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

Draught Diversions: October 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…

Oktoberfest takes up a good portion of the month and cooler temperatures are more prevalent. Dark beer season is beginning to settle in, though there is still plenty of room for the lighter ales and lagers. This month’s six pack is a mix of different styles, three of which are in the stout family. Three NJ breweries, 2 NY breweries, and 1 VT brewery. One new to me brewery and returns from a couple of breweries who haven’t appeared at the Triple T in years.

SixPack_2022_Oct

Let’s crack open the October 2022 Six Pack …

Scrag Mountain Pils (Lawson’s Finest Liquids) | Pilsner – Czech | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd

Lawsons_Scrag

I had the Salt & Lime variant last year and finally got around to trying the original Scrag Mountain Pils recently. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Crisp, clean, flavorful, this beer boasts everything you could want in a pilsner. Delicious and world-class.

IPA (Finback Brewery) | IPA – American | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

FinbackIPA

My wife and I happened to be in Brooklyn to catch a live recording of our favorite podcast, Hello from the Magic Tavern and as was pleased to see a pretty decent offering from local/Brooklyn breweries. I landed on this IPA from Finback because it was the only one that didn’t have Mosaic hops in it. Although it has a hazy west coast look, it’s got Chinook and Columbus that gives more of a West Coast hop profile, but there was a nice balance to the beer.

BA Coconut & Desist 2022 Weller Bourbon (Icarus Brewing Company) | Stout – Pastry | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

Icarus_CeaseBBAWeller

I visited Icarus for their annual “Build me Up Butternut” celebration for the third time and had a few beers including this is barrel-aged version of an Icarus beer that almost never was. You see, there’s a certain candy company that makes a candy bar with coconut and chocolate and Icarus wanted to evoke those flavors in a stout, many breweries make beers with this idea. However, the candy company “suggested” Icarus change the beer name, so they did. This beer is luxurious and everything a pastry stout should be, the coconut, bourbon, and chocolate are in sweet harmony.

Night Night (Bradley Brew Project) | Stout – Imperial / Double | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd

BBP_NightNight

Night Night is the first non-lager beer I’ve had from Bradley Brew Project and it sure is a thicc beer, as I’d expect an 11% stout to be. If you like bittersweet chocolate, then you’ll like this beer. I do, but what I like even more is how the vanilla cuts the bitterness just a little bit. The more beer I have from Bradley Brew Project, the more impressed I am with their output.

Ravendark (Ghost Hawk Brewing Company) | Stout – Foreign/Export | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

GhostHawk_RavenDark

A night at a Barcade makes for some good beers, including this Stout from Ghost Hawk Brewing, my second beer from the North Jersey brewery. One way to think of this style of stout is a “Guinness, but more.” This beer is very prominent on roasted malts, which imparts a very flavorful amalgamation of coffee and dark chocolate. I was very impressed with this beer and it doesn’t really feel like 7.3% ABV.

Kim Hibiscus Sour Lager (SingleCut Beer Smiths) | Sour – Berliner Weisse | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

SingleCut_KimHibiscus

A sour Lager, sure, why not. Berliner Weisses can often be lagers and this one is quite unique. The beer has the slight funk I’d expect, and a bit of fruitiness, too. What really stands out to me is right there in the name, Hibiscus. A flower that imparts a great element of sweetness that may have balance with the currants in the beer. A really nice beer to finish off the night.

All told, a great October for beers.

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.

Draught Diversions: September 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_Sep

Summer still tries to cling in September, but fall beers have been appearing on shelves for a couple of months. For me, September is when I start enjoying those amber, German-inspired lagers. I like to try a few new Oktoberfest-style beers every year, but will return to annual favorites. Dark beers are also on the horizon, too. Only two NJ beers this time around, three Märzens, two Barleywines and a Stout.

Let’s crack open the September 2022 Six Pack …

Oktoberfest (Conclave Brewing Company) | Märzen | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd

Conclave_Oktober

The few lagers Conclave has brewed have been very good, so I wanted to give their Märzen a try. I missed Conclave’s Oktoberfest-bier last year and I wasn’t going to let that happen again in 2022. I stopped in for a growler fill and was very pleased with the beer. A really spot on Märzen, there’s a very nice malty element to the beer with the related sweetness. The beer had an unfiltered look to it, which isn’t a problem.

DragonsMilk_Stroop

Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Stroopwafel (New Holland Brewing Company) | Stout – Imperial / Double | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

Dragon’s Milk is one of the most popular, well-made, and recognizable bourbon barrel-aged stouts on the market. It has become a brand within New Holland Brewing and has produced several variants over the years, this one evokes the delicious caramel/waffle/cinnamon cookie. For some reason, those cookies are always offered on United Airlines, but they are very tasty nonetheless. This beer is delicious with the caramel and cinnamon flavors perfectly blended together.

Sibling Maker (Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers) | Barleywine – Other | 4.25 Bottle Caps on untappd

JacksAbby_Sibling

This is a “Lager wine” and not the first I’ve had from Jack’s Abby. Although made with Lager yeast unlike most barleywines which are made with Ale yeast, the flavor profile is relatively similar, and that’s a good thing. This one was aged in brandy and bourbon barrels and was probably bottled in early 2020. I get the date/fig flavors I enjoy from most barleywines, plus the hints of vanilla and oak from the barrels. As good as this beer was, I think it may have aged a little too long.

October with a K (Sunken Silo Brew Works) | Märzen | 3.75 Bottle Caps on untappd

SunkenSilo_OctK

When I saw Sunken Silo had their Märzen on draft, I figured I’d take a quick drive to the brewery and I’m glad I did. The atmosphere is pretty chill there and this was a very nice take on the Autumnal German-inspired lager. There was more of a crisp element to this than I’m accustomed to from most Märzens, but still good flavor profile nonentheless..

Creekfestbier Lager (Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company) | Märzen | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

NCBC_Creekfest

I called out this Märzen as one to try back in my Oktoberfest 2020 Six Pack and I finally got around to trying the beer. Neshaminy Creek brews a nice lager and this is no exception. The first can I poured had some carbonation issues, which didn’t change the flavor, but something just felt off. The subsequent cans didn’t have the carbonation problems and was improved because of it. This is an Oktoberfest you can’t go wrong with as an option for your Fall Fridge.

Wooden Cleat (Kane Brewing Company) | Barleywine – Other | 4 Bottle Caps on untappd

Kane_BBAWoodenCleat

I’ve probably had more barleywines from Kane than any other brewery, they brew the style very well and almost always age the beer is some kind of barrel. In this case, the 2022 version of this beer was aged in Weller bourbon barrels. A “wooden cleat” is a piece of wood that strengthens the surface to which it attaches, which I suppose the barrel can be seen as the strengthening element of this barleywine. This is one of the boozier barleywines I’ve had from Kane, I’m surprised it is “only” 10.7% ABV. A very good barleywine, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve had some better from Kane

Another good month of beers in the book. I’ll also add that I had my first “Smoothie Sour Seltzer” and that combination of words is only slightly more off-putting than the beverage itself. I don’t particularly gravitate towards seltzer, especially seltzer with alcohol. This one had banana, marshmallow, and coconut and had pieces of those things floating in the liquid. People seem to like these things, I’m certainly not one of them.

SixPack_2022_Sep

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.