ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY
After visiting bucolic Allaire State Park for a terse hike, my wife and I happened upon DARK CITY BREWING CO., Asbury Park’s first craft brewery. Taking hold in 2016, Dark City provides a steady stream of consistently rewarding brews handcrafted in the closed-off back brewing space by reserved zymurgist, Steve Bohacik. On my sunny March ’20 expedition, a gamut of rangy stylistic fare captures my palate.
Set in a window-laden tan building along the increasingly popular Main Street strip, Dark City’s elongated wood lacquered serving station (with twelve draught handles) centers the sparsely decorated open space. A bright blue right-walled jellyfish mural adds pizzazz to the pallet-wooded furnishings, saucer-like lighting and pipe-exposed high ceiling. Several community tables fill out the wide expanse (with 2 TV’s on opposing sides).
Grassy lemon-dried moderation, Circuit Kolsch, stayed crisply clean and deliberately understated, leaving compost-wafted raw grain moisture on wispy citric hop tartness.
Dryly brisk Brass Ring Wheat Ale brought citric IPA fruiting and woody Amarillo hop herbage to its floral-bound wheat grass base.
Bound by its sharp orange-peeled grapefruit rind tang an sunny Mosaic-hopped lemon zesting, Blue Bishop IPA with Blueberries let docile blueberry pureeing gain sourer-than-sweet alacrity.
Vinous balsamic-soured green grape esters and spritzy lime zest stayed mellow for white-wined alternative, Mixed Use Sour Ale.
Dewy peat and toffee-spiced dried fruiting enhanced the caramelized brown chocolate sweetness of serenading dessert treat, 1871 Barleywine, a sturdily welcoming strong ale with tertiary sherry, coffee and vanilla snips.
Creamy dark chocolate syruping draped dry bourbon pleasantry and mossy peat for softly creamed barrel-aged anniversary blend, DCBC3, an impressive 13% strong ale with fudged cocoa brownie resilience and bitter vanilla beaning deepening its overall intensity.