MOUNT OLIVE, NEW JERSEY
A large JERSEY GIRL BREWING COMPANY banner welcomes folks to the aluminum-topped white Industrial complex housing this large Mount Olive-based 30-barrel brewpub since April ’16. Owned by homebrewer Michael Bigger and beer enthusiast Charles Aaron, Jersey Girl started out big so expansion would not be necessary.
Taking in multi-faceted head brewer, Jodi Andrews-Stoudt, a nearby Allentown native, the busy team enjoys crafting reliably “good, spot-on” versions of a wide array of styles.
Aaron explains, “What started out as having one too much to drink one night got us deciding to start a brewery. Chuck loved the idea. We made the rounds to Jersey breweries such as Forgotten Boardwalk and Carton. One of my favorites was Kane Brewing. I love Michael Kane’s India Pale Ales and Sunday Brunch Imperial Porter. They all said if they were to do it again, they’d all start out bigger. So we did.”
At the laminated wood bar in the Tasting Room early Saturday afternoon, I grab a stool alongside my wife to try ten well-rounded offerings on my November ’16 birthday.
Perhaps the finest, award-winning King Gambrinus Tripel (named after the patron saint of Belgian brewing) maintained a mild crystalline-watered tone as lemony banana-clove-coriander sweetness picked up soft white-peppered herbal hop resin. Lemon meringue, key lime pie, chamomile and hibiscus undertones added depth.
Nearly as fabulous, fruitful Scotch Wee Heavy utilized viscous Wyeast yeast to bring its dry Scotch warmth and dewy moss dampness to juicy red cherry, orange, nectarine, cantaloupe and honeydew sweetness above earthen hop resin.
Sharp piney fruiting ignited New England-styled Rake Breaker IPA, a tropical delight gathering lemony orange, tangerine and clementine succulence for its spicy oat-sugared spine and dryly bitter wood tones.
Approachable Sun-Kissed Citra gave its expressive Citra-hopped briskness a dank hop-dried pine needling to contrast the candy-coated orange, tangerine and lemon tang. Crisply clean Blonde Ale sufficed as its candied citrus tang relegated the bready pale malt spine. Peachy apricot and tangy orange inundated wood-dried, soft-toned Pale Ale.
A large hard-candied tangerine contingent surfaced for dry-hopped IPA (featuring Mandarina Bavaria), a sharp medium body contrasting sweet citrus vigor with moderate pine oiling.
Marzen-styled Golden Lager spread sweet n’ sour lemon-rotted orange tartness across leafy hop earthiness and pale malt breading.
Dark-roasted nuttiness and caramelized black chocolate malts secured Nut Brown Ale, a traditional English ale combining peanut-shelled walnut overtones with less prominent hazelnut coffee notions.
For dessert, mocha-bound Chocolate Coffee Porter brought mild black chocolate creaming to its dry-roasted walnut char contrasting the lightly sweet hazelnut glaze.