Beer Review: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull American Lager from El Segundo Brewing Co

Name: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull American Lager
Brewing Company: El Segundo Brewing Company | Broken Skull Beer
Location: El Segundo, CA
Style: Lager – American
ABV: 4.8%

A Lager with Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Name on it is…a Stunning Lager, that’s the Bottom Line because I Said So!

BrokenSkullAmericanLager

From the Broken Skull Website:

This beer is our take on the classic American Lager. Made for the working man and woman, this beer is brewed with the finest American-grown barley and hops and is the ultimate reward for a hard days work. Coming in at 4.8%, this beer goes down easier than a 3-day weekend. Cheers!

As loyal readers of the Tap Takeover may have surmised, I’m a fan of Professional Wrestling. I’ve also made it pretty clear that I’m a Lager-head. When one of the biggest professional wrestling draws of all time, most popular wrestlers of all time, and one of the best ever – Stone Cold Steve Austin – works with a craft brewery, I’m very inclined to give the beer a try. Their first collaboration was an IPA, which was very good, so I was even more excited when Steve Austin announced an American Lager would be next.

So what do we have in the Broken Skull American Lager? Like the best lagers, the beer pours a really nice translucent golden-yellow with about two-to-three finger-thickness of a foamy head – it looks great. The aroma…well, Hell, son, it smells like beer? And that is mighty fine. More specifically, there are hints of grains and hops, just what I’d expect from a well-crafted lager.

First sip…damn that’s a nice lager. That’s my first thought. I keep drinking and that’s the thought that pervades. There’s a bit of citrusy-lemon element in the flavor profile, which is quite nice. Steve Austin and El Segundo have crafted a well-balanced, flavorful Lager. This beer does everything a good beer should do, it is very refreshing, slightly malty and sweet like I’d expect from an American Lager.

Image courtesy of Rob Schamberger

A beer like this can be deceptive in its simplicity. There aren’t a ton of hops to hide flavors, there aren’t any adjuncts to enhance/add to the flavor of the beer. A straight-forward American Lager takes nuance and a lot of skill to get the limited ingredients to play nicely together, and especially as nicely as they do in this beer. Dare I say that a beer with Stone Cold Steve Austin’s name on it is elegant? Oh hell yeah!

I’ve been following Steve Austin on social media for years and this beer was announced maybe a year ago at this point in time. As such, I was given the impression that this beer was made with the utmost quality assurance (meaning Steve probably tried a few versions of this beer before the final product was released). Can’t say I’m surprised because being a fan of Steve Austin, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who will slap his name on anything. His wrestling career, his TV career, and his podcast and interview show on Peacock/WWE, “Broken Skull Sessions” shows he puts a lot of thought into his work and values his name greatly, as he should. The bottom line: Stone Cold Steve Austin is a name with a great deal of cache. This beer is a prime example of the quality I’d expect from something bearing the Stone Cold Steve Austin name.

Stomp mudhole on your way to the liquor store and grab a four-pack of this certified Whoop Ass! Steve Austin’s Broken Skull American Lager is a (WHAT?) awesome (WHAT?) beer, and that’s the bottom line, because Rob Bedford said so!

Recommended, link to 4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

BrokenSkullAmericanLager

Beer Review: Fort Nonsense Brewing’s Jaffa the Cake

Name: Jaffa the Cake
Brewing Company: Fort Nonsense Brewing Company
Location: Randolph, NJ
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 8.3%

A delightful, well-balanced sour ale that showcases ingenuity and whimsy.

FortNonsense_Jaffa

Fort Nonsense was the subject of one of my early Brewery Spotlights and at the time, I found some things to enjoy, but I was perhaps more critical of the brewery than any other brewery I’d featured before or since. Fast forward four years, the brewery moved to a much larger (and lovely) facility, and their reputation has grown considerably, their sours in particular. So, as has become tradition the past couple of years, my friend and I decided to visit a brewery before enjoying an AEW Pay Per View.

