Brewery reviews- New Jersey

March 31, 2017

BREWERIES IN NEW JERSEY

 

*A note on NJ breweries*

Breweries in New Jersey are required to give a tour to any first-time customer. The definition of 'tour' was not specified, however. Some (like Carton) will bring you onto the production floor to look at the equipment, talk about their history, and answer any questions. More common is a view of the equipment accompanied by signs and/or a placard describing what does what to make the beer. The first type is great for learning while the latter understands that most people don't really care and just want to drink beer. Since you have to take a tour, I suggest picking something that interests you and asking an employee about it. Brewery employees are mostly friendly and love discussing beer. So ask a question and learn while you sample!

 

Angry Erik Brewing

10 Millpond Drive, Lafayette, NJ

http://www.angryerik.com/

Founded: 2014

Last visit: June 2017

 

Nice: Inspired by Norse mythology so you'll see swords, battle-axes, dragons, etc.

The tour is quick yet informative.

Stupid: Erik is not angry but in fact quite nice! This isn't a bad thing but I thought it was misleading. I expected a grumpy guy who would scream then throw beer at me.

Notes: They will soon be moving to a presumably bigger facility in nearby Hampton Township.

Favorite beer: King Knut (pronounced Kuh-nut; maple brown ale)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺 Skippable.

 

Beach Haus Brewery

801 Main Street, Belmar, NJ

http://beachhausbeer.com

Founded: 2007

Last Visit: July 2016

 

Nice: Two-floor facility in downtown area.

Simple but tasty beers.

Their Krampus beer is more seasonally-appropriate than Southern Tier's.

Stupid: Bartender didn't show up for ten minutes

Notes: It's not on the beach but it's certainly within walking distance.

Favorite beer: Herb's Rye

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Brix City Brewing

4 Alsan Way, Little Ferry, NJ

http://www.brixcitybrewing.com

Founded: 2015

Last visit: April 2017

 

Nice: Big place with plenty of seating at picnic benches.

Some clever beer names- Porter Authority, Brews Willis, Jaromir Lager, and others.

Cool wall map highlighting former breweries in the Newark area.

Stupid: Not much happening in the area but a good place to stop before party time.

Notes: There's a wall people can draw on but it's mostly covered by now. Time to erase and start over!

Favorite beer: Buck Nasty & The Dirty Dozen (IPA w/ Brettanomyces yeast)

Food: No food served but I've brought in pizza several times.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Cape May Brewing Company

1288 Hornet Road, Rio Grande, NJ

https://www.capemaybrewery.com

Founded: 2011

Last visit: December 2017

 

Nice: Cozy atmosphere in an industrial location.

They offer free guided and interactive self-guided tours.

Stupid: I thought the beers were just eh.

Notes: A Winter Saturday got quite busy so I imagine it's crazy during Summer.

Favorite beer: King Porter Stomp

Food: No food served but Taco Shop (in the same complex) serves tasty Mexican dishes which you can bring into the brewery.

Rating: 🍺 Skippable.

 

Climax Brewing Company

112 Valley Road, Roselle Park, NJ

http://www.climaxbrewing.com

Founded: 1996

Last visit: March 2017

 

Nice: Very friendly and welcoming staff.

Interesting, thorough tour given by passionate owner Dave.

Stupid: The hours are strange- Weekdays until 5, Fridays until 8:30, no weekends.

German-style beers are advertised as "simple" but I think they simply lack flavor.

Notes: New Jersey's oldest craft brewery. If it's raining, try to park in the small lot in the back. Otherwise, put on rubber boots to walk through the flooded driveway.

Favorite beer: Pumpkin Ale

Food: No food served but local delivery menus available.

Rating: 🍺 Skippable.

 

Common Sense Brewing

102 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, NJ

https://commonsensebrewing.com

Founded: 2017

Last visit: December 2018

 

*UPDATE*

This place has been bought and is now Tindall Road Brewing Company. That review will come after I visit!

 

Cricket Hill Brewery
24 Kulick Road, Fairfield, New Jersey
http://www.crickethillbrewery.com
Founded: 2001
Last visit: November 2017

 

Nice: Twelve beers on-tap (and a nitro) means something for everyone.

Friday night usually features live music and a peculiar but passionate speech by founder Rick Reed.

