Draught Diversions: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror 6-pack

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

As I have mentioned many times, I’m a big science fiction, fantasy, and horror fan. After all, writing about those genres led me to writing about beer. There’s a pretty big overlap between craft beer fans and SF, Fantasy, and Horror geeks, especially in my untappd friends list. In today’s “Six Pack,” I’m looking at six beers with a science fiction, fantasy, or horror theme. Some may be familiar, some may not. I’m highlighting three beers I’ve had/enjoyed and three beers I haven’t yet and hope to try some day.

Brief preface: Don’t expect any of the Game of Thrones beers in this post, I wrote up a post completely dedicated to those fine brews from Brewery Ommegang last year as well as a review of the last 2017 release in the series, Winter is Here. There are enough beers out there to make more than a six pack, but I’ll start with the following six beers. As I usually do, I’ll order them alphabetically by brewery.

Oberon Ale Pale Wheat Ale Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, MI)

Oberon is the King of the Fairies, so of course there’s a fantastical element to this beer. The beer is also a damned fine brew, as I extolled its delicious virtues in one of my early reviews here on the Tap Takeover. In a Google search for “Oberon,” the Wikipedia entry is the first result and this beer is the second result, which shows how popular/well known the beer is. I am extremely excited that Bell’s beer will finally be distributed into NJ in the near future as this will be my new summer go-to beer (especially since Yuengling ceased production on their Summer Wheat). I just hope distribution hits NJ in time for me to fill up my cooler with a case of this for my big Fourth of July party.

Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with our signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer. Made with only 4 ingredients, and without the use of any spices or fruit, Oberon is the color and scent of sunny afternoon.”

Blaecorn Unidragon Russian Imperial Stout – Clown Shoes Brewing Company (Ipswich, MA)

Clown Shoes has some of the more interesting label art, including this beer, a delicious Russian Imperial Stout I had on tap over three years ago. What I recall most strongly about the beer is how smooth the beer was, especially for a Russian Imperial with 75 IBU. I haven’t seen it since, but would pick up the beer if I saw a bottle of it. When one fantastical creature isn’t enough, Clown Shoes mashed up two of the most well-known for this big beast of a beer.

“Brewed with a monstrous amount of malt and combined with aggressive American hops, this beer is powerful and complex and designed to age. Smokiness is subtle but present and blends nicely with the rich, dark flavors.”

Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout – Flying Dog Brewing Company (Frederick, MD)

The spelling on this one may be tricky, substituting a “K” for the “C” but most folks know the big rabid Saint Bernard from Stephen King’s early novel and the movie. I’m assuming the letter change is so the brewery doesn’t get sued, but you’d have to figure a brewery with “dog” in its name might eventually call a beer they brew Cujo… or Kujo. Like the dog, this is a fairly big beer clocking in at 8.9%ABV pushing it to “Imperial” Stout status.

I had this one on draft a couple of years ago at what was then a World of Beer bar in New Brunswick, NJ. I recall enjoying the beer thoroughly and that the coffee was present, but not overpowering and balanced by a hit of sweetness.

“Kujo is the savage spawn of two brewing worlds – coffee and beer – colliding. But in that collision, there’s a balance between rich and roasted stout characteristics and the deep, dark coffee notes. The result is an 8.9% ABV brew made with locally-roasted coffee from Black Dog Coffee out of Summit Point, West Virginia.”

Innsmouth Old Ale – Narragansett Brewing Company (Pawtucket, RI)

Based out of Rhode Island, Narragansett is one of the historical northeast brewing companies, founded in 1890. H.P. Lovecraft is arguably the most famous writer from Rhode Island, born in 1890. Naturally, Narragansett has a whole line of H.P. Lovecraft inspired brews, including the Lovecraft Honey Ale which I had a few years ago and enjoyed. I really enjoyed Founders’ Old Curmudgeon and the Innsmouth Old Ale is the same style so I’m hoping I can find this one near me. Hell, I’d love to try all the Lovecraft Ales.

