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In a small mall on the way to the beach off NJ Parkway, Point Pleasant’s FRYE BREWING COMPANY opened June ’17. The familial entrepreneurial product of Colleen and Mike Frye, this inconspicuously small microbrewery serves its community well.

At the glass entrance, the Frye logo and a Point Pleasant emblem welcome customers to the cement-floored one-room space. Street lights adorn the right side serving station (spotlighting a poured concrete bar top and rusty corrugated steel siding) and brew tanks stake the rear. Frye’s three white picnic tables, six high boy stools and low-ceilinged exposed pipes provide spare detail.

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Before heading out after my one-hour April ’19 visit, I sampled a half-dozen Frye faves, including four dark ales, one IPA and an Irish Red.

Enigmatic Irish Red Ale, Irish Blood Sweat & Tears, let sea-salted blood orange tartness drift off into dewy Scotch-licked beechwood smoke, picking up roasted tobacco crisping and light éclair creaming in a weirdly compelling way.

Named for Elon Musk’s rocket launch, vibrant India Pale Ale, Falcon Heavy, loaded creamy pale malt sugaring upon juicy grapefruit, orange and tangerine tanginess and earthen rhubarb-celery snips.

Black-malted Irish Stout, The Dark, reinforced its dark chocolate and dried cocoa bittering with musty hop-charred nuttiness, sweetening at the dark mocha molasses finish.

A few nifty Dark offshoots also took hold. Coffee bean-engaged full body, Coffee In The Dark, placed its dark-roast mocha muck above oilier hop charred nuttiness than the original version.

Perhaps the best Dark ale, coconut toasting sweetened milk-sugared dessert treat, Coconut In The Dark, leaving brown chocolate and toffee sugaring on the back of the tongue.

Complexities abounded for creamily fudged barrel-aged surefire, Bonfire Imperial Brown Ale. Aged on rum-soaked cherrywood, its dried-fruited black cherry, burgundy and bourbon tones surged towards the oats-sugared fudged mocha surface, picking up latent anise spicing.


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Going all out to be the most vibrant spot on Jersey Shore’s highly active party capitol, Wildwood, MUD HEN BREWING COMPANY takes up an expansive taupe-hued Mediterranean-styled lot about a mile away from the beach.

Open during 2017, its enormous illuminated Mud Hen signs invite beachcombers of every stripe to join in on the fun. A multifarious space including a gray slate-floored main space, garage-doored café-styled barroom and large partially covered side patio, its rounded entrance overhang is reminiscent of a grandiose movie theatre.

The obsidian Cathedral-ceilinged main area includes a 30-seat slate-topped bar along the rustic brick wall dividing its massive windowed silver brew tank display. A ten-tabled loft area overlooks a barrage of industrial tables and chairs.

My wife and I (and dog Roscoe) get seated in the sun-lit patio for early dinner this sunny Saturday afternoon, April ’19. The pub fare’s solid and the specials included my fab veal dish.

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Lemony herbal ginger enlivened tart banana bubblegum expectancy of Holly Beach Wheat, leaving mild orange-peeled coriander spicing upon its supple white wheat spine.

Soothingly dried-fruited moderation, Wise Hen Bock let raisin, fig and prune illusions soak into its brown-sugared banana breading and toasted caramel malts.

Dewy peat-smoked Scotch ale, Wee Heavy Wilson, brought seared beechwood influence to caramelized pale malts in fine fashion.

Dark-roast black chocolate consumed nutty coffee-smeared full body, Capt. Doug’s Porter.

Creamily frothed Primary Cut – Bakers Double IPA put its citric-pined medium body on nitro, letting its lingered grapefruit peel bittering and tangy orange follow-thru gain a sweet vanilla-dipped caramelized pale malt tranquility to contrast its phenol hop resin.

Did miss out on flagship 1883 IPA, though.


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Worthy Cascade-hopped flagship offering, Cape May IPA, provided floral sugar-spiced grapefruit and orange peel tanginess for lightly pungent herbal grassed hop musk, leaving tertiary peach, pineapple and mango juicing on its sunny citrus parade.

Not as stylishly rich or resilient, yet totally accessible, R.A.D. 008 Hazy IPA brought easygoing grapefruit sunshine and zesty mandarin orange mist to mild grassy hop astringency above sugary pale malts.

Another IPA, Catch The Drift, lacked the expected haze of a New England version, but its floral citrus alacrity, lemony banana tartness and herbal spiced niceties spread goodness all around.

