Brauhaus Schmitz Lager

Val and I went to our favorite German place in Philly after looking for wedding rings. As usual, the food was amazing, but there was a cheerleading dinner there and the parents were incredibly loud and drunk, to the point that even the server was apologizing to us. This was the beer that I had while we ate.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Dortmunder/Export Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Quality alone isn’t everything…but everything is nothing without quality. For 400 years Hofbräuhaus Traunstein has made headlines with its full selection of beers in the highest quality. The finest malt from Bavarian malt houses, the purest water from our own mountain spring on the Traunsteiner Hochberg, and finally, flavour hops from our own hop fields in the Holledau. It goes without saying that Hofbräuhaus Traunstein strictly observes the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516. Our beer is known to excel: Since taking gold in the 1975 world record for eight beers, Hofbräuhaus Traunstein has been awarded over 100 gold and silver medals by the DLG (the German Agricultural Society) as well as the gold European Beer Star. In 1982 Hofbräuhaus Traunstein became the first brewery in the world to offer draught weissbier. Yet the highest award is the praise of our customers, beer lovers and connoisseurs.”

Random: Even half liter glasses of beer are very heavy and the beer gets warm too quickly.

The beer poured with a huge, two finger, white head. It went away slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. It had a clear, yellow body with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had grain, lemon and small amounts of honey. The taste was very grainy with lots of yeast. Honey came through at the end without much else. The taste was very light and simple. The body was thin with a lot of carbonation. It had a quick and sweet finish with honey. This beer paired well with the German food at Brauhaus Schmitz, but it didn’t have much depth to it.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Carton Rub

Val and I went to look for wedding bands in Philly and we had a few minutes to kill and stopped at Bainbridge Street Ale House. The font they use for their menu and signs is the same as “American Horror Story.” They were having a coffee beer event and I saw this beer on tap, which I didn’t get to try when it was released in the brewery. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Smoked Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “2 cups Ethiopian Sidamo medium roast ground ‘Turkish’, 1 cup organic cocoa powder unsweetened no alkaline, 1/2 cup diamond kosher salt, 1/2 cup organic light brown sugar, 1/4 cup ground black pepper, 3 Tbs organic ground cinnamon, 2 Tbs cayenne, 1 Tbs ground cumin, 1 Tbs garlic powder, 1 cup at flame out and 1/2 cup in secondary for every 20 gallons”

Random: I’m going to have to try this rub on brisket.

The beer poured with a half a finger of than head. It went away quickly and left a moderate amount of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brownish-black color with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was amazing. It had cayenne and cumin with some cinnamon as well. Smoke was present, but not overwhelming. The taste had a lot of balance. It had notes of cocoa, dark chocolate and coffee. It also had some cayenne and cumin. The dark malts paired perfectly with the spice from the rub. The body was thick, but not overly so with a perfect amount of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with cocoa. This was yet another outstanding beer from Carton that pushes the boundaries of beer. This is highly recommended.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo Tropical IPA

Sierra Nevada keeps putting out new beers that are totally solid. This is a beer that got great ratings on a beer podcast I follow. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 6.7%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Inspired by the island life, we created an IPA completely disconnected from the mainland. We used our one-of-a-kind Hop Torpedo to deliver an intense rush of hop flavor and the lush aromas of mango, papaya, and passionfruit with every sip. Enjoy our tropical twist on the American IPA.”

Random: Fresh mango is one of my favorite fruits. Wawa sells small containers of them that I get before I go to work.

The beer poured with less than half a finger of white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was mostly clear and light orange in color. It had moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with tropical fruits. Specifically, I got mango, pineapple and passionfruit. I didn’t get a lot of papaya. It had some light malts as well. The taste was also incredible. It bordered on tropical air freshener. The same flavors of mango and passionfruit came out, but it tasted like fresh tropical fruit instead of artificial flavors. It also had some cilantro and herbal notes to complement the tropical fruits. The body was on the medium side with lots of carbonation. It had a lengthy tropical finish. This was an excellent beer and the flavors were incredibly. I look forward to having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Victory Round Robin

I’ve always had a certain affinity for Victory beers. They’re widely available in Jersey and I cut my teeth on their beers when I first started the blog. Prima Pils is still one of my go-tos when looking for a beer to bring to a party. Let’s see how this one was.