I wasn’t too sure what I was going to have when I arrived at the brewery, there’s no taplist on their website or untappd page, but this one stood out to me on the big board behind the bar. It was different enough and I enjoy the combination of chocolate and orange. The beer is named in one part for a Jaffa Cake (a chocolate and orange confection made with Jaffa oranges) and the other part for Jabba the Hut. The flavor combination as well as the  play on words helped to make the beer stand out.

Given the beer is 8.3% ABV, Fort Nonsense only offers the beer in 10oz pours, which is what the beertender handed me. It doesn’t look out of the ordinary, there’s an aroma of orange in the beer. That’s to be expected, but still inviting nonetheless.

That first sip is extremely pleasant. The orange and chocolate are perfectly blended and in harmony with each other. The orange is the initial flavor that comes to the fore, it is pleasant and refreshing. Then comes the chocolate, like a nicely frosted cake or cookie it doesn’t dominate, but accentuates the other flavors. What I appreciate the most is that the beer element is still present, slight hops, some malts.

You may think chocolate is a peculiar ingredient for any beer outside of a stout, but it works so well in Jaffa the Cake. After this second visit to Fort Nonsense and first at their new facility, I’d have to recommend visiting for a nice variety of beer styles. I plan on visiting again in the future.

Recommended, link to 4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Beer Review: Tröegs’s Oktoberfest Lager

Name: Oktoberfest Lager
Brewing Company: Tröegs Independent Brewing
Location: Hershey, PA
Style: Festbier
ABV: 6.1%

The iconic Pennsylvania brewery adds their fantastic interpretation of the iconic Autumnal German Lager to its seasonal rotation.

Troegs_Oktoberfest_01

From Tröegs Brewing’s blog post for the beer:

New from Tröegs! Introducing Oktoberfest Lager, a toasty, crisp, and festive beer for the fall season.

Our recipe for this beer dates all the way back to the fourth beer ever brewed – Bavarian Lager. “It’s one of our simplest recipes and only uses two types of malt,” says our brewmaster and co-founding brother, John Trogner. “It starts with a base of pilsner malt, then we add a touch of Munich to impart a bready flavor.”

I’ve proclaimed my loyalty and love of Tröegs Independent Brewing quite often on the Triple T, and even beyond the beers I’ve mentioned here, their Sunshine Pils and Mad Elf are regular go-to beers for me. They have a great core of beers, an iconic seasonal beer, and a fantastic “development” program with their Scratch Series of beers. Today’s beer, their Oktoberfest worked its way through the Scratch Series (the “developmental” brewery-only release program at Tröegs), moved into exclusive availability as Fest Lager in their fall mix pack in 2020 and now makes its entry to the seasonal portfolio.

In terms of the German-inspired fall lager spectrum, Tröegs’s Oktoberfest Lager is a Festbier so the beer is a little lighter in body, with a slightly crisp profile, and lightly colored. I was very excited to try this beer and if anything, rather surprised that in their 25 years of business, a fall seasonal Oktoberfest was not part of their portfolio. That changes now.

So, with the Oktoberfest celebration officially starting this coming Saturday (October 17, 2022) for the first time in Germany since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, let’s dive into this beer.

Into the mug the beer pours and it is spot on for what I’d expect a Festbier to be: copper translucency with a slight fluffy head. The aroma is sweet bread, malty with a hint of caramel. So far, so good.

I get a very clean initial taste with the aforementioned notes caramel. The breadiness at the outset morphs a bit into a crackery malt as I drink more of the beer. The sweet profile isn’t cloying at all, it is quite pleasant. There’s a slight note on the finish of spice and sweet herbs likely from the hops. The impression I get is very pleasant and very drinkable. Right, all good beer is drinkable, but the flavors make you not want to put the beer down.

I love the Bavarian inspired label of the beer, too!

Image courtesy of Tröegs’s Facebook

The beer should be available throughout Tröegs’s distribution footprint in the Northeast and is available in 12-packs of cans and 6-packs of bottles.

