Category Archives: United States Brewpubs


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Just next door to Burger Loft in simple nuevo fashion sits New City’s DISTRICT 96 BEER FACTORY. Opened July ’17, but serving draughts to Burger Loft since at least January, this elegantly devised open space will be treasured by beer enthusiasts for its easygoing suds (mostly small-batched pale ales and IPA’s) and “illuminating Industrial chic” design.

The storefront-windowed pub features a beautifully vaulted skylight ceiling, plasma cut metal boarded beer listing (with radiant District 96 lettering) and sundry Edison bulb lighting. Sporting twelve white-tiled draught lines plus one nitro line and cider tap, District 96′s fifteen-seat oak bar services eight tables at the red brick left side wall and its burger-centric neighbor at the other side of the entrance.

Owner John Potenza hired New England Brewing Company’s Chase Planson as head brewer to run the daily operation. And the large lower-leveled brew tanks taking up the spacious back area will help make expansion at this site much easier.

I had consumed eight homemade draughts (listed in Beer Index) at Burger Loft over the last several months, but found four previously untried brews one rainy September ’17 evening.

First, approachable The Wit House let funky fungi-herbed Belgian yeast lightly affect floral orange-peeled lemon tanginess to its delicate white wheat base.

Sessionable Misunderestimated IPA brought bright yellow grapefruit and zesty lemon to the fore as grassy hops picked up mild piney bittering.

More stylistically robust, turbidly yellow-hazed Sexual Relations IPA allowed juicy yellow grapefruit, pineapple, mango, papaya and guava tropicalia to gain mild orange rind bittering above creamy crystal-malted sweetness.

For dessert, dry Dark Money Porter recalled an Irish Stout with its mildly creamed Bakers chocolate, burnt coffee and espresso tones upending moderate hop charred bittering (and distant black grape esters).

Serving Rockland County’s affluent Clarkstown community with a fine menu of ever-changing beers, District 96 has already got local Hudson Valley patrons hooked.


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In the heart of Long Beach Island in Beach Haven’s Bay Village, SHIP BOTTOM BREWERY came into fruition during the summer of 2016. On a second floor loft overlooking the bay, this increasingly popular brewpub features a steady flow of year-round beers (lager/ hefeweizen/ IPA/ stout), seasonals and one-offs readied for crowlers-to-go or on-site imbibing.

A spacious right side brew area with small serving table holds several mid-size tanks while the left side tasting room offers  10-seat bar with several community tables, electronic wall board (with beer listing), rustic white-boarded walls, six draught lines and one cask.

During October Chowderfest ’17, I got to quaff five diverse homemade suds.

Dry German-styled Barnegat Lager brought grain-toasted pale malting to perfumed citric pleasantries, earthen fungi must, sweet toffee reminders and light vegetal tones.

Candied Blood Orange Wheat Ale let its tangy blood orange adjunct pick up tangerine, clementine and grapefruit illusions above mild wheat malting.

Seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Ale on Cask contrasted honey-sweetened pumpkin pie spicing against vegetal earthen gourd dryness.

Sharply clean The Shack IPA decorated its spicy grapefruit, orange, mango and lemon tang with resinous pine tones and musky earthiness, leaving a spritzy citrus finish upon the tongue.

Sweet chocolate countered cocoa-dried coffee sedation for Barnicle Bottom Stout, a medium-bodied dark ale with mild Blackstrap molasses sinew and dark-roasted hops saddling its brown-sugared oatmeal base.




Settled into a quiet mall with three black steel porch tables and two picnic benches welcoming customers, CHECK SIX BREWING COMPANY gave North Carolina its southernmost brewpub in 2015. Just south of Wilmington in the Cape Fear region of Brunswick County, the family-run business began in 2015.

Inside the epoxy-floored red-brick pub are a constant flow of  famous wartime aircraft memorabilia, several hanging propellers, a large Check Six insignia and 2 TV’s. At the 10-stool wood bar are 20-plus tap handles to service a community table, several tables and front-walled counters.

Most of the homemade brews dabbled with stylistically hybridized originality and all were named after fighter pilot’s components and lingo.

For starters on this hazily humid Friday afternoon, August ’17, spritzy moderate-bodied German-styled Broken Prop Pilsner countered lemon-candied sugar wafer sweetness with mild hop astringency.

