Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

IDLE HANDS BREWERY

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MALDEN, MASSACHUSETTS

At a renovated light Industrial area six miles north of Boston in a well-maintained red brick building, IDLE HANDS BREWERY is the pride of hilly woodland city, Malden. A black-gated entrance with Idle Hands insignia and metal-furnished porch welcomes patrons to the pristine warehouse pub.

Whether leaning towards German lagering, Belgian funk or American spunk, Idle Hands’ gentle touch can be felt with each distinctly soft-toned offering. Founding headbrewer Chris Tkach moved his operations from a tiny Everett storefront to its current nearby space in 2016.

The expansive high-ceilinged rafters add spacious dimension to the sparely furnished interior. LED-bulbed pendulum lamps hang above the twelve-seat serving station where twelve barn-wooded silver metal draught handles carry the brews crafted in the windowed silver barrels. Six cafeteria-styled community tables provide extra seating.

Fabulously boozy Country & Western tunes such as “Drinkin’ On  My Mind,” Whiskey Bent & Hellbound” and something about ‘getting his drunk ass home’ play in the background as my wife and I settle into ten Idle Hands suds.

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Stylishly robust Edgeworth Pils brought mild floral citrus rind bittering to pungent maize-dried hop musk, fresh-cut grass astringency and cracker-like pilsner malting, leaving zesty lemon wisps on the clean tail end.

Grain-toasted baked breading appeased moderate zwickel lager, Emelyn, leaving musty fungi rusticity on the spicily fig-dried finish.

Approachably brisk dry body, Slate Ale, gathered slightly soured melon rind, lemon-spritzed papaya-raspberry tartness and mild hop bittering above sweet biscuit malts.

Salty-herbed Belgian wit, Blanche De Grace, goes a stylish step further as lemony orange coriander expectancy gets bum-rushed by cologne-perfumed lemongrass, fennel and wildflower illusions over its sedate pilsner-malted wheat bed.

Sweetly bread-crusted Munich dunkelweiss, Brunhilda, aligned toffee-spiced chocolate malts with mossy dried fruiting and earthen nuttiness.

Fermented subtly with Malbec grape must, Mazamomma Cream Ale let bubbly champagne sweetness reach raw-honeyed pale malt dryness.

Interesting, if not fully integrated, mixed culture farmhouse ale hybrid, Rosemary Reimagined, underutilized its sweet potato, candied yam and rosemary adjuncts, but let tannic-soured pinot grigio wining spawn a tartly puckered acidic aspect.

Soft-toned, golden-hazed, New England Imperial IPA, Splitter, allowed yogurt-soured yellow grapefruit piquancy and subtle melon-mango-papaya tropicalia to ride above its malted red wheat spine.

Another tropical fruited NEIPA, yellow-marbled Four Seam strove for sunshiny winsomeness as serene mango-guava-melon sentiments gained dry wood dankness and muted peach-pineapple wisps.

White-peppered lemon zest and honeyed banana-peach sweetness confirmed passionate tripel, Triplication, a boozy (8.9% ABV) elixir with spiced-up peach, pear and pineapple ripeness.

idlehandscraftales.com

DOWN THE ROAD BEER CO.

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EVERETT, MASSACHUSETTS

Just a few miles north of Boston inside a rustic red brick building at Everett’s heavy Industrial area, DOWN THE ROAD BEER CO. opened for biz in late 2017.

A casual warehoused pub with an evolving beer menu, Down The Road’s pristine epoxy-floored interior includes a colorful Greek God mural, rows of cafeteria-styled community tables and a raised bandstand for entertainers.

Its quartz-topped serving station features thirty draught handles and Edison light fixtures with glass-encased brew tanks right behind. A few retro pinball machines guard the front wall and a small couch area with TV fills the diagonal back end. A large front-walled projection TV shows Star Wars while my wife and I consume nine fine brews this sunny Saturday afternoon in May (2019).

