DENVILLE, NEW JERSEY
Named after an unused Revolutionary War hideaway, FORT NONSENSE BREWING COMPANY opened in 2018. Inside an inconspicuous red brick shelter along Route 10, this cozy nanobrewery offers intriguingly indeterminate flagships and stylishly varied one-off brews.
Run by three beer lovin’ brothers, including head brewer Andrew Aslanian, the ambitious pint-sized pub (with small back patio beer garden) crafts mostly easygoing fare meant to melt on the tongue.
I take a seat at the oaken wood-barred tap room to sample seven satisfyingly soft-toned suds listed on the blackboard menu.
It’s mid-September ’20, so I tried placid Octoberfest, Unsinn Machen (defined as ‘fooling around’) first. Its cheerfully refreshing red-orange-yellow fruiting stayed subtle engaging autumnal leafy hop foliage and mild roasted tobacco crisping over dainty Vienna malt sugaring.
Soft-watered Farmhouse Funk with Strawberry (an offshoot of tropical Golden Berry Farmhouse Funk) plied lemondrop-candied strawberry tartness to white wined whims and grassy hop herbage.
Then came the entourage of stylishly differentiated India Pale Ales.
Delicate Cascade-hopped Harvest IPA brought honey-spiced lemony orange zest to mild wet-hopped pining.
Tart green grape esters, orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and pine-lacquered restraint sat atop creamy crystal-pale malts for dry-hopped West Coast-styled Great Falls IPA.
Juicy NEIPA, Regolith: Tranquility Base, retained a candied grapefruit, peach and tangerine tartness and light wood-toned hop bittering above mildly creamed pale-sugared malts.
Best bet: Fully concentrated fruit juicing intensified Lacto By Nonsense. Conditioned on mango and tangerine, its lactic fructose-loaded front end amps up the lemon-juiced salted mango and pureed tangerine density, pineapple-like lulu tanginess, sour-candied Sweet-Tart pucker and vinous white wining. Though its sweaty sox aromatics seems off-putting, the highly acidic tropical fruiting makes a powerful statement.
For a late afternoon sendoff, traditional porter, Arnold’s Tavern, allowed light roast coffee pleasantries to ride above dark chocolate, walnut and hazelnut illusions.
Revisited Fort Nonsense March ’21 to try one trusty salted sour and a yellow-bellied java stout.
Sea-salted La Vie En Gose allowed tartly sour-candied strawberry/ raspberry adjuncts to gain bubbly Seltzer-like fizz (picking up mild passionfruit, cranberry and gooseberry wisps).
Mellow cocoa-nibbed Peruvian/ Costa Rican coffee tones subtly enjoined brown-sugared maple syruping and light vanilla creaming for You Think You Know Me Golden Stout, an understated pastry treat with cinnamon-spiced Horchata, toasted marshmallow and spiced rum licks contrasting phenol hop astringency.