ABV: 4.6%

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The brewers’ playground. At Victory, we’re an experimental and thirsty bunch, and our limited-release, draft-only specialty series, D’town Drafts, is an outlet for the creativity, ingenuity and passion for which our Brewmasters are known. Pours a pale straw color with white foam and lacing. Aroma of clean lager fermentation and American hops. Flavor of clean slightly citrusy hops and nice light malt character. Slim with a hop finish. A drinker.”

Random: This beer uses Cascade hops.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was really grassy and lots of grain. It had some mineral water as well. The taste had some grass along with a touch of malt and mineral water. There was some lemon pith as well. It was simple but super drinkable with a light body and moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with mineral water and river rocks. This was a solid beer that I could easily put back while watching a game. It doesn’t pull any punches, but I would have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Kane Cove At Raglan

Tonight’s selection is a beer from Kane that was on tap at my local bar. They don’t get Kane all that much, so this was a real treat.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Launched in August of 2011, Kane Brewing Company is a small craft brewery located on the coast of New Jersey. Our focus is brewing American-style and Belgian influenced ales. All of our handcrafted beers are unfiltered, unpasteurized and brewed locally in our custom built brew house located in Ocean Township in Monmouth County. Most of our beers are draft-only and available at bars and restaurants in coastal, central and northern New Jersey where we hand deliver each beer to ensure the highest level of both beer freshness and service. We hope you enjoy drinking our beers as much as we enjoy creating them.”

Random: I wish Kane was closer to us so I could pick up cans more easily.

The beer poured with a two finger, white head that dissipated quickly. It left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was really murky and bright yellow in color. There was no carbonation visible. The nose was incredibly fragrant with lots of tropical hops. I specifically picked up pineapple, mango and papaya. It had a floral note as well. The taste was equally tropical. I picked up the same notes of mango and pineapple, but it had some pine needles along with it. The floral note was muted, but had some honey sweetness at the end. After a few sips, I picked up some rye as well, which paired well with the other flavors. The body was thick with light carbonation. It had a lengthy, tropical finish. This beer was excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Kane. This is worth searching out.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Great Lakes Grandes Lagos Mexican Lager

Great Lakes is putting out some great beers. They got distribution to Jersey at least five years ago, but I feel like I’m seeing a lot more of their seasonals making their way to my local bars. This was one that I heard being reviewed on one of my favorite craft beer podcasts and Val decided to order it and let me try it.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: American Pale Lager

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Colorful hibiscus flowers bloom against a picturesque malt backdrop in this refreshing cerveza from south of the border (of Canada, that is). A breezy getaway accented by beams of golden malt and a tart, pink-tinged hibiscus sunset.”

Random: This beer comes in at 20 IBUs.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass along with a small crown. The nose was filled with hibiscus and grain. There were some notes of honey along with yeast and corn as well. The taste started with grain, honey and corn sweetness. It transitioned into hibiscus and floral notes. Some honeysuckle came out as well. It had a touch of tartness as well. The body was light, as expected, with moderate carbonation. The finish was quick with corn and flowers. I enjoyed this beer a lot and I wish it wasn’t a seasonal. This would be a great everyday drinker, especially if you live in a warm area year-round. This is definitely a beer that I would search out again. It’s a great take on a Mexican lager.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Embark The Batch Cider

Val and I watch a lot of “The Real Housewives” series. I don’t know why I enjoy them, but it’s the perfect thing to watch when I come home from work. When I’m watching it though, I wonder if they know if they are being filmed, because there are certain situations where they say things and then deny them and it comes up at the reunion. Anyways, let’s talk about a cider that Val picked out.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: Cider

Trivia: According to the cidery website, “The town of Williamson’s own McIntosh, Empire, Ida Red & Jonagold make up the entirety of this cider. Categorized as semi-sweet with a fresh apple aroma followed by a juicy, ripe apple finish make it hard to resist reaching for another.”

Random: Val picked this one out because of the label.

