Was having an absolute lousy day the other day, and so when I came home I thought doing a quick beer review might change my focus long enough to salvage the rest of the day.
What did I grab from the large assortment of beers waiting to be had in my fridge? I grabbed the Virgin Islands Brand “Island Summer Ale” by St. Johns Brewers.
Looking at the label, this tropic-sounding ale is actually brewed and bottled by Shipyard Brewing out of Portland Maine? Virgin Island Brand? St. John’s Brewers? I’m confused.
Maybe no one reads labels. It doesn’t matter really, but I felt the need to point that out. I guess if beer from Hawaii can be brewed in New Hampshire, then this should be OK too I guess!
Looking back to last summer, The Brew Club reviewed Shipyard Brewery’s Summer Ale and as it turns out it wasn’t too good. How’s this Virgin Islands Summer Ale in comparison??? Is it really the same beer with an alternate identity?
St. John Brewers is an actual company located in the Virgin Islands who created this, and a few other beers. The brewery was started by a couple of New England college buddies who after moving to St. John decided that the local beer selection was lacking started to brew their own beer in 2001. I’m guessing they successfully filled a void in their local market because they are apparently using the previously mentioned Shipyard to brew and bottle their beer. Very cool! I’m feeling better already!
The beer itself, despite the identity-crisis, is quite good overall. I mentioned I’m not in the best mood, (feeling better though) so I’ll keep this review short for you.
As you can see in the picture, the Island Summer Ale poured a nice amber color and created a foamy, fizzy head that fizzed out rather rapidly. No lacing to speak of beyond that which was created by the head.
Smelling this Summer Ale, I could pick up on some mild malts, and surprisingly – honey. Giving the beer a taste, I thought that there was a good amount of malt, but also surprisingly, a decent hop bite. I’m not big on hop bite, but I thought this was not disagreeable at all and thought it was balanced nicely against the malty tones. The beer came off as crisp, not too heavy, and rather refreshing. I could definitely see this being a hit in the Virgin Islands!
Again, there is a nice taste of honey, (not too much) that made this beer especially enjoyable to me. The aftertaste was slightly bitter and it left my mouth feeling a little dry, but it was good.
I could see enjoying this brew all summer long, or any time of the year for that matter! Its now available in some Northeast states, so bring some of this to your next summer BBQ to demonstrate your style instead of the standby ‘tropical’ beers. Its a no-brainer compared to Corona or Landshark. Not even in the same league actually.
Nice job guys!