Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

WET TICKET BREWING

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RAHWAY, NEW JERSEY

Right in downtown Rahway not far Union County Performing Arts Center and a historic Jersey reformatory, WET TICKET BREWING started slinging suds at its Main Street location December ’16.

Inside a store-windowed neighborhood shop, Wet Ticket’s friendly serving center belies its huge gray-floored operational brewing backspace (with three community tables between tanks, stout barrels and kegs).

There are fourteen taps at the rustic stainless steel-topped, metal-seated, L-shaped serving station while the opposing left wall features a surfboard and snowboard and mod art. Front window seating is also available at the friendly town pub.

Brewer Tim Pewitt’s brusquely robust stylistic endeavors included two yummy stouts and a porter alongside three briskly clean IPA’s, a distinct kolsch and easygoing pilsner this sunny February ’20 afternoon.

 

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Sessionable clear-paled light body, Perfectly Played Pils, placated its gentle oats-dried pilsner malting, delicate maize-dried leathering and sweet rice nicety with modestly herbaceous Noble hop musk.

Just as smoothly tranquil, Kolsch Ale, sustained a crisply clean watered flow with subtle lemon-dried tartness linked to freshly mown grassy hops, mild lemongrass herbage and frisky fungi fringe in a briskly incisive manner.

Well-balanced amber-bronzed Imperial IPA, Dream Ticket, thrusted forth with zesty grapefruit and orange peel sunshine, allowing perfume-oiled pineapple, peach and tangerine tropicalia to seep inside dewy pale malts.

Polite amber-hazed New England IPA, Fully Juiced, revealed zesty grapefruit, orange and pineapple vibrancy for its wispy vanilla yogurt milked souring.

Lactose-aided NEIPA, Galaxy Shaker, lifted salted mango-grapefruit zesting and floral-tinged pineapple-peach-passionfruit tang above vanilla-creamed pale malt sugaring (leaving an herbal tinge on the juicy fruited finish).

Richly dark-roast nuttiness anchored Pecan Porter, contrasting cedar-seared walnut char with maple molasses-sugared tobacco roast over dark chocolate bittering.

Black-peppered cocoa nibs serenaded Mexican Chocolate Stout, a maple oats-sugared mocha treat with ashen hop bittering and warming cinnamon cocoa finish.

Nutty cocoa-driven Imperial Oatmeal Stout let sweet milk chocolate goodness and maple oats sugaring contrast embittered Blackstrap molasses-draped dark chocolate syruping in fulsome mocha setting.

BOLERO SNORT BREWERY

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CARLSTADT, NEW JERSEY

After gypsy brewing at Jersey’s High Point, Czig Meister and Alementary since January 2013, BOLERO SNORT BREWERY entrepreneur Robert Olson finally expanded his empire to include a large, high ceilinged, 16,000 square-foot, aluminum Industrial building within the Meadowlands in Carlstadt.

Since Bolero Snort’s at the doorstep of Giants Stadium and the horse track, getting curious brewpub enthusiasts thru the door won’t be a problem. Olson’s varied, oft-experimental beer designs span the stylish spectrum as offbeat hybrids, barrel-aged endeavors, whimsical one-offs, cocktail knockoffs and sour ales with bovine taglines get interspersed with more traditional fare.

A 24-tap L-shaped serving station at the gray cement-floored, garage-doored, right side ground level featuring three TV’s, barreled tables and Edison lights is situated next to the abundant open space holding the vast brewing equipment.

An upstairs lodge (with ten draught taps and three picnic tables) overlooks the brewing operations that includes a huge grain silo, several sterling silver tanks, kettle sour barrels, a canning line and fermenters atop a silver-and-red floor seemingly dedicated to Olson’s high school, Bergen Catholic.

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My wife and I perused Bolero Snort, February 1, 2020, two weeks after its snowy grand opening.

Muskily dry light body, Hooffa, a heady barnyard-leathered German-styled pilsner with herbal cologne-perfumed lemon licks and dark floral remnants.

