Draught Diversions: The Tap Takeover Takes a Break

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…

This post has been brewing for a few months, probably at least as far back as May 2022, when The Tap Takeover celebrated its Fifth Anniversary. I’m referring to The Tap Takeover going on an indefinite hiatus. I don’t know how long that hiatus will be because life gets in the way of the plans we make for ourselves.


When I started the Tap Takeover back in 2017, I wasn’t sure what the long term goal was, other than a hobby with a professional mindset, if that makes sense. I started it with the thought that since I wrote about the books I enjoyed for so many years (SFFWorld, Tor.com, SFSignal, as well as my personal blog) I figured I’d take a stab at writing about the beers I enjoy. On the one hand, writing this blog turned into an educational exercise as I learned more about beer in general, more about why I like certain beers and not others. On the other hand I met a lot of really cool people and feel as if I’ve become more connected in the independent beer scene, especially in New Jersey.

I’ve briefly considered monetizing the site somehow, but usually dismissed those thoughts very quickly. At times, I thought maybe I’d parlay this blog into some kind of paid writing assignments about beer, but that hasn’t quite formed despite some attempts.

I won’t say maintaining the blog has become a chore, but there is time and effort that goes into writing, formatting, and generating the content. I’ve maintained a pretty consistent schedule, I haven’t missed publishing at least one post per week (226 reviews and 178 Draught Diversions) since launching in 2017, and often two posts per week. I’ve been reading blogs for long enough to know for my own personal enjoyment, if there’s not consistent, timely content, then I stop giving attention to that blog/outlet.

I’ll admit that I put pressure on myself with this blog. I’m the owner, lead editor, whatever you call it and I’m not affiliated with any other media outlet or brewery. Building out those monthly six packs of new beers every month, sure it was fun consuming those beers, but it wasn’t always easy to come up with six “new to me beers” beers or new beers for the Summer / Oktoberfest / Christmas seasonally themed six packs. I found myself going out of my way to find something new I hadn’t ever drank just to ensure I was able to have a review or fill a monthly six pack and that the content I was posting was new to this blog. I’d pass up a 4-pack or 6-pack beer I enjoyed in the past in favor of a new beer when determining what to buy in order to have content for this blog based on my personal budget. Again, that’s pressure only from myself to keep to the standards I set early on with this blog. This post is by no means a plea for sympathy, just a rationalization of the state of things.

Have my priorities changed since launching the Triple T? A little bit, sure. I’ve moved up in my career, have been focusing once again (although not as diligently) on fictional writing as well as renewed attention to the book reviewing I’ve been doing for the better part of the last 20 years. If I’m writing a piece for the Tap Takeover, then that’s time I’m not doing something else like attempting to spin my own stories.


Also, unlike the book reviews I write where the majority of the books I review are provided to me by publishers, 95% of the beers I’ve reviewed or featured were beers I purchased. The other 5% were gifts or beer exchanges. Sure, I’d be buying and drinking beer regardless, but like I said previously, I’d go out of my way to get something new to me rather than grabbing an old favorite to buy. That’s good in many ways because trying new things is fun, right? I’m just adding another layer to what goes into publishing a beer blog that maintains a weekly schedule of new content.

Plus, sometimes and more often lately, I just want to drink a beer, enjoy it, and not overanalyze what’s in the can or my glass and write a review about it. There’s only so much one can say about one stout vs. another and I’ve felt myself getting repetitive in my reviews more frequently so I just need a break from this little monster I’ve created. I also sometimes feel like I’m shouting into a vacuum with this blog.

I’ve enjoyed keeping this active for the last 5 and a half years, I really have. I’ll still be filling my fridge with beer, visiting breweries, spending time thinking about beer, but more relaxed and less formally, if you will.

In the end, I’m not sure what’s next for The Tap Takeover. When or if I’ll return from hiatus, but maybe I’ll run into some of you at a brewery or some other beer event in the future.

I’ll still be checking into untappd (RobHB), posting on Instagram (robhbed) (usually one’s beer per week as well as some bookish posts), taking part in the dumpster fire that is currently twitter as RobHBedford, as well as facebook. Connect with me there if you haven’t already and say hi.

I’ll close this post by  saying thank you to everybody who has been reading my barely coherent ramblings about beer for the past five and half years and  chatting up with me online or in meatspace.

Cheers and enjoy your beer responsibly!

