Carton Grape Swisher

This is a Carton beer that I picked up at the brewery. I’ve never had any beers from their Swisher series, so I was interested in giving this one a shot.


ABV: 6.2%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to, “Smoked malt is one of the more dubious tools in a brewer’s bag because thresholds are vastly different. What to one palate is a hint of bacon or a whiff of BBQ to another is ashtray or Band-Aids. How can Carton ignore playing this game? Where can smoldering aromatics go off the beaten craft? In Grape Swisher we have reassembled the deconstructed aspects of a flavored blunt. Rich, dark malts rendered smoky by the addition of oak smoked pale wheat touched with concord grapes and a heavy plug of the hops that smell like their cousins. Drink Grape Swisher and hand me down a 50-pack.”

Random: I’ve never been a big fan of grape-flavored things.

The beer poured with a huge, three finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass The body was a dark brown, that was almost black, with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose had a lot of smoke with grape flavoring. It had some light oak as well. The taste was way more towards the grape side, but it was bordering on a grape bubble-gum flavor. There was smoke as well, but the grape flavoring was dominant. It had tobacco as well. The body was on the heavier side with lots of carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with tobacco and grape bubble gum. This beer was definitely interesting, although not something I would want to have daily. I think it’s worth a shot.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger

According to the beer news, Jack’s Abby is coming to the Philadelphia market, which means that I can get their beers with more frequency, especially since I live just over the border of Pennsylvania now. I’m definitely excited for this. This beer is one of their year-round offerings, so let’s see how it fared.


ABV: 5.8%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cloaked in mystery, this dark black beer skirts the line between a schwarzbier and smoked porter. The use of a small percentage of traditional Beechwood smoked malt adds complexity and balances the liberal use of chocolate malt. Notes of roasted grains, beechwood smoke and coffee accompany a full bodied and sweet chocolatey malt character. Smoke & Dagger uses locally sourced ingredients.”

Random: I tend to really like their labels.

This brew poured with a one finger, thick, tan head that dissipated at a moderate pace and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with moderate carbonation. The nose had smoke and roasted malts. The taste had a lot of smoke and ash, which was pretty intense. There were some roasted malts, but smoke dominated on this one. There was a touch of caramel sweetness at the end too. The body had medium thickness with high carbonation. It had a quick and sweet caramel finish with ash. This beer was $2.19 a bottle, which broke down to $.18 per ounce, which is a pretty good deal for a quality beer. Given the flavor and the price, this was a solid beer, but nothing that will blow your mind. I’d have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Triumph Holy Smoke

A week or so ago, the other half I ended up at Triumph in Princeton. I wanted to watch some of the Phillies game and we didn’t get it on our tv. Unfortunately, the NBA playoffs were on, so I couldn’t watch it there either. But, I was able to try this brew, which I was hard-pressed to find information about online. Let’s see how it went.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to, “For the brewing, Tom opted for moderation in the beer’s alcohol, malt and hops, to ‘let the wood come through.’ Dogfish Head’s version is based on a London porter, but Triumph’s appropriately named ‘Holy Smoke’ is a simple pale ale base served in a cask. The result’s a malty, smoked ale with a murmur of incense in the background. The wood comes through slightly in the aroma, but much more so in the flavor – middle and finish, with a slight chewiness in the body. Having never tasted the DFH Ahumado, I can only compare Holy Smoke to the DFH’s more popular and weightier Palo Santo Marron brown ale. And one can definitely taste that unique incense-like flavor, which I for one, have not discovered in any another beer. Tom liked his results and definitely plans to make another cask of the brew. After all, it’s not every day you can drink an interesting beer and cleanse negative energy as well.”

Random: The meow really likes the cream filling in Oreos.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. There was some lacing left on the glass. The body was a dark, clear mahogany color with light carbonation visible. The nose was really smoky, like putting your head into a fire pit (which I don’t recommend doing). It also had some coconut notes, which I wasn’t expecting. The taste was also very, very smoky like charcoal smoke. There was sweet coconut as well, but the smoke was definitely the star in this. There was also an unexpected herbal note to it. It had a thin body and moderate carbonation. The finish was long and really smoky. Despite this being a smoke bomb, I found that it was really enjoyable. I would definitely have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Fort Collins Z Lager

So, another review. I’m finally getting back on track with this. Katie’s picking up beer tomorrow and I’m excited because she always picks out interesting beer for me that I would never pick out myself. She’s got pretty good taste for a non beer drinker. So, this is another brew from the Fort Collins mixed pack. This one is a rauchbier and I tend to really dig this style, so I’m hoping this is a good one.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: This brew is 30 IBUs strong.

Random: I just bought the Nike Fuelband. So far, it looks really cool and I like it.