Lemony pineapple-candied grapefruit zest crowded spicy pale malts and grassy hop astringency for IPA-tinged wheat beer, Grazer, relegating earthen dewy mossing and cellared fungi mustiness atop a delicate cracked wheat spine.

Minty watermelon tartness fortified Watermelon + Mint Grazer, a nifty spinoff with melon rind earthiness, sour lemondrop whim and recessive vodka-ginned alcohol nip.

Mild ‘hoppy ale,’ BullYum, brought lightly heated Thai chili peppering to ginger-minted lime dryness and latent green tea-like bittering.

Salty lemon-limed Margarita knockoff, Coconut BullYum, stayed mild as wispy Thai chili peppering serenaded limey coconut tartness and subtle ginger herbage.

 

Maple -sugared cherry and vanilla sweeten Cherry + Vanilla Bu’ll Be Bock, a lactic dessert-like confection with mildly pungent citric hop astringency rubbing against dark cherry-pureed caramel malting.

Lemon-spiced grapefruit, orange and pineapple zest fronted Hello…My Bull Pen Is…, a Citra-hopped moderation with celery watered crisping and soft dry wood tones.

Conditioned on peanut butter, amber-hazed NEIPA, Dirty SnowBull Fights, brought milk-sugared vanilla to lactic yogurt-soured pineapple tartness, yellow grapefruit rind bittering, zesty orange peel juicing and piney underbrush, leaving only a meager peanut-oiled influence.

bolerosnort.com

DOWNRIVER BREWING CO.

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STROUDSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Just across the Delaware River off Route 80 west of Jersey, DOWNRIVER BREWING CO. opened in November 2019, becoming Stroudsburg’s first brewery since 1937. Situated downtown near the Sherman Theatre in the back of Main Street Plaza, Downriver retains a rustic bohemian charm.

Its embossed silver ceiling tiles recall pre-Prohibition times while the lacquered wood top 10-stool bar (with antiquated aluminum siding) matches the panel floor’s unrefined splendor. There are also patio-benched community tables. Local art displays cover the front walls and live entertainment rocks the house on weekends. A gaming room back space keeps kids entertained.

Owner Steven Brancato claims brewer Matt Dussor’s beer recipes put him ‘over the edge’ and when the opportunity came to begin brewing operations, the two were readily energized.

The left side open space contains the brewing area where several cool local beer bottles dot the wall.

On my one-hour January ’20 stopover, I consume six homemade brews alongside corn-sugared, tonic-watered hard seltzer, Fizzy Fellow, a lemon-limed malt liquor with herbal respite.

Downriver’s lightest offering, Sweet Mitosis Cream Ale, spread corn-flaked Maris Otter toasting, dry maize crisping and mild hay-like Fuggle-hopped herbage across spritzy lemon zest.

Bettering Killians and Blue Moon, amber ale/ witbier mix, That’s That Red Wit brought lemon-pitted orange tanginess, tingly coriander spicing and floral-perfumed herbal hops to sweet cereal graining.

Sweet caramel-malted fig spicing and mildly creamed vanilla snips contrasted lemon-soured fungi cellaring for amiable moderate-medium-bodied Fingerhakein Weizenbock.

Effervescent orange, grapefruit, peach and tangerine tanginess contrasted less dramatic guava-gooseberry souring and tart lemon custard illusions while Vienna-malted honeyed oats consumed Johnny Wood Boy Imperial IPA.

Lovely coffee roasted bitterness gained black-malted dark chocolate tones for Masters Of Nothing Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout, a robust dark ale.

Milk-sugared coffee creaming and white chocolate sweetness gathered alongside wheat-flaked biscuit malts to validate luscious dessert-like holiday stout, I Don’t Have A Log, probably my fave this lovely winter afternoon.

HERE & NOW BREWING COMPANY

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HONESDALE, PENNSYLVANIA

Right in the heart of Honesdale, the valleyed ‘birth place of America’s railroad,’ HERE & NOW BREWING COMPANY occupies a historic downtown red brick building. Salvaging the rustic charm of yesteryear while making well-balanced beers and fabulous stone-oven pizza (plus casual appetizers and entrees), Here & Now opened July ’17.

