OAKLYN, NEW JERSEY
Inside a tan-bricked truck depot just off Oaklyn’s main drag, TONEWOOD BREWING came to fruition in the summer of ’17. Initially inspired by German beer culture, brewmaster Eli Facchinei, honed his craft in Colorado before setting up shop five miles east of Philly here in Jersey’s Camden county.
Tonewood’s comfy red brick-walled interior features milled wood community tables, bark-topped barrel seats and bark lacquered serving station (with 12-plus tap handles and colorful slate beer listing). The 15-barrel brew system near the overhead back doors contains a few large vats and many smaller silver tanks. An outdoor biergarten offers further seating.
A certain elegant warmth and easygoing atmosphere suited this cheery neighborhood pub upon my January ’21 sojourn.
Juicy yellow grapefruit-embittered orange zesting and tangy pineapple salting rode above mildly resinous pine bittering and lingered grassy hop astringency for All In Time Double India Pale Ale, gaining a vodka-nipped citrus crisping at the icy finish.
Easygoing Chardonnay-barreled Honor Wagon Mixed Culture Barrel Aged Saison let sour green grape esters bring oaken white wine flourishes to lemony peach-pineapple whims, mild grapefruit rind bittering and far-off banana wisps in brettanomyces yeast setting.
Endlessly expressive Bourbon-aged Belgian Dark Strong retained a mellow groove as light molasses-sapped dried fruiting picked up rum-sugared bruised banana sweetness to counter oaken vanilla esters above brown chocolate malts. Plum-dried fig souring, currant-like raisin intensity and dark cherry tartness perk up the back end alongside sherry, burgundy and bourbon wining.
Tarry hop-charred Blackstrap molasses bittering rampaged thru cocoa-powdered medium roast coffee frontage of Still Night Session Stout, leaving latent peanut-shelled walnut, cola and hazelnut snips.