Beer Review: Chilton Mill Brewing’s Schwarzbier – Black Lager

Name: Schwarzbier – Dark Lager
Brewing Company: Chilton Mill Brewing Company
Location: Long Valley, NJ
Style: Lager – Dark | Schwarzbier
ABV: 5.6%

A delicious, elegant, dynamite Dark Lager from one of NJ’s smaller, yet more robust breweries.

ChiltonMill_Schwarzbier

From the untappd page for the beer:

This German style dark lager exudes smooth roasty characteristics, balanced by traditional Noble hops. Dark in color, while remaining exceptionally drinkable!

Chilton Mill Brewing is a “Pandemic” Brewery, having the unfortunate timing to open during the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Their ability to pivot to crowlers for offsite consumption, coupled with the great beer they brew, allowed them to survive the pandemic and grow as the world recovered (and still is recovering) from the Pandemic. I visited once earlier in the year and made my way back because I wanted to try this beer in particular.

So…this beer, a Germanic Dark Lager. Three words describing a beer I very much enjoy. German Dark Lagers come in a few varieties, Munich Dunkel, Dopplebock, and this, the Schwarzbier which literally translates to “Black Beer” from the German language. The style has more roast/smokiness than most lagers and in some ways, could be considered the lager-cousin to the Porter of the ale family. There are also similarities between the German Schwarzbier and Czech Dark Lager, or Tmavé Pivo.

Mini-style lesson over, on to Chilton Mill Brewing’s Schwarzbier.

The beer I’m given is black, as black as any beer I’ve had. A nice, light khaki head about the thickness of my pinky sits atop the beer. Picture perfect, I would say.

I skip breathing in the aroma of the beer and take a sip. I am very pleased with my first taste of this beer. There’s a very nice roast character, which is a hallmark of the style. It isn’t overpowering to the point that it is a smoked beer, but just enough to make that element of flavor’s presence known. On my second quaff of the beer, I get something unexpected, yet pleasant – some kind of sweet fruit element. Not sure what specifically, but that element likely comes from the Noble hops. But that sweetness is a great level of complexity in this beer.

This beer, Schwarzbier – Dark Lager is one of Chilton Mill’s most popular beers, it has more check-ins on untappd than any other they have brewed. I was speaking to owner/head-brewer Mike about the beer and he said it was the first (or one of their first) beer he made available and it proved extremely popular. What I like about the beer is how elegant, well-crafted, and balanced the beer is. I have a very strong appreciation for the level of complexity especially considering the beer is only 5.6% ABV. This isn’t a very common/popular style and what I also appreciate about Chilton Mill is the dedication to these kinds of classic, flavorful styles, keeping them in rotation (the other beer I had on my visit was an excellent English Brown Ale).

This is one of the best Dark Lagers I’ve had all year and maybe even since I’ve been on untappd..

Recommended, link to 4.50 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Beer Review: Long Trail Brewing’s Triple Bag

Name: Triple Bag
Brewing Company: Long Trail Brewing Company
Location: Bridgewater Corners, VT
Style: Strong Ale – American | Triple Amber Ale
ABV: 11%

A malt-forward, sweet, sipping ale with a nice hop finish

LongTrail_TripleBag

From Long Trail’s landing page for the beer:

Triple Bag is a small-batch beer brewed from a single infusion that uses only the first running of the mash. The resulting brew contains only the purest part of the grains, which yields a uniquely rich, dense flavor.

At 11% ABV, this brew is an example of brewing purity that is rarely experience by those other than brewers themselves.

Long Trail Brewing is one of the legacy craft brewers in Vermont. For many years, their beers were in constant rotation in my fridge and coolers. Their Blackbeary Wheat was a summer staple, I’d often grab their “Survival Pack” variety pack in the summer for poolside sipping. One of their elusive beers was this one, Triple Bag a “bigger” version of their flagship, Long Trail Ale, maybe the only flagship from a larger “craft” brewery that happens to be an Altbier.

