Contrary to the beliefs of many BA's for a lot of English-style beers, which is what Shipyard specializes at, some levels of diacetyl are actually to style and desireable. If you don't like it, that's a different story. Personally, I think the "problem" is Shipyard makes English-style beers, which don't always appeal to the American BA's tastes. Like many English-style beers, Shipyard's beers are typically lower alcohol, are not hop bombs, and some [not all] have detectable diacetyl. These are not characteristics with strong appeal to the average "Beer Advocate." On Applehead being gimmicky....maybe it is, but clearly it was inspired by their Pumpkinhead so there's a precedent of sorts. It's also no less gimmicky than lots of wacky beers churned out by other craft brewers, many of which are praised by BAs *cough* Dogfishhead *cough* FWIW, I enjoy Shipyard's Old Thumper and Prelude. I do not like Pumpkinhead and of all the pumpkin beers I've had it's my least favorite. Everything else I've had from them I thought was just OK. But, take any collection of beers from a single brewer and I'll probably find a couple I like, a couple I hate, and then the others I think are just OK, so in that regard to me Shipyard is no different from any other brewery.