Creamily viscous beige yellow-hazed New England-styled IPA, Krusty’s Partially Gelatinized Gum-Based Beverage, gathered lactic yogurt milk souring for lemon-dropped orange juicing and grapefruit sugaring, combining zesty citric-pined Azacca, Idaho 7 and Cashmere hop varieties.

Upping the citric hop quotient for its molasses-sapped dried fruiting, Sawyer Swap Barleywine left black grape, dark cherry and green raisin illusions upon tobacco-roasted dewy peat.

Stylishly subtle Devils Reach Belgian Strong Ale coalesced lemon-soured pineapple tartness and delicate orange-bruised sweetness to mild fennel-spiced white peppering and herbal barnyard leathering.  

Sour red wine-barreled brown ale, Lady In Red 10, used its musky black currant-spiced dry plum adjunct to advance its mildly acidic purple grape esters, oaken vanilla tartness and vinous Flanders Red-like cherry respite.

Dark-roast coffee, black chocolate and charred walnut blackened Cape May Nitro Stout, a soft-tongued smoothie that compares favorably to Honey Porter Nitro, where raw-honeyed dark cocoa picked up blackstrap molasses bittering and herbal Hallertau hop snips.

Coffee-stained Last Hurrah Imperial Stout left dark chocolate malting upon recessive hazelnut, walnut and Brazil nut earthiness.




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Proud to be New Jersey’s first non-profit microbrewery, humble barn-housed COLD SPRING BREWERY brings an Old Wild West feel to Cape May. Part of the historic Cold Spring Village (museum, restaurant, creamery), this wood framed ranch featured antique horse harnesses, ancient pistols and large exposed pipes along its columned A-frame interior, providing quaint rusticity for the family-styled village.

Leather-cushioned wood stools and seats get serviced by the tree-barked L-shaped serving station. Six draught lines offer predictably easygoing fare from the rear nano system. Near the side door, there’s a bench-saddled hearth area with overhead TV and several cozy wall booths.

My wife and I grab a few seats at the large fenced-in outdoor area where we consume five commonplace brews that’ll definitely please softer blue collar palates.


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For openers, grassy pine hops dabbled with lightly embittered grapefruit-peeled orange rind subtleties for dry-bodied moderation, Ishmael Pale Ale.

Tea-like Finley Forge IPA stayed dry as apple-skinned citrus tartness gained dewy pale malt sweetness to contrast its phenol hop tannins, recalling a more moderate Brit-styled IPA.

Mild Poor Sailors Sour Ale brought subtle lactic acidity to tart cider piquancy and vinegary green grape esters with efficient results.

Tart citric-quince-spiced Cold Spring Red Ale retained a crisp barley roast but little else.

Delicately creamed Dennisville Inn Porter underscored its delightful cocoa-chocolate influence and hazelnut-glazed pecan sweetness with ashen walnut bittering.


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A cozy café-styled firehouse in the heart of Cape May’s Court House district on Main Street, BUCKET BRIGADE BREWERY opened autumn, 2017. Brotherly firemen Karl and Kurt Hughes teamed up with long-time friend and brewmaster, Mark McPherson, to ‘extinguish your thirst’ with a bucket list of traditional styled beers.

The little engine red joint features a small L-shaped bar made from reclaimed wood with 12-plus fire-handled draught taps and TV’s on opposing sides. Metal chairs with flaming red cushions dot the walls and three small tables fill out the diminutive interior.

I grab a seat at one of the overhead garage door’s cement counters to sample five of the ten available brews this warm Saturday afternoon, April ’19.

As the first beer rushes down my gullet, a cavalcade of Harley bikers pass the Bucket Brigade in style.

Mild lemony grapefruit tang embellished the banana-clove-bubblegum expectancy of Halligan Hefeweizen, sitting softly on the tongue while developing slight vanilla sweetness.

Honey-licked apple and pear spicing contrasted rye-dried black tea pungency for crisply clean moderation, Axe Head Amber Ale.

Rustic English-styled(?) Chiefs IPA brought straw-dried buckwheat, alfalfa and raw wheat minerality to grassy-hopped lemon wedging in a moderate setting.

Dried fruited cocoa powdering and mild chocolate malting provoke Pump Primer Porter.

Peanut-buttered chocolate roast and dry cocoa tones gain oily hop resin at the finish of semi-rich Steam Engine Oatmeal Stout.


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The centerpiece of downtown Schenectady’s refurbished and redesigned Mill Artisan District, FROG ALLEY BREWING COMPANY is a behemoth multifaceted pub and eatery established in 2018 and still under construction during my early Saturday afternoon jaunt, March ’19.