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Salty pinkish magenta-hued Feyborn Berliner Weisse (blueberry derivation) stayed tart as subtle Maine blueberries received dry raspberry-cranberry respite while retaining spritzy carbolic briskness.

Floral-fruited herbal spicing lingered gently for highly amiable Justa Saison, where sweet banana, lemon meringue and tangelo illusions reach white-peppered barnyard acridity.

Lacquered citrus and musty dewiness fronted West Coast IPA, The Resistance, leaving raw-hoeneyed buckwheat and dry rye malts upon tangy lemon-grapefruit-orange juicing.

Admirable Sour Cherry Table Beer let its tart beet-sugared cherry rhubarb pie likeness gain lemon candied soda pop pep.

Straight-ahead West Coastest IPA crossed tropical fruit-spiced pale malting with minor wood tones.

Easygoing beige yellow-hazed Dreamtime New England IPA brought barley-floured yellow grapefruit juicing to zesty orange peel sweetness as well as yogurt-soured passionfruit and pineapple tartness (above grassy-hopped pine resin).

Nutty dark chocolate and chalky cocoa powder guided Dirty Shillelah Dry Stout, picking up a hop-charred walnut sear.

Dark-roasted chocolate malts swept up smooth medium-bodied dark ale, Devils Twins Porter, leaving cocoa, fig and walnut snips on the tail end.

Chewy brown chocolate sweetness spread across cookie dough richness for Darkest Night Imperial Stout, retaining mild coffee-caramel-molasses conflux and subtle bruised cherry tartness.

BONE UP BREWING

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EVERETT, MASSACHUSETTS

Formerly Boston’s smallest brewery, BONE UP BREWING now occupies a cozily polished overhead-doored red brick warehouse with black metal-fenced front patio. Inspired by old school Belgian farmhouse brewing while celebrating American styles, this husband-wife-owned pub continues to gain popularity.

Founding heavy metal-loving homebrew spouses, Liz and Jared Kiraly, doubled their space and brought more brewing equipment when the place started humming along. In two-and-a-half years since August 2016, they’ve crafted three hundred small beer batches, creating an amazing one hundred-plus different draught offerings.

The left side fifteen-stooled L-shape bar (with canary yellow walls) features a few tables and multiple Edison lights. The serving station has twelve tap handles, one cask set up and a blackboard beer menu. Fabulous modern art crowds the walls and a left room drinking area has pinball and Ms. Pac Man games.

My wife and I visited Bone Up on a hazily sunny Saturday afternoon in May ’19.

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First up were the four flagship offerings.

Crisply light-bodied cream ale, Extra Naked, gathered floral lemon-oiled herbal musk for delicate maize-dried pilsner malting and restrained grainy hop pungency.

Next, approachable white ale, Key Lime, stayed dry as lactic key lime-juiced lemon meringue tartness settled above honeyed Graham Cracker wheat malts.

Straightforwardly easygoing India Pale Ale, Wasted Life, brought blitzing orange-peeled yellow grapefruit tanginess to subtle piney hop bittering and wispy floral accents.

Richly embittered robust porter, Shut Up Kelly, retained black-malted dark chocolate muck and nutty dark-roast coffee tones.

As for Bone Up’s seasonal or one-off fare, there were a few pale ales left untried (Unholy Alliance; Dance Bob; Chaos Reigns ), but a grisette, hibiscus saison, smoked wheat ale and tripel got tasted.

Sessionable saison, Lawn Chair Grisette, maintained a lemony orange-peeled grapefruit tang reinforced by oats-dried barnyard acridity.

Tart pinkish amber farmhouse ale, Loretta, doused sweet-tart hibiscus florality with a white-peppered lemon twist and herbal saison yeast funk.

Bacon-smoked wheat ale, Oink!, let Band-aid-like beechwood astringency contrast humble bourbon-staved sweetness to its dry pale malt base, leaving petite meat-cured pastrami, salami and chorizo snips at the back end.

