Wow! Been a Cubs fan since Randy Hundley was catcher, Fergie Jenkins pitched, Billy Williams played outfield, Ron Santo played 3rd and Ernie Banks first. I was even at the Black Cat game in ’69 when the Mets surprised the world and broke my nine-year old heart. But this time it’s for real!
MORRIS PLAINS, NEW JERSEY
An exquisitely convivial sportsbar, Morris Plains-based TIFF’S GRILL & ALE HOUSE brings Classical elegance to its small central Jersey bedroom community. Serving craft beers for over one year as of my October 2016 mid-afternoon sojourn, Colonial-styled TIFF’S features 24 tapped brews and fine spirits to go alongside craft burgers, gourmet sandwiches and quesidillas.
Multiple TV’s line the walls at the twin L-shaped 12-stool slate-top bars while the right side wooden dining tables recall a family-styled British pub. A well-kept red brick front deck features black metal furnishings and a private second-floor party room is also available.
Upon my initial visitation, three previously untried brews struck my fancy (fully reviewed in Beer index). First up, sessionably soft-toned summertime suds, Jersey Girl Hefeweizen, will best suit light thirsts as its lemony banana-clove essence gets watered down. Next, Evil Genius Stacy’s Mom Citra IPA brought sharp citric bittering and dry wood tones to sugar-spiced pale malting. Before departing, Clown Shoes Galactica IPA hit my mouth with a lip-smacking lemony grapefruit and orange bittering, floral hop spicing and honeyed malts. 60-ounce beer towers are available for heartier thirsts.
Finally, a perfect Baltic Porter rich with flavor and never overcome by murky stylistic propensities like desiccated mocha powdering and uncertain earthen hop dankness. Instead, this enlightened Saboteur delights the tongue with rich black chocolate syruping, thick molasses fudging and chewy cookie dough malting, adding a profound milk stout dimension to the reluctant Baltic style. Dark toffee, burnt caramel, sugared cocoa, chocolate cake, dark rum, cafe latte, hazelnut coffee, dried cherry and anise tones abound above oats-dried charcoal hop bittering. Highly recommended.
Epic winter-spiced 2016 stout loads heavenly Atomic coffee roast atop pasilla black peppering as well as fudgy cocoa, sweet vanilla, pasilla black peppering, cinnamon and nutmeg adjuncts. Cedar-smoked mocha resonance allows subsidiary black chocolate syrup, chocolate cake, bruised black cherry and chewy anise illusions to envelop rich coffee overtones. A creamily decadent dessert treat.
On tap at Growler & Gill, streamlined medium roast coffee bean setting picks up mild milk-sugared sweetness and lightly embittered hop char for off-dry English-styled stout. Moderate dark chocolate creaminess and barren nuttiness waver beneath.
On tap at Growler & Gill, soft-toned black coffee frontage gains luxurious black chocolate syruping as well as creamy fudge richness. Pleasant black-peppered cocoa and cinnamon adjuncts add distinction. Tertiary vanilla, espresso and molasses undertones bring further depth.
On tap at Ambulance, uncommon peculiarity works tart black lime adjunct into light brandy-rum barrel aging. Wood-burnt smoked molasses influence sweetened by tingly cinnamon-mace-allspice-cardamom seasoning to contrast sour lemon respite.
On tap at Amazing Grapes, updated 2016 version of Kane’s Drift Line crisply integrates peanut-shelled walnut sear with coffee-oiled black chocolate bittering. Ashen tobacco, chalky cocoa and musky Brazil nut undertones reinforce hop-charred mocha frontage.
On tap at Growler & Gill, revelatory bourbon-barreled quad utilizes weizenbock-styled dried fruiting and rich caramel-chocolate malting. Sharp hop spicing enhances Belgian candi-sugared prune, plum raisin and cherry overtones as well as rum-sugared bourbon resonance. Serve alongside fine barleywines as well.
On tap at Ambulance, lactic quad brings tart blackberry adjunct to Flemish Red-like cherry souring, white wine tannins and oaken vanilla niche. Rustic barnyard earthiness and laid-back rye malting graze tertiary fig-prune-peach sourness.
On tap at Ambulance, serene 5th Anniversary Bavarian weizenbock (a triple fermented 11.5% strong ale) provides light bourbon-barreled burgundy spirit to delicate honey-spiced oaken vanilla , mild sherry wining and slightly soured cherry-gooseberry illusions over subtle hop bitterness.
On tap at Growler & Gill, velvety smooth (but ultimately thin) pumpkin-spiced coffee stout stays arid as subtle cafe latte influence picks up delicate vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove adjuncts. Mild cold-press coffee bean sedation peters out over wispy pumpkin roast, finishing with a murky watered-down mocha spurt.