“Chapter 2 in the Lovecraft Series draws its inspiration from “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” one of our favorite Lovecraft stories which chronicles one man’s ominous visit to the fictional sea town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. The dark, malty Innsmouth Olde Ale represents the shadow that hangs over the blighted town of Innsmouth and its strange inhabitants that spawn from the “Deep Ones.”

The Innsmouth Olde Ale draws its balanced, robust, and slightly toasted features from a complex blend of Two-Row Pale, Crystal, Cara, Dark Munich, and Chocolate malts, Chocolate rye and finishes with just a touch of Summer and East Kent Goldings hops.

Quality Supreme: Brewed in collaboration with Sean Larkin, Head Brewmaster for Narragansett and owner of Revival Brewing, Innsmouth Olde Ale is made with a complex blend of malts and rye followed by just a touch of hops, producing a bold yet balanced English-style Olde Ale. The Innsmouth Olde Ale won both the Gold Medal at the Tastings World Beer Championships and a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival!”

Imperial Stout Trooper – New England Brewing Company (Woodbridge, CT)

What would a list like this be without some kind of Star Wars beer? Local NJ/Gypsy brewer Bolero Snort has some homages to Star Wars (or their Steer Wars line of brews including Bullennium Falcon which I recently enjoyed), but those are of limited availability. This stout from the New England Brewing Company has been around for a few years. Lucasfilm actually forced the brewery to change the label a bit to include the jokey sunglasses on the helmet. I enjoy Imperial Stouts so I’ll be on the hunt for this beer.

“Nearly a dozen types of malts and grains go into this FORCE-full, American Imperial Stout. Hints of coffee, tastes of dark fruit, and a subtle chocolate background make this Stout the perfect brew to welcome the Winter months. Brewed solely during the onset of the colder months, this one-time-a-year release will make you come over to the dark side… of beer.”

Klingon Imperial Porter – Shmaltz Brewing Company (Clifton Park, NY)

I knew when I was thinking of this post I would definitely include one of the Star Trek beers from iconic NY craft brewery Shmaltz Brewing. There are about a six-pack’s worth of Star Trek beers already from Shmaltz, but this one stood out for two reasons. (1) Porters are one of my favorite styles and (2) most of the other Trek beers leaned on the Golden Ale/Pale Ale end of the spectrum. I saw this beer in a few places over the past few years and now I’m kicking myself for not grabbing a 4-pack.

“Raise a goblet of Klingon Imperial Porter to the strongest warriors in the Galaxy. Discover the ruby undertones that pay homage to Klingon Bloodwine and fallen warriors who hold honor above life. “There is no honor in attacking the weak,” so take pleasure in besieging this 7.3% ABV Imperial Porter. But like this mighty elixir, Klingons also have a sweet side: Witness the wedding ritual where the gods forge two hearts so strong that once joined together cannot be opposed. (Just ignore the part of the ceremony where the groom swings his bat’leth at the bride!) A Klingon proverb states: “Death is an experience best shared,” and so is the first Star Trek limited release of 2017. Qapla’!”

Beer Review: Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Name: Peanut Butter Milk Stout
Brewing Company: Belching Beaver Brewing Company
Location: San Diego, CA
Style: Stout – Milk / Sweet
ABV: 5.3%

Not one of my best beer photos, the bar was fairly dark.

From Belching Beaver’s beer page:

America’s Favorite Peanut Butter Milk Stout: this silky-smooth beer put us on the map. Troy came up with the idea of combining Peanut Butter with our Beaver’s Milk Stout and he nailed it. Don’t let the dark color fool you, this beer is delightfully easy to drink with cascading aromas of roasted peanuts, dark chocolate and coffee. We appreciate your continued support for helping make this style our #1 seller.

On business trips, you get the opportunity to try beers that may not be available in distribution in your area. When I was in Las Vegas last week, I saw a beer from Belching Beaver and that alone made me want to try it. Seeing that it was a Milk Stout sealed the deal.