This brew poured with a finger high white head that dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a light chestnut color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose was odd for the style. I expected a lot of smoke on this, give that it was a rauchbier. Instead, I got a huge amount of sweet and nutty malt. Yeah, my expectations went into the toilet at this point. The taste was a little bit better. I got some smoke and bacon, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, it was quickly followed with lots of sweet and nutty malt that was abrasive and obnoxious. The body was thin with lots of carbonation. The finish was overly sweet and obnoxious. Okay, seriously, what is up with the huge amounts of malt in Fort Collins brews? This is just not working for me. Yet another beer that was a borderline drainpour. I wouldn’t have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Triumph Rauchbier

Today my sister and I headed to Princeton to run some errands and grab a late lunch. We ended up at Triumph Brewery in Princeton. I had two brews during my meal there and this was the first one.

ABV: ?

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Renovation of the Princeton, New Jersey, location began in the spring of 1994 and opened to the public on March 19, 1995. The first purpose-built brewpub in the state, the 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) facility features 30-foot-high (9.1 m) cathedral ceilings, seating for over 275 people, and a two-story, glass-enclosed brewhouse. The non-automated 11-barrel stainless steel brewery was fabricated by Newlands Systems of Abbotsford, British Columbia. Dubbed the largest and ‘grandest’ brewpub in the state, it is said to have the ‘most architecturally striking interior’ of any in New Jersey. The brewing equipment is behind the bar and visible to patrons, and the decor is industrial chic. The brewpub ‘has long produced more beer than any’ other in the state.”

Random: This is the second time that I’ve been to Triumph in Princeton. I always manage to have a good meal and some good brews at this place.

The beer poured with a one finger white head that lingered and left a hint of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear chestnut-brown color. The first thing that I noticed was that there was almost no visible carbonation on the brew. The nose was like barbecue in a glass. I love anything that smells like barbecue, so I was totally into this beer already. Specifically, I got some smoke and bacon on this one. On the first sip, I was surprised that the beer wasn’t as smoky as the nose. There was also almost no carbonation on the brew. The taste had notes of smoke and again, bacon. It reminded me of when I throw mesquite chips in my barbecue. I also couldn’t find the ABV on this brew, but on the taste, the alcohol really didn’t come into play. I assumed that this was in the 5% range. The smoke lasted until the finish. I really enjoyed this beer, but it really did need some more carbonation.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen

Okay, the Phils were seriously giving me a heart attack. Blanton, how do you blow a 7-0 lead? Are you kidding? I did start watching the game on mute about halfway through and put on music. It’s definitely much more enjoyable than the announcers. Once it was the 9th inning, I put Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” on repeat. Anyways, this is a beer that I have really been wanting to try. I tend to really enjoy rauchbiers and was craving something different. Needless to say, this ended up being the second beer of the night to celebrate the Phils win.

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Schlenkerla roughly translates as ‘Dangling.’ Schlenkern is a German verb meaning to swing or to dangle. The -la suffix is typical of the Franconian dialect. The name reportedly originated with a previous owner of the brewery who possessed a hobbling gait. An image of this hobbling brewer can be seen in the designs on the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier bottle.”

Random: I loved seeing Elton John in concert last year. It was amazing. I would definitely see him again if I got the chance.

This brew poured a really dark brown with a one finger white head. The carbonation on the brew was moderate. The nose was exactly what I wanted from a rauchbier…lots of smoke and bacon. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with smoke and bacon. This was a really pungent nose, but one I enjoyed. The taste again is filled with smoke and bacon. There was also a hint of malt in this brew. The one thing that really shocked me on the beer was how thin it was and how mild the carbonation was. A beer with big flavors likes this should really be a little thicker, in my opinion. But, that’s my only complaint. This was also a nice session brew that was really drinkable and unique. I would definitely have this again, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Victory Scarlet Fire Rauchbier

This was one of my favorite beers of the flight, to the point I ordered a pint of it afterwards. Yummy, yummy smoke.

ABV: 6.1%

Style: Rauchbier

Trivia: According to, rauchbier is created by, “using malted barley dried over an open flame.”

Random: I love barbecue. I tried this beer with barbecue. Amazing-ness ensued. That is all.

This brew was a pretty reddish color with less than one finger of head. The body itself was clear. I expected this brew to be much darker and heavier. I think that this was a result of being poured into a tasting glass and it sitting for a while before being served. There was visible carbonation on the body without any lacing. The nose had a lot of smoke on it, but I wasn’t able to get much else. On the first sip, I get barbecue and the thought of char. Other than that, I didn’t get much else, which was fine as the smoke would have taken over anything else anyway. Yummy. I really liked this beer. I would have this again and again. This would be a wonderful brew to pair with smoked foods. I would definitely have this again. Lisa termed this beer, “the fireplace.” It will probably make more sense when I get to the Hop Wallop. Try this brew if you see it. Awesome.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0