CRICKET HILL BREWERY

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FAIRFIELD, NEW JERSEY

Since perusing CRICKET HILL BREWERY a few times in 2011, I finally got a chance to revisit while picking up a compressor across the street from the rustic warehouse pub.

During a friendly springtime ’18 afternoon journey, I got to experience the newly renovated pale green-walled, cement -floored, duct-exposed space. Besides the bigger bottling line, there was a new wooden serving station with twelve taps, twelve stools and a prominent blackboard beer list. Plus, five stooled tables adorned the interior and a few plastic furnishings outside allowed for picnics.

Onboard as brewer for the last few years, Mark Tilley (formerly of Long Trail Brewery in Vermont)

Before heading out, grabbed a four-pack of Bourbon-aged Jersey Devil Imperial Red Ale and a growler of exquisite Bourbon-aged Doppelbock (reviewed fully in Beer Index).

HOOVER’S TAVERN

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MORRIS PLAINS, NEW JERSEY

For an independent ‘old man’s bar,’ Morris Plains roadhouse, HOOVER’S TAVERN, stays youthful capturing western Jersey’s woodsy suburban rusticity while serving some of the finest tapped craft beer in the area.

Sure, there’s the typical Bud-Miller-Coors fare, but most of the draughts at this 1930′s established dive bar will please even the most stubborn beer snobs.

An illuminated Sierra Nevada sign guides patrons to this paraphernalia-laden one-room joint. Inside the pale blue bar is an ancient oval bar with 50-plus seats, three small tables and old reliable kitchen appliances to cook pizza, hot dogs and pretzels.

There’s a Heineken sign stretched along the wood-paneled front wall and several TV’s generate local sports fans. Live entertainment could be found on the weekends.

On my initial May ’18 mid-afternoon jaunt, I consumed Southern Tier Somoa This (a S’mores-like Imperial Stout), Stoudt’s Hobo Ed’s Imperial Coffee Porter and New Belgium Tartaion Lemon Ginger Sour Ale. Full reviews are in Beer Index.