The brewing equipment is out in the open, making you feel welcomed. Look and ask questions but don't touch!

Magnify Brewing is a few miles away and is open later on Fridays.

Stupid: The rear parking lot can fill up quickly so I'd advise you to street park in front then walk behind to the brewery.

Notes: I interned here for two years, still help out sometimes, and have become good friends with the staff. I think I've kept my review objective.

Favorite beer: Jersey Summer Breakfast Ale (Belgian blonde)

Food: Snacks like chips and pretzels during tasting hours

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Cypress Brewing Company

30 Nixon Lane, Edison, NJ

http://cypressbrewing.com/

Founded: 2015

Last visit: August 2019

 

Nice: Friendly staff.

Tasty, varied beer styles.

Stupid: Uneventful place that's rather out-of-the-way.

Notes: To-go beers are more expensive than they should be, especially coming from the source.

Favorite beer: The Elemonator (lemon sour)

Food: No food served.

Rating:🍺  Skippable.

 

Czig Meister Brewing Company

106 Valentine Street, Hackettstown, NJ

http://www.czigmeisterbrewing.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: January 2017

 

Nice: Lots of space and your dogs will be welcomed.

Good selection of mostly German-style lagers and hoppy ales.

A block from Man Skirt and in the same town as Jersey Girl. (see reviews below)

Stupid: Limited take-home distribution. For now!

Notes: It's pronounced 'Zig' and was inspired by the founding family's last name Czigler.

Favorite beer: Blacksmith (oatmeal stout)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Dark City Brewing Company

801 2nd Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ

http://www.darkcitybrewing.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: July 2016

 

Nice: Interesting approaches to some established beer styles.

The story of their name is quite nice, though not related to the 1998 film Dark City.

Located in a big building with black one-way windows. Laugh at the people outside doing their hair, picking their teeth, etc.

Stupid: Away from the city's main areas and attractions.

Notes: Their taproom hours change seasonally so check up on that beforehand.

Favorite beer: Summerfield (Berliner Weisse)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Demented Brewing Company

600 Lincoln Boulevard, Middlesex, NJ

http://www.dementedbrewing.com

Founded: 2015

Last visit: November 2016

 

Nice: Very enjoyable beers in an out-of-the-way setting.

Interesting paintings on the taproom walls.

Always at least 15 beers available.

Stupid: Open noon-10pm daily. Oh wait; that's not stupid at all!

Notes: Look for Scarlet Night, an amber ale inspired by nearby Rutgers University's mascot.

Favorite beer: Orcus (Scotch ale)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Departed Soles Brewing Company

150 Bay Street, Jersey City, NJ

http://departedsoles.com

Founded: 2015

Last visit: September 2018

 

Nice: Close to mass transit if you're coming from New York or other parts of NJ.

Always at least one gluten-free beer available. And they're actually not gross.

Flight is served on a skateboard!

Stupid: Finding street parking can take a bit but it'll likely be there. And don't park in the nearby electric car spots.

Notes: I've been a part-time bartender there since October 2017 but I reviewed them before working and remain unbiased.

Favorite beer: Funk Rock Princess (Berliner w/ dragonfruit)

Food: No food served but there's a gelato restaurant next door and grilled cheese a few doors away.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Devil's Creek Brewery

1 Powell Lane, Collingswood, NJ

http://devilscreekbrewery.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: June 2016

 

Nice: Attractive woody taproom with unique light fixtures.

Beers range from common to big with high ABV.

Stupid: They don't always have many beers on-tap. But they're new so hopefully this will expand.

Favorite beer: 1888 Old Ale

Food: No food served but it's in an area with restaurants

Rating: 🍺  Skippable.

 

Double Nickel Brewing Company

1585 Route 73, Pennsauken, NJ

http://dnbcbeer.com

Founded: 2015

Last visit: June 2016

 

Nice: Taproom is open 7 days per week.

Big facility with rooms for sitting, lounging, and playing games.

A variety of beer styles will satisfy any palate.

Stupid: Can be difficult to get to if you're not used to Jersey roads. Be patient!

Notes: This is a good stop if you're on the way to or from Philadelphia.

Favorite beer: Marbled Buffalo (barrel-aged rye)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Eclipse Brewing

25 East Park Avenue, Merchantville, NJ

https://newjerseycraftbeer.com/breweries-brewpubs/eclipse-brewing/

(no official website)

Founded: 2016

Last visit: September 2017

 

Nice: A flight or any pint is $5. Easy!

