MIDDLESEX, NEW JERSEY
Meeting out in Denver while touring Colorado brewpubs, the husband-wife team of Steven and Donna Ashton soon settled in Jersey to open a worthy brewery near the heart of Middlesex. Occupying a gray brick Industrial space, ASHTON BREWING COMPANY had its soft opening March ’20 (before Covid hit) but marked its Grand Opening September 18, 2021.
An Ashton Brewing emblem above the overhead door welcomes patrons to the cozy red brick-walled interior (and a neon Taproom sign sits atop the main entrance). The epoxy-floored pub features a six-seat wood-topped serving station and small couched lounge area. A white awning covered the community-tabled front deck.
A cement-floored, back-spaced storage facility included stainless steel brewtanks, a canning line and large cooler. Ashton’s brews ran the gamut from sessionably traditionalist fare to richly creamed nightcaps to Euro-styled lagers.
On Labor Day ’21 weekend stopover, my wife and I imbibed fourteen niftily diversified libations.
Efficient Czech-styled pilsner, Jersey Dreamin,’ let mild dewy mossing seep into orange-oiled lemon musk and floral-spiced Saaz-hopped herbage to its honeyed biscuit spine.
Dewy copper-toned Czech dark lager, Beach Badges, retained a wattle-seeded chocolate roast for its lightly beechwood-smoked barleymalts.
Mossy maize-dried, leafy-hopped, bread-crusted Festus Haggen, an Octoberfest-styled golden lager, stayed crisply clean.
Easygoing That’s How Love Gose activated lemon-twisted Himalayan sea salting for floral-tinged key lime tartness above its straw wheat bottom.
“Mellow’ hazy yellow-glowed Take 5 Pale Ale had Citra-hopped yellow grapefruit, orange and pineapple zesting rise above herb-tinged pine tones contrasting mildly creamed crystal malts.
Toasted amber-grained tobacco roast crisping secured Scarlet Red Ale, leaving red-orange fruiting upon its earthen truffle rusticity.
Tart strawberry candied piquancy gained spritzy lemondrop spark for dry cream ale, Strawberry Alarm Clock, a citric-splashed daquiri knockoff with a cracked wheat base.
Sweetish ‘pink saison,’ La Vie En Rose, provided ginger-backed hibiscus florality for white-wined Zinfandel tannins and distant white peppered blackberry snips.
Butterfly pea flowering provided mild green tea bittering for uniquely hybridized dry-hopped blue velvety farmhouse ale, Stella Blue, caressing white-peppered lavender, floral-spiced blueberry and tart pomegranate over damp barnyard acridity.
An IPA collaboration with nearby Trap Rock, dry beige-hazed moderation, Ash Rock, brought dry Sauvignon grape esters, Hallertau Blanc-hopped white wining and mild grapefruit zesting to delicate oats base.
Brut champagne bubbled IPA, The Other One – Brut, allowed lemony grapefruit-orange zesting to reach the sparkling wine surface above acidulated maize-flaked malts.
Enthusiastic flagship IPA, Your Lips…Are Juicy, plied brisk orange-peeled grapefruit tanginess, buoyant papaya-pineapple tropicalia and spritzy lemon liming to honeyed pale malts.
Offshoot blood orange-doused NEIPA, Your Lips…Are Bloody!, worked zesty grapefruit, orange, pineapple and papaya tanginess and spiced tangerine licks into its earthen pale malt graining.
Chalky chocolate-dried nuttiness provoked Billy 2 Hats, an extra dark mild English brown ale with caramel-burnt coffee staining.