WESTWOOD, NEW JERSEY
It finally happened. Northern Bergen County issued a license for a brew pub over a decade after the craft beer boom started! And it’s a good one with completely massive crowds comin’ in every night til the tanks finally temporarily ran out of beer in May.
Opened during April ’22, FIVE DIMES BREWERY represents the small village of Westwood. Across from the post office just off Kinderkamack Road in a very busy part of town, this multifarious red brick pub features, among other things, a floor-to-ceiling right-walled open hearth (with cozy couches), several bark-topped community tables and walled bike ephemera. The windowed mezzanine tanks store the efficiently varied suds crafted by brewmaster Mc Lain Cheney (fresh off his stint at Peekskill’s River Outpost Brewing).
Owner Chris Alepa went for a Munich beer hall style when he first decided to go forth and break ground at this former variety store where a large buffalo mural establishes Five Dime’s bovine logo. Retaining a rustic Industrial warmth, its 20-seat, red brick-walled bar spotlights a resilient tiled draught station and a few TV’s (for sportsbar enthusiasts). Plus, the reclaimed wood furnishings add an exquisite feel to the overhead-doored pub.
But that’s not all. There’s also an open air upstairs beer garden plus 2,500 square-foot indoor private party room (with several draught lines).
So successful was Five Dimes that after a few weeks in business they had to shut down to replenish its liquid stock.
In the near future, Mc Lain will no doubt bring his love for sour ales to the fore and experiment further outside stylistic boundaries.
After a few springtime ’22 visits, I was able to consume nearly all initial public offerings.
Crisply clean light body, Pascack Pilsner, left a light herbal-hopped grain musk upon salted floral-daubed lemony grapefruit glee.
Perfect for celebrating Cinco De Mayo, muskily grained lemon agave spicing leveraged the salty green peppered herbage of brisk aluminum cleared Dortmunder Lager, Lo Cinco, an offbeat Mexican styled spinoff.
Spritzy lemon spicing fizzled above the gentle white wheat base of easygoing Wampus Wheat, unfurling crusty pilsner-like French breading.
Wondrous candi-sugared Belgian strong ale, More Good News, spread subtle white-peppered coriander spicing across zesty lemon thyme, bruised banana, sweet tangerine and tangy navel orange, picking up modest cellar fungi to counteract its mildly creamed vanilla-daubed flaked wheat.
Roasted amber grain sweetness and dark floral resin contrasted the mildly pungent dry-hopped grapefruit and pineapple bittering darting thru dewy Savvy Cardinal Red IPA, leaving red apple, bosc pear and lychee snips.
Sedate grapefruit-orange-tangerine spritzing settled alongside the dry grassy meadow surfacing for Sunny Day IPA, retrieving mild pale malt muskiness.
Waxy citrus fruiting paced crisply clean hazy golden NEIPA, Hazy Place, furnishing salty lemon-seeded grapefruit rind bittering to contrast sweet orange peel zesting.
Tart raspberry saddled slightly acidic Sulak Sour, bringing barnyard acridity to ancillary strawberry rhubarb, white peach and oaken cherry tartness.
Softly creamed nitro-infused Nickel Stout, replete with nutty coffee-roasted dark chocolate goodness and dark roast hop char, recalled famed dry Irish stout, Guinness.
Revisited on stormy eve in July ’22 and met Chris Alepa, the local chiropractor whose Five Dimes Brewery has become a cherished local spot. Discovered a quaint India Pale Ale and a kickass kolsch along the way.
Though retaining a stylishly dry grassy-hopped lemon zesting, Kinderkamack Kolsch also pursued a creamier vanilla froth to match its sweeter corn sugaring.
Sessionable hazy IPA, Afternoon Fog, a lightly creamed soft-tongued delight, tossed subtle lemon curd tartness, pineapple tanginess, grapefruit bittering and mango salting at its delicate cereal-grained torrified wheat backbone.
A few days later, thoroughly enjoyed Peach Sulak Sour, a thickly golden bronze hazed fruited sour with tart peach puree persistence nestling candied grapefruit-orange-pineapple conflux in mildly acidic setting.
During August ’22, discovered newly ‘draughted’ Clever Goldfinch Double IPA - a golden glowed medium-full body with creamy vanilla froth thrusting affluent mango, guava and peach tanginess plus orange-peeled tangerine, clementine and tangelo auxiliary thru dryly resinous pine zone contrasting its sugary crystal malt persuasion.
On a cold November night ’22, quaffed both excellent autumnal offerings.
Gingerbread-snapped nutmeg, allspice and clove seasoning crept into pumpkin pie-crusted flouring and tingly orange peel sweetness for Pumpkin Ale, leaving powdered sugar residue on its backend.
Brisk orange oiling provided fizzy pep to the leafy hop astringency, herbal perfumed spicing and phenol dried fruiting of Festbier, a resilient Oktoberfest with crisply clean water base.
Back again, December ’22, tried Tatanka Brown Ale, a middling full body with depleted black caramel-spiced chocolate nuttiness and molasses brown breading fading into nebulous dark-roast hop char.
Better bet: Home For The Holidays Peppermint Porter, a distinct chocolate mint candied confection with dry cassia bark and black anise spiking its refreshing green leaf minting.
On a seasonably warm February ’23 night, tried two rather luxurious nubians.
A marvelous bourbon vanilla collab with Conrad’s Confectionery, Five Dimes Milkshake IPA let vanilla marshmallow fluff seep inside milk-sugared ambrosia fruit salad resonance. Caramelized bourbon influence upstaged by zestful orange marmalade, lemon meringue, pineapple cake, red grape, mandarin orange and coconut fruitiness rising above its creamy yogurt-soured oated wheat base.
Sweeping English barleywine, One Louder, gathered jammy red grape, black cherry and raspberry tartness plus muted burgundy-licked plum, date and fig sweetness (and wispy bourbon whiskey snips) over toasted chocolate rye molasses buttering.