Creamily smooth tripel, Joybringer, relied on lingered banana spicing, candied citrus tartness, syrupy peach sweetness and salted pineapple zing to counter its musky herbal respite and dainty floral bouquet.

www.boneup.beer

DEMOCRACY BREWING

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Strategically beginning operations on July 4, 2018, DEMOCRACY BREWING celebrates Independence Day on a daily basis. In the heart of Boston’s Downtown Crossing, this blue-faced side street pub boasts a German beerhall atmosphere while its decorative wood furnishings, old-fashioned wagon wheel chandeliers and stark arched columns provide serene Revolutionary Era antiquity.

Cozy wood booths and tables sidle the 20-chaired, red brick-walled bar (with 12-plus draughts and 2 TV’s). The brew tanks are located upfront in an exposed front cellar.

My wife and I grab seats at the central draught area on a glorious Saturday afternoon, May ’19, to quaff five stylishly conservative, yet well defined and balanced, Boston-made brews.

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Muskily dry lemony herbage seeped into light-bodied blonde ale, Workers Pint, an approachable pilsner-malted, citric-spiced flagship.

Sassy farmhouse ale, Fighting 54th Saison, gathered peppery chamomile-lemongrass herbage to sidle its tangy lemon-soured tangerine briskness and sweet banana-clove ascendance.

Dewy English bitter, Cellar Door, let moderated black tea-like bittering relegate its orange-dried pine resin and pale malted amber graining.

A frisky lemon spritz picked up mossy earthiness and dank wood tones for medium-bodied Imperial IPA, Consummate Rioter, leaving lightly spiced grapefruit-orange rind bittering in its wake.

Cold-brewed Peruvian coffee added medium-roast bitterness to Crash Coffee-Infused IPA, letting latent IPA-like citrus-spiced wood tones linger lightly at the brusque java finish.  

Unfortunately, the ever-popular Irish-styled 1919 Strike Stout, was unavailable.

www.democracybrewing.com

CHEEKY MONKEY

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

A full-scale upscale cocktail lounge with a fully automated brewery, large billiard room, plush band stage and pristine Old world splendor, CHEEKY MONKEY opened for biz in 2017. Its black metal fenced-in porch with three tables leads customers into this sterling polished gem across the street from historic Fenway Park.

Besides offering crisply clean draught beers, Cheeky Monkey’s fine wine and liquor selection crowd the wood shelves at the elongated 30-stooled L-shaped bar. Solid pub fare goes well with the six tapped beers emulating from the far back windowed 10-barrel Smart Brew System.

The posh barroom also includes several shelved antique radios, old metal beams and low-hanging ceiling pipes to capture Boston’s historic rustic charm. Several wood booths and tables line the room.

An American-flagged back lounge with plush furniture and stone hearth provides some privacy to counteract the large sports-centric open area where a spacious billiards hall competes with shuffleboard tables and ping pong before leading to the back-barred brew tanks.

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While my wife and I hung out at the bar, we tried four diversely easygoing brews during our quick May ’19 afternoon stint.

First up, wonderful fruit ale, Wild Blueberry, captured all its distinct sweet-tart blueberry goodness alongside briskly carbolic lemon zest and honeyed wheat sugaring.

Next, easygoing Galaxy-hopped Down Undah Pale Ale proved to be stylishly intensified as spritzy lemon zest, tangy orange juicing and tart guava-gooseberry spunk merged over its musky pale-malted oats spine.

Straightforward Harambe’s Ghost IPA brought sharp citric-pined crisping and tingly floral spicing to sweet caramel malting without making a fuss.

Fudgy milk chocolate-y Rebellious Monk Stout let lingered oats-sugared black chocolate and mild coffee tones gather for a creamily full-bodied midday nightcap.

cheekymonkeyboston.com

GHOST HAWK BREWING COMPANY

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CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY

Right across the street from famous hot dog joint, Rutt’s Hut, Clifton’s GHOST HAWK BREWING COMPANY came into existence April 20, 2019. Inside an unfinished overhead-doored warehouse connected to Silk City Distillery, this spacious one-room pub features high ceilings, cement floors, a brew crew loft and wood lacquered serving station. Five community tables and six cocktail lounge tables sit across from the left side 20-stooled bar with reclaimed wood-stacked draught handles.

