I found this one interesting for two reasons. First I have never heard of Game On Brewing, and second I am a huge fan of fight sports (boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, etc) so the name appealed to me. Takedown is called a black lager on the bottle, which in most cases equals a Schwartzbier. You can expect a schwartzbier to be similar in appearance to a stout or porter, but have much more balanced roast and pleasant malt flavor. The hop bitterness should be moderate, just enough to balance the malt. It is not nearly as roasty and assertive as a stout. I also did a bit of digging on Game On Brewing and really did not find much. It is brewed in Glendale Wisconsin, which is also where Sprecher is brewed. Which leads me to believe it is contract brewed at Sprecher under the Game On Brewing name. I am not aware of any other breweries in Glendale other than Sprecher, and I was just in Glendale a few short months ago.
Aroma: The smell of bittersweet dark chocolate dominate the aroma. There is a very small amount of chewy caramel aroma as well. The roast in the beer is pretty much where it should be for a schwartzbier in my opinion. The roast is present, but it is more than happy to take a backseat to the chocolate and sweeter malt profile, the roast comes across a bit coffee-like which is nice combination. There is a very mildly spicy hop aroma that comes forward as the beer warms. I must say, I always write my assessment then look to the guidelines to see where my assessment falls within the guidelines. When I looked at what I wrote to come up with an aroma score, it almost seemed as though I copied the guidelines. I can’t help but score the beer high since it nailed the aroma right on. (11 points)
Appearance: The beer is pitch black with dark garnet highlights. It poured a very nice long lasting tan head. The beer should never be fully black, but in all honesty I have never really had a schwartzbier that was not really brown. (2 points)
Flavor: The first drink brings out dark chocolate and espresso beans. The hop bitterness resides in the middle and does a fair job of clearing the palate. It does leave a bit of sweet chocolate lingering in the finish which is nice for a dark cool evening. Unfortunately I am drinking this beer at 2:30 in the afternoon in July. But it’s still a tasty beer. The malt flavors are clean and clear not muddled in the least. There is no fruit or overly roasty flavors in the beer. The finish itself is moderately dry with just a touch of sweetness and lingering chocolate. I have to admit, I really really like this schwartzbier’s flavor. If it was just a touch more dry in the finish it would be nearly perfect in my opinion. (18 points)
Mouthfeel: The beer is medium body with a slightly powdery feel in the mouth. The powdery feel is more than likely from astringency you get from roasted grains. Although the astringency is not harsh, it is appropriate for the style. (3 points)
Overall: In all honesty, I think I have found a new favorite schwartzbier. This is no surprise considering it may be contract brewed by Sprecher, whose Black Bavarian beer is a classic example for Schwartzbier in the BJCP guidelines. If Sprecher does one beer right on the nuts it would be Schwartzbier. So if this beer is contract brewed there, it’s another great schwartzbier coming from the tanks there. The beer is pleasantly chocolaty, slightly roasty, clean, and malt complex. Exactly as it should be. This is a beer that if you wanted to show people that not all dark beer is roasty and acrid like a dry stout, this would be a fine choice. This beer is simply excellent in my personal opinion. (9 points)
Score: This beer scored a 43 from me, but could easily be a 45-50 pointer with some minor tweaks. Either way, it’s easily an A. The only minor faults was the astringency, and too dark of a color. I highly recommend this beer from a brewery you may never have heard of.