Just a tad more astringent, Gee Bee Honey Pale Ale brought mild honey-spiced fruiting to the fore over dry-hopped grain malts.

Raw-honeyed orange sourness and a ‘touch of pomegranate’  inundated mild crystal-malted Wendy’s Blonde Ale.

Bustling with rich flavor and a mild coconut adjunct, hybridized Flying Circus Coconut Hefeweizen allowed sour lemon-dropped banana-clove tartness, beechwood-smoked pilsner malting and honeyed Chardonnay tones to coexist (alongside a lemon custard tanginess).

Dewy dry-bodied Mc Elroy’s Irish Red Ale gained a tidy cherry-spiced whimsicality.  

Mild peppery heat guided Fox 2 Chipotle Irish Red Ale, a red and orange fruit-spiced medium body with mild earthen hop bittering.

In the same vein, gentle jalapeno peppering heated up lightly pale malted San Philipe Pub Lano Ale.

Dewy English malts gave Hat In The Ring IPA an earthen tone increased by herbal wood-toned hop seepage and countered by tangy grapefruit-orange-pineapple juiciness.

Floral-spiced Aerial Aggression Double IPA let dry-hopped citric juicing take the lead at the mildly bitter finish.

Nutty hop bittering centered Curtiss Jenny Brown Ale, a dry moderation with compost-like dewiness and charred walnut tones.

Nitro-like Wrong Way Corrigan’s Irish Stout brought cola-dried Band-Aid astringency to lemon-wedged black chocolate malting.

Dry cocoa-powdered Flight School Cocoweed Stout gained a light coffee-roasted black chocolate serenity.

Mild milk-creamed chocolate malts gave Dugan’s Chocolate Stout its brownie-fudged Mild Dud/Yoo-Hoo sweetness to contrast wispily  astringent hop-charred nuttiness.  

Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans led Harley Pope Imperial Porter to its oats-sugared hazelnut center and wood-smoked black chocolate finish.




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Inside a historic white stucco Town Hall featuring exquisite wood furnishings, Old World architecture and large Gothic archway columns, LEGEND BREWING DEPOT sits prominently alongside Portsmouth’s famous seawall. While the original Legend Brewing in Richmond built a solid reputation as one of Virginia’s longest lasting modern brewpubs (since 1993), its well-established brewmasters wanted to expand and hit the jackpot operating this refurbished “Olde Towne” Chesapeake Bay crown jewel.

Situated 90 miles east of Richmond and overlooking Norfolk, Legend’s satellite site sticks out like a rounded castle at the prime Portsmouth pier. Its pristine maroon-beige interior offers simple elegance and the spacious pier-side deck couldn’t be more majestic on this sunny Saturday afternoon in August (just days after the establishment opened).

I’d tried everything on the menu on a few Richmond trips, except one easygoing dark ale and a sassy li’l seasonal offering.

Sweet bourbon-whiskey wisps gathered subtle hazelnut-almond-praline illusions and tingly citrus-spiced hops above caramelized chocolate malting for dainty dandy, Bourbon Barrel Brown Ale (very popular amongst deck-bound quaffers this day).

As for crisply clean Z-Dam Summertime Ale, its zesty lime adjunct, refreshing ginger snap, distant lemony orange tang and fluttering chamomile subtlety created a bright sunshiny glaze for the lightly honeyed pale malt backbone.



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Just off Route 46 in the Pio Costa Industrial mall, Fairfield-based MAGNIFY BREWING COMPANY has become one of Jersey’s finest and most recognized microbreweries in short order.

Specializing in sessionable India Pale Ales, but not afraid to dabble in sundry other styles, Magnify came to fruition after founder Eric Ruta discovered Portland’s “amazing craft beer scene” during college. He eventually hooked up with experienced brewmaster, Erich Carrle (who’d worked at Kelso, Almanac and Speakeasy).

Open since 2015, Magnify’s fluorescent blue, white and yellow insignia dons the front window and a small bench sits outside welcoming patrons to the rustic gray-walled interior.