Veteran brewmaster, Chris Sheehan, mans the 15 BBL tanks for Passaic County’s first ever craft brewery. The decorated UC-Davis graduate got the nod as head brewer after serving at Defiant, JJ Bitting, Gun Hill and Chelsea breweries. His endlessly varied recipes continue to thrive and he’ll no doubt brew a few barrel aged elixirs given the fact a distillery’s next door.

Owned by Clifton natives Tom Rachelski, a financier army vet, and Steve Bauer, a graphic designing streetwear maven who joins me in conversation this glorious day, Ghost Hawk strives to create high quality beers that attract wide-ranging palates.

On this sunny May ’19 Saturday stopover, my wife and I enjoy all seven well-balanced, efficiently designed brews on tap while consuming Rutt’s Hut Triple Decker turkey sandwich, fried cod and a ‘ripper.’

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Worthy ‘Continental-styled’ staple, Ghost Hawk Lager, a dry Dortmunder-like medium body with crusty sourdough malts, perfumed maize husk and dewy herbal licks received musky sulfate-watered Noble hop pungency for a stylishly bold thirst quencher.

Briskly straight-ahead moderation, Daedalion Wheat, had an oats-dried pilsner malt mouthfeel and spritzy lemony grapefruit snap, picking up grassy hop astringency and mild wood tones at the rustic grained finish.

Tart cherry souring enveloped easygoing fruited hybrid, Cherry Daedalion Wheat, where rose-wafted lemon zest lightly embittered cherry rhubarb piquancy as well as passive grapefruit, passionfruit, kiwi and mango snips above its billowy white wheat base.

Fennel-seeded caraway herbage seeped into dry rye spicing for mildly pepper-breaded medium body, Along For The Rye.

Yellow grapefruit zest brightened mild New England-styled IPA, Apex Predator, letting wispy peach, orange and tangerine tanginess settle below oncoming piney hop bittering.

Decisive ‘Triple,’ Trouble IPA brought spicy red-orange fruiting to candied toffee sweetness, relegating its herbal perfumed black tea bittering while nascent honeydew, melon, pineapple, pear and apple illusions find space.

Today’s one dark ale truly sufficed as a delicious post-lunch dessert. Mocha-powered Ravendark Stout regaled grain-roasted dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and cold-brewed coffee overtones given spicy anise sweetness to contrast its charred hop remnant.

www.ghosthawkbrewing.com

GENTLE GIANT BREWING CO.

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PEARL RIVER, NEW YORK

‘More than just craft,” Pearl River’s GENTLE GIANT BREWING also serves some of the best barbecue in the tri-state area. Open during late 2018, this rustic apoxy-floored Main Street warehouse joint retains an unfinished café-style appeal that’s dankly inviting.

The perfect blue collar spot for stylishly conservative brews and delicious homemade countrified BBQ meats, its offhand dinosaur-themed atmosphere will please families as well as Pearl River’s insatiable local drinking community.

Several community tables sidle the kitchen-bound, eight-stooled serving station where one big projection TV, several strewn liquor bottles, a blackboard food menu and simple food counter exist.

Several brew tanks take up the left-windowed red wall staging area and a back-walled corrugated aluminum draught board delivers satisfyingly standard suds.

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On this cool May ’19 evening, my wife and I grab some barbecued smoked chicken wings and bacon-smoked Mac ‘n Cheese to go alongside six homemade brews.

Sour lemon-limed pungency seeped into the delicate mango-passionfruit tropicalia of dry Berliner Weiss, Juice By Dr. Alan Grant, leaving a cheese-clothed sweaty musk upon the lactic acidulated malts.