Many different tasty beers despite their tiny brewing system.

Dog-friendly but the place is small so be considerate.

Notes: Housed in an old EMS building. The emergency vehicle parking signs are still intact!

Favorite beer: Cory's Scottish Wee Heavy

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

Garden State Beer Company

247 East White Horse Pike, Galloway, NJ

https://gardenstatebeerco.com/

Founded: 2016

Last visit: August 2018

 

Nice: Large taproom in a diner-like building.

Open every day but Monday.

Friendly bartender served tasty beers, many with Jersey-themed names.

Notes: Dog- and kid-friendly.

Favorite beer: Hot Blonde

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go.

 

High Point Brewing Company

22 Park Place, Butler, NJ

http://ramsteinbeer.com

Founded: 1996

Last visit: July 2014

 

Nice: Makers of lagers and wheat beers.

Tasty German-style beers brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot.

They have an extensive "Prosit Society" for those who simply adore their beer.

Stupid: Not located near High Point State Park but close enough to hit both in a day!

Notes: This is where Ramstein beers are brewed.

Favorite beer: Dunkel Hefe-weizen

Food: No food served.

Rating: I'll wait to rate as I visited during taproom renovations.

 

Jersey Girl Brewing Company

426 Sand Shore Road, Hackettstown, NJ

http://www.jerseygirlbrewing.com

Founded: 2014

Last visit: January 2017

 

Nice: A variety of beers inspired from places all over the US and Europe.

Good-sized taproom with a window into their large brewing area. Take a free tour!

In the same town as Czig Meister and Man Skirt breweries.

Stupid: Jersey girls are obnoxious and dumb.

Notes: Was not founded by a Jersey girl but two Jersey boys.

Favorite beer: Rasputin's Revenge (Russian imperial stout)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺  Skippable

 

Kane Brewing Company

1750 Bloomsbury Avenue, Ocean, NJ

http://www.kanebrewing.com

Founded: 2011

Last visit: December 2017

 

Nice: Arguably the face of New Jersey craft brewing.

Open Thursday-Sunday with free guided tours available.

They have separate lines for bar service and growler fills, which speeds things up for sure, though the growler selection is limited.

Stupid: I find the place unwelcoming. Nice, professional people but a serious and kind of dreary atmosphere.

Notes: Part of their parking lot is on a hill. If your car is low on gas, make sure you park flat. My car was on the hill and wouldn't start because the gas was on the wrong side.

Favorite beer: Mexican Brunch (imperial milk porter with spices)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Lower Forge Brewery

14 South Main Street, Medford, NJ

http://www.lowerforge.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: August 2016

 

Nice: Very friendly staff

Great, roomy taproom with plenty of seating at tables and the bar.

A couple of blocks away from Nale House Brewing.

Stupid: All the beers tasted more like homebrew than professional quality.

Notes: Their website has a cool graphic of someone grabbing a beer.

Favorite beer: I don't have one but Jabberhoppy for the name

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺 I'd go back for the friendly staff and hope the beer got much better.

 

Magnify Brewing

1275 Bloomfield Avenue- Unit 40C, Fairfield, NJ

http://www.magnifybrewing.com

Founded: 2014

Last visit: July 2016

 

Nice: Apparently their IPAs are excellent, if that's your thing.

Taproom is beautiful though can easily get cramped.

Stupid: If you don't like hoppy beers go to Cricket Hill instead!

Notes: Their beer release days get busy so check the website to avoid crowds.

Favorite beer: Search Saison

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺  Skippable

 

Man Skirt Brewing

144 Main Street, Hackettstown, NJ

http://manskirtbrewing.com

Founded: 2008

Last visit: January 2017

 

Nice: Location is in a former bank, making the environment quite interesting.

Their motto is, "No pants, just great beer!"

One block from Czig Meister Brewery.

Stupid: My Groupon included an empty growler, which they were out of. So I got a pint glass which is used probably way more often than the growler would've been!

Notes: True to the name, founder Joe can always be seen proudly wearing his man skirt.

Favorite beer: Wee Bastard (Scotch ale)

Food: No food served. Local menus available for delivery (or bring food in).