The beer pours extremely dark from the can like you’d expect from a stout, but it is not heavy like many stouts. The peanut butter aroma is definitely present, but it isn’t the defining characteristic of the beer. Sipping it proves out that aroma, the sweetness of the lactose sugars (which give the beer its milk stout moniker) really balance the peanut flavors and swirl together with a little bit of coffee and a little bit more of chocolate. Not enough chocolate to give it a full Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup flavor, which is a good thing.

I like Milk Stouts, but I get a little wary for beers that have peanut butter. Some are too overpowering, with the peanut butter dominating every other flavor component. In any beer, it is the sum of the parts, the combination of flavor components that produce the whole, or gestalt, of the beer. Belching Beaver has achieved a delicious gestalt of flavors in their Peanut Butter Milk Stout: greater than the sum of its parts. For all the flavors in this beer, it is really easy drinking, super smooth, and goes down too quickly. With some of those other overpowering beers that use peanut butter in their beer, some may have been good, but I always though, “just one for the night” because of how overpowering the peanut butter was. That’s not the case for me with Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout, I’d be happy to drink a couple back-to-back.

Where an intriguing label and name drew me in, the perfect balance of flavors kept me wanting more. As of the writing of this review, Belching Beaver doesn’t distribute into NJ because if they did, this would be a beer in my regular rotation.

As I said briefly on my check in untappd, this is the best Peanut Butter beer I’ve had.

Recommended, link to Untappd 4.25-star rating.

Untapped badges earned with this beer: Heavy Weight (Level 57)

Heavy Weight (Level 57)

You like it thick and dark. Your beer! What did you think we were talking about? That’s 285 different beers with the style of Porter or Stout.

 

Beer Review: Demented Brewing’s Silent IPA

Name: Silent
Brewing Company: Demented Brewing Company
Location: Middlesex, NJ
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 6.3%

From Demented Brewing’s beer page:

Named after a volcano in New Zealand, this beer packs an eruption of flavors without melting your palate. Expect fresh crushed citrus and tropical fruit in the nose, with no bitterness on the finish.

Here we are a year later with coming full circle back to Demented Brewing for a beer review a year after the first “pour” from The Tap Takeover. Now that I’ve come to enjoy IPAs, I wanted to dive into more brews from Demented Brewing, since some of their more highly regarded brews are their IPAs. My wife and I were having dinner with friends and family at a BYOB place before a concert, so I stopped in at Demented which is very close to my brother-in-law’s house. Their flagship IPA, Dementia is an IPA I liked before I really started to enjoy IPAs and Gallows Hill is a nice New England style IPA. But what about Silent? Well, read on.

I gave this a quick sampling before having the growler filled up and I knew it would be right up my alley from that little sip. Once I poured the beer out of the growler into the cup a couple of hours later, I could tell this was a juicy beer despite the dim light of the noodle house where I consumed the beer. It poured thick and hazy and I was excited to take that first sip.

A quick whiff of the aroma of the beer is hoppy and a little citrusy, but altogether inviting especially coupled with the look of the beer. Hops are strong, and citrusy hops at that. I wasn’t sure which hops were used in this beer when I was drinking the beer, but I guessed by the fact that the beer’s name is a nod to a volcano in New Zealand, a hop from New Zealand was used. After checking Demented Brewing’s Instagram just before posting this review, I learned that Silent is a single hop beer and yup, it is Motueka, one of the more citrusy hops from New Zealand.

Although I do appreciate beers with blend of hops, single-hopped IPAs (like Bell’s delicious Two Hearted Ale which is hopped only with Centennial Hops) really allows the single hop to shine. Here with Silent, the single hop of Motueka shines in all its citrusy glory. The short of all that is this: Silent is a juicy IPA that should please folks who like their IPAs on the hazy/juicy side of life.

Here’s a testament to how good this beer is, between three people the growler was finished in less than a half hour; and one of those consuming the beer isn’t even a fan of IPAs. Granted, I probably downed half of the growler myself, but still, the other two people sharing the growler were eager to have their cups refilled. The beer was delicious and wonderfully complemented the gigantic bowl of pork ramen I enjoyed for dinner.

