NEPTUNE CITY, NEW JERSEY
Named after a basenji painted on the outside left wall, quaint five-barrel pub, LITTLE DOG BREWING COMPANY, is the brainchild of experienced Jersey brewmaster, Gretchen Schmidhausler. Inside a beige-creamed glass-fronted corner warehouse lot (with maroon and yellow apron) at a quiet semi-Industrial neighborhood, Little Dog came into existence during November 2014.
As my wife and I visit in late August ’19, Gretchen’s getting ready to open shop. A well-traveled brewing veteran, she originally worked at Red Bank Brewery starting in ’96, a large brewery that closed down before America’s Craft Beer Renaissance mainly because the “timing wasn’t right.” She settled into Basil T’s thereafter, establishing a fine line of some of Jersey’s finest beer, including award-winning Maxwell’s Dry Stout.
We grab a seat at the wood-lacquered serving station to try six pleasant draughts from the maroon-backed silver tap handles. One community table and three black plastic tables fill out the front room while the back space contains the brew tanks.
Much like long-time Jersey brewer, Dave Hoffman (Climax proprietor in Roselle Park), Gretchen prefers to craft soft-toned ales that flow gentle on my mind. Each delicately textured elixir features a distinct illusionary design made to be influenced by complementary cuisine.
Mildly creamed banana tartness, bubblegum sweetness and clove spicing invited herbal lemondrop minting to caress light-bodied Steinerweiss Hefeweizen.
Classic American pale ale, Duck Boy, brought dewy pale malt spicing to orange pekoe tea-like dryness and light lemon riffs in soft-tongued fashion.
Flagship altbier, Gesundheit!, provided brown tea-like splendor for its lollipop-candied tartness, dried fig stint and baked bread cushion.
Easygoing English-styled IPA, Jasper, let dry pale malting and mossy dew infiltrate grassy hop astringency while retaining mild fruit seduction.
Cologne-perfumed lemony herbage fronted spry blonde ale, Local Girl, a whimsical delight with pithy fennel, ginger and pencil shavings illusions.
Dark chocolate syruping sweetened the milk-sugared coffee flow confronting subtle ground coffee bitterness above charcoal-stained hop oiling for Seafarer Dry Stout, leaving weedy black tea musk upon its mossy bottom.