A friend introduced me to this beer over a decade ago and that was the last time I had this particular weighty brew so it is with a bit of excitement, a bit of trepidation, that I open the bottle and pour it into my glass.

This beer doesn’t have a stand-out aroma, but there’s some element of roasted malt on the nose. The beer pours a deep amber, bordering on brown with a thin khaki head. It almost looks like a Barleywine, one that hasn’t sat in barrels.

First sip…the malts in the aroma follow through on the taste. There’s a sweet, fruit-like undertone in the body of the beer I find quite pleasing. The malt also evokes elements of toffee, lending an additional element of sweetness to the beer. Again, a pleasing element. The finish comes through quite strongly with the hop character. There’s a punch of aggressive hops that balances out the sweetness in the “middle” of the beer for me.

As I mentioned earlier, Triple Bag is a beer that has an interesting spot on my “internal” beer shelves. What surprised me the most is how aggressive the hops are in this beer. Ten years ago, I wasn’t as appreciative of a highly hopped beer as I am today so I’m a little surprised that my memories of the beer as as strong and positive as they are given the strong hop presence. Not that 65 IBU is overly hopped, but a level on par with an Imperial Stout or a Barleywine.

Speaking of Barleywine…the beer that this reminds me of the most, and I may be called crazy for this, is Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine. The color is quite similar the progression of flavors may even be parallel to each other. That said, there’s a more pronounced fruit/toffee element in Triple Bag. This is a beer to age, I had one from the four pack, but I think I’ll hold off on popping open more until at least a year passes.

This was a fun beer to revisit, it didn’t align with what I remembered it to be, but that isn’t a bad thing at all..

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

Beer Review: Tonewood Brewing’s Double Dry-Hopped Fuego

Name: Double Dry-Hopped Fuego
Brewing Company: Tonewood Brewing Company
Location: Barrington & Oaklyn, NJ
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 6.2%

A hoppy, dank, double dry-hopped IPA from one of New Jersey’s best breweries – a top notch IPA

Tonewood_DDHFuego

From the untappd page for the beer:

Double Dry-Hopped Fuego – This variant of Fuego uses twice the amount of hops during the dry-hop portion of the brewing cycle. DDH Fuego is full of juicy citrus aromas that softens an already crushable IPA into an exceptionally special drinking experience.

Tonewood has become one of my favorite NJ breweries over the last couple of years, their lagers are some of the best in the State and their IPAs are solid. Early in 2022, they opened a second location, their output increased, and they went through a rebranding with their labels/logo. With the second location, their output has increased and it seems they are distributing more of their beer throughout NJ and PA. A very exciting time for the Camden County brewery. Fuego is their flagship IPA and perfectly balances the East Coast/New England style with the West Coast style. For this variant on Fuego, the hops have increased, so let’s take a look.

Tonwood_DDHF_Info

Since Tonewood Brewing went through their rebranding/label update, they’ve included information on the label that EVERY SINGLE BREWER should include, especially as beer drinkers are becoming more knowledgeable about the beer they are drinking. Style, Hops, Malt, and ABV clearly indicated.

That first look…hazy, orange juice appearance with a substantial, white head. Very opaque, so I’m surprised this one isn’t considered a New England IPA. Aroma is dank and hoppy with pleasant tropical hints like pineapple and orange juice, just like I’d expect from a beer with this amount of hopping.

The abundant hops from the nose transfer to that first sip. There’s quite a bit of that tropical taste that carries over from the aroma. Potent hops follow, giving a slightly carbonated feel in the body of the beer. I keep thinking tropical fruit for much of the flavor, maybe some peachiness or apricot, with some hints that remind me of mango.

The increase of hops, especially the double-dry hopping method, gives this beer a more dank flavor profile than the standard Fuego, or most IPAs in general. I’m sure most of my readers know this, but Double Dry hopping means that the beer is hopped twice during fermentation, which accentuates the hop flavor and aromatics with more fresh hop elements. You’re getting the hop flavor in a more pure form. As such, the dankness (or citrusy and pine elements which are the hallmark flavors of modern IPAs) factor is quite high.