The cider poured with less than a quarter finger of white head. It went away by the time I took the picture. The body was perfectly clear and yellowish-green in color. There was a lot of visible carbonation. The nose had some wildflower honey and a combination of red and green apples. The taste started with some green apple tartness and followed up with some honey sweetness. It had some floral aspects as well. The body was on the light side and had a lot of carbonation as well. It had a quick and sweet finish with honey. A can of this was $2.99, which came to $.25 per ounce. This was an easy drinking cider, but wasn’t all that complex. This would make for a good introductory cider or throw a few in a cooler for a barbecue.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Root Sellers: Himmel & Erde

Val picked up this garlic dip from Trader Joe’s that is absolutely amazing, especially with carrots. I’ve liked carrots since I was a kid, so a carrot beer sounded like it would be right up my alley.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to, “Our newest beer, Himmel & Erde carrot-apple ale, is German for ‘heaven and earth,’ and is based off a German dish with potatoes and applesauce. They call it heaven and earth because potatoes come from the ground and apples come from trees reaching up to heaven. We ferment the carrot juice and add sweetener that’s part apple juice. It’s extremely refreshing. Himmel & Erde is available on draft in select restaurants and bars across Missouri.”

Random: I didn’t realize the photo was so blurry. It is a bit annoying.

The beer poured with no head on top of a cloudy, bright orange body. It looked like straight carrot juice. There was no carbonation due to the haziness. The nose was carrot juice and apple cider. It had a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste was also, not surprisingly, a lot of carrot juice. It had apple cider and apple skins. It had a creamy note as well. The body was thick and almost reminded me of a smoothy. It needed a lot more carbonation. The finish was lengthy with carrot juice. A pounder can of this was $2.50, which came to $.16 per ounce. This was definitely a different beer, drinkable, but different. I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be rushing back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Mystic De Varenne

I love Mystic’s beers, I just don’t like that their website doesn’t have all of their beers on it. I have to make a trip out to the brewery at some point.

ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: I couldn’t find anything about this beer online, but there is a hotel in Paris named “De Varenne” that looks beautiful.

Random: Their label art is really unique and stunning. It’s simple too.

The beer was in a corked and caged bottle, but there was no pop of the cork. This beer is showing as retired, so I’m not sure how old it was. But, either way, it poured with a quarter finger of white head. It went away quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a decent amount of carbonation and the body was apple juice colored. The nose was filled with some young oak, golden raisins, white apple juice and apple skins. The taste was also quite fruity. It had white grape juice and skins along with golden raisins. There was also apple juice, oak and lemon peel. I didn’t get much funk on this, but the fruity flavors made up for it. The body was thin with light carbonation. I wish there was bit more. The finish was quick with white grapes. This was a beer gift from my parents, so I have no idea how much it was. I enjoyed this beer a lot. I just wish there was more funk and carbonation to it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Flying Dog Tamarind Ale (Brewhouse Rarities)

Since the beer scene has really taken off, it’s been so easy to find Flying Dog’s Brewhouse Rarities. This one sounded interesting, so I picked it up.

ABV: 7%

Style: English Brown Ale

Trivia: According to, “Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a leguminous tree in the family Fabaceae indigenous to tropical Africa. The genus Tamarindus is a monotypic taxon, having only a single species. The tamarind tree produces pod-like fruit, which contain an edible pulp that is used in cuisines around the world. Other uses of the pulp include traditional medicine and metal polish. The wood can be used for woodworking, and Tamarind seed oil can be extracted from the seeds. Because of the tamarind’s many uses, cultivation has spread around the world in tropical and subtropical zones.”

Random: I got a rechargeable cordless screwdriver and it makes outdoor furniture projects so much easier.

The beer poured with a half a finger of cream-colored head that dissipated slowly. It left a bit of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and mahogany in color. It had just enough carbonation. The nose had a sour aspect to it with a lot of citrus peel. There was also some toasted malt and nuttiness that was an interesting contrast to the citrus. The taste, on the other hand, started off super malty. There was a lot of brown bread and toasted malt with some peanuts as well. The tamarind flavor was muted and didn’t pair well with the toasted malt. It had a medium thick body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and malty. A bottle of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This beer just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying another beer with tamarind, but maybe not one with a brown ale base.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0