Beer Review: Oakflower Brewing’s Dew Drop

Name: Dew Drop
Brewing Company: Oakflower Brewing Company
Location: Millington, NJ
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Grisette
ABV: 3.9%

An extremely flavorful low ABV beer that showcases the brewer’s skill and talent in a very impressive fashion.

From the untappd page for the beer:

Dew Drop is our low ABV, rainy Spring inspired grisette. We start with a base of floor malted pils and plenty of malted wheat, firmly hopped with some lovely Saaz, and then gently dry hopped with Motueka. It brings a great marriage of earthy, floral, and citrus. Dew Drop is highly carbonated and finishes nice and dry, making it all too easy to refill your glass.

New breweries will sometimes stumble out of the gate when they open for the first time. In some cases, the brewers may be working on new equipment, sizing up their recipes for larger batches. I can’t say that is the case with Oakflower Brewing in Millington, NJ. I visited the second weekend they were open and ordered this Grisette. What is a Grisette, though? It is a Belgian style dating back to the 1700s initially brewed to reward and refresh miners. The name “Grisette” translates as “little grey one,” likely a reference to the stone of the mines. Typically, this beer is similar to the Saison style of beer, with a lower ABV (often less than 5% ABV) with a sometimes fruity or tart element from the yeast used in the beer.

Not many breweries are making Grisettes, let alone making it as one of their first beers available to the public. To coax flavor out of the elements while maintaining a strong flavor profile with a low ABV isn’t the easiest task. But in the interest of trying  styles I don’t often see (just 6 different Grisettes including this one), I ordered Dew Drop.

The beer I’m given is bright and inviting, yellow-golden with a frothy head. The aroma has a slight bit of funk.

The first sip puts a smile on my face. It is both light and flavorful at the same time. There’s an effervescent element that seems slightly more carbonated than most beers I’ve had. As I continue to drink the beer, I enjoy it more and more as a spritzy, fruity element becomes a bit more pronounced. Not a dominant flavor component, but something tickling the edges.

I’m guessing part of what sets this apart from other farmhouse style ales I’ve had is the Motueka hops. While the Saaz hops are a very traditional hop (they are THE pilsner hop), Motueka is fairly new and from New Zealand. The two hops play nicely together..

I think the most impressive element of this beer is the whole of it. For a beer to have so much flavor at such a low ABV is very impressive. Even more impressive is that Oakflower was open for just a week when I visited and this beer was on draught. Head brewer/owner Colin McDonough was brewing in small batches for a few years under the Lamington River Brewing banner so he’s got some experience. That said, it often can take time for a brewer to adjust to newer, larger scale equipment and the learning curve here seems non-existent. Dew Drop is the kind of beer I’d expect from a brewery that’s been open a few years, not a couple of weeks.

Highly recommended, link to 4.5 bottle cap untappd rating check in.

Beer Review: Last Wave Brewing’s Surfer’s Blood

Name: Surfer’s Blood
Brewing Company: Last Wave Brewing Company & Heavy Reel Brewing Company
Location: Point Pleasant, NJ
Style: Sour – Berliner Weisse
ABV: 5.1%

An outstanding sour ale, whose name, flavor, and the breweries who made it scream summer.


Last Wave says this about the beer:

Raspberry Lemonade Berliner Weisse

This kettle-soured weiss bier is tart, fruity, and red with the help of some raspberry and lemon puree (none of our actual blood), making this a refreshing adult beverage ripe for enjoyment at the Jersey Shore. Brewed in collaboration with our friends at Heavy Reel Brewing Co.

Last Wave recently celebrated their fifth anniversary and did a slight rebranding of their logo / can art aesthetic and released a couple of collaboration beers. Although I missed those beers, I’d been keeping an eye on Last Wave’s releases and saw an intriguing Instagram post announcing the re-release of this beer, Surfer’s Blood. With the summer in full swing, I wanted something sweet, tart, and with some fruit element to the beer; Surfer’s Blood fit that criteria perfectly.

The beer that pours into my glass from the can is pinkish in color and could easily pass as pink lemonade. That makes sense given the Last Wave labels this as a “Raspberry Lemonade Sour.” Aroma is a little bit of that raspberry lemonade, too.

I take a sip and I’m delighted. This is damned tasty beer. There’s a lot of tart and tanginess from the raspberries and lemons/lemonade, but enough carbonation and maltiness to keep this in the beer category. The tartness / sour elements also come from the yeast that gives a Berliner Weisse (even without adjuncts) its characteristic funky profile.