A large blackboard with colorful beer descriptions lists all tapped selections currently available at the hardwood 8-draught bar (with jarred Edison lights). Eight bar stools, several tables and one community bench fill out the room. Large ceilings allow several tall silver beer tanks to prosper in the rear and the walls are sparsely decorated.

On a hot September ’17 afternoon, I grab a seat and quaff three previously untried brews. Over the last few years, I had already consumed over 20 Magnify brews.

Today, Magnify has four worthy one-off IPA’s to consume on draught or buy in cans for takeout. Each one packs a lot of flavor while never getting too bitter or bold for softer palates.

A collaboration with Long Island’s Barrier Brewing, uplifting lupulin-powdered Don’t Sneeze brought sunny yellow grapefruit tanginess and sweet orange peel briskness to the fore as juniper-embittered piney hop resin contrasted its lightly creamed caramel-pale malting.

Despite its brazen 8.5% ABV, delectably fruited One-Two Punch (utilizing newly designed Michigan Copper hops with the Mosaic varietal) ultimately mellowed down as its spiced-up grapefruit, pineapple, orange, peach and mango tang received a lightly peppered pine oiling.

Crushable triple-hopped Break The Bank let its beige-yellowed murk bring yeasty sinew to the surface. Lemony grapefruit and orange rind bittering aided hemp-oiled herbal hops to contrast candied pineapple, mango and peach sweetness.

Easygoing crisp-watered DDH Mouthfeelings IPA with Oats and Lactose added mildly creamed lactic acidity to lemony orange-spiced alacrity and mild bark-dried yellow wood bittering, fortifying its backend with dried oats.

Magnify, Brix City and Bolero Snort have gained a lot of ground over the last few years, receiving access at nearly every conceivable North Jersey beerpub. Cheers!



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At a cement-floored warehouse on a quiet cul de sac in Meadowlands-bound Little Ferry, BRIX CITY BREWING has gained widespread Northern Jersey exposure since opening for business, May 2015.

Though I’d consumed about two dozen original Brix City brews at every worthy Bergen-Passaic-Morris County beer pub imaginable, there were a few more to be had at my initial August ’17 visit.

After purchasing a home brew kit in 2010, Hasbrouck Heights schoolyard pals, Peter Reuther (an Army vet) and Joe Delcalzo (local accountant), decided to try their hand at full-time brewing. The results have been quite impressive and the dynamic duo now utilize 16-ounce cans to satisfy the growing demand for big sellers such as celebrity-inspired Jaromir Lagr, Derek Wheater and Brews Willis.

A large map of Newark (the inspirational Brick City that once housed tons of breweries before prohibition) covers a side wall and a few colorfully chalked blackboards boast of regional brewpubs and provide today’s draught menu. Several wood barrels consume the back area near the brew tanks and four community tables get serviced by the eight draught lines at the wood-lacquered bar.

Heritage rock music by the Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton plays loudly in the raw space as my wife and I plow into a delectable Belgian blonde, a sturdy pilsner and two glistening IPA’s.

Enchanting candi-sugared Gloria Belgian Blonde Ale had a certain summertime serenity as its lemony banana tartness and sweet vanilla creaming gained mild floral herbage, pithy clove-coriander piquancy and a smooth vermouth sway above the prickly salty bottom.

Pungently grain-husked Undiscovered Worlds American Pilsner gathered dry wood tones, leafy hops and spiced pilsner malts.

Gently citrus-spiced Just Another IPA brought mild lemon-juiced mandarin orange and navel orange tanginess to the fore above oats-dried malts.

Bitterer, heartier and more decisive, Just Another Double IPA loaded tangier citrus spicing and resinous pine hops onto moderate crystal malt sugaring.



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Just off the main drag of Middletown, in the red-bricked industrial foothills of rustic Orange County, EQUILIBRIUM Grille and Brewery opened in the spring of 2017. Owned in part by an experimental MIT engineer whose scientific principles and a passion for craft brewing led to the massively flavorful India Pale Ales and other fine beverages guiding this outwardly opulent signpost.

Yet despite the gargantuan Equilibrium trademark stretched across its ample pale green aluminum side, the white grain silo-enhanced garage housing the pub is actually quite modest.

