LONG BEACH ISLAND, NEW JERSEY
Just a few blocks from downtown Beach Haven across the street from well-established Do Me A Flavor ice cream shop, TRITON CRAFT BEER & OYSTER BAR has thrived since opening in 2014. Ably transitioning Long Beach Island (the crown jewel of the Jersey Shore) from a boring Bud-Coors-Miller refuge to a craft beer haven, Triton makes certain its customers experience the best fresh seafood, pizza and brews available.
Serving six types of oysters, middle neck clams, shrimp and lobster alongside wood-fired pizzas, Triton whets the appetite of LBI’s seafaring folks with 13 tapped brews as well as a fair selection of bottled-canned craft beer, fine wines and spirits. Four community tables and a 12-seat bar sidling the left side bar of the milky white interior bedeck the midsize interior.
My wife and I visited Triton thrice during July ’16, enjoying several previously untried draughts while consuming loads of raw clams and oysters. Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6 PM.
On tap during my few stopovers were several excellent overseas selections (such as the sterling Belgian strong pale ale, Delerium Tremens), local Northeast offerings from Pinelands, Sixpoint, Neshaminy Creek, Weyerbacher, Elk Creek, Troegs, Mystic, Southern Tier and Rivertowne, plus nationally acclaimed fare from Anderson Valley, Rogue, Ballast Point, etc.
Perhaps the best beer bar on LBI, Triton’s entrepreneurs also own nearby established eateries like The Marlin and The Ketch.
On tap at Ambulance, profound up-front coffee bean roast thrills the senses. Cracked Ethiopian coffee plus fresh espresso provide unique combo as creamy java influence seeps into mild tarry hop char and sinewy anise goo licks. Ancillary black chocolate syruping deepens capacious coffee overtone and cinnamon-dabbed sandalwood impression picks up bourbon, vanilla and coconut snips.
A fine twist on Evil Twin’s sweeter, more distinct, Even More Jesus, takes a turn to the sour side as raw molasses bittering and dry cocoa powdering upend black chocolate syruping to soily earthen bottom and its ashen hop char lingers on the tongue. Distant anise-spiced black cherry, raisin and plum undertones never reach the mocha surface.
On tap at Ambulance, ‘decadent indulgence’ aged in Stranahan’s whiskey barrels retains creamy brown chocolate syruping and mellow bourbon vanilla sweetness above moderate dark-roast hop bittering. Whiskeyed chocolate bon bon rapture gains tertiary vanilla, molasses, black coffee, espresso and cocoa influence over time.
‘Utopian’ limited edition (2016) full body brings roasted caramel, chocolate and coffee richness to oatmeal molasses sugaring, mildly pungent hop char and nutty respite. Light anise spicing affects syrupy black chocolate finish.
Cold-press coffee endows soft-toned farmhouse-styled moderation, subtly hovering above wheat-flaked honey malting, teasingly tart lemon souring and desiccated barnyard minerality. Try in lieu of a lemon-peeled espresso for soothing after dinner retreat.
On tap at Ambulance, sour milk stout lets soft lemon-rimmed espresso tone seep into dry French oak barrel aging that adds sharp wood tone to lactic brettanomyces yeast funk. Acidic lemon pucker usurps soured coffee roast at delicate finish.
World renown Vermont-based moderation (in canned version) compares favorably to equally revered Russian River’s Pliney The Elder in all its fruitful splendor. Despite ‘Heady’ 8% ABV and massive 120 IBU hop measure, soft-tongued India Pale Ale retains a creamy eggshell head and lusciously well-balanced charisma. Lemony grapefruit, orange and tangerine juicing sweetened by honeyed peach, nectarine, mango, pineapple and guava tang as well as sugar-spiced caramel malting and floral-perfumed lavender, dandelion, elderflower and daisy bouquet. Dank hemp-oiled piney hop resin fortifies the back end. Proprietary cultured yeast boasts plenty of character without getting overstated. Believe the hype!
Up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a few fantastic East Coast India Pale Ales call home. One, Ipswich IPA, has been a well-received full body since the ’90s, clearly inspiring the other two, Clown Shoes’ Evil Crawfish Imperial Red Ale and Space Cake Double IPA. Despite its similar name, the ’16 version of Evil Crawfish Imperial Red IPA neatly dupes the Space Cake instead. A well-balanced update placing creamy cookie dough pastry cake sugaring and sweet peach-cherry-mango-nectarine-tangerine tang against rearranged Citra-Simcoe-Mosiac-Nelson Sauvin hop-embittered floral perfuming and sharp orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple bittering, its depth and richness cannot be denied. Piney spruce sapping works its way into cereal-honeyed citric finish.
On tap at River Of Beer, brisk medium body brings sharp piney hop fruiting to rich rye malting. Floral-perfumed orange peel, red cherry, pineapple, peach and tangerine tang receives zesty lemon spritz at the midst. Bright tropical fruited finish gains spicy tingle.
More than “just another Double India Pale Ale.” Sunshiny yellow grapefruit zest distinctively affects moderate dry-hopped bittering and mildly sugar-spiced pale malting of easygoing, murkily clouded, chartreuse-coppered summertime suds. Sour lemon seed follow-up and resinous pine notion gain momentum as crisply clean water base provides brisk flow.
On tap at Ambulance, soft-toned medium body from Mystic’s “Hop Experiment Series” (with well-hidden 8.6% ABV) drapes sugar-spiced caramel malting with dank hemp-hopped oiling, leaving lemony grapefruit, peach and orange tones to illuminate the bittersweet symphony.