All told, this is a damned fine example of a German Festbier, although the ABV of 6.1% is a tad higher than what I’ve come to expect from the Festbier side of the German-inspired Autumnal Lager. That just means I’ll take my time and savor the elegant flavors of this traditional lager. In taste and every facet of appearance, Oktoberfest Lager from Tröegs sits comfortably alongside the traditional German Lagers which serve as the beer’s inspiration. A most welcome addition to Tröegs’s seasonal lineup.

Zum wohl! Ein Prosit!

Recommended, link to 4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Troegs_Oktoberfest_02

Draught Diversions: Oktoberfest 2022 Six Pack

September means Oktoberfest is truly upon us, despite breweries and liquor stores trying to sell us the dark, malty lagers (Festbiers and Märzens) in July! I’ve gone one about seasonal creep in the past, but it seems earlier and earlier that beers appear outside of their designated season. My standard preamble on the differences between Festbiers and Märzens: Märzens typically have an ABV starting at around 6% ABV and are a little “heavier” while Festbiers are generally lower in alcohol and more “sessionable” in the 5% to 6% ABV range. I like them both. Most of the beers you’d find in Germany during the festival would actually be Festbiers, while those with the “Oktoberfest” moniker are mostly the American-ized versions.

SixPack_2022_Oktoberfest

I’ve tried to highlight a variety of Oktoberfest offerings this year, three Festbiers and three Märzens. I’ve also highlighted local (NJ), regional micro (PA & NY), a more widely distributed regional (VT), and a German brewery. What I’m saying is some thought went into the Oktoberfest beers I featured in 2022.

On to the Six Pack!

Festus Haggen (Festbier) | Ashton Brewing Company | Middlesex, NJ | 5.9% ABV

Ashton_Festus

Ashton has been making great Lagers since they opened in March 2020 so it shouldn’t be a surprise they brewed a great Festbier. I had a taste of this a couple of years ago and was very impressed. Although they call it a Festbier, it had a bit more malt and felt more like a Märzen. Either way, it was quite tasty, so I may have to get a six pack of it this year.

What Ashton Brewing says about the beer:

Festus Haggen is a traditional Festbier like what would be served at Oktoberfest. It is a golden lager with notes of bready malt and herbal hops. A mild sweetness and a hint of bitter balance to make this one to drink by the liter. Prost!

Märzen/Eiszäpfle (Märzen) | Badische Staatsbrauerie Rothaus | Baden-Württemberg, Germany | 5.6% ABV

RothausMarzen

Rothaus makes one of the absolute best German Pilsners in the world so of course they make an excellent Märzen. I remember being extremely pleased to find this one on tap at a great beer bar a couple of years ago and this is the first year I can remember seeing bottles of this one on shelves. It is well worth seeking out. Just look at the bottle, it screams Germen Authenticity!

What Rothaus says about the beer:
Here we introduce you to the Rothaus Eiszäpfle. The best barley malt from southern Germany, spring-fresh brewing water and the famous aromatic hops from Tettnang and the Hallertau characterize the full-bodied taste of this beer. A higher original wort and a rather mild hopping ensure the distinctive, malty note.

The term “March” should also be mentioned. Beers of this type of brewing are traditionally brewed more heavily, since brewing was only allowed in the months from September to April. A longer-lasting beer was thus produced in March, which also survived the five months without a brewing process.

Bierstiefel (Festbier) | Three 3’s Brewing | Hammonton, NJ | 5.7% ABV

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Three 3’s is based in Hammonton, NJ, which is a hub for quite a few NJ breweries. I’ve had and enjoyed the handful of beers from them, so I imagine their take on the classic Festbier is quite tasty.

What Three 3’s says about the beer:

The literal translation of Das Boot! Premium German malt and hops combine with our house lager yeast for this harmonious expression of all that is festive. Medium bodied, subtly sweet and crushable, a beer to be enjoyed amongst friends. Prost!

