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Beer Garden: Pugsley's Smashed Blueberry is delightfully absurd

3:42 PM, Jan. 23, 2013
Shipyard Brewing's Pugsley's Smashed Blueberry.
Shipyard Brewing's Pugsley's Smashed Blueberry. / Tim Dohms/News Journal correspondent

Anyone who knows me is acutely, painfully aware of my fondness for the absurd. Charlie Chaplin — a master of the absurd in his own right — once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” If that’s the case, my days have been fairly cost-effective lately.

If I’m at home, there’s no shortage of preposterous entertainment. My favorite of the bunch is “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” I’ve yet to discover anyone from my generation whose soul is so black and twisted that they don’t share this appreciation. It was the perfect combination of intelligence, innuendo and stupidity. For those who don’t know, the show’s premise was that of a likeable janitor, kidnapped by evil scientists, shot into space and forced to view really stinky movies as a form of torture. The doomed test subject, Joel, in need of companionship, dismantled the ship’s essential controls to create two wise-cracking robot sidekicks, Crow and Tom Servo.

The show did the work for us, inserting our own jokes and one-liners over the preposterous plots, atrocious acting and dim-witted dialogue. In short, it was the best television show ever.

We down at Hopjacks have all gravitated together through the same sensibilities, I think. It takes a very specific and demented mentality to be a part of our gang. We put the “fun” in dysfunctional.

We just had our first company-wide holiday party, and I managed to coax the boss onstage with me for a duet of a certain Prince song. No small feat; he’s not the type for demonstrative attention. I’ve been on road trips with the guy, and he hasn’t so much as sang along to a song on the radio. We brought the house down! When it was all said and done, the satisfied, appreciative grin on his face said it all. The fuel for my fire? A beer as absurd as us.

Shipyard Brewing’s Pugsley’s Smashed Blueberry shouldn’t work. A porter/Scotch ale/fruit ale hybrid? In the wrong hands, it’d be either too rich or too sweet or too artificial. Luckily, Shipyard got it just right.

Dark violet-amber, Smashed has a soft, frothy off-brown head that leaves minimal lacing as it slowly recedes. The chocolaty-dried fruit notes one expects from porter are all here, along with a very natural, fresh-picked blueberry scent and flavor. Some toffee sweetness from the Scotch ale side of things amplifies the overall effect to something akin to blueberry cheesecake with a milk-chocolate crust.

Was it the beer’s 9 percent alcohol by volume or my own natural silliness that caused the scene? Perhaps, like the beer itself, a little of everything.

Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen & Taproom, 10 Palafox Place. 497-6073, or visit, or

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