Beer Review: Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company Vacationland Summer Ale

Brewery: Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company
Beer: Vacationland Summer Ale
Style: American Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.9%
Character: Brewed with a generous portion of pale malt with just a touch of wheat malt and Cascade leaf hops
Ratings: BA: 3.35/5 | Untappd: 3.26/5
Metal Connection: SKELETAL EARTH – Third World Vacation

BeerMetalDude Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to my friend Junk for bringing me this bottle along with a few others from his recent trip up north. I thought this was my first encounter with Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company, but it turns out, I had their Best Brown Ale back in 2013. I do believe this was at a bottle share giving the location I was at when I had this back then. See, this is why I use Untappd so God damned religiously. It helps me so much with this site.

The label on this beer is something I’m not too crazy for. It’s a bit too cheesy and happy for my taste. They did capture the name of the beer though, so I give them props for that. It’s just too Cartoonish for me, I guess. A picnic scene with a happy big bear holding up a Gritty’s logo glass of beer. There is a man running away from the scene on one side of the bear, and a truck with camper, and a dog on the other. Beer is for adults, so I don’t expect a beer label to be something like this, something can be marketed to kids and shit. Where is the menacing bear with blood dripping from it’s mouth, maybe a bloody man running away. Oh well, can’t win them all. Now to the beer…

Poured into a Galveston Island Brewing Company logo pint glass, this beer’s appearance was a clear bright golden yellow, topped with a 1/2 inch white bubbly head on the initial pour. No retention, no lacing at all as the head quickly disappeared after a couple of minutes. Unfortunately this gave this beer a flat look.

The aroma was decent, helping this beer get my attention a bit. Straw, honey, toasted biscuit bread, with some slight floral, and earthy hop presence rounding out the nose of Vacationland.

With the taste though, the floral and earthy hops hit the taste buds first, followed by the combo of sweet honey, straw, toasted biscuit bread, and a sweet caramel syrup-like flavor.

The beer was leaning towards having a heavy body with a smooth, slick and syrupy mouthfeel with little to no carbonation present. The finish was also slick, like pouring syrup down your throat.

Overall, I would say that this beer is average at best. If it was a bit more fuller and carbonated, I may have been a bit more generous with my rating. Judging from the ratings on BeerAdvocate and Untappd, I am not not the only one who feels the mid level average of this beer. This though, keeps people coming back, as Gritty McDuff’s has been brewing beer since 1988, so they must be doing something right up there in Maine. I would love to try this beer on draft at their pub one day. Hopefully that can happen.

Metal Connection: Let’s beef up this post a bit by adding the Metal Connection. Skeletal Earth from Alabama was a Death/Thrash/Grind band that had a short career with 2 full length albums, an EP, and a few demos. Their debut album, Eulogy for a Dying Fetus was originally released in 1991 under the Foundation 2000 record label from The Netherlands. I hadn’t heard this album until 1993 when the US record label, Pavement Music reissued this album with new artwork. I remember buying this CD at Flip Side Records here in San Antonio and completely being blown away. I loved their style of comedic Death/Thrash with some Grindcore elements. I took a song from this album to pair it with this beer. Vacationland meet “Third World Vacation.” Such a killer track! Seriously crank this sucker up, move your kids or pets so you don’t trample them while moshing like a maniac by yourself in your room. Note: The original artwork from the 1991 version is the piece featured here. The reissue from 1993 is the image on the video below. Remember… CRANK IT UP! Blargh!

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