Yep, that’s right, another fabulous Tap Takeover. This time it’s Atwater Brewery out of Detroit, MI. They’re brand spanking new to New Jersey and that means I need to try as many as I can as soon as I can. Luckily, as I’ve said before, tap takeovers are the next best thing to going to the brewery itself. You get to try several of their beers, hang out with some pretty cool people and usually score some swag. This tap takeover happened to take place the week right after Atlantic City Beer Fest and the brewer happened to be in town still. He and his cohort were there and I went all beer dork and had to get my picture with them. Thanks John Cooke for your ability to take a pic in one of the hardest place to take pictures. Fins is an amazing bar/restaurant in Cape May with a light up bar and a giant fish tank, which makes it an incredible place to hang out, but I have a horrible time taking pictures. Anyway…to the beer.
I started with the Hop-A-Peel, which is an American IPA coming in at 7.5% ABV and a 118 IBU. I dig hoppy beers and even though you’re supposed to start with the lightest and go to the strongest, I hardly ever do what I’m supposed to and tend to start with the hoppiest and highest ABV and work my way down. It works for me. This beer is nice and hoppy with a finish of zesty orange. It’s not overly orange-y, it’s more of an understated taste, but you know it’s there. I was within a short walking distance to the Cape May beach at this event, and even though this beer is on the higher end of ABV, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would to sip this on the beach this summer (if I ever went to the beach in the summer…) Seriously, though, this is a refreshing and satisfying beer that I’ll definitely be picking up in the future and I may even share it. Maybe! 4/5 Kegs
My next victim was the Vanilla Java Porter, a coffee and vanilla enhanced British Style Porter that has a 4.5 ABV and 12 IBU. It also happens to be their number one seller and I can see why. Some people avoid dark beers like porters because they just assume they are heavy. The opposite is true. This is a nice flavorful beer with a pretty low alcohol level. You can smell the roasty coffee and vanilla beans right away and hope that it’s going to taste exactly like it smells. We’re in luck, because it does. As is often the case with beer, this one improved as it warmed a bit and really brought out the vanilla and coffee beans. There’s a tiny bit of roast bitterness, but it’s a good bitter. I like a good bitter. 4/5 Kegs (the picture doesn’t do this beer justice, that dang lighting. It’s really a nice dark brown color. I’d blame this entirely on the bar, but my new phone’s camera & editing software stinks)
My final selection was Going Steady, which is a grapefruit session IPA with a 4.6% ABV and 55 IBU. I’ve just recently started giving session beers the respect that they deserve. You don’t always need a hop bomb or to get snockered (as Dad would say). Sometimes you just want to drink a few good beers and keep all of your faculties, especially when the weather gets warmer and you’re out in the sun. That’s what this beer is perfect for, summer activities outdoors. What makes a good session beer a good beer is that it doesn’t just taste like a watered down beer. This is a good session. It has just enough bitterness to keep you interested and the grapefruit is just strong enough to taste but not overpower. There’s some other fruity flavors from the hops, but it’s definitely the grapefruit and the piney, grassy hop flavors that come through. If this came in cans, I’d be packing a cooler of this before the throngs of tourists descend upon the beach. For now, I’ll just try it on my porch. 3.75/5 Kegs.
I’m super pumped that NJ has another good brewery in our wonderful state. If you have the opportunity to try their beers, let me know what you think.
If you want to attend a tap takeover or see what’s going on in the beer world in South Jersey, check out @CheersSJ on Twitter or CheersSJ.Com. They’re the super fun gang that handles the social part of Kramer Beverage.