High Brau (Festbier) | Torch & Crown Brewing Company | New York, NY | 4.8% ABV

TorchCrown_HighBrau

I’ve been hearing good things Torch & Crown, especially from Al Gattullo on his craft beer cast. Their beer is starting to creep over the Hudson River into NJ stores so I will definitely have to sample some in the near future. Maybe it will be this one?

Torch & Crown says this about the beer:

Highbrow and lowbrow…that’s our game. Like us, these two beers aren’t fussy, exclusive, complicated, or unapproachable. High Brau is our tribute to a traditional bavarian festbier, with a nutty, lightly sweet aroma and smooth, malty finish. The perfect beer to usher in the end of summer.

Oktoberfest (Märzen) | Workhorse Brewing Company | King of Prussia, PA | 5.4% ABV

Workhorse_Oktoberfest

Workhorse Brewing entered the NJ market last year through a distribution agreement with Cape Beverage and I immediately tried their delicious Helles Lager. I’m hoping this Märzen makes it to shelves around me.

What Workhorse says about the beer:

This Oktoberfest offering is inspired by the traditional ingredients and methods associated with a German Märzen. Flavorful Vienna and Munich malts are blended together in a decoction mash to produce a beer rich in toasted bread notes. An extended lagering phase and a touch of spicy German hops round the beer into form.

Oktoberfest (Märzen) | Zero Gravity Craft Brewery | Stowe, VT | 5.4% ABV

ZeroGravity_Oktoberfest

Zero Gravity makes and outstanding Pilsner – Green State Lager, as well as many other beers. I’ve only had a couple, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. Their Oktoberfest looks quite tasty and the can art evokes the classic German bierhall. .

What Zero Gravity says about the beer:

German malts and hops along with a long lagering give this beer impeccable drinkability. The superb malt flavor is balanced by just a hint of hop bitterness.

I hope to try a couple of these beers this year. Are there any other Märzen or Festbiers I should try?

SixPack_2022_Oktoberfest

Draught Diversions: August 2022 Six Pack

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and non-review posts here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

SixPack_2022_August

This past August was one of the hottest and driest months in my memory. I think it rained for a collective 20 hours for the entirety of the month. Thankfully, the pool was cool and the beers were cold. Lots of older favorites were in the cooler this summer (Tonewood’s Lawn Boy was a constant), but there were plenty of new beers in August 2022. This month, all the beers were from New Jersey breweries, which hasn’t happened in a while.

Let’s crack open the August 2022 Six Pack …

NeuHaus (Untied Brewing Company) | Belgian Quadrupel | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

Untied_Neuhaus

I was pretty close to Untied so of course I stopped in for a beer, why not, right? I was very happy with this tasty Belgian Quadrupel which did not feel like the high ABV it was. I had a version of this beer aged in Bourbon Barrels and I have to say that I enjoyed the unbarreled version more. I write this each time I feature a beer from Untied, but I am continually impressed with the quality of their beer across all styles.

Neon Limes (Kane Brewing Company) | Lager – American | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

Kane_NeonLime

All the breweries are brewing a take on the lime infused lager and with good reason – when made well, the beer can be extremely refreshing and tasty. Kane’s “Neon Lime” is their standard “Neon Glow” lager with lime added and is a great summer beer. Very tasty with just enough lime.

Tropicology (Lone Eagle Brewing Company) | Sour – Fruited | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

LoneEagle_Tropicology (2)

My wife and I (and our friends around the block) went to Lone Eagle for a comedy night. Four comedians were featured and were very funny. The beer was pretty good, too. I had three and this beer was the standout. Lone Eagle has been making quite a lot of sour beers over the last couple of years and this one is very tasty, Pineapple, Banana and Apricot stood out to me, although Passionfruit, Orange, and Tangerine were also in the beer. Good stuff..

