Some good friends brought me this rather unusual beer back from a recent Caribbean cruise.
Blackbeard Ale purports to come from the ‘Virgin Islands Brewing Company’ – founded on St. Croix in 1996 and subsequently moved to St. Thomas – but closer examination of the label suggests that it’s actually brewed in Cold Spring Minnesota, at a brewery that can trace its heritage back to 1857.
The whole ‘pirate’ thing has taken off since Disney kicked off the whole ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise. But by all accounts, Edward Teach (also known as Blackbeard) was actually a skilful sea captain who ran his ships democratically, with crewmen each earning agreed shares of the spoils. This seemed to work well, as at one point Teach’s flotilla ran to about a dozen ships that successfully blockaded Charleston in May 1718.
This conflicts with the more romantic description on the beer’s label “Blackbeard’s journal states that confusion and plotting developed if his men were sober. But, all was calm when they had enough ale. Blackbeard (?-1718), the most fierce and notorious of Caribbean pirates, he was particularly fond of the waters off the Virgin Islands”.
Ah well, heave ho me hearties, heave ho.
The beer pours a very slightly cloudy, dark amber/brown colour. This is most definitely a brown ale rather than a porter or stout. The full, caramel coloured head, subsides gently, leaving a healthy lacing down the glass.
The nose is bready, with malty notes but, sadly an overwhelming soapiness, which permeates the flavour.
I’ve written about soapiness before; this isn’t a brewing fault, and it may be that I’m more sensitive than others, but for me it really spoiled the whole ‘Blackbeards Ale’ experience.
In the meantime I’m afraid I can’t give this more than two stars. It just didn’t do it for me.
Bob the Brit