An unfinished cement-floored tasting room (with open overhead door, exposed ducts and spinning wheel light fixtures) fronts a cozy mezzanine area where pub fare gets served alongside the well-balanced homemade ales and choice cocktails. Three two-stool tables, a few seated tables and one community table fill the tasting room as my wife and I head up to the Edison-lighted wood counter at the bar to sample all six draughts available this sunny Sunday afternoon.

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A local band at the mezzanine plays Nirvana tunes while I quaff three worthy IPA’s, two stylishly ‘big’ pale ales and one resilient sour ale.

Smoothly ‘crushable’ flagship, Photon Pale Ale, lets politely enduring apricot, peach, tangerine, mango and pineapple juiciness gain mild piney hop resin and lemony orange tartness for a true ‘go-to-ale.’

‘Conditioned’ on lemon-limed grapefruit, tangerine and orange zest, hybridized Photon Citrus Pale Ale concentrates its original fruity base with citric hops, leaving sour lemon rot upon the earthen tea midst.

An undeniable favorite, resonant Fractal Citra/ Galaxy IPA allowed subtle passionfruit, guava and peach tones to illuminate the creamy crystal malting and contrast its resinous hop bittering.

Easygoing Hoptimization IPA retained a soft-tongued grapefruit and pineapple tang as well as a less distinct sour lemon splurge above herbal wood-toned hops. Meanwhile, juicier Hoptimization 2 IPA brought mellow floral spicing to pine-needled lemon, grapefruit, orange and mango tanginess.

For a complete changeup, There And Back Again Sour Ale loaded dry-hopped lactobacillus yeast on vinous green grape tartness and salty lemon-limed acidity while frisky grapefruit, pineapple and passionfruit undertones waver.

While sojourning to Middletown, don’t forget to complement your Equilibrium trip with a visit to nearby Clemson Bros. Brewery as well.


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Named after historic Middletown metalsmiths, William and George Clemson, CLEMSON BROS. BREWERY came into existence during October 2015. Inside a three-storied red brick factory with white window frames, its glass-encased brewtanks lead to the main room featuring an elongated right side bar, closed kitchen, several dining tables, local homemade beer and pub fare (burgers-pizza-appetizers).

During my 1-hour August ’17 stopover with wife, Karen, made ourselves comfortable at the roomy back deck beergarden. A comfy open area with separate 12-stooled covered bar, six umbrella-covered tables, slate-topped side counters and small stage area, the  pleasurable outdoor setting truly fits the sunny summertime atmosphere.

Refreshingly fruitful Sun-Kissed Mango Pilsner loaded sweet ‘n sour mango tanginess alongside grains of paradise, passionfruit and guava tropicalia for a crisply clean light-bodied delight.

Soft-toned Lola’s Blonde Ale relied on light mineral graining and tingly citrus spicing while hybridized Lola’s Raspberry Blonde Ale added raspberry powder tartness and floral accents to the mix.

Murky cherry tartness and white wheat wince could use deeper penetration for mildly creamed Jack Of All Trades Cherry Wheat.

Mild rye breading inundated Rye’s Above as dried fruiting and herbal hops merged with rustic milled graining.

Approachable Manhattan Project Double IPA plied grapefruit, pineapple and orange tanginess to mild piney hop bittering.

Just as easygoing, dry-hopped Brewer’s Mistress Session IPA brought mild reedy astringency to lemon-soured mango, grapefruit and pineapple tones.

Zestful Tower 22 Imperial IPA draped its lemony grapefruit, pineapple and orange tang with dry fungi-like musk and light spicing.

Chocolate-y peanut butter ensconced Porter’s Porter, a smoky medium body with dark-roasted coffee and cocoa tones above charred hop sedation.


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Easily one of the most popular draught breweries ’round Dallas, PETICOLAS BREWING COMPANY lies just off the main drag in a spacious freestanding warehouse at Turtle Creek’s Industrial Park district. Owned and operated by Michael Peticola, its busy taproom opened January 12, 2017, and found instant favor with local denizens.

With its judicious slogan promising ‘honest, friendly, down-to-earth brewers delivering world class passion in a glass,’ Peticolas blue and white insignia dons the brick exterior while an expansive cement-floored tap room with 20-plus draught handles, separate ground-floored community tables, rustic backroom bar, mezzanine loft (with foosball and shuffleboard) and exposed black pipes affix the interior.