Vienna Lager (Triumph Brewery | Lager – Vienna | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd

Triumph_Vienna

Triumph is one of the first brewpubs in the State of New Jersey, going back to 1995. They’ve got locations three locations in the region. When our neighbors came over for a day of grilling and swimming, they brough over a growler of this Vienna Lager. It has been many, many, many years since I had any beer from Triumph so I was very delighted with this beer. A bit malty, a bit sweet, but altogether a solid, tasty lager..

Lights out Tonight (Carton Brewing Company) | IPA –- American| 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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Carton calls this a “NJ IPA,” which means it includes NJ grown malt and a bit of “snark.” What does that actually mean for the beer in the glass? A very tasty, balanced, IPA. It drinks a little bit more New England than West Coast, but I really like the hop blend of Ella, Nelson, and especially the Galaxy. For me, Galaxy hops are often a standout and help to balance out some of the bitterness other hops may bring.

Heady Jams (Brix City Brewing) | IPA – Imperial / Double New England / Hazy | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

BrixCity_HeadyJams

Brix City is best know for Hazy IPAs, like this one which is part of their “Jams” series of beers. Each one seems to have a slightly different hop blend or is a collaboration with another brewery. Most of the “Jams” beers have at least Citra & Mosaic, this one has Galaxy, which as I noted in the previous beer, balances out the bitterness I usually get from Mosaic. Wheat and oats are added for a smooth, juicy beer. A top notch Hazy.

Only one beer stood out as completely undrinkable and it is one of the worst beers I’ve had over the last couple of years ago. I won’t say the name of the brewery because I’ve liked most other beers I’ve had from them – reviewed two of them, in fact! This was a “Strawberry Rhubarb Milkshake IPA with other ‘natural flavors’” and was bad in every way possible.

SixPack_2022_August

Beer Review: Better Maize Ahead by Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company

Name: Better Maize Ahead
Brewing Company: Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
Location: Croydon & New Hope, PA
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 4.4%

Happy Anniversary to Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company and cheers to a fantastic Cream Ale!

NCBC_BetterMaize_Can

From Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company’s landing page for the beer:

The classic American Cream Ale is dear to our hearts and quite frankly, we miss having one around but we’re moving forward! Better Maize Ahead fills that void as a crisp and refreshing relative of the American Light Lager. Brewed with flaked maize and gently hopped with Hallertau for a delicate floral finish. You’ll find this to have a soft mouthfeel with a subtle, sweet cereal character and notes of corn pops. You’ll be feeling equally optimistic when you pour yourself one of these.

This year (2022), Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company celebrated 10 years of brewing and selling tasty beer. To honor the milestone, the brewery did a minor rebranding, slightly modifying the name stamp and upping their can art game.

NCBC_BMA

I knew I wanted to highlight one of their beers here at the Tap Takeover, but with such an interesting and diverse portfolio, I wasn’t sure which beer it would be. As of this post, I’ve had 20 of their beers and I’ve enjoyed just about all of them. I visited the main brewery in Croydon a couple of times, too. I’d been pondering which of their beers to feature for a while especially since they hit the 10-year mark, actually, so when my wife and I took a quick drive down to New Hope, PA, where Neshaminy Creek has a tap room, I figured I’d give Better Maize Ahead a try. I’d been wanting to drink and feature an unfettered* Cream Ale for a while now, and the two thoughts converged with this beer and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

*unfettered in that there are no adjuncts, additional flavor elements, or barrel aging like the other Cream Ales I’ve reviewed

Cream Ales are one the few truly American styles of beer. Originating in the 1840s, the Cream Ale is an Ale that is very similar to a lager, it has the same kind of crispness, refreshing nature, mild sweetness and look. Although some Cream Ales may have lager yeast for cold conditioning, most Cream Ales are just that, Ales. Where this makes a Cream Ale perhaps more appealing to a brewer is the reduced fermentation time for an Ale (two to four weeks compared to the 6-8 weeks for a Lager). As the beer is an American style, Corn (specifically flaked corn) is often used as the grain to lighten the beer, which is where Neshaminy Creek drew inspiration for the name of this beer.

Enough of the history lesson on Cream Ales, let’s get on to Better Maize Ahead.

