Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Beer events down this far south in South Jersey are few and far between, especially in the off season, so my interest was piqued when I peeped the CheersSJ site and saw the Great Lakes Brewing Company Tap Takeover at Fins in Cape May.  I’ve had a few Great Lakes beers, but they were mostly at beer fests and as part of flights. What I did have made me want to try a few more and check out Fins that just opened after a total makeover of the former Pilot House.  I took to Twitter because I thought it would be a good way to meet up for the first time with my tweeps.  There’s nothing like walking into a bar you’ve never been to and get the kind of greeting I did. It was fantastic. The cool thing about tap takeovers is that it’s like virtually visiting a brewery in that you can try a bunch of one brewery and learn a bit about the beer from the brewery reps. Or you can just drink the beer.

Anyway, to the beer.


The IPA lover in me first picked the Commodore Perry (7.7% ABV 70 IBU), a British Style IPA named after the great hero of  the War of 1812.  I’m sure you remember his “Don’t give up the ship” battle flag. What you will remember about this beer is the good amount of bitterness balanced out by the sweet malt and a fruity flavor I couldn’t put my finger on. Though the ABV isn’t through the roof, it is higher than many IPAs, though you can’t really tell when drinking it.  This is an easy drinking beer that you could enjoy drinking a few of in one sitting.  4/5 Kegs

I only tried a sample of the Christmas Ale (7.5% ABV 30 IBU) that they were passing out because it was such a hit that the keg kicked in the first hour. I was so glad I got to try a sample and bummed I didn’t order one early enough to get a full pint.  It’s a nice sweet, but not too sweet seasonal beer with one of my favorite flavors: ginger.


My next pick was the Nosferatu (8.0% ABV 70 IBU) , an Imperial Red Ale.  This is one of those beers where the smell doesn’t match the taste, but that’s not at all a bad thing.  It smells lightly piney and fruity, but the flavor is much more powerful than you with think with the way it smells.  It’s hoppy bitter and a little bit malty  in a way that just works as it warms you from the inside.  The flavors definitely came out more as it warmed up.  I thoroughly enjoyed this at the time I had it,  but was thinking that I should have had it last because it would make a great finishing beer/night cap. 3.75/5 Kegs


My final selection was the Edmund Fitzgerald, (6.0% ABV 37 IBU)  a Porter.   I really enjoy Porters, especially when it starts to get chilly.  There’s something about the darker beers that just make you want to drink them curled up next to a fireplace. In addition to the flavor, the fact that this is not as thick as many of the porters I’ve tried makes this my favorite of the night and one I could drink more than one of in a sitting.  The smell of chocolate and coffee makes me want to have one with my breakfast. The taste of bittersweet chocolate, toffee and caramel make me want to have another one for lunch…and perhaps another with dinner…and with a piece of Death by Chocolate cake to top it all off.      4.75/5 Kegs

If you have a chance to go to a tap takeover, you should probably do it.  If by chance that tap takeover is by Great Lakes, you should definitely do it.

I’m sorry for the quality of pictures.  The bar was super fancy and lit from underneath and the rest of the lighting  was more for mood.

Thank you to the Ginny Murray party & John Cooke for making a girl feel like she’s extra special.

Jennifer Cassada

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