On the other side of the spectrum, Creamsicle-like blonde ale, Chocolate Orange, let creamy vanilla sugaring gain sweet orange peel tanginess as well as bitter orange rind zesting (sometimes recalling citric-tart St. Joseph’s aspirin).

Red, orange and yellow fruit spicing dotted caramelized barley malts for peaty moderation, Irish Dark Red Ale, an off-dry easygoer.

Black grape-embittered wood tones gained a mild hop char to infiltrate the caramel-burnt black malting of Rex Rocket Double IPA, a fine Cascadian dark ale.

Caramelized dark chocolate malts countered dry anise spicing of dark-roasted Imperial Porter, T Porterdactyl, leaving teensy coffee, espresso and cappuccino undertones.

Dry cocoa-powdered black malts and coffee-stained dark chocolate roast amplified Fossil Fuel Stout, gaining creamy brown-sugared molasses sweetness to tweak the bitter mocha finish.

gentlegiantbrewing.com

JDUB’S BREWING COMPANY

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SARASOTA, FLORIDA

Just north of downtown Sarasota in a light Industrial setting, ambitiously bohemian brewpub, JDUB’S BREWING COMPANY, opened in 2014. Inside a pale green aluminum warehouse with two overhead doors guarding large brew tanks and a hauntingly Transylvanian-arched wood entrance leading to the patio-fronted pub, JDub’s innovative recipes range from a creamsicled Berliner Weisse to a wintry barrel-aged stout.

Jdub’s basically a cartoonish hippie-esque wonderland perfect for any casually fun event or High Times party. The relatively small graffiti-filled cement-floored interior features interesting front-walled painted pix of its flagship beers, four stormtrooper-related beer posters, five community tables and a right side serving station with 1 TV and a refrigerator (plus other paraphernalic ephemera).

But what really makes this Sunshine State brewpub so special is its three separate backspace patios. A backdoored Jdub’s insignia leads to a covered back deck with two community tables, hanging Edison lights and red tiled pavers. Then, there’s an open air furnished yard with plastic furnishings and a trellis-enclosed side deck. It’s truly a handy party-spirited expanse.

Nerdy owner shows his love for modern popular culture, comedic films and rock music by pasting the bathroom wall with Goonies, Big Lebowski, Wayne’s World and Prince art.

Brewer Vince Falcone, lover of pilsners and West Coast IPA’s, tries to push the limits just a little with his consistent, rangy brews.

On my inspirational April ’19 afternoon journey, my wife, Karen, and I gather at the bar to consume some sassy suds.

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First up were the four flagship brews.

The most straightforward year-rounder, Poolside Kolsch, brought dry lemon-dropped orange rot and tannic green grape tartness to bready pale malts, leaving gentle mandarin orange, bergamot orange, tangelo and marmalade illusions in the sweetly soured citric recess.

Perfumed passionfruit and mango stayed subtle for light-bodied fruit ale, Passion Wheat, caressing its pale-malted cracked wheat spine before phenol hop tannins arrive.

Sharp grapefruit bittering and tangy orange peel juicing brightened Up Top! IPA, a brisk medium body picking up floral-daubed lemon zesting and lingered herbal hop resin.

Fudgy milk chocolate-sugared Bell Cow, a soothingly creamed dessert-bound porter, promoted Yoo-Hoo, Hershey’s chocolate, mud pie and chocolate cake sweetness over slightly charred hop bitterness.

After these permanent offerings I settled into the whole gamut of stylishly challenging elixirs.

Tart rose raspberry and lemony hibiscus adjuncts delicately affected hybridized Berliner Weisse, Mellow Pucker, leaving lightly acidic lime salting and sour lemongrass oiling on its vinous back end.

Another innovative Berliner Weisse, Cream-Sick Ale, sprinkled lemon-limed coriander saltiness upon zesty orange-peeled vanilla sweetness, embracing its Creamsicle likeness without dismissing the stylish acidic sourness.

Dry-hopped wheat ale, Psychedelic Sunday, grafted grassy-hopped lemony grapefruit bittering to its mildly sugar-spiced white wheat backbone.