During my 1-hour stopover with wife, youngest son and old college pals Bob and Jeff, quaffed a rounded selection of fine draughts. While the sun baked outside, we grabbed a table in the loft to consume sampler trays of nine reliable brews this sweltering July ’17 afternoon.

Dry light-bodied Golden Opportunity Kolsch brought mild lemon souring to light herbal musk and doughy bread crust. Crisply clean Come And Take It (a Cascadian Kolsch) regaled a refreshingly tart Cascade-hopped lemondrop-candied piquancy and leathery oats-dried backdrop.

Dry Scotch licks affirmed Great Scot!, a moderate Scottish ale with a lemon twist and rye whiskey misting.

Mild Irish Red Ale, Irish Goodbye, let dewy peat earthiness seep into red apple, pear and apricot fruiting.

Brown-sugared caramel sweetness draped flagship Imperial Red Ale, Velvet Hammer, with floral-hopped pine resin and nutty residue picking up mild medicinal alcohol warmth at the polite finish.

Supremely confident Sledge Hammer Triple Imperial Red Ale lent a light woody smokiness to dewy peat mossing, brisk orange-peeled grapefruit bittering and red licorice snips.

Nitro Irish Dry Stout, Turn Out The Lights, gained sedate black patent malt bittering and sour-milked black chocolate luster for its mildly creamed Guinness-like eclair-headed mocha setting.

Decadently dark-roasted Imperial Stout, Black Curtains, coalesced black chocolate, cocoa bean and espresso overtones above muted hop-charred bittering.

Before leaving the crowded hotspot, enjoyed vibrant fruitful cornucopia, The Duke, an amber-paled barleywine allowing lemon-soured citrus zest and tangy orange, peach, pineapple and mango juiciness to create a veritable ‘passion punch.’


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Inside a taupe brick industrial building on Farrington Street near the Trinity Strand Trail, Dallas-based NOBLE REY BREWING COMPANY opened in 2015 and proved to be one of the most eclectic pubs in the Lone Star State. An old wood-paneled floor offers support for the open warehouse area and red umbrellas with tables fill the chaired deck.

Several colorful caricatures line the pub and the serving station’s tap handles are built into the black-boarded wall. A small front stage, cozy couch area, arcade games, a few TV’s and a beer-to-go refrigerator inundate the one-room setting.

A second Noble Rey taproom will open on nearby Harwood Street, November ’17.

My friend Jeff and I visited the charmingly roughhewn brew room July ’17, quaffing each of the twelve wide-ranging draught selections available.

Corn-flaked popcorn-like light body, Sex In A Canoe Lager, allowed wispy sour apple, spiced fig and dry whiskey illusions to flutter.   

Stylish peculiarity, Golden Rey Dandy Bavarian Witbier cuddled banana-clove-coriander sweetness with sour lemondrop tartness and strangely, a herbaceous peppercorn-parsley-ginger twist.

Raw-honeyed citrus souring deluged Bee Hurder Honey Kolsch, a dryer-than-usual stylistic moderation with lemon-rotted pale malt musk.

Spiced apple and peach tones guided Off The Leash Red Ale, a Lipton tea-like moderation with dewy amber-grained malt crisping.

To support Ales For ALS, Ice Bucket Pale Ale let honeyed citrus spicing and floral-perfumed herbage meander thru the dried fruit midst.

With its brisk IPA fruiting and pine tones, Paladin Pale Ale brought tangy grapefruit and orange juicing to perfumed hop spicing. 

Sharp East Coast-styled IPA, Tactical Combat Firefighter, linked cherry, grape and orange fruiting to polite hop astringency and dry gin snips.

Another East Coast-styled IPA, The Juice Is Loose, gained a juicy peach-orange-pineapple tang above caramelized pale malting.

Sessionably mellow Vertigo Double IPA stayed off-dry as its spiced grapefruit-mango-peach-orange-berry tang picked up dank earthen mustiness.

Dry lager yeast informed Steampunk Hoppy Amber Ale, a California Common Steam beer with dewy tea earthiness and leafy hop astringency contrasting mild honeyed fig-apricot sweetness.