Sorry demon cyclops, that’s MY growler of Silent. You can’t have any of it.

Recommended, link to Untappd 4.25-star rating.

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

I Believe in IPA (Level 21)

We believe in IPA and you should too. You certainly have a taste for the hops! That’s 105 different IPAs.

 

Draught Diversions: The Tap Takeover’s 1st Beerthday

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

Today, the Tap Takeover is officially one year old. Or rather, only 20 more years since the beer blog I started can consume the products featured on it. From a beer perspective, it has of course been an interesting year. About a dozen or so new breweries opened in New Jersey alone since I started The Tap Takeover, bringing the total as of this post to 88 production breweries in New Jersey.

According to untappd, I had over 400 unique beers over the last year (May 22, 2017 to May 22, 2018). Of course, many of those (about 80) were tasters or part of a flight, so that’s a little over 300 different bottles/pints/cans of beer. A rough breakdown shows (again, via my untappd account) about 59 Stouts, 56 IPAs, 25 Porters, 20 Dubbels/Tripels/Quads, 19 Hefeweizens, 17 Pale Ales, and 17 Pilsners. If I were to tell the Rob Bedford who started this blog in 2017 that he would have (and mostly enjoy) more than 50 IPAs over the next 12 months, second only in style count to Stouts, he wouldn’t believe me.

That speaks to the biggest change in my beer consumption habits over the past year, I seek out IPAs and find myself buying IPAs more than any other style lately. Tangentially, I’ve also come to truly appreciate Dogfish Head Brewing more than I have since I first started enjoying craft/independently brewed beer.

In one year, I published over 100 posts, this is the 52nd Draught Diversion and Thursday’s beer review will be the 52nd Beer Review. As a little tease, I’m reviewing a beer from the brewery whose beer was the subject of the very first review here at the Tap Takeover. In terms of reviews of styles, the big three were Stout – 8; Porter – 6; and IPA – 5.

I visited a few more breweries over the past 12 months, too. The Hackettstown Trio of Czig Meister, Jersey Girl, and Man Skirt Brewing; Angry Erik Brewing in Lafayette, NJ; Ramstein in Butler, NJ; Jughandle Brewing in Tinton Falls, NJ; Free Will Brewing tap room in Peddler’s Village, NJ; Iron Hill Brewery (Brewpub chain) in Pennsylvania; Wet Ticket Brewing in Rahway, NJ (I plan on visiting them again); and Doylestown Brewing Company in Doylestown, PA. I also returned to favorite local breweries Conclave Brewing in Raritan/Flemington, NJ; Demented Brewing Company in Middlesex, NJ; Flounder Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NJ; Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands; and of course Lone Eagle Brewing in Flemington for the monthly board game night.

One other change about the blog that has probably been noticeable since the calendar changed to 2018. I went to a new format for my monthly tally/recap. Rather than going exhaustively over 95% of the unique beers I had per month I thought, why not whittle that down. So the Monthly Six Pack was born, an obvious framing device, I would think.

I would like to thank the readers of the blog and folks who have supported my little hobby by spreading the word and simply chatting up with me (virtually or in meatspace) about beer. I’d especially like to thank Mike K. of NJ Craft Beer, Al Gatullo, Mike Martinez (who homebrews a tasty saison!), John Anealio, Chuck of NJ Beer and Wine, of course my wife for supporting my enjoyment of this delicious liquid and my dad who has checked in here regularly. Both my wife and my father have given me beers that were the subject of a handful of these reviews, and my wife was the designated driver to many of the breweries featured.

I don’t know that there’s much else for me to say, I don’t want to sit here and stroke my own ego (any more than I already have). If nothing else, I hope I showed some folks good beer they should try and in some cases, some not-so-good brews to avoid.

Cheers to another great year!