A pre-prohibition feel is created by the dark grey windowed frontage, exposed brick and pipe interior, old wood floors, bronze tin ceiling and moody lighting, preserving the glorious antiquity of this bucolic Northeast Pennsylvania community.

The wood furnished bar, stools, tables and chairs match the elegant countryside warmth. The left side stripped plaster wall features colorful art and the open kitchen extends to the rear.

Minion brewer, Roy Holm, works the seven-barrel steam system and one barrel experimental tank.

Alongside the worthy brews, Here & Now’s proud of its farm-to-table food from scratch and liquor-infused drinks.

This was my second visit to Here & Now, January ’20.

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Approachable flagship, Sunset Silhouettes Pale Ale, gathered IPA-like piney fruiting for its floral-herbed Columbus hop astringency. Mild orange, grapefruit, pineapple, peach and tangerine tanginess spread across light wood tones and sugary pale malting.

Serene wet-hopped saison, Solace, let tart pine-dried yellow fruit spicing prod earthen  barnyard acridity.

Crisp pilsner-malted moderation, Pitter Patter Patersbier, brought floral perfumed saison-like citrus zest to mild cider souring and leathery hay-like rusticity.

Spicily citric Imperial IPA, Unheeded Warning, caressed its lemony grapefruit and orange tanginess with floral, herbal and vegetal daubs.

Effervescent moderate-bodied New England-styled IPA, Pineapple Expressed, delivered mildly spiced pineapple juicing to sweet-tart mandarin orange, mango, papaya and tangerine undertones as well as lightly embittered yellow grapefruit zest.

Brown-breaded sour nuttiness and mossy compost soiling combined with mild herbal spiced Nugget hops for interestingly offbeat Bat Patterns Porter.

Modeled after Bat Patterns, earthen nutty Brown Ale, Paint The Town, gained a sour edge to engage its lightly charred hop roast.

hereandnowbrewing.com

HOPPING EAGLE BREWING CO.

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HAWLEY, PENNSYLVANIA

Thirty miles east of Scranton in the waterfalls-bound small town of Hawley, HOPPING EAGLE BREWING CO. opened for business August 29, 2019 inside abundant gray-stoned, castle-like Hawley Silk Mill.

Utilizing a rustic nano system, Hopping Eagle featured nine taps and one nitro draught during my one-hour January ’20 stopover.  A pristine warehouse space with mahogany-fronted L-shaped central bar, slat wood floor, high ceilings, exposed pipes and mason jarred Edison lights, its wood paneled back deck adds further seating to the interior’s six small tables.

Crafting rangy traditional fare with well-balanced appeal, Hopping Eagle’s friendly suds never go too far-out to please distinguished contemporary imbibers as well as curious mainstream cats.

I tried all nine offerings while speaking to co-brewer Ronnie Passaro just before dinnertime.

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Cleanly dry mineral-grained Bald Eagle Blonde Ale (the base beer for fruit-derived offshoots Raspberry, Blood Orange, Apricot and Pink Guava) let corny maize grist ingrain its perfume-hopped lemon spritz and herbal vegetal spell in a pleasing moderate-bodied manner.

Freshly spruce-tipped grapefruit and orange juicing pervaded piney wood lacquer and white peppered herbage for Beyond The Pines, a decisive offbeat IPA collaboration with local brewing buddies Log Tavern.

Mildly amber-hazed, lactic-derived, yogurt-soured Peregrine NEIPA allowed wood lacquered gooseberry, guava and white grape tartness seize upon moderately bitter grapefruit-orange rind zesting above sugary pale malting.

Succulent brown-sugared dried fruiting sweetened above musky fungi mustiness for Lord FarQUAD, as caramelized raisin, prune and plum rummaged thru well-hidden 9.8% ABV booziness.

Vibrantly upbeat charmer, Uncle Phil’s Double IPA plied candied orange, tart pineapple and salted mango to dank pine resin, leaving tannic hop astringency on its fruitful frolic.

Mild jalapeno burn seeps into woody Amarillo hop bittering above dry pale malts for Hoppin’ Jalapeno Pale Ale, leaving black and bell peppering on latent zesty lemon misting.