Though we quaff suds in a quaint white-walled backspace taproom, by the end of summer Frog Alley will be operating at full capacity. Expected to distribute 14,000 barrels of beer per year, its massive square footage will allow for a 40-draught U-shaped central bar with an overhead door extending its perimeter to a large outside deck when weather’s warm. There will be a viewable brew pit below the gargantuan bar-restaurant area where a beautiful warehoused keg room, canning line, pilot batch room and state-of-the-art quality lab exist.

Reclaimed wood furnishings and several large community tables will decorate the urethane-floored main bar. Plus, five plastic kiosks and a back classroom promote brewing and distilling for interested Schenectady Community College students.

Two veteran brewmasters were tapped to head Frog Alley’s zymurgy chores. Rich Michaels, a historic figure originally Founders Brewing’s first employee, worked at a Disney World brewery and Saranac before hooking up with Drew Schmidt (formerly of NYC’s defunct Zip City, Baltimore’s Oxford Brewing, and most recently, Van Dyck Lounge’s Mad Jack).

After Mr. Michaels takes me on a tour of the soon-completed facility, I get to sample eight prized jewels as the place fills up with local brethren.

For openers, stylishly robust Kikkey German Pilsner let lemondrop hops and oaty pilsner malts pick up mild herbal restraint at its lemon-candied finish.

Another Bavarian brew, tidy pre-Prohibition-styled 1903 Vienna Lager took raw-honeyed fig and apricot desiccation to leafy hop astringency, dewy fungi musk and sweet Vienna malting.

Honeyed caramel spicing and roasted chocolate malts lingered for Mc Carthy’s Red Tag Ale, leaving tingly orange-red fruit spicing on the tongue.

Engagingly sweet-tart cherry lusciousness gained grenadine syruping, floral niceties and sour lemon piquancy for cheerily fruitful Cherry Hweat, a sugary springtime sensation.

Straightforward Refresh IPA let lemony grapefruit-orange tanginess glide above piney hop earthiness, fennel herbage and juniper bittering.

Cedar-like Chinook hop dryness crowded FINA West Coast IPA alongside orange-peeled tangerine tang and earthen compost soiling, resulting in a bitter citrus-pined finish.

Juicy grapefruit tang brightened Mohop #5 – Mosaic New England IPA, leaving dry wood tones upon sweet peach-mango-orange subsidy.

Named after the ancient local Frog Alley baseball team captain, Captain Ellis Porter aligned black-malted dark chocolate bittering with Blackstrap molasses and day-old coffee tones.


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In the heart of rural Middleburgh thru a welcoming side entrance lies one of Upstate New York’s friendliest l’il pubs, GREEN WOLF BREWING COMPANY. A one-room red brick side lot with laminated wood furnishings, timba-framed tiki bar and Edison lights, Green Wolf opened down the block in 2014, but during January ’19 expanded to its current centralized site (while leaving the brewing operations at the former space for now).

“A taste of Brooklyn in upstate New York,” explains brewmaster Justin Behan, whose soft-toned elixirs stay gentle on my mind. Indeed, Green Wolf’s airy studio groove, stark lighting atmosphere and front-walled comfy chairs are reminiscent of the artsy NYC borough.

The 12-seat U-shaped bar centers the dining room furnishings. An overhead door leads to a slate-floored covered patio with several benches. Neon-lit microbrew signs (Rolling Rock, Bud Dry, Fosters, Genesee and Miller) adorn the walls and a large blackboard lists today’s available brews.

On our Sunday afternoon March ’19 excursion, my wife and I sank seven brews and one fine ginger ale.

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First up, best selling flagship beer, Schoharie Pale Ale, proved completely accessible for easygoing minions. Its French bread crusting combined with melanoidin-kilned barley malting and picked up a sedate floral lemon twist as well as a desolate apple-peach-tangerine cluster.   

Next, soft-toned Disenchanterale Belgian Pale Ale brought candi-sugared dried fruiting to herbal fungi earthiness and wispy green grape esters.

Meanwhile, dark-honeyed Enchanterale BPA left mushroom-like umami earthiness upon spicy fig-raisin-date conflux and phenol hop vapors.

Buckwheat-honeyed oaken vanilla lent a dry side to Abbey Gargoyle Dubbel, picking up dark cherry, orange and peach illusions latently.

Dank hop-charred wood tones thickened against earthy black grape, fig and date illusions and black licorice plasticity for Ravens Black IPA.