Beer Review: New Phone Who Dis? | Evil Genius Beer

Name: New Phone Who Dis?
Brewing Company: Evil Genius Beer Company
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Style: Porter – Other
ABV: 6%

From Evil Genius’s beer page:

CARAMEL MACCHIATO PORTER
Your favorite espresso beverage has now become your favorite adult beverage! Brewed with American barley, caramel and chocolate malt, and a touch of dark wheat. Gently hopped with American and German hops, and then infused with caramel and locally roasted La Colombe coffee. Full-bodied, smooth and robust, with notes of sweet caramel, mocha, and chocolate.

Evil Genius is one of a plethora of fine breweries out of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region. Although some may know the brewery from the uniquely named brews, the beers I’ve had have been quite good. After all, the beer names can draw the attention, but the flavor and taste keep you drinking.

As I poured the black beer into my glass, I caught sweet aromas of caramel. Evil Genius calls this a “Caramel Macchiato Porter” and it smells just like that. First sip is a big hit of that caramel, but enough of the porter characteristics are present, too.

This beer is extremely sweet as the caramel is the most prominent flavor component with very little of the coffee flavors coming through initially. After the first few sips of the beer, as the beer warmed to room temperature, the caramel power settled down. Although still definitely present, coffee flavors started to rise. It was then that the porter characteristics of the beer also began to assert themselves, with a slightly roasted finish flavoring the backend of the beer.

I can get why the sweetness of the caramel and cocoa in this beer might be too cloying for some. If you don’t like caramel, obviously stay away from the beer. For my tastes; however, the caramel notes were just enough. If you like dark beers like porters and stouts that include coffee in the brewing process or evoke the taste and feel of coffee, you’d probably like this one.

More caramel than coffee, but definitely a uniquely flavored porter, New Phone Who Dis? is a tasty dessert beer that won’t knock you over the head too strongly with the sweetness. For me, one was enough at the time I drank it, but I would return to this beer after a slice of rich chocolate cake to polish off the evening. This beer is continuing proof that Evil Genius’s experimentationial brews live up to their wacky names, which is a nice thing indeed.

Recommended, link to Untappd 3.75-star rating, a beer I liked enough to try and buy again. I can see myself enjoying this one more on a second try at a later date, too.

Draught Diversions: Summer 2018 6 Pack

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

Summer beer (especially Lienenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Sam’s Summer Ale) has been on the shelves and taps since April and I blame it all on Samuel Adams. But, since we’re a couple weeks away from Memorial Day, the unofficial kick-off of Summer so in anticipation of warmer weather, here are 6 summery brews I’m hoping to try when the warm weather settles in and I can enjoy a refreshing beer or three sitting in or by my pool.

Not all of these are official “summer” beers, but they are styles for me that seem to fit right into the summer. Naturally, the beers I highlight here will be those available in the NJ/Northeast so while a brewery like Ninkasi may have an interesting looking beer, since Ninkasi doesn’t distribute to NJ (making the beer unavailable to me), I won’t be mentioning the beer.

The Bog Cranberry Shandy Cape May Brewing Company (Cape May, NJ)

Image courtesy of MyBeerBuzz

Say what you will about the Shandy / Radler style of beer popularized in recent years by Leinenkugel, but the style is very refreshing. There’s a reason German cyclists (or Radlers in German) were given pints of this in the summer. Cranberries are one of my favorite fruits and fruit juices, and I’ve begun to see more beers made with cranberries in recent years. NJ also happens to be one of the major producers of cranberries in the US, so a cranberry infused beer from NJ’s second largest brewery seems natural. I really hope this one reaches distribution near me.

“What happens when you make a Cranberry Wheat and accidentally add too much cranberry? Embrace it and turn it into a Shandy! A tart cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade, The Bog is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor.”

Holy Moses Raspberry White Ale® – Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland, OH)

Image courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing’s Web site

Great Lakes doesn’t make bad beer, at least for my palate. Holy Moses is Great Lakes’s take on the traditional Belgian Witbier and this new iteration adds Raspberry to the beer for what should be a nice sweet, tart refreshing ale. I’ve still yet to try the original Holy Moses, so I hope to give that one a try, too. I’ve seen quite a few of Great Lakes’s core brews as well as their always popular Christmas Ale in my area, but haven’t seen Holy Moses too often. Hopefully that changes.

