Safe Harbor American Blonde Ale, 5% ABV
6-Pack of 12 oz. bottles, $9.49
Purchased at CT Beverage Mart, New Britain
As this is the very first page I’m writing for what is at this moment a brand new section on CTMQ (but one that should have been created years ago), I’m not exactly sure what to write. I could play it straight and pretend to have smelled all sorts of citrus on the nose or vividly discuss this beer’s particular mouthfeel.
But I can’t do that. There are plenty of people doing beer reviews better than I ever could already anyway.
Nah, that’s not my style. Let’s stick to what I know…
I had to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day to procure a gift for a “His and Hers” wedding shower. My directive: Get something for $100. Okay, I can handle that. Walk in, go to the registry lady, tell her my directive, choose between some bowls and some pillows. Pillows it is, go to register, done.
Afterwards, I decide to go to the package store next door and start this whole CT Beer page thing going. I go in and wander around. I get to the craft beer aisle and slowly peruse the offerings, up and down, around to the other side, back to where I began. Repeat three times. Read labels, remember prices at other stores I’m more familiar with, think about asking if there’s some “locally brewed” section I’m missing. Saunter to the chilled beer area to see if I’m missing anything.
Return to craft aisle and encircle three more times. Waffle over purchase. Try to think if there’s anything here I haven’t seen elsewhere to be sure to buy it. Wander some more.
Time spent on a meaningful gift for a woman whom I think the world of (seriously): 3 minutes.
Time spent buying some beer: 20 minutes.
Safe Harbor is an American ale which is to say, it’s one step above the mass-market pilsners and lagers that advertise during football games. However, this beer has a very attractive label to say the least. With nautical and naval phrases like “All Hands on Deck” and never give up the ship, Safe Harbor is clearly paying homage to the nearby Naval base in Groton. Yet, they trumpet the “whaling city” part of New London lore. In effect, they are dumping every local sea-faring bit of pithiness onto one label.
But who cares when there is a blond bombshell of a old school pin-up girl in an impossible sexual position staring us dopey male buyers right in the eye. Here in Connecticut and elsewhere, brewers are known for selling sex and innuendo. We have Hooker Brewing company which makes no bones about playing up their name, City Steam sells Naughty Nurse with a similar graphic, and we also have Beaver Beer in Westport who is not shy about beaver puns.
But TGNLBC goes one step further and blows everyone out of the water. Sure this online movie/ad is a bit ridiculous and sexist. And objectifying. And corny. And, dare I say, sexy.
This is TGNLBC’s only beer at this point and it’s brewed on contract at Cottrell. I am not a big fan of this style, but I can definitely say that Safe Harbor is not bad. It’s decent on a hot summer’s day and while I found the first few sips a bit off-putting with that slight skunkiness I find from this style, that dissipated and I found myself enjoying the rest of the bottle.
I’m not sure it’s worth ten-and-a-half bucks when all is said and done, but if you DO really like blonde ales and the like, go for it. Better to spend a couple extra bucks on some New London pride than to support some Brazilian-owned crap brewed in warehouses the size of your town.
It bears mentioning that the label artist and the model are both New Londoners as well. I really appreciate that focus on their hometown and hope they branch out from this one beer in the future. (Well, the model is “local” so I’m guessing she’s from another town.)
In 2017, this beer became “Beach Blonde Ale”. At least I think that’s what happened. I don’t really know, because this is a contract label and they are never too clear with what’s going on.
I bought a bottle of the beer for $1.69 or something like that and it was just another blonde ale. Now you know.
Overall Rating: C
Rating vs. Similar style: A-