The first Basement Beer Tasting was held on Nov. 21, 2014, and provided the inspiration for the continuing series. Because the structure hadn’t been fully developed, this tasting included a random mix of what was in the fridge.
Panelists: Jon Graney, Mike Festi, Rick Czapla
Shipyard Export Ale . . . 53 points
This American blonde ale was a decent, middle-of-the-road brew. While it failed to stand out to the panelists, it received average or slightly above average points in every category. Panelists noted that it had a heavy caramel and malt taste that was reminiscent of a higher-end Yuengling Lager.
Appearance 5.5, Smell 5.5, Taste 17.5, Aftertaste 8, Drinkability 16.5
Berkshire Brewing Company Oktoberfest Lager . . . 48 points
This Marzen-style lager looked good on pour, and had a decent taste to it, but the panelists found its aftertaste disappointing. It invoked notes of sweet honey and citrus, but its heaviness and lackluster finish left the panelists saying, “I couldn’t drink a lot of this.” Appearance 7.5, Smell 7, Taste 15, Aftertaste 7.5, Drinkability 11
Harpoon Pumpkin Cider . . . 68 points
Shifting gears, the panelists decided to try a spiced cider offering from Harpoon Brewery. The appearance, smell and taste were very pleasing, though the panel noted that it was lacking a notable pumpkin flavor — instead showcasing strong tastes of apples and grapes. The aftertaste was a bit flat, but ultimately strongly drinkable.
Appearance 7.5, Smell 8.5, Taste 20.5, Aftertaste 11.5, Drinkability 20
Yuengling Traditional Lager . . . 52 points
Since the Shipyard Export reminded the panelists of Yuengling, they decided to compare it to Yuengling. The results? Remarkably similar marks, across the board. The smell was a bit better than Shipyard, with nearly identical taste and easy drinkability.
Appearance 6, Smell 5, Taste 14.5, Aftertaste 6.5, Drinkability 20