Tranquil white-peppered floral spicing serenaded orange-bruised lemon zesting and ripe banana-peach subsidy above honeyed Graham Cracker sweetness for Buffalo Smile Saison.

Easygoing dry moderation, Dirty Bong H2O Double IPA, let rustic wet grain dankness seep into yellow grapefruit and navel orange tartness as well as wispy herbal spicing.

Sweet-tart Blueberry IPA loaded syrupy blueberries atop light citrus pining and sugared wheat malting for a frolicsome fruitful delight.

Lovely tropical fruited New England-styled IPA, Pastel Daydream Milkshake, regaled milk-soured lemon yogurt acidity with barley-floured gooseberry, melon rind, kiwi and mango tartness while retaining a creamy vanilla center.       

Soothingly soft-toned Bourbon Barrel-aged Damb Good Wee Heavy (with unassuming 13% ABV) fortified its dry bourbon foundation with oaken vanilla tannins and roasted chocolate malting, leaving rum-spiced burgundy and port tones to linger below the surface alongside tobacco leaf crisping.

Milk chocolate goodness draped bourbon vanilla sweetness and wintry nutmeg-anise spicing for decadent Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, an oaken rum-fermented full body deepened by molasses, cocoa, dark cherry, hazelnut and cola subsidies.

jdubsbrewing.com

CALUSA BREWING

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SARASOTA, FLORIDA

Taking up an entire gray warehouse a few miles off Sarasota’s bustling Route 75, CALUSA BREWING opened up in 2016. Utilizing a large left space for a silver tank-dominated 15 barrel system and several oak barrels (for sour ales and wood-aged elixirs), head brewer Jason Thompson crafts a veritable cornucopia of amazingly consistent and totally iconic traditional styles.

Entering the separate right side drive-in doored taproom in late April ’19, my wife and I take a seat at one of the seven tables serviced by the 12-seat U-shaped bar. Many oak barrles line the back wall while a beautiful mural with an octopus attacking a shipwrecked pirate takes up the aquamarine front wall. There’s even a billiard table.

During our one-hour pre-dinner sojourn, the NHL playoffs are shown on the back-walled TV as I imbibe four fine IPA’s and two contrasting stouts.

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Briskly hopped yellow grapefruit juicing led zestful moderate-medium body, Minus Zero IPA, letting barley-floured sourdough malting scour limey pineapple, mango, guava and melon rind tropicalia.

Perfectly centrist in appeal, stylishly straightforward V.I.B.E. Eagle IPA, connected tangy citric-pined Mosaic hop aromatics to bittersweet mango-peach-nectarine-influenced El Dorado hop niceties and lemony gooseberry-soured Moteuka hop tartness.

Zesty grapefruit and orange peel tanginess thrusted forth for cleanly refreshing Mosaic-Galaxy-hopped Naked Villainy Triple IPA, a surprisingly strong (10.5 ABV) medium body with barley-floured haze and light sugared spicing.

Its rival triple IPA, Mind Burst, employed new hop varieties (Sabro/ Denali 105) to sharpen its Citra grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering, leaving wet-grained herbal dankness at the back end.

Tarry black chocolate bittering and light wood tones gathered for King’s Creature English Export Stout, a dry espresso-finishing dark ale.

For dessert, outstanding Caribbean-styled Mountain & Sea Imperial Sweet Stout wrapped its richly creamed dark chocolate malting around toasted coconut, vanilla, hazelnut, sugared coffee and Graham Cracker alacrity. A perfect Floridian nightcap!

 

These are only a few of the 70-plus beers Calusa has created since its initial setup merely three years hence.

VINYL BREWING COMPANY

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HAMMONTON, NEW JERSEY

Inspired by the spirit of rock ‘n roll, VINYL BREWING COMPANY opened for business autumn ’17. One of three newly established breweries gracing the blueberry capital of Hammonton, halfway between Philly and Atlantic City, Vinyl is headed by entrepreneurial punk rockin’ head brewer, Jim Sacco, a former homebrewer who started crafting elixirs at nearby Three 3′s Brewing.