Cocoa-dried dark chocolate malting punctuated the dewy earthiness of Farm To Stout, leaving rye-spiced fig snips on the back end.

Best bet: luscious Buffalo Trace bourbon-barreled Dire Wolf Whiskey Porter. Its exquisite bourbon vanilla pleasantries spread across coffee-burnt dark chocolate while dry burgundy, peated whiskey and rye tones gained strength.

For kicks, clover-honeyed Jamaican-styled Ginger Ale (non-alcoholic) retained a freshly-squeezed lemon sugaring to saddle its earthen ginger root appeal.


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Just down the slope from Howe Caverns inside a pale-yellowed roadside dive posing as a Wild West outpost in the foothills of Schoharie County, SERIOUS BREWING COMPANY opened up springtime 2016.

A proud farmhouse brewery utilizing local ingredients, Serious has a small covered deck leading to the entrance of the diminutive oak-walled pipe-exposed pub.

Robin Butts BBQ serves food to go alongside the handcrafted suds. Ciders, spirits, wines and original cocktails were also available.

Though I missed out on Merlot-barreled Anniversary 1 (also aged in whiskey barrels) and Anniversary 2, there were six stylishly modeled brews worthy of attention this March ’19 afternoon. Each beer is meant to showcase “New York places and events.”

Caramel-spiced toasted barley malts sprung from Running Coat Red Ale, picking up a small coffee nip at the fruity finish.

Sweet orange peel, grains of paradise and coriander settled atop Schoharie Burning Wheat Ale, leaving gooseberry-soured tartness and herbal fungi Belgian yeast funk upon its fragile white wheat base.

Sulfite-infused experimental beer, Amber Waves Of Grain, let sweet honey-grained mango receive a mild habanero burn, retaining a light pilsner mouthfeel that relegated its peppered mango heat.

Spicy citrus sweetness contrasted herbal-peppered Belgian yeast and ethyl alcohol burn for feisty Bine Of My Existence IPA, serenading juicy grapefruit, orange and tangerine tanginess with sugared pale malting.

Sweet brown chocolate and bitter Madagascar vanilla enriched delightful George The Inventor Winter Porter, allowing coconut, marshmallow and hazelnut illusions to permeate the sugared mocha continuance.

Black chocolate, mild coffee and raw molasses enveloped bittersweet ALCO Oatmeal Milk Stout, a smoothly milk-sugared dark ale with musty earthen hop resin.


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Inside a pale blue aluminum shed sidling a patio-furnished, bulb-lit gazebo, Glenville’s shanty-like WOLF HOLLOW BREWING COMPANY is tucked into the hilly Mohawk River-bound terrain that provides a perfectly rustic agrarian setting.

Despite its limited interior space, the cavernous ceiling and oak wood elegance give Wolf Hollow a temple-like prominence. Black aluminum furnishings, a wood portico and fire pit mark the slate-floored open air patio. Buzzards Bay Barbeque’s right side open kitchen serves terrific pub fare and a sixteen tap serving station slings suds for the local minions crowding the interior seating this sunny Saturday afternoon, March ’19.

My wife and I set up outside on the patio to sample eleven draughts with Roscoe the dog in tow.

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Cereal-grained flaked corn flanked light lager, Nun The Wiser, a bready easy drinker for mass consumption.

Musky straw grass astringency pervaded floral lemon perfuming of Czech-styled Foothills Pils, picking up grassy hemp-oiled hop herbage to close out its dry wet-grained finish.

Sweet orange-peeled coriander tartness regaled light-bodied White’s Wit, leaving herbal fungi salting at the back end to contrast its slowly fading citric-spiced sugaring.

Bruised banana, brown pear and apple rot dotted Dunkel On My Mind, a moderate caramel-spiced dunkelweizen with a tartly sweet ‘n sour split.

Syrupy pineapple-juiced orange peel and lemon zest guided District 6 West Coast IPA, allowing lightly pined hop resin and mild floral-spiced nuances to penetrate the tropical surface.

German-styled Lenten seasonal, Look Bock And Laugh, provided spicy sour fruiting for mossy dewiness and caramelized chocolate malting.

Sweet candi-sugared Belgian dubbel, Prior’s Conviction, brought banana bubblegum, green raisin, fig and spiciness to the fore.

Dry cocoa-powdered black malts injected robust Lock 9 Porter, maintaining a bitter ashen nuttiness and chewing tobacco snip.

Coffee and vanilla adjuncts redirect its fine offshoot, Lock 9 AM Porter, where smoky black peppering seems to subsume the dark-roast coffee, vanilla bean and cocoa influences.