Sedately milk chocolatey Tawny Owl Brown Ale brought hop-charred assertion to caramel-burnt hazelnut, pecan and walnut illusions.

Peanut-buttered blackberry jam contrasted charred hop bittering for Mini-Mash Series: PB&J Time!, a nifty vegemite sandwich-inspired Imperial Stout with tertiary black grape, black cherry and snips daubing its salted peanut roast.

Easygoing Cocoa Raven Porter with Raspberries – on nitro loaded black patent-malted dark chocolate mustiness atop tart raspberry puree, leaving wispy blackberry, boysenberry and black grape snips on the lightly embittered cocoa nibs finish.

hoppingeaglebrewing.com

FOX N HARE BREWING COMPANY

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PORT JERVIS, NEW YORK

Located in the heart of downtown Port Jervis on Front Street, FOX N HARE BREWING COMPANY came to fruition during 2016. A renovated ground-floored public house, its 20-seat central wood bar services the left side dining area and opposing brew room (with large basement-leveled silver brew tanks peeking out).

Fox N Hare’s cavernous rusticity, exposed brick and pipes and storied brown ceiling tiles create an authentic Old World charm while a beautiful back-walled green and yellow-hued Fox N Hare mural completes the score.

Head brewer, Sean Donnelly, cut his teeth brewing at acclaimed Queens-based Singlecut Beersmiths while working in Manhattan bartending for iconoclastic beer joint, Ginger Man. He then relocated to Port Jervis to start this worthy venture.

Besides featuring a dozen tapped beers, there’s a juicer at work for Sunday brunch this snow-filled January ’20 sojourn.

Using locally sourced ingredients for its balanced brews and efficient pub fare, Fox N Hare also benefits from the town’s amazingly consistent soft-watered Delaware River minerality.

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I grabbed a spot at the brewroom’s modern art-displayed side wall counter to sample seven tasty suds while watching football playoffs on the big screen TV.

Lemon-dropped banana and clove tartness secured Hillside Harvest Hefeweizen, a casual moderate body with salt-licked herbal nuances and soapy mandarin orange zesting.

Stylishly subtle New England IPA, Hop On The Bus, placed sour guava, tart pineapple, bitter grapefruit and tangy mandarin orange alongside waxy crayon soaping as well as teensy peach-tangerine-mango snips to contrast its resinous pine tones.

Moderately dry medium-bodied Hop Forward IPA brought oak-pined woodiness to its bitter grapefruit and orange pith zing as mild floral herbage sets in and tertiary clementine, peach, papaya and pear illusions flutter.

While almond-roasted dark chocolate consumed burnt-toasted Night Shadow Imperial Stout, its 2018 cellared version gained dark cocoa bittering, charred nuttiness and sour dried fruiting to envelop the musty basement mossing.

Aged on Tanzanian Peaberry coffee beans, Dark Pastures Milk Stout allowed lactic milk chocolate sweetness to spread across its espresso-dried java interior, leaving wispy cedar-chipped almond and pureed black cherry snips in its moderately rich mocha wake.

PATRIOT ACRES FARM BREWERY

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SUDLERSVILLE, MARYLAND

A snack-sized shack smack dab in a rural animal farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, PATRIOT ACRES became the region’s first farm brewery around 2017. Entrepreneurial married brewers, Brian and Shauna Truitt, craft some of the best soft-toned suds you’ll ever experience. Brian Truitt, an Army vet first compelled to unwind by basement brewing, soon expanded his scope and opened this ambitious family-owned 100-acre nanobrewery thereafter.

Enjoying a wide variety of beers gave the Truitt’s a keen sense for Patriot Acre’s stylishly traditional recipes. Adjoining the rustic pub (with eight draught handles and back-roomed brewtanks) is an enclosed deck with heaters. There’s also outside seating amongst the free range chickens, sheep, goat, alpacas and guardian sheepdogs.

A few ducks sit at the table behind the swivel-seated wood-topped serving station alongside several happy patrons while I sample seven tidily crisp handcrafted beers and one fine cider during a beautifully sunny seventy-degree January ’20 afternoon.

