MANAHAWKIN, NEW JERSEY
Seeking to become part of the ‘next wave in craft beer,’ beachcombing beer travelers Donn Hoosack and Todd Hunt opened fertile ale haven, MANAFIRKIN BREWING CO., on May 21, 2017. Utilizing milled whole grain in all their ales, this low-key olive green-warehoused Jersey Shore hideaway is stationed in Manahawkin – just ten miles north of Little Egg Harbor’s Pinelands Brewing.
Providing a steadily growing quantity of small-batch elixirs, Manafirkin boasts twenty available draught selections on my early June ’18 stopover.
After entering thru the large overhead door entrance, my wife and I (plus daughter) grab seats at the tree-barked L-shape bar lining the mid-sized interior. Each interestingly designed tap handle features trinketed tradesmen tools. A refrigerator with crowlers-to-go also enjoins the bar area and two TV’s carry sports networks. Silver brew tanks fill the rear and a colorful mounted surfboard on the ocean blue back wall captures the sporting islandic feel of the nearby Atlantic shoreline.
I got two sampler trays (10 brews) plus a pint of a zesty hefeweizen and fantastic tripel.
One truly fine English-styled moderation, Taddy Sesh English Mild, truly captured the classic profile. Its delicately balanced rye-dried peat moss earthiness and buttery baked breading settled alongside musky fungi, roasted tobacco and unripe prune illusions.
Sessionable Disc Head Pale Ale stayed dry as pilsner-malted baked breading and hay-like astringency gained mildly spiced hops and a musky cologne tinge that peaked alongside carbolic lemon-limed zesting.
Lemony banana-clove-coriander liveliness regaled slightly herbal Ouija Hefeweizen, letting sugared wheat flakes sweeten the backend.
Lupulin ‘hop sap’ and parched wood tones anchor Ju Sea Shore IPA, leaving a mild alcohol burn upon lemony orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and tertiary mango, nectar and tangerine sweetness.
Assertive Strawberry Puree IPA resonated with sharp piney hops piercing bitter grapefruit, lemon and orange rind juiciness while the strawberry adjunct sits back in the mix.
Sour fig, mild banana and earthen dew draped mild dunkelweizen, Uncle Dunk.
Perhaps my favorite, divine Trippin’ Monkey Tripel elegantly combined sun-dried raisin inertia, banana-chipped clove spicing, glazed pecan snicker and peach-apricot-pear whims with its crystal pale-malted candi sugaring above mossy earthen dewiness.
Dry Peace Pipe Porter let dark-roasted black chocolate smooth out above its raw molasses oats base, picking up casual coffee and cocoa nuances.
Molasses-sapped dark chocolate and sugared oats sweetened Alentine’s Day Porter before serene coffee notes provided lightly bitter contrast.
Black chocolate and powdered cocoa consume carafe-malted Lights Out London Dark Lager, leaving dry fig tones in its earthen wake.
Distinct Columbian coffee elevates Wake The Firk Up! Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Its lovely coffee roast serenades moderate nut-charred hop bittering.
For a tart changeup, salted lactobacillus acidity softly enhanced subtle kumquat fruiting for Quat’s Going On Sour Ale, a mild tropical delight made sourer by mango, kiwi and guava notions.
During my mid-September ’20 Saturday afternoon excursion, discovered another nine Manafirkin brews, each proving to be truly fascinating esoteric fare.
Earthen watermelon rind adjunct subtly serenaded tart lemon salting for Shake Your Melon, a welcoming summertime shandy.
Dewy Kalsch Kolsch placed honeyed tea-sweetened pilsner malting alongside grassy-hopped orange misting in a moderate body setting.
Lime-salted curacao orange tartness secured cologne-wafted white ale, Seagull Brawl, a pilsner-malted moderation with grassy hop astringency.
Carrot-juiced saison, You Might Rabbit, You Might, let orange-braised fennel, pepper-spiced rhubarb and tropical coconut-pineapple pleat its dewy peat rusticity, restricting its sweet carrot adjunct.
Bourbon-barrel aged lager, Baba Bluey, gave its tame honeyed blueberry adjunct a dry whiskey-soured expanse to negotiate.
Murkily bronzed hefeweizen hybrid, Ozzie’s Orange Peel, brought cologne-perfumed orange peel luster to lacquered pine tones and distant banana-clove subtleties, scattering blood orange, Valencia orange and mandarin orange illusions across the juicy citric finish.
Limey coconut and pineapple galvanized If You Like Pina Colagers, a tropical cocktail-inspired lager with rummy molasses sugaring contrasting terse vodka bittering just beneath the surface.
Caramel-burnt brown chocolate sweetened Caramel Toe, a capacious dark ale with toffee-spiced hazelnut, peanut and cola illusions overriding delicate black tea bittering.
Spreading peanut butter goodness all over its dark chocolate malts, Done In A Jiffy Peanut Porter instantly recalled a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.