“In the spirit of Moses Cleaveland’s thirst for discovery, our classic White Ale meets fresh, juicy raspberries to forge a pint worth planting a flag in (or an orange slice!)

FLAVOR
Refreshment or bust! Tart raspberry flavors mark our White Ale’s spicy, aromatic terrain.”

Limey Gose – Victory Brewing (Downington, PA)

Image courtesy of Victory Brewing’s Web site

I’ve professed my enjoyment of almost all things Victory Brewing here before, with their Kirsch Gose one of my favorites. I’m hoping this new-ish Gose they are releasing is of the same quality because a sweet-tart Gose is a perfect beer antidote for a sweltering day. This was originally a brewery only-beer a few years ago and looks to get wide distribution this summer. I’m guessing if you like Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale (also made with limes) or Westbrook’s Key Lime Gose, you’ll enjoy this one, too.

“This lively GOSE brings the TART FLAVOR of KEY LIME PIE sprinkled with SEA SALT into a zesty SOUR LIME BIER.”

Onshore Lager – Flying Fish Brewing Company (Somerdale, NJ)

Image courtesy of Flying Fish Brewing Co.’s Facebook page

Flying Fish is the stalwart of NJ Brewing and they have a pretty solid line up of brews, in addition to their fantastic Exit Series. Over the past couple of years as the Exit Series drew to a close, Flying Fish started adding new, more permanent brews to their lineup. One of them is called Onshore Lager which has a great can design and sounds almost like a Pilsner. I don’t often go for Lagers, but when the Lager is Pilsner or a Bock, then I’m more inclined to give the beer a try. I’m guessing the sub-5% ABV on this one might lend Pilsner-like quality to the beer, too. Sign me up for a six pack.

“Our home is surrounded by a breathtaking stretch of ocean and beautiful waterways, and ONSHORE LAGER is our tribute to that environment.

Brewed without adjuncts, this beer pours a pure, golden color, and German-style hops provide a crisp, clean finish.”

Smooth Sail Summer Ale (Pale Wheat Ale) Heavy Seas Brewing Company (Halethorpe, MD)

Image courtesy of CraftBeer.com

The Pale Wheat Ale, popularized in the summer by Bell’s Oberon Ale and Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Not quite a Hefeweizen, not quite a pale ale, but very refreshing. This one from Heavy Seas seems to have a similar profile to the aforementioned two ales, with a hint of citrus which tells me I’d probably like this beer. From my very limited sampling of beers from heavy Seas, I think I’ll enjoy this one quite a bit. I’d seen it in stores the last year or two, but passed on it. I’ll be rectifying that this year.

“This is not your average summer ale. We’ve created the most refreshingly delicious American wheat ale. Brewed with lemon and orange peel, Smooth Sail finishes with a citrus kick. At 4.5% ABV you’ll have your new pool beer. Available on draft and cans only, it’s the perfect beer for trips to the park, hiking, or just sitting on the beach with your friends. A summer day. Kick back, relax, enjoy – a light breeze will take you to your happy place.”

When in Doubt Helles Lager – Tröegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, PA)

Image courtesy of MyBeerBuzz

While Tröegs already has a summer seasonal beer in their tasty Sunshine Pils, When in Doubt could perhaps be considered a “cousin” beer in that Helles Lagers and Pilsners are similar in style. This beer was part of Tröegs popular “Scratch series” a couple of years ago, then draft exclusive and now (according to the fine MyBeerBuzz beer blog), available in 12oz bottles. I’m hoping to try this one as soon as it is available (maybe June?) since I’ve really come to enjoy the Helles Lager style. At 4.3% ABV, this is a very crushable lager.