Earthen nuttiness sheltered Baracus Brown Ale, a light-roasted medium body with molasses caramel-spiced walnut, dark chocolate and vanilla illusions.

The most eccentric delight, Pink Tuxedo Kettle-Soured Blonde Ale brought hibiscus flowering to oaken cherry dryness, puckered cranberry bittering, cologne-like musk and mildly pungent alkaline acidity.



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In the bustling arts and entertainment section East of downtown Dallas, DEEP ELLUM BREWING COMPANY came to fruition during 2011.

Inside a rustic blue and gray brick warehouse with a nifty Love Runs Deep mural on its side corner, this spacious pub features a wide right side bar with colorfully designed chalk-painted beer plaques, community tables, stool seating and a tucked-in merchandise area.

A grain silo, aluminum-covered stage area and oversized beer can collection enhance the back deck for this sweltering Saturday afternoon block party, July ’17.

Cool local minions and a steady flow of brewpub-searching travelers try to beat the heat sucking down several rewarding suds. A great local band, enjoyed by all, plays raspy blues-rock and baritone sax-led Morphine vignettes.


We stand in the furthest back space behind the brown trellis wall and quaff six trusty brews, three of which were well-defined India Pale Ales.

First up, sessionable summertime quencher, Easy Peasy IPA, brought brisk lemon-peeled grapefruit, peach, pineapple and tangerine tanginess to the fore as its mild resinous pine bittering contrasted the tenacious sweet pale malting.

More rounded than Easy Peasy, mid-range flagship brew, Deep Ellum IPA, let its lemon-peeled tangerine adjunct integrate with floral-bound orange, grapefruit and mango tropicalia spread across moderate piney hop bittering.

Raw cane-sugared Dream Crusher Double IPA allowed dry oaken pine bark to embitter its lemony pineapple and grapefruit tang above honeyed Vienna malts.

Mild sun-kissed sour ale, Cherry Play Date, merged dry cherry tartness with mild date tartness (and lemony green apple subtleties) above lactic acidulated malts.

Gentle lemon-peeled chamomile and hibiscus flowering caressed easygoing dry rye spicing for Deep Summer With Spice, gaining distant date and fig illusions at the finish.

Sessionable milk-sugared dark ale, Local Legend Stout, plied dark-roast coffee, espresso, dried cocoa and black chocolate to mild oats-dried hop bitterness.



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Affluent Dallas suburb, Richardson, got its first genuine brewpub in 2015 when entrepreneurial brewmaster, Drew Smeeton, decided to create handcrafted “English ales with a Texas twist” for commercial consumption under the Wild West banner, FOUR BULLETS BREWERY.

Interestingly, the Brit-born zymurgist (now a 30-year-plus homebrewer) lived close to my hometown in Northern Jersey for a decade and experienced Suffern, New York’s now defunct, but once quintessential, Mountain Valley Brewpub.

During my initial visit, July ’17, assistant brewer Doug Steele joins Smeeton and I to talk beer styles and history while my wife and friend, Jeff, dig the rangy English Pale Ale on tap.

Inside a crude cement-floored warehouse at a corporate Industrial area just off George Bush Highway, Four Bullets’ friendly tasting room features a cozy living room with TV, several stainless steel brewtanks, a handful of draught lines, wood furnishings and strewn British flags. A rustic back porch with patio furnishings provides extra space.

Just for kicks, Smeeton’s original brews utilize cool card game jargon as monikers.

Dewy moderation, What Are The Odds English Pale Ale, brought dried fruiting to mild reedy and floral tones as well as leafy hop crisping.

Sweet-honeyed dark rye toasting enriched Royal Flush Red Ale, leaving ancillary apple-plum-pear illusions and mild floral hop daubs.

Leaning towards an IPA, emboldened Cascade-hopped Two Pairs Pale Ale dangled dried cherry, tart grapefruit and tangy tangerine illusions atop mild wood tones and caramel malts.

Stylishly combining the dewy peat mossing of a British IPA with the sharp piney fruited caramel malting of a West Coast version, All In retained a cornucopia of flavors.

For dessert, Four Bullet’s signature elixir, Black Jack Brown Ale (a traditional English Brown Ale) let its nutty core receive mild caramelized chocolate, cocoa and toffee creaming.