Inside a centrally located tan-bricked garage house with two glass overhead doors, the cement-floored open space features a 20-stooled serving station, a few surrounding tables, two blue brick-walled TV’s, various exposed pipes, the famous NYC-shirted John Lennon poster, walled album covers and a hard-to-find bottle and can beer collection at the middle metal beam.

Sacco’s suds are a fine array of limited edition one-offs and a few seasonal to year-round staples pulled from a small-batch three-barrel system. I settled in one rainy Friday evening in April ’19 to sample ten fine samples.

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Delectable flagship, creamily soft-tongued MRE Belgian Blonde, kicked things off with spritzy candi-sugared lemon zest and clove-spiced orange peel sweetness embellishing its dewy Vienna-malted oats base.

Next, dryly passionfruit-imbued saison, What Happened To The Passion, let limey lemon-juiced passionfruit, guava and gooseberry tartness infiltrate its leathery barnyard acridity.

Sweet lemon-dropped tartness picked up herbal residue for Fully Actualized Saison.

Sea-salted coriander spicing received puckering lime souring and lactic lemon yogurt caking to engage dry gose, Dag.

Lemon-juiced grapefruit bittering and light wood dryness scoured Citra-Amarillo-hopped cream ale, He Wears T-Shirts Sometimes.

Sunnily soft-toned DDH Advances Citra Pale Ale placed lemony grapefruit, mandarin orange and blood orange zest above bready malts.

Just as briskly easygoing, Souvenir IPA let lingered grapefruit bittering and wispy melon snips gain minor pine resin above sugared oats malting.

Stylishly straightforward Razor Burn IPA brought mild grapefruit-orange-tangerine tanginess to the fore above lightly spiced oats-wheat malting in a clean-watered setting.

Dry rye-malted Element 115 Honey Rye Porter soaked chalky cocoa-chocolate bittering in sinewy dark honey.

Milk-sugared brown chocolate contrasted dry cocoa powdering for VP The Punk Milk Stout, a lovely dark ale with fudged brownie undertones.

The ever-popular double dry-hopped Advances In Modern Technology went undiscovered.

www.vinylbrewingnj.com

 

DEATH OF THE FOX BREWING COMPANY

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CLARKSBORO, NEW JERSEY

New Jersey’s first coffee-beer brewhouse opened at the Villages of Whisky Mill in Clarksboro during August 2017. Playing tribute to the first hunting club in America, homebrewers Chuck Garrity and Dan Natkin initially partnered up because they liked German and Brit styled beers, leading to the creation of humble café-styled pub, DEATH OF THE FOX BREWING COMPANY.

An L-shaped 18 stool bar services three front-windowed tables, three mid-room tables, one community table and plush left side living room furnishings. Caged Edison lights hang from the high pipe-exposed aluminum ceiling and an emblematic Death of The Fox crest highlights the bright red right wall above six historic hunting portraits.

While the backroom brewery creates rangy regularly rotated fare and engaging one-off limited edition beers for the sixteen draught lines, a full menu of flavored coffees are also brewed here.

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During my two-hour Friday afternoon visit, April ’19, I consumed ten original elixirs with my wife before heading to Renault Winery & Golf Club for further relaxation.

Lemon-peeled coriander spiced up modest flagship witbier, Sunshine Patriot, a casual off-dry summertime refresher with wheat-cracked sugared wafer spine.

Another fine flagship offering, New England-styled IPA, Hazy Crazy Diamond, grazed lactic milk-souring barley flouring against lemon-dropped grapefruit, peach and mango tanginess over groaty rolled oats.

Straight-up citrus moderation, Overflow Double IPA, stayed stylishly conforming as its grapefruit-peeled orange tang and zesty lemon spritz picked up herbal piney hop resin.