Back to Double Dry-Hopped Fuego specifically…this beer is a juicy, potent, very hop-forward IPA that thanks to the dry-hopping is a fairly smooth beer. Despite my oft-mentioned dislike of the Mosaic hop, the issues I typically have with the hop presence in IPAs I don’t have that issue with this beer. The three other hops (Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe) blend will together. This is a great example of a Dry-Hopped IPA and an IPA worth seeking.

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

Beer Review: Flying Monkeys The Chocolate Manifesto

Name: The Chocolate Manifesto – Triple Chocolate Milk Stout
Brewing Company: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Location: Barrie, ON, Canada
Style: Stout – Imperial / Double Milk
ABV: 10%

A decadent, dessert sipper that will delight chocolate lover’s taste buds. A top-level Chocolate Milk Stout.

FlyingMonkeys_TripleChocolateManifesto

From Flying Monkey’s landing page for the beer:

For those seeking decadence and transcendence in a craft beer, we bring you The Chocolate Manifesto Triple Chocolate Milk Stout, a luxurious beer that demands to be shared among friends. With 3 kinds of chocolate, this beer is a euphoric detour from the mundane. Life is too short to brew beer that doesn’t matter to you.

With International Stout Day falling on the first Thursday in November, I knew I wanted to try a new Stout. I’ve been seeing this particular Canadian brew on shelves for a couple of years now, it has some good ratings, so I figured, let’s get chocolatey for Stout Day.

I had a taster of one beer from Flying Monkeys (love the name) at a beer fest a couple of years ago, so this is my first full beer from the brewery.

Into the glass the beer goes…out of the can it looks like liquid dark chocolate – a brown that is almost black – with a thin khaki/light brown head. Visually, a very appealing beer. I take a whiff of the beer and I smell malts and chocolate…again, so far, so good.

The first sip of The Chocolate Manifesto puts a smile on my face. I get a lot of chocolate up front, which is what I expected. There’s more chocolate, a layered and leveled chocolate, if you will. Imagine a lovely piece of chocolate, wrapped in another kind of chocolate, and a third kind of chocolate surrounds all of it. I didn’t have to imagine that, because that’s what I tasted in this beer.

From the initial sweet chocolate, there’s a slightly bittersweet finish on the beer which I welcomed and enjoyed. The people of Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery have managed to coax a breadth of chocolate flavors from multiple ingredients in this beer. It is a pleasant, warming spectrum of flavors

At 10% ABV, this is a big Imperial stout, but the booziness is minimal. You know it is a beer, but you aren’t hit over the head with the alcohol, which I appreciated. As I will always say with higher ABV beers, the flavors of The Chocolate Manifesto open up and breathe as the beer warms. The balance of sweet and bittersweet is a little more nuanced when the temperature of the beer rises and it just tastes a little bit better once it warms to room temperature.

I’m reminded, a bit, of River Horse Brewing’s Chocolate Porter with how balanced the chocolate component of this beer is. I’ve had just over a 100 Milk Stouts and this one is comfortably in the top half of that list and it ranks as one of the best Chocolate Milk stouts I’ve had. This one is worth seeking out and given that Flying Monkey’s is a decent-sized Canadian brewery, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to track down.

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

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Stout Day (2022)

Let’s give a big shout out to the stout. Whether with coffee, barrel-aged or chock full of candy bars, stouts are seriously delicious. Pick your favorite and toast to International Stout Day 2022!

The Great White North (Level 4)

Out on the pond for some ice fishing, or perhaps watching some hockey, eh? That’s 20 beers from a brewery in Canada!

2X (Level 76)

When a single isn’t enough, make it a double. Doubling the hops and malts in a recipe results in a higher ABV and can pack quite a boozey punch. That’s 380 different beers with the style that contains Imperial / Double in its style name.