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For starters, sweet champagne yeast fortified Fastcar Hard Pear Cider, lacing its candied apple tartness with syrupy Bosc pear splendor.

Casual light-bodied pilsner, Thunderbird Light, contrasted wispy maize-dried barnyard astringency with corn-sugared pale malting in a delicate herbal hop setting.

Mildly caramel-toasted graining subtly sweetened the herbal hop stead of easygoing lager, Olivers Amber.

Dewy peat moss saddled bi-coastal Goffer English IPA, a muskily mineral grained British styling with sweet Maris Otter malts securing Americanized citric-piney hop bittering (a la brisk lemon, grapefruit and orange peel zesting).

Even better, ultra-smooth fruit juiced IPA, Mugatu’s Mosaic, brought peachy mango, grapefruit, orange, pineapple and tangerine tanginess to the dry-hopped ‘Mosaic’ above sugary pale malts.

Earning the title of ‘first beer brewed onsite,’ tantalizingly sweet Stormy Stout let dark chocolate syruping drape maple molasses oats and subsidiary vanilla, espresso, fudge and cocoa niceties with confectionary precision.

Using Stormy Stout as its base, peanut butter-oiled nitro stout, Brian’s Peanut Butter Delight, brought mild chocolate-vanilla creaming and wispy black cherry/ black grape nuances to its PB&J likability.

For a solid sendoff, light-roast coffee tones engaged delightful java alternative, One Eyed Penny Coffee Porter, leaving milky espresso and café au lait undertones upon the soily earthen bottom.

patriotacresfarmbrewery.com

THOMPSON ISLAND BREWING COMPANY

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REHOBOTH BEACH, DELAWARE

Celebrating Coastal Delaware lifestyle, Rehoboth Beach-bound THOMPSON ISLAND BREWING COMPANY is a fantastic fun adventure for family, friends and beer lovers alike. Specializing not only in a fine selection of well-balanced rotating beers, but also award-winning fried chicken and wood-grilled steaks, this copious grain-siloed Route 1 landmark (one mile off the beach) features a turf-floored partially covered front deck and barn-walled back deck beer garden (with 10-seat fire pit, bocce board and ping pong tables) that surround a spacious high ceiling interior.

Inside Thompson Island Brewing, a U-shaped bar centers the large dining space that includes an open kitchen partly covered by a center-walled US flag, enormous right side aluminum brew tanks and extra back dining area.

My wife and I get warmed by the heated and enclosed back deck patio next to the beer garden on this mild January ’20 evening.

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The fried chicken dish went well with the five rangy beers I imbibed.

Lemony mandarin orange and coriander brightened Wave Check, a snazzy light-bodied witbier with lemongrass herbage, light vanilla creaming and white wheat spine.

Ambitious New England IPA, Fresh: Passionfruit, Mango, Tangerine regaled pulpy mango, grapefruit and tangerine juicing for its lactose-aided passionfruit yogurt souring and mild oats base, sporting latent orange-peeled nectarine, peach, pineapple and papaya sweetness.

Perfumed floral fruiting contrasted dankly resinous piney hops for copper-hued Maximum Effort Triple IPA, leaving grapefruit rind, orange peel, pineapple and peach tones upon the spiced-up pale malt bottom.

Mildly creamed dark chocolate syruping drapes milk-sugared coffee and toffee-candied sweetness for Cosmic Cow Milk Stout, but its tarry wood-charred dried fruiting goes beyond stylish resolve in a good way.

Lovely digestif, Canyons Imperial Stout, brought Blackstrap molasses sapping to milked coffee and dark cocoa tones over its maple oats bottom.

Crisply clean Little Friday Helles Lager, easy drinkin’ Loblolly Blonde Ale and two sour ales were also available this calm winter night.

thompsonislandbrewing.com

 

BACKSHORE BREWING COMPANY

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OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND

Right on the boardwalk in the heart of Ocean City, tiny 10th Street shanty saloon, BACKSHORE BREWING COMPANY, came into existence during 2015. Relying on a small-batch nano system to pump out six draughts at a time for thirsty beachcombers, this cozily rustic shingled shack features eight interior seats and a small wood patio (with surf board-topped tables, small community benches and vintage Volkswagen bus).