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Nale House Brewing Company

32 North Main Street, Medford, NJ

http://www.nalehousebrewing.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: August 2016

 

Nice: Fun taproom serving traditional but solid beers.

Their COLD BEER flag is easy to spot from the road.

Close to Lower Forge Brewing.

Stupid: Employees seemed a bit unfocused but I visited on a Friday so that's excusable.

Notes: Take some glamour shots in front of their red carpet backdrop!

Favorite beer: Yoga Pants Blonde

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Pinelands Brewing Company

140 Seventh Avenue, Little Egg Harbor, NJ

http://www.pinelandsbrewing.com

Founded: 2014

Last visit: October 2015

 

Nice: Good beers with as many New Jersey themes as possible

Open all but Wednesday, though some days are for growler fills only.

Near (but not on) Long Beach Island if you're visiting that area.

Stupid: Taproom is very small so going on a weekend afternoon will be cramped.

Notes: BEER- Brew, Enjoy, Empty, Repeat

Favorite beer: Piney Cream Ale

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺  Skippable

 

Ramstein Beers

{Scroll up to High Point Brewing Company}

 

Rinn Duin Brewing

1540 Route 37 West, Toms River, NJ

http://rinnduinbrewing.com

Founded: 2014

Last visit: July 2016

 

Nice: Good tour given by passionate and proud co-founder Chip Town.

Tasty English- and Irish-influenced beers.

Look for cases of "shorties", which are bottles of beer that aren't quite full but still taste great and cost about half of a regular case.

Stupid: Small taproom which can get crowded but the attentive staff won't keep you waiting long.

Notes: Chip founded Rinn Duin with his daughter Jacqui. It's named after a castle in Ireland with ties to their family.

Favorite beer: St. John's Irish Red

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Ship Bottom Brewery

830 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ

http://shipbottombrewery.com

Founded: 2016

Last visit: January 2017

 

Nice: Open from noon-10pm daily.

Good beers for analyzing or simply enjoying at the beach.

It's in Bay Village, an area with many shops of all kinds.

Stupid: Unless it's been fixed, Untappd puts their location in Pennsylvania.

Notes: Close to The Chicken Or The Egg. Go there. Immediately.

Favorite beer: Baconator (oatmeal stout)

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Spellbound Brewing

10 Lippincott Lane, Mount Holly, NJ

http://www.spellboundbrewing.com/

Founded: 2014

Last visit: September 2017

 

Nice: Taproom is a good size and there is an outdoor area.

Good mix of beer varieties on tap and to-go.

Stupid: Service was very slow.

Notes: You'll have to walk a bit after parking, go through a gate, down an alley. Adventure!

Favorite beer: Oud Bruin Sour Ale

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺  Skippable

 

The Alementary

58 Voorhis Lane, Hackensack, NJ

http://www.alementary.com

Founded: 2015

Last visit: August 2016

 

Nice: Intimate, cozy taproom.

The television boards fully describe each beer.

Dog-friendly.

Stupid: Parking is pretty terrible but their website has a map of legal locations.

Notes: All brewing involves Science but this was founded by actual scientists!

Favorite beer: OTIG: SOLD OUT! (coffee stout)

Food: There's usually a barbecue food truck outside.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Village Idiot Brewing Company

42 High Street, Mount Holly, NJ

http://villageidiotbrewing.com

Founded: 2013

Last visit: October 2017

 

Nice: Great downtown location in a former pub.

All the beers I had were decent to very good.

Lots of seating at the bar, tables, and a lounge area.

Stupid: They can't sell pints directly so you'll have to buy tokens which you can exchange for beer.

Notes: A new law allows them to display live TV if you're into sports. But beware- they're Eagles fans.

Favorite beer: Thong Remover Tripel

Food: No food served but lots of places in the area.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

 

Wet Ticket Brewing

1435 Main Street, Rahway, NJ

https://www.wetticketbrewing.com

Founded: 2013

Last visit: October 2017

 

Nice: Located in the heart of downtown.

Small taproom but there is extra seating in the brewing area.

They give an actual tour before pouring but it can be as quick or involved as you'd like.

Stupid: Live music can be loud in the small space.

Notes: The name refers to anti-prohibitionists who ran for office on a "wet ticket".

Favorite beer: Kolsch

Food: No food served.

Rating: 🍺🍺  Definitely go

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