FlyingMonkeys_TripleChocolateManifesto

Beer Review: The Drowned Lands’s Scythe

Name: Scythe
Brewing Company: The Drowned Lands
Location: Warwick, NY
Style: Pumpkin/Yam Beer | Foeder Fermented Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5.7%

The young Hudson Valley Brewery has crafted one of the best Pumpkin Beers I’ve ever had.

DrownedLands_Scythe

From The Drowned Lands’s feature page for the beer:

Pouring a deep and vibrant orange color, and bursting with all the aromas you’d expect in a pumpkin ale. Brewed with a blend of Vienna and Munich malts as a base, and then layered in Biscuit, Red Wheat, and Spelt malts to give the beer a nice bready pie crust. We then added pumpkin to the whirlpool and fermented it with our house yeast. After fermentation, we conditioned this pumpkin filled pie crust with handfuls of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.

Since I visited the Drowned Lands last summer (2021), I’ve been eager to try more of their beers and while their IPAs are very well-regarded, I wanted to try something outside of a hop-forward beer. When I saw that the newish liquor store down the road from me had this beer in stock, I knew one of my new Pumpkin beers for 2022 would be Scythe. It far exceeded my expectations.

Well, what is Scythe?

The beer pours a translucent orange yellow into my Pumpkinhead glass, fully looking the part of a pumpkin ale. There’s a thin head, maybe the width of a #2 pencil. I take a whiff and the spices come through quite nicely, cinnamon, a little bit of clove, maybe some ginger. So far, so good.

I notice some floaties in the beer, maybe from the pumpkin or the spices? Not a negative point, but something noticeable. That first sip… boy oh boy is that a smooth tasting beer. The silky smoothness I’d expect from a perfectly baked pumpkin pie my made. I’m very impressed with how balanced that first sip of Scythe travels across my palate.

There are prominent elements of cinnamon, clove, and of course pumpkin. Many beers categorized as “Pumpkin” beers simply have the spices associated with Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie. Scythe is made with pumpkin and that shines through in the taste and flavor profile. Nutmeg is listed and often, Nutmeg can leave a fairly strong, lingering aftertaste for me. Thankfully, the fine and talented craftspeople at the Drowned Lands concocted a well-balanced mélange of spices, which prevents any one spice from overpowering the other spices.

Pumpkin beers dominate the shelves from August through October/November to a very overwhelming level. This has; unfortunately, set something of a mark against the style. Early in my Craft Beer Journey, I anticipated pumpkin beer season every year, but that aforementioned early onslaught cooled my eagerness for the style. That said, any style when done well, is worth seeking out. With Scythe, The Drowned Lands may have crafted an ideal Pumpkin Beer. It has near perfect balance of all the elements, lives up to the “pumpkin pie in a glass” moniker, but is still most certainly a beer. If I’m making a Mount Rushmore of Pumpkin Beers, Scythe would very likely find itself on that mount.

Recommended, link to 4.50 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Pumpkin Beer Season (2022)

Pumpkin beers—trick or treat? Yes, this style is polarizing, but love ‘em or hate ‘em pumpkin beers are an iconic part of the fall season. Try giving the gourd some love this October!?

DrownedLands_Scythe

Beer Review: Schilling Beer Company’s Modernism

Name: Modernism
Brewing Company: Schilling Beer Company
Location: Littleton, NH
Style: Lager – Dark /Czech-Style Dark Lager
ABV: 4.8%

A delicious dark lager from the Granite State brewery that hits the style notes elegantly.

Schilling_Modernism

From Schilling Beer’s landing page for the beer:

Modernism is inspired by the Czech black lager tradition. It features a deep complexity from the decoction process and a hop schedule typical of Bohemian beers. Notes of dark malts, bittersweet chocolate and caramel dominate. The finish is dry.

Prior to this review, no beer from the Granite State (New Hampshire) has been reviewed here at The Tap Takeover. When Schilling Beer Company began distributing their Lagers and European-inspired ales to New Jersey, I had an inkling that would change. I knew of the brewery and their well-regarded lagers so I was eager to try one.  I made an impulse decision to stop in a liquor store on my way home from work, that decision paid off when I saw a four pack of this Czech Dark Lager in the beer cooler, especially as the style (as pointed out when I reviewed the Icarus/Hackensack Brewing collaboration) has become a favorite lager.