Pinched in next door to Hammerheads Bar & Grill (whose cozy seating gets utilized by Backshore during winter months), the moderately ranged traditional brews available on this sunny Saturday in January ’20 never disappointed. Shandys and ‘Moonshine Cocktails’ were also available.

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Lightly creamed light-bodied softy, Boardwalk Blonde, left mild lemon zest upon delicate herbal hop astringency and celery-watered vegetalia.

Mild dried-fruited nuttiness engaged Shoot The Glass Doppelbock, leaving tobacco-roasted fig, date, pecan and brown bread illusions above its dank earthen bottom.

Pleasant dry-hopped IPA, Maclunkey, brought wispily spiced grapefruit, orange and peach tones to mild pine resin and salty herbal wisps, contrasting its softly creamy vanilla sweetness.

Subtle brown-sugared pecan glaze contrasted sour fig above tobacco-roasted cereal graining for dewy Downtown Sugar Brown, a  moderate English-styled ale with golden brown toasting.

Chocolatey peanut butter-oiled molasses porter, Anybody Want A Peanut?, gained sweet molasses breading and spiced toffee daubs.

Mellow caramelized bourbon warmth and Scotch whiskey tones permeated Admiral Jackbar Barleywine, a lusciously sedate 11.6% ABV barrel-aged elixir with wispy toffee, rum, pecan and vanilla undertones.

As I was about to leave, Backshore tapped brisk piney grapefruit-peeled medium body, The Professor , a juicy-fruited IPA relegating its dry wood tones and gentle caramel malting.

www.backshorebrew.com

SAGE ALLEY BREWERY & GRILLE

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COOPERSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Just seven miles Southeast of Allentown in the tiny town of Coopersburg, SAGE ALLEY BREWERY & GRILLE opened during October ’18 and expanded to include the separate Corner Tap Room a few doors down a year hence. Inspired by the small town charm of Germany’s historic breweries, Sage Alley delivers a well rounded selection of mostly traditional beer styles.

A cozy English-styled pub residing in a restored white-walled Victorian house with low ceiling and 14-seat central bar, the lacquer wood-floored brewery and grille featured a large tile-floored back patio with all-weather furniture and heated enclosure. A loungy alcove sits across the red brick hearth just behind the bar and brew tanks were located in the rear.

The blue stucco corner pub refined Sage Alley’s overall quaint elegance. Its comfortable front room offered a ten-draught shiplap wooded serving station with cafeteria tables, a blackboard beer list and ten draught handles. But it’s the private backroom that really  captivates. A carpeted living room with plush carpeting, upholstered furnishing, a right side hearth and large-screen TV, my wife and I settled into the round table before getting dinner at the grille.

 

 

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At the cornered blue stucco pub, I grabbed these five offerings while watching Army-Navy football game in the carpeted lounge during December ’19.

Muskily grained Crack Of Dawn Light Lager gained fizzy lemon briskness above placid corn-dried pale malting and acrid hop herbage.

Vivacious amber-cleared Wise Crack West Coast IPA draped floral citrus sweetness above grassy hop astringency, light peppered herbage and spicy pale malting as its lemony orange-grapefruit tanginess strengthens.

Dry-hopped yellow-hazed New England IPA, Freyburg, brought sunny Mosaic-hopped orange and grapefruit juicing plus tingly lemon lime souring to lactose-infused oats.

Brisk lemony grapefruit juicing boosted perfumed honeysuckle sweetness for lactose-aided Making Beer Great Again Imperial IPA, leaving cantaloupe, peach and pineapple illusions above its mild oats-flaked base.

Creamily soft-toned Cattle Drive Milk Stout let cocoa-dried black malt roastedness settle beside dark chocolate chalking.

Afterwards, settled into the yellow domicile-like gastropub two doors down to soak up six more sassy suds.

Light grain musk saddled Sage Alley Pilsner, letting grassy hay-dried earthiness sink into perfume-hopped pilsner malting.

