Name: Better Maize Ahead
Brewing Company: Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
Location: Croydon & New Hope, PA
Style: Cream Ale
Happy Anniversary to Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company and cheers to a fantastic Cream Ale!
From Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company’s landing page for the beer:
The classic American Cream Ale is dear to our hearts and quite frankly, we miss having one around but we’re moving forward! Better Maize Ahead fills that void as a crisp and refreshing relative of the American Light Lager. Brewed with flaked maize and gently hopped with Hallertau for a delicate floral finish. You’ll find this to have a soft mouthfeel with a subtle, sweet cereal character and notes of corn pops. You’ll be feeling equally optimistic when you pour yourself one of these.
This year (2022), Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company celebrated 10 years of brewing and selling tasty beer. To honor the milestone, the brewery did a minor rebranding, slightly modifying the name stamp and upping their can art game.
I knew I wanted to highlight one of their beers here at the Tap Takeover, but with such an interesting and diverse portfolio, I wasn’t sure which beer it would be. As of this post, I’ve had 20 of their beers and I’ve enjoyed just about all of them. I visited the main brewery in Croydon a couple of times, too. I’d been pondering which of their beers to feature for a while especially since they hit the 10-year mark, actually, so when my wife and I took a quick drive down to New Hope, PA, where Neshaminy Creek has a tap room, I figured I’d give Better Maize Ahead a try. I’d been wanting to drink and feature an unfettered* Cream Ale for a while now, and the two thoughts converged with this beer and I couldn’t have been more pleased.
*unfettered in that there are no adjuncts, additional flavor elements, or barrel aging like the other Cream Ales I’ve reviewed
Cream Ales are one the few truly American styles of beer. Originating in the 1840s, the Cream Ale is an Ale that is very similar to a lager, it has the same kind of crispness, refreshing nature, mild sweetness and look. Although some Cream Ales may have lager yeast for cold conditioning, most Cream Ales are just that, Ales. Where this makes a Cream Ale perhaps more appealing to a brewer is the reduced fermentation time for an Ale (two to four weeks compared to the 6-8 weeks for a Lager). As the beer is an American style, Corn (specifically flaked corn) is often used as the grain to lighten the beer, which is where Neshaminy Creek drew inspiration for the name of this beer.
Enough of the history lesson on Cream Ales, let’s get on to Better Maize Ahead.
The day we visited the NCBC New Hope taproom, it was quite warm (as it has been for most of August this past summer) and my wife and I had walked up and down Main Street in New Hope so we both worked up a bit of a sweat. I follow the brewery on social media and I was intrigued about this beer and I wanted something light, refreshing and beer flavored and was hoping this beer would be on tap. Also, John Holl (of all the beer podcasts and one of the people behind Defend Pilsner) always extolls the virtues of the Cream Ale. Hell, his likeness adorns a can cream ale from his co-conspirator’s brewery.
I ordered a full pint of this beer (only $5!) and took my first sip and dammit if this beer wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, as the saying goes. Pure refreshment. It was all I could do not to chug the beer in two gulps, but I wanted to enjoy the beer in all its glory and get a sense of the full flavor profile.
There’s a sweet malt element that is extremely appealing with a very mild, barely noticeable hop element – that minimal, soft hoppiness is a feature, not a bug. There’s a hint of corn or sweet cereal on the finish that makes for a very well-rounded, balanced flavor profile on the beer.
Better Maize Ahead is elegant, simple, straight-forward and quite flavorful for a beer this low in ABV and under 5%. I was so impressed with the beer I looped back around to the brewery after a short jaunt through the indoor market and grabbed a six pack to put in my poolside cooler. Quite simply, this is a fun beer that will please most beer drinkers.
Recommended, link to 4/4.25 bottle cap untappd rating check in.
Untapped badges earned with this beer:
Cream of the Crop (Level 7)