Goose-berried Huell Melon hops provided mild guava, passionfruit and pomegranate tartness for Dual Hop -Sterling Melon IPA, leaving unexpected pastry-caked donut residual upon deceptive cinnamon sugaring in a happily offbeat manner.

Easygoing dry-bodied Hessian Session Kolsch brought sour lemon-rotted grape esters to crisp spelt-grained pale malting.

Brown-sugared dried fruiting remained low key for caramel-spiced Reynard’s Last Chance Doppelbock, a sedately plum-date-induced moderation with mossy earthen dewiness.

Roasted caramel malting picked up dry earthen nuttiness for middling Hulda’s Black Forest Schwarzbier.

Hazelnut-glazed brown chocolate sweetness absorbed delectable English brown ale, Hazelnut Hound, leaving cocoa-powdered dried fruiting on its nutty mocha resonation.

Smoky milk chocolate creaminess defined the nitrogenated version of Stout Heard Round The World.

My fave was wonderful winter warmer, Spruce Wintersteen, where spruce-tipped fern minting sidled milk chocolate richness and juniper berry bittering in a most refreshingly unconventional way.

www.deathofthefoxbrewing.com

TOMFOOLERY BREWING COMPANY

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HAMMONTON, NEW JERSEY

A half-mile from Vinyl Brewing at an old red brick warehouse down the block from residential housing in a bleak industrial setting, Hammonton’s TOMFOOLERY BREWING COMPANY came to fruition, December 2015.

The former bottling home of defunct Eastern Brewing Company, this rustic cement-floored high-ceilinged warehouse pub features a front-walled purple Tomfoolery banner, large backroom 7-barrel brew system and a separate right side room still being developed. The 12-stool U-shaped silver top bar holds sixteen-plus draught taps and six metal-leather tables furnish the spacious interior. A fridge carries canned product.

Traditionalist brewers Shawn Grigus (a former Egg Harbor brewing supplier) and his electrical engineering ‘alewife,’ Gayle D’Abate, have won many accolades for their well-defined standard fare.

I spent an hour-and-a-half happily perusing Tomfoolery’s cheekily self-defined ‘serious beers’ in late April ’19.

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Dry pilsner-malted oats lied beside herbal Saaz hops, spritzy citric licks and mild barnyard acridity for light-bodied Not So Old Bohemian Pilsner.

Sour-candied lemon drops indulged dryly pale-malted moderation, A.C Lager, a politely straightforward, highly sessionable flagship.

Seltzer-like lemon briskness and tangy orange spurts remained subtle above pleasant perfume-spiced herbal whims for cagey Kanoe Kolsch.

Mustily lemon-soured banana and clove tartness overrode the cracked wheat dryness of Orbit The Sun Hefeweizen, gaining sweet vanilla undertones.

A gentle pilsner malt base softened expressive Crack Concrete Belgian Tripel, leaving tingly lemon-sugared banana bubblegum sweetness and pithy grapefruit zest to contrast herbal fungi mustiness.

Out of the three IPA’s tried, each had its own simple distinctions. Easygoing New England IPA, Eastie Boys, placed tangy lemon-licked mandarin orange and navel orange juicing above light dry wood tones.

Brisk Citra-Mosaic-hopped Sun Grown IPA brought blood orange, grapefruit rind and lemon zest passion to astringent hop resin.

Sorta blending the two, Take Flight Double IPA left floral citrus spicing upon mellow piney hop bittering.

Dewy dried fruiting subsumed Bob’s Bottle House Bock, keeping its sweet caramel malting subtle.

Nutty espresso dryness countered milk-sugared chocolate malting for  smoothly creamed Feck Off! Irish Stout.

Peat-smoked brown chocolate fronted S.M. Alder Imperial Smoked Porter, a cocoa-milked dark ale with sedate coffee roast.

Though it’s only limited edition, Tomfoolery’s second version of Wee Bit O’ Milis (2019) utilized honey-glazed Irish potato candies to sweeten doughy sugar cookie, vanilla bean, cinnamon and coconut subtleties in a most mellow way. 

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