Stylishly dryer Coopers Citrus Wit merged lemony banana-clove tartness with chamomile, coriander and salted popcorn illusions above bready oats-flaked corn malts.

Champagned dry hops and desiccated orange souring suited Brut Mimosa IPA, countering grassy astringency with sugary malt spicing.

There was also an unexpected champagne lilt to enigmatic Chardonnay-wined Belgian tripel, Monk Juice, a weirdly designed elixir with murky white grape esters, depleted banana-clove tartness and cidery sharpness.

Aged on vanilla, lactic Coffee Vanilla Pumpkin Ale let milked coffee, dry cocoa and roasted tobacco outdo its mild pumpkin spicing (and bittersweet vanilla bid).

Black coffee bittering overloaded acrid Irish-styled dark ale Blackout Imperial Stout, leaving sea-salted toffee, dark cocoa and Bakers chocolate illusions upon the back end.

HOP DADDY BREWING COMPANY

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ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

Right in the heart of downtown Allentown, ample beer-pizza watering hole HOP DADDY BREWING COMPANY came to life November ’19. Part of Lehigh Valley’s ambitious brewery Renaissance, Hop Daddy had only two of their own handcrafted brews on tap during my December ’19 stopover, but the homemade pizza was fine and so were the local guest brews.

Inside the red brick-fronted public house, a 20-seat slate top bar with two draught stations each serving twelve lines featured three walled TV’s, exposed ceiling pipes and silver tin ceiling tiles. A few Industrial wood-metal dining tables and bar stools crowded the storefront. A back kitchen served authentic wood-fired pizza and a beautiful beer keg mural hovered above the gas-powered oven.

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A sterling right side patio (see above) works as a pleasant community-tabled beer garden with outdoor firepit. Furthermore, there was a reverse osmosis brewing filtration in the concrete-floored speakeasy back room and a plush carpeted mezzanine lounge space with couches, tables and foosball table.

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As for the proprietary beer, tropical Hop Daddy Batch #1 Pale Ale brought zestful grapefruit tanginess and lemony orange juicing to herbal hop astringency, dry pale malting and crisp mineral graining.

Busy dry porter, Hop Daddy Midnight Rye Der, let raw Blackstrap molasses bittering sink into dark chocolate-buttered pumpernickel rye breading as charcoal hops seared dried black cherry snips.

I also quaffed Sly Fox Helles Lager and Vulpulin IPA plus Bonn Place Mooey ESB (full reviews in Beer Index) while watching college football this cold wintry afternoon.

 

TURTLE SWAMP BREWING

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Tucked into the friendly confines of Boston’s Jamaica Plain section (one-half mile South of Sam Adams Brewery), TURTLE SWAMP BREWING came into existence during May 2017. Led by former Harpoon brewer, Nicholas Walther, this L-shaped fortress features a roomy red-bricked patio, overhead-doored tap room (with community tables), rustic left side lounge (with cozy loft) and enormous right side brew room.

Expressionist art lines the tap room walls where several draught lines serve a rounded selection of fine brews utilizing locally sourced ingredients.

I speak to assistant brewer Tanner Cobb while downing five brews with my wife on an early Saturday afternoon, December ’19.

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First up, easygoing All Ears Golen Ale let dry grassy-hopped astringency and tart lemondrop zesting gain corny sourdough malting to its white breaded bottom.

Next, dry herbal lemon spicing perked up 02130 Copper Kolsch, an amber grained moderation with mild dry-hopped bittering.

Cascade-hopped citrus juicing lent a quirky twist to Nik’s (English) Bitter, leaving dry lemony orange illusions upon its dewy earthen mossing and toasted bread spine.

Dry peanut-shelled walnut, sweet hazelnut and caffeination cola imbued black chocolate-fronted JP Porter, picking up tertiary cocoa, coffee and caramel latte tones at the nutty mocha finish.

Sweet brown-sugared molasses dripped over pumpkin pie-spiced butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet potato illusions for Skwashbuckle Imperial Porter, a zanily profuse Halloween treat with dark-fruited cinnamon, ginger and clove illusions as well as mild fern, cocoa and pecan snips.