Sixth anniversary oak-aged Imperial Stout collaboration with Hammonton’s Vinyl Brewing. Dry bourbon frontage placated by purple grape tannins and black cherry tartness that overrides Blackstrap molasses-soured dark chocolate bittering above earthen mildewed musk. Mild port and Muscat wining plus distant anise spicing speckle the charcoal-stained backend.
Updated (2020 version) of brewer’s blueberry blonde lacks sufficient blueberry intensity as vodka-like alcohol burn and corn-liquored ethers rob its essential fruitedness. Tepidly tart blueberry seltzer fizz lingers alongside grainy hop astringency.
On tap at River Of Beer, local blueberries provide loud sweet-tart resonance over honeyed wheat base. Blueberry puree insistence picks up dainty peach liqueur and apple cobbler illusions for further sweetening against mild hop astringency.
On tap at Poor Henry’s, sun tan-lotioned coconut oiling spreads across delicate sugar-creamed pale malting and zesty citric hops of mildly interesting adjunct ale. Withering lemon-twisted coconut toasting will consume tropical-minded pina colada dabblers.
LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NEW JERSEY
At Little Egg Harbor’s Great Bay Business Park in a beige aluminum warehouse with red awning lies PINELANDS BREWING COMPANY, a nanobrewery looking to expand to a 7-barrel brew system by May 2016. Presently, Pinelands raw space contains an office area, brew tank room and tap room (with slate-topped bar, picnic table, small community table and green-walled beer bottles).
Brewmaster Jason Chapman utilizes exquisite locally sourced water to craft an ever-changing lineup of well-rounded brews. As of my April ’16 one-hour stopover, Chapman’s already created 30-plus elixirs in a few months.
Two fine flagship beers initially caught my senses. Easygoing Pitch Pine Pale Ale brought lemony orange tang to mild leafy hop pungency, subtle pine resin and wispy herbal restraint. Bright ‘n lively Evergreen IPA bettered Pitch Pine with its crisper clean-watered minerality underlining juicy grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and woody dry-hopped astringency.
Smoked rye malts and peppery nuances gave Rye Nugget Pale Ale a certain uniqueness as its carbolic spritz tickled the nose while the diacetyl vegetal tinge never seemed out of place. Coming on like a beefed-up amber ale, perhaps, Sharpshooter IPA provided an apricot tea-like sweetness for caramel malts, leafy hops, dewy peat and dried fig.
Gathering spiced yellow fruiting, caramelized pilsner malts and grassy hops, Bueno Con Taco (a moderate-bodied lager) must’ve been made to go alongside simple Mexican dishes since it’s light flavor doesn’t overwhelm snack foods.
Great Bay IRA (Imperial Red Ale) softened its sharp grapefruit-seeded orange rind hop pining and black tea-like bittering with caramel-roasted amber malt sweetness, tangy peach-apple-grape conflux and crisp tobacco respite.
Perhaps my personal fave, Evan John Porter, let toffee-spiced vanilla bean sweetness pick up sugared coffee, Kahlua, caramel latte, hazelnut, cappuccino and Coca-Cola tones above its dewy earthen base.
Not to be outdone, Zero Shuck Oyster Stout provided creamy oyster-shelled sinew for its black patent-malted dark chocolate, cocoa bean and vanilla overtones and bitter French-roast coffee sedation.
On early March ’22 stopover, snow came down as I indulged in a few more Pinelands libations.
Thin cream ale, Raspberry Jam, found soapy raspberry chalkiness lingering lightly in salty lemon-hopped astringency.
Juicy tropical fruited floral spicing and dry pine resin indulged Imperial IPA, Tucker’s Beacon, unfurling sunny grapefruit, pineapple, peach, orange and tangerine tanginess upon sugared pale malting.
Nitrogenated