You’ve got two shore breweries collaborating on this beer, you’ve got “surfer” in the title, a surfing skeleton on the label, and delicious refreshing fruity flavor (specifically lemonade, maybe the most iconic summer beverage) in the beer. Yeah, this is a great summer beer. It has been a popular seasonal for Last Wave and I can taste why. I had a second can on a warm Sunday afternoon lounging in my pool after some yard work and the beer tasted even better and went down much more quickly in gulps, rather than sips. Maybe the only better place/way to enjoy this beer is on the beach.

I love the can art, it speaks to the horror junkie in me with the bloody skeleton, which is kind of the mascot of Heavy Reel brewing. the new “branding” Last Wave kicked off in May, which put a nice “frame” around the art topped off with Last Wave’s surf board logo brings the eye-popping design together. Surfer’s Blood is very appealing both from the taste and packaging,  if you saw this beer on the shelf and wanted a sweet summer crusher, you’d have to pick up at least a four-pack.

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

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Ich Bin Ein Berliner (Level 6)

The classic Berliner Weisse is crisp, cloudy, and sour. Once the most popular beer style in Berlin, it’s gained notoriety and popularity around the globe making us all proud to be Berliners. That’s 30 different beers with the style of Berliner Weisse.


Draught Diversions: Five Years of the Tap Takeover

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…

Suddenly, Five Years Later…


It is hard for me to believe I’ve been writing about beer here at the Triple T for five years! To say that a lot has happened since this blog went live is an understatement, at least in the world of beer and NJ Beer specifically. When I started the blog back in 2017, there were approximately 75 breweries in the State of New Jersey. As of this writing, there are over 130 breweries in the State. This is about the same as last year, but four officially closed in 2021: Atco Brewing, Camden; Dark City, Asbury Park; Human Village Brewing, Pitman; Raritan Bay Brewery, Keansburg. I’d only every been to Dark City and was never compelled to make a second visit. The Referend moved from NJ to PA, and a couple more have opened. There are 21 Brewpubs, with 20+ breweries/brewpubs soon to be opening, per New Jersey Craft Beer.

Five years ago, there were three breweries in close driving distance to me, one of those has since moved, now I’m less than two miles from a brewery that opened in 2021, plus a another half dozen or so are within close proximity. Because of COVID, home delivery is now an option many breweries are offering. Some of the more prominent/popular NJ breweries have expanded their offerings and distribution, like Kane, Tonewood, Cape May, and Icarus for example. Breweries previously not available in NJ have begun distribution into the State, such as Bell’s, Jack’s Abby, and 3 Floyds. In other words, right now is a good time to be a fan of independent/craft beer.

The “craft” beer landscape is flourishing, nationally and locally in New Jersey and our neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New York. On one hand, that makes it easy to find a new beer on a mostly weekly basis to review/feature and an additional 6 over the course of the month to highlight in my monthly six packs. IPAs are still the unavoidable and dominant style, sours (and those beer-in-name-only smoothie sours) are all over the place, but lagers have been continually on the rise. I’ve obviously been leaning towards Pilsners and Lagers, but I’m always seeking other styles that may be a little off the beaten path to review and feature here at the Triple T. So maybe over the next year or so, I’ll try to feature styles like Hefeweizen, Old Ale, Barleywine (I love them, but don’t see nearly enough of them on shelves), Shandy/Radler (quite popular, but largely derided by “craft” beer enthusiasts), Scotch Ale, Cream Ales, and so forth.

As in past years, I thanked the readers of the blog and folks who have supported my little hobby by spreading the word over the years via social media and simply chatting up with me (virtually or in meatspace) about beer. I’d especially like to thank Mike K. of NJ Craft Beer who I’ve run into a few times at breweries and events. Mike is always one of the first to spread the word/retweet my beer posts. Additionally, I’d also like to thank some of the other people who’ve spread the word on social media about my beer ramblings: the folks behind Breweries in PA ; John Couchoud and the the Crew of South Jersey Beer Scene; Al Gatullo of Al Gatullo’s Craft Beer Cast, my old college pal Chuck of NJ Beer and Wine; the great beer writer John Holl; the crew over at reddit/njbeer; the folks at the Beer Advocate Northeast subforum, the people who follow my beer ramblings on twitter and Instagram. Thanks to my wife who supports this little hobby of mine and my dad for introducing me to “microbrews” when I was in college like Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Pete’s Wicked Ale as well as my friends who’ve joined me on some of my beer adventures.

Cheers to another great year!