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…
November still has some lingering Oktoberfest beers on shelves and in refrigerators, pumpkin beers are still acceptable, but Stout season is in full effect. November 2022 happened to be another month of beers that proved challenging to bring down to just six. Of course the fact that my wife brought me to the “Pittsburgh invades Philly” beerfest as a birthday complicated matters in the best of ways. Lots of good beers from that beerfest, one of which makes this month’s six pack, but beers from Dancing Gnome, Stick City, and Gristhouse all stood out. I happened to visit a couple of breweries this past month, too. Mostly locals and usual haunts like Conclave Brewing, Jersey Cyclone, Readington Brewery, as well as Chilton Mill, Kane Brewing, Bar Hygge, and Wild Air Beerworks. More on Wild Air in a post in the future, though.
Let’s dive into the November 2022 Six Pack …
Boos (Untied Brewing Company) | Pumpkin / Yam Beer | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd
I don’t go for the Pumpkin beers as much as I once did, although I still enjoy them. I was interested in Untied’s take on the style because I’ve enjoyed most of their beers. This was a pretty good take, good spice blend even if I found the nutmeg to be overpowering. Untied also makes an “Imperial” version of this beer as well as a Barrel-Aged version. I may have to try the Barrel-Aged version in the future.
Oktoberfest (Birdsmouth Beer) | Märzen | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd
Birdsmouth Beer is one of the newest breweries in New Jersey, started by a former brewer from Kane. That’s a pretty good pedigree. What I like is that they only brew lagers so I’m going to have to make my way down there at some point. My dad visited and brought back some of this excellent Oktoberfest, which considering it is one of the first beers brewed by Birdsmouth is impressive. Hell, it is impressive regardless of the “age” of the brewery.
Cherry Bomb (Bar Hygge/Brewery Techne) | Sour – Fruited | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd
Brewery Techne is the latest brewery venture from vaunted NJ Brewing legend Tom Baker. The brewery is inside Bar Hygge, in Philadelphia. My wife took me there for my birthday, the food was excellent, the space had a great vibe, and this cherry sour was quite tasty. There was a good balance between sweet and tart and it was a nice beer to accompany my meal.
Deep Island (Brew Gentlemen) | Stout – Imperial / Double | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd
This beer was part of a birthday celebration, too. As part of my gift, my wife took me to Broken Goblet Brewing who was hosting the aforementioned “Pittsburgh invades Philly” beer fest. I had quite a few good beers that day, but this was the standout and the only beer I wound up getting two pours. Not small pours, the fine folks of Brew Gentlemen filled up the taster glass both times. This imperial stout was very decadent and had the perfect amount of coconut in the mix. I was told they bottle a barrel-aged version for their anniversary beer. I wish I could get some of that.
Stingo Ate My Baby – Barrel Aged (Conclave Brewing Company) | Strong Ale – English | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd
Since Conclave expanded a couple of years ago, I’ve enjoyed their experimental styles and beers off the hop-forward path. This one is a perfect example. A “Stingo” beer is a English Strong Ale aged in Oak of some kind, originated by Samuel Smith’s Stingo. For a local twist, this beer was aged in Applejack Brandy Barrels from Laird’s (out of NJ and the first distillery in the US). This was a very unique beer, I can’t say I’ve had many that tasted quite like it – strong malt giving off toffee and caramel vibs, decent hop presence, and a nice finish from the Applejack brandy.
4018 (Kane Brewing Company) | Stout – Imperial / Double | 4.5 Bottle Caps on untappd
I say it a lot here at the Triple T, but for my money, Kane makes the best barrel-aged beers in NJ and I’d put their mastery at this art/skill alongside national leaders like Firestone Walker. I had a few Kane Beers in November since I visited the brewery, but this one stood out. Their anniversary beers are always a treat, I’ve probably had about half of the anniversary beers they’ve brewed over the years. This one emulates an ice cream dessert, since it was conditioned on Madagascar Vanilla, Maple Syrup, Cacao Nibs and Waffle cones. Before that, the blend as aged in multiple bourbon bottles. This was a thiccc stout that was delicious and decadent. At 13.1% ABV, I wound up sipping this over the course of about an hour.
A couple of beers were stinkers this past month, but mostly really good stuff.