The day we visited the NCBC New Hope taproom, it was quite warm (as it has been for most of August this past summer) and my wife and I had walked up and down Main Street in New Hope so we both worked up a bit of a sweat. I follow the brewery on social media and I was intrigued about this beer and I wanted something light, refreshing and beer flavored and was hoping this beer would be on tap. Also, John Holl (of all the beer podcasts and one of the people behind Defend Pilsner) always extolls the virtues of the Cream Ale. Hell, his likeness adorns a can cream ale from his co-conspirator’s brewery.

I ordered a full pint of this beer (only $5!) and took my first sip and dammit if this beer wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, as the saying goes. Pure refreshment. It was all I could do not to chug the beer in two gulps, but I wanted to enjoy the beer in all its glory and get a sense of the full flavor profile.

There’s a sweet malt element that is extremely appealing with a very mild, barely noticeable hop element – that minimal, soft hoppiness is a feature, not a bug. There’s a hint of corn or sweet cereal on the finish that makes for a very well-rounded, balanced flavor profile on the beer.

NCBC_BetterMaize_Draught

Better Maize Ahead is elegant, simple, straight-forward and quite flavorful for a beer this low in ABV and under 5%. I was so impressed with the beer I looped back around to the brewery after a short jaunt through the indoor market and grabbed a six pack to put in my poolside cooler. Quite simply, this is a fun beer that will please most beer drinkers.

Recommended, link to 4/4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Cream of the Crop (Level 7)

A relative of the American light lager style, cream ales are crisp, golden brews, often finished with the addition of lager yeast for a lighter body. That’s 35 different beers with the style of Cream Ale.

NCBC_BetterMaize_Can

Beer Review: Heavy Reel Brewing’s SKELLINATOR

Name: SKELLINATOR
Brewing Company: Heavy Reel Brewing Company
Location: Seaside Heights, NJ
Style: Bock – Dopplebock
ABV: 7.2%

The Jersey Shore brewery known for sours churns out a tasty classic German Lager.

HeavyReel_Skellinator

I’ve reviewed a couple of beers that were a collaboration between Heavy Reel Brewing and another brewery, but this is the first all Heavy Reel beer getting the review feature here at the Tap Takeover. My wife, myself and a few others made our annual trip down to Chegg’s in Long Beach Island, NJ and as has been custom, we stopped at a brewery on the way home. This year, we stopped at Heavy Reel Brewing in Seaside Heights since it was just off the Garden State Parkway about 20 miles north of the LBI exit.

Heavy Real has been around for a few years (since 2018), they are best known for their hop-forward beers and sour beers. That said, I will often spotlight a beer slightly askew from a brewery’s core or flagship beer. Thus, I’m reviewing Heavy Reel’s take on the classic, malty, German lager.

The beer I’m given is murky brown in the classic Germanic, dimpled mug. A thick light khaki head sat atop the brownish-caramel colored beer. Although it isn’t as translucent as I’d expect from a doppelbock, it looks the part. Maybe this is an unfiltered beer?

The beer has a very sweet, almost chocolatey taste at the outset. A very appealing first impression that makes me glad I ordered a full pour of the beer. Skellinator also has a very pleasant caramel element, also from the malt. There’s a slight bite on the end that reminds of perhaps the most well-known American doppelbock, Tröegs Troegenator.

Most doppelbocks have the -ator as a “calling card” to the style and an homage to the first Dopplebock brewed, Paulaner’s Salvator. With a skeleton being Heavy Reel’s mascot, thus we have the name “SKELLINATOR.”

I had a couple of other beers while I was at the brewery, two sours which were tasty, but the Dopplebock stood out to me. It is an extremely well-made lager and when I complemented the beertender on the beer, he noted that it was his favorite beer, or at least one of his favorites from the brewery.

Recommended, link to 4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Beer Review: Sixpoint Brewing’s Super Raspy

Name: Super Raspy
Brewing Company: Six Point Brewing Company
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Style: Sour – Fruited Gose
ABV: 8.3%

The Brooklyn-based brewery known for hop-forward beers crafts a tasty, tart, fruited German-inspired ale.