Mildly creamed dark chocolatey black malting fortifies Campout Dry Irish Stout, a spunky dark ale with coffee-stained bittering and earthen hop char.

At 10.4% ABV, sensational David’s Goliath Imperial Saison gave a rum-soaked ethyl alcohol burn to sweet cantaloupe, melon and orange fruiting as well as musky cologne perfumed citrus conviction.


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A fifth generation agrarian, multifaceted entrepreneurial brewer, Matt Sanford, takes pride utilizing sustainable agricultural methods and local ingredients to craft traditional homemade fare under the familial handle, S & S FARM BREWERY. Open since spring 2016, the affable barnyard tap house deep in the rural Rensselaer County woods features a large umbrella-lined patio with two grain silos for extra seating.

Inside the cement-floored country store outpost, its wood-beamed lanterns and a few small café-styled community tables lead to the small serving station. Party lights line the entire wall.

On this pleasant Friday evening in March ’19, a tight folk-blues acoustic duo plays while my wife and I sample nine tapped beers.

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Sour lemondrop-candied raspberry tartness saddled charmingly light-bodied Raspberry Wheat, picking up raw grained rusticity and dry citrus licks for extra kicks.

A tidy Irish Red Ale, Rhode Island Red provided stylish caramelized barley roast, mild fruit spicing and iced tea-like splendor, leaving polite rye, toffee and bruised apple imprints upon the dainty finish.

Dewy Old 82, an ESB-like pre-Prohibition-styled golden ale, brought leafy hop moisture and crisp barley-roasted malts to the fore as dried fig nuances wavered.

Sly sour saison, S & S Farmhouse Ale, sneaks in pear, banana and quince tones as well as wispy clove spicing to counter the more pronounced straw-dried acidulated lactose malting.

Zesty citrus stormed tropical delight, Eternal Sunshine IPA, splashing lemony grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and sweet tangerine tanginess atop sugar-spiced pale malting.

Spackled red-orange-yellow fruits adorned Luna Red IPA, a modest rye-spiced, leafy-hopped welterweight.

Dry wood tones deepened the sharp grapefruit bittering and bright lemony orange sunshine of Lame Llama Imperial IPA, receiving a floral-herbed juniper nip to heighten its citric-pined hop pungency.

A light nut char came thru for blackened malt-induced Brown Chicken Brown Ale, contrasting its seared walnut thrash with molasses-sapped pecan, hazelnut and almond sweetener.

Treacly maple molasses draped toffee-sweet Maple Stout, contrasting its earthy hop-oiled nuttiness.


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Inside a small mini-mall, savvy craft brewer, Roger Savoy, creates a goodly amount of finely attuned Brit Isle-styled brews for Rensselaer’s EMPORIUM FARM BREWERY. A small nano operation soon able to expand within its mall-bound confines, Emporium started as a homebrewing and winemaking store.

Featuring three windowed tables and a pristinely yellow-pined 20-stool L-shaped serving station, the low-ceilinged one room setting resembles a family kitchen more than a genuinely reliable brewpub.

Opened August ’18, the casually intimate farm brewery endears its local community with low key elegance. On my Friday evening visit in late March ’19, I sampled eight well-defined brews.

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Dewy peat malts, earthen leafy hops and truffle-like fungi guided many of these British-styled offerings, especially Wet-Hopped Harvest Ale, rye-spiced moderation with wispy apricot and fig nuances.

Mossy ESB also stayed dewy-soft and fungi-sidled, bringing a creamy cereal grained malt resilience to the fore.

Light and fluffy 80 Shilling Scottish Ale generated mild wood smoked pleasantries for raw-honeyed rye malts and mossy hop resin.

Dry earthen herbage seeped into proper English IPA, inducing a dried-fruited spicing out of the midst.

Going on hiatus from the Brit stylings, easygoing West Coast Session IPA brought desiccated grapefruit, tangerine and orange tones to wet-wooded Chinook hops and vegetal cucumber earthiness.

The other hop-centric Americanized brew, orange-dried Hoppy Amber let resinous hop oils lubricate its dry pale malt graining.

Chalky chocolate malts gained a scorched earth hop char for Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, a dryer black malted take on an oats-sugared dark ale.

My personal favourite, debonair Christmastime nightcap, Holiday Winter Warmer, blended brown-sugared Mexican chocolate with nutmeg holiday seasoning, sweet orange peel zest, fern-like evergreen minting and tingly cinnamon-cumin-clove spicing.