.

Retention: ~6 minutes - which would be impressive if the ABV wasn't a scant 4.60% ABV.

BODY: Clear vibrant copper-amber. No yeast particualte or hop sediment is visible; it's quite clean in its presentation.

AROMA: Gingerbread, sure. Caramalt. Amber malt. Gingerbread cookies. Maybe hazelnut? Cream.

Aromatic intensity: mild.

What really works here is how expressive and seemingly authentic the gingerbread is; it doesn't seem artificial or extract-y. Admittedly, it's a bit simple and plain, but I find it inviting.

No yeast character, booze, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Yup, it nails the gingerbread, though it's a biteen syrupy and inauthentic. Still, I expected worse given this beer's current 77 rating. The amber malt backbone could be toastier, but it's suitable as-is. Cream and biscuit malt fill out the body, as does the English toffee.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Okay.

Is it balanced? I guess. Not dialed in, though. I do like it, and it's fine that it's simple and plain, but the discerning drinker will crave more nuance and intricacy. I do think it's too rich and a bit too sweet.

There's no hop character, yeast character, or booze here.

TEXTURE: It gets a bit too coarse and dry on the finish, but it's aptly medium-bodied. Has fair thickness. It's a bit syrupy and sticky, and it's definitely overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Fails to elevate the beer, but it suits the taste okay. Needs work, but it's not too distracting.

OVERALL: For 4.60% ABV, it should be far more drinkable, but it does fulfill the promise of the premise; it commits to the gingerbread. Definitely a novelty brew, and not a bad one at that. I wouldn't buy it again, but it's not awful, and Shipyard has done worse. Still, there's little here for the discerning drinker. Very average, but not a bad winter seasonal by any means.


Mar 08, 2015
Photo of JD8908

3.95/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Personally I really enjoyed this. If you're into seasonal brews such as pumpkin ales, this is for you. Appearance- nice dark amber, two fingers of off white foam that quickly goes down to a thin layer. Smells like sweet gingerbread. Tastes like gingerbread, nutmeg, and hints of pumpkin spice. Finishes clean with a nice gingerbread aftertaste. Very light and smooth. Very easy to drink.

Feb 16, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

3.82/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best before 6/21/15, poured into a pint

A- pours a clear dark amber color with a foamy and creamy two-finger off white head that retains nicely long after the pour, leaving some lace behind

S- lots of ginger aroma up front with a hint of cinnamon, very similar to a pumpkin ale. There is also a malty sugary sweetness that is reminiscent of ginger bread cookies

T- there's a bit of a cloying sweetness up front with flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon. However a nice malty sweetness kicks in mid-palate, quickly followed by sweet brown sugar and ginger, the finish actually tastes just like a gingerbread cookie

M- medium body with moderate spritz carbonation leads to a foamy and chewy mouthfeel and a creamy finish

O- for what they were trying for, they pretty much succeeded. Definitely worth a try if you like gingerbread cookies

Jan 12, 2015
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hophugger from Virginia

3.61/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dip your plain gingerbread cookie in some brown ale and this is what you get.........Pours a nice deep, golden brown with ok head and minimal lacing. Aroma is of molasses and gingerbread cookies. Taste is similar with touches of molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet maltiness. Carbonation is just the right amount from keeping this beer from being flat. Nice balance, and I swear, this tastes just like gingerbread cookies. A little thick on the tongue, but overall, balances well and is enjoyable, especially around the holidays on a cold day !!

Jan 07, 2015
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, a bit late of an arrival for the holiday season, I gotta say.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick amber hue, with two skinny fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and yet bubbly off-white head, which leaves but a few instances of streaky lace around the glass as it quickly subsides.

It smells of semi-sweet bready caramel malt, candied ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, a soft black orchard fruitiness, brown sugar, and rather faint earthy, weedy hops. The taste is more of the same, i.e. gingerbread's constituent parts - the usual suspect spices of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with maybe a touch of clove, a decently doughy caramel malt, grainy dark sugar, and a somewhat more appreciable bitter earthy hoppiness.

The bubbles are actually quite supportive in their lilting frothiness, the body just on the light side of medium weight, and so-so smooth, y'know - not bad, but not particularly noticeable as such. It finishes fairly dry, surprisingly, the muddled spices more apt at lingering than any sort of effort from the bready malt.

A whole lot better than I was expecting, given my recent-ish exposure to this brewery's wares - it does indeed come across as very gingerbread-like, but still in a beer format. Not that I'd want a number of servings of this, but hey, that goes the same for the holiday confection that it's aping, as well.

Jan 02, 2015
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lambpasty from New Hampshire

1.43/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ba is telling me I need to enter a review to submit, not sure why. This is typical shipyard mass-market artificially flavored bud lite nonsense. I know this crap is a money maker for them, but it's too bad because they're a more capable brewery than this.

Dec 21, 2014
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Cavanaghty from Maine

2.5/5  rDev -24.9%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker brown with almost no head.

Smell: Malts, nutmeg and molasses

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of malts some bitter hops, light molasses and nutmeg.

Overall: Not all that impressive. I will not waste my money on this one again.

Dec 14, 2014
GingerBreadHead from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 215 ratings