SixPoint_SuperRaspy

From Sixpoint Brewing’s landing page for the beer:

A lush, juicy burst of tart raspberry blitzes the tastebuds –like an ELECTRIC BLAST OF BERRY FLAVOR and aroma! In Super Raspy, loads of raspberries and a touch of milk sugar have their powers combined for a mouthwatering, super tasty brew.

Sixpoint is one of the great, historical northeast craft breweries. They were one of the foundational Brooklyn craft breweries. Founded 2004, they’ve been crafting hop aggressive beers which were immediately recognizable for their thinner cans. In other words, the potent hop nature, strong branding, and unique cans helped the brewery to stand out from other beers on the shelves. Fast forward to 2018 and Sixpoint was acquired by Artisanal Brewing Ventures, the family office-backed holding company formed in early 2016 via the merger of Victory Brewing and Southern Tier. Sixpoint has mostly stuck to their core beers from what I’ve seen, but the last year or two more experimental, or rather beers outside their core brews, seemed to emerge. Super Raspy is one of those beers,

Outisde of their Core beers, Sixpoint has been brewing and distributing beers in what they call the “Infinite Loop” series, which is where this beer sits in their portfolio, which is where this beer sits in Sixpoint’s line-up. What we have here is a beer that amounts to an imperial Gose. What makes it imperial? The ABV at 8.3%, whereas a Gose will typically be floating under 5%. Like many modern Goses, or interpretation of the Gose style, Sixpoint made this beer with fruit, specifically Raspberry.

There’s a tangy funky aroma to the beer, which I’ve come to expect from the Gose style. Raspberry is the most potent element of this beer on the first sip, including the tartness associated with the fruit. The funk that typically crosses my palate in a Gose is present in Super Raspy.

Where this differs from many other Goses I’ve had, especially the more traditional take on the style, is the addition of lactose, or milk sugar, which seems to be one of the most popular adjuncts in brewing. Thankfully, lagers are about the only style where I haven’t seen Lactose added. As for Super Raspy, the “touch of” lactose is a nice sweet counterbalance to the tartness of the Gose style as well as the tartness of the raspberries.

As the picture might suggest, I enjoyed this beer on a hot day next to my pool which was an ideal way to enjoy this refreshing ale.

Recommended, link to 4 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Beer Review: Bull ‘N Bear’s Alternative Investments

Name: Alternative Investment
Brewing Company: Bull N Bear Brewery
Location: Summit, NJ
Style: Altbier
ABV: 5.5%

Bull n Bear crafted a nice, malty easy drinking and flavorful German Ale.

BullnBear_AltInv

I was in Summit, NJ recently for a few things and knowing I was going to be in Summit, one of those things was visiting Bull ‘n Bear Brewery. I was quite happy with the beer I had when the brewery first opened and a subsequent visit, so I was happy to give their beer another try. Altbier (literally, “Old Beer” in German) is not exactly a popular style in today’s “craft” beer landscape. Northeast brewery Long Trail’s “Long Trail Ale” is one of the few more widely available interpretations of the style so I was excited to see “Alternate Investment” on draft.

Altbiers are predominant in the Düsseldorf region of Germany and are one of the few German styles not a lager (Hefeweizen and Dunkelweizen being the others). Often characterized by a maltiness, some sweetness, and maybe some hop character, the color is often reddish brown or even copper. An English Brown Ale is a somewhat close equivalent, but the malts in the Altbier will stand out as a major differentiator from my experience.

On to the beer under review, Alternative Investments from Bull N Bear Brewery…

I’m given a brownish-reddish beer that is cold to the touch. Slight aroma, but nothing that would set it apart from other beers I’ve had. First sip is smooth and malty.