When in Doubt is all harmony. It begins with a single note, a clean and delicate pilsner malt reminiscent of freshly baked bread. Tradition hops add hints of wildflower and subtle bitterness, and our crisp lager yeast pulls it all together. In the end, this refreshing Munich-style Helles is greater than the sum of its parts and – when in doubt – always a good call.”

What new brews are you hoping to try this summer?

Special thanks to the great MyBeerBuzz blog for images in this post specifically, and for tireless efforts to keep the craft beer community abreast of new beers and beer news.

Beer Review: Trooper Hallowed by Robinsons Brewery

Name: Trooper Hallowed
Brewing Company: Robinsons Brewery (Iron Maiden Beer)
Location: Stockport, Greater Manchester, England
Style: Belgian Dubbel
ABV: 6%

In the background: Enhanced/Remastered Number of the Beast CD (2002) opened to the lyrics of Hallowed be thy Name.

From Robinsons’ Landing Page for the beer:

Crystal Rye gives HALLOWED a blood red hue and a smooth dry finish. The Belgian style yeast we have used in this brew along with Noble hops combine to deliver a complex palate of subtle banana and a sweet plum finish.

A real ale enthusiast, band vocalist Bruce Dickinson has helped develop a beer with a true depth of character. Visit www.ironmaidenbeer.com & discover the latest news updates, HALLOWED stockists & much more.

I am a big Iron Maiden fan, they are one of my two or three favorites bands. A few years back, Robinsons Brewery (which began brewing in 1838) started brewing beers inspired by the band, the first of which was an ESB, simply titled Trooper. When I realized they brewed a Belgian Dubbel, I knew I had to find it and try it.

When I popped open the beer, the liquid that emerged was a deep amber/red which is what I’d expect from a Dubbel. The aroma is typical of the Belgian (style) yeast used in the brew process, too. Those two characteristics had me hopeful (especially since I didn’t care too much for the the original Trooper ale). First sip, and I thought, could this be some kind of error? But yes, this was a Belgian Dubbel from a British brewery. Not something I’d typically expect. Or rather, my knowledge of British/UK breweries is somewhat limited.

The sweetness and spice from the yeast creates such a wonderful flavor in the beer, it was hard to just sip it despite the fact that I only had one bottle of the beer. The typical plum/stone-fruit sweetness evoked by the Belgian-style yeast was present along with hints of banana. I don’t know what exactly other than tastiness. Sometimes the pure well-crafted nature of the beer shines through in the look and taste of the beer, this is definitely the case for Trooper Hallowed.

By the end, I realized the sands of time were running low. I took a look through the glass at the remainder of the beer. Could it be there was some sort of error? Was it really the end of the beer? Sadly, it was. But with other beers in the Trooper line of brews from Robinsons, I’m hopeful the others are closer in quality to Trooper Hallowed than the original Trooper beer. Unfortunately, the Red n’ Black porter is out of production.

The name of the beer is an homage to Hallowed be thy Name, one of the more popular (especially in concert) songs from Maiden’s landmark album The Number of the Beast, their third studio album and first to feature legendary, iconic lead singer Bruce Dickinson. Fans of the band may have noticed some lyrical homages in my review.

There’s a website dedicated to Robinson’s Iron Maiden/Trooper line of beer http://www.ironmaidenbeer.com.

Highly Recommended, link to Untappd 4-star rating.

From the IronMaidenBeer.com web site: HALLOWED’s innovative bottle label pays tribute to Belgian beer, presenting IRON MAIDEN’s iconic mascot EDDIE, robed in traditional monk’s clothing: a nod to the Trappist monastic brewing tradition in Belgium.

 

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Dubbel, Tripel and Quad Oh My! (Level 7)

Dubbel, Tripel, or Quad, you can’t go wrong with these amazing feats of Belgian style brewing. Whether you’re looking for something light and golden or dark and boozy, one of these will do the trick!

Tower of Beer (Level 2)

While a pint traditional English ale will always remain a staple, the craft beer scene in England, much like the rest of the world, has continued to grow at a rapid rate!