Well after that, what do we have in Modernism?

From the can, the beer pours a deep brown, although the photo above the beer looks closer to black than brown. I suspect if the color were lighter, the beer would be translucent so there’s a nice clarity to the beer. The aroma gives off a little bit of breadiness and dark chocolate, maybe? But nothing out of the ordinary.

I like what I’m tasting in that first sip. The expected breadiness comes through thanks to the malt, but I’m also getting notes of bittersweet chocolate, very pleasant bittersweet chocolate at that which also gives a hint of caramel. A nice element that comes across from the malt is a toasted bread flavor, obviously I’m leaning towards pumpernickel, or maybe even rye-pumpernickel marble because of the color. In other words, lots of pleasant flavors coming together.

Other flavors come up in the profile as well. There’s a sharp taste that likely comes from the hops, which is a welcome element of the beer. That sharpness reminds me of coffee and maybe even menthol? Not that the beer has a menthol flavor, but it has the same feel, if only slightly. The body on this one is fairly light, which lends to my earlier statement that if this beer were lighter colored, It would likely be translucent.

The stamp on the bottom indicates the beer was canned 05/12/22, which lands this beer still in a fairly fresh status at five months old. That said, I’d love to give this beer a try from a batch and/or can closer to the canning date.

While Modernism is the first beer I’ve had from Schilling, I hope it won’t be the last beer I drink from the New Hampshire brewery and I hope to see more of their beers appearing on the shelves of liquor stores in my area. In the end, Modernism is a damned good example of the Czech-Style Dark Lager.

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

Beer Review: Bonesaw Brewing Company’s Crimson Skull

Name: Crimson Skull
Brewing Company: Bonesaw Brewing Company
Location: Glassboro, NJ
Style: Lager – Vienna
ABV: 5.8%

A well-crafted, clean, Lager that hits all the right notes.

Bonesaw_CrimsonSkull

From the untappd page for the beer:

Crimson Skull is a Vienna lager, a red-amber lager style focusing on toasty, biscuity malt notes without being sweet. Aromas of baking brown bread, toffee and barley fields.

Bonesaw opened up in 2018 with some sizeable fanfare, the brewery is very large and they managed to recruit a well-respected brewer to be their brewmaster. I’ve had a few beers from Bonesaw Brewing and I’ve enjoyed them to varying degrees and with their beer showing on shelves in my area with more frequency, I decided to finally give one of their beers a full review treatment here at the Triple T. Yeah, of course it is a Lager.

This is the second Vienna Lager I’ve reviewed and as I pointed out in that review, it is a misunderstood style, Sam Adams Boston Lager is a Vienna Lager so it is rather ubiquitous without many likely realizing that Boston Lager is a Vienna Lager. Maybe the closest better-known cousins to a Vienna Lager would either be an Amber Lager or a Märzen. The Vienna Lager is typically a bit lighter than a Märzen, but has a nice amount of bready malt to the beer.

Enough of the style primer, on to the beer under review. .

Pop of the can top, the beer pours into the glass a translucent amber with a nice thick head. Crimson Skull certainly looks the part. Nothing too distinct on the aroma, although I do get some of the breadiness. As I’ve come to say, it smells like beer.

First sip…is quite tasty! Big malt flavor, as I would expect. Despite the beer looking a little on the thin side, from a body perspective, it has a full flavor and feel to it. As I have more of the beer, I get some of the caramel essence, more than the toffee called out in the beer description. The two flavors are fairly similar, so maybe I’m just splitting hairs but that sweet element isn’t overpowering The hop presence is mild but noticeable, which is just how I’d want it to be in a lager such as this.

Bonesaw has crafted a very balanced, clean lager in Crimson Skull. It hits all the notes one would expect from the style, and it does so with a nice level of clarity. The beer went down very easily for me and was very enjoyable

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

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