There’s a slight sweetness from the malt, the kind of tastiness that makes you want to drink the beer very quickly. I get notes of caramel and hints of vanilla, two flavors that complement each other very well. As such, those flavors work well in this beer. Maybe a hint of chocolate, as well as slight fruitiness. It isn’t over carbonated and at a nice ABV of 5.5% make for a beer that delivers on flavor, but won’t knock you over the head with booziness All in all, a really tasty, flavorful profile of the beer.

Recommended, link to 3.75 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Originating from Germany, the Altbier, or old beer, uses the old school brewing style of top fermentation and is left to condition for longer than normal. That’s 10 different beers with the style of Altbier. .

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Draught Diversions: July 2022 Six Pack

Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and non-review posts here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…

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As readers of this blog know, July is a big beer month thanks to the annual family party on the Fourth of July. That will often bring even more new beers to me and July 2022 was no different. I also happened to visit a few different breweries in NJ this past month, and one in Massachusetts as I documented a couple of weeks ago. Just one non-NJ beer this month, but it was a milestone beer for me, at least on untappd. No IPAs this time around, just one lager, but a fruitful assortment of beers, if you well.

Let’s have at it, shall we?

Mad Love (Twin Elephant Brewing) | Farmhouse Ale – Saison | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

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I was in the area of Twin Elephant so I made a long overdue stop at the brewery in Chatham. I wasn’t sure what I wanted because the taplist had quite a few appealing beers. I settled on this hefty (7.2%) Saison which was very earthy with a nice fruity balance. Although the Herd is more known for hop-bombs and stouts, this beer shows their skill at the art of the Saison quite well.

Cranberry Wheat (Hidden Sands Brewing Company) | Wheat Beer – American Pale Wheat | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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This is the first beer from Hidden Sands I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying and it was a dandy. Cranberries are a great fruit to add into beer, particularly a wheat beer. There’s a really nice balance to the tartness of the fruit from the “heaps of NJ honey” added to the beer. I could drink this beer all day in the summer.

Bay Daze (Cape May Brewing Company) | Sour – Fruited | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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I sometimes overlook Cape May because they are so large and their beers are ubiquitous throughout the State of New Jersey, but then bam! They brew a beer like Bay Daze to raise the bar for a sour ale. This isn’t the sourest of beers I’ve ever had, but it might be one of the more refreshing sour ales I’ve had. The classic pairing of cherry and lime is perfectly balanced and the sea salt just brings everything together. On top of that, the can art has a puppers on it.

Delirium Black Barrel Aged (Delirium – Huyghe Brewery | Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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I knew I was coming up on 2500 unique check-ins to untappd for a while and wanted to have a special beer for it, but didn’t know what it would be. When a co-worker gifted this to me, I knew and this is certainly a very interesting beer. The yeast of a Belgian ale is often the signature element and it plays some interesting notes with the barrel character. As it warms, the vanilla, oak, and bourbon elements emerge more potently.

The Juice is Worth the Squeeze: Blueberry, Raspberry, Lemon (Icarus Brewing) | Sour –- Fruited Berliner Weisse | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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Very shocking to see an Icarus beer here, I know. I did visit the brewery for their Canniversary in the middle of the month, so I had a few to choose from in July and went with this small batch Sour ale. Icarus does the Berliner Weisse style very well and this might be the best one I’ve had. I wonder if it will be a new “series” of the style. Either way, the blueberry is the star here, while the lemon is really nice on the finish. It was quite warm during the event at the brewery and this beer was a perfect cure for that heat.

Great Dane (Readington Brewery & Hop Farm) | Lager – Dortmunder/Export | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

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My dog Dusty is part Great Dane, so how do I not get a beer called “Great Dane” from my most local of local breweries? Fortunately, the beer was really tasty. Dortmunder Lagers are usually a little sweeter than say, a Helles Lager or Pilsner, but in the same family. Readington’s take on the style was very clean, dialed-in, and hit the spot. It is really nice to see this brewery making beer that continues to get better each time I visit.

All great beers and I could have made an additional 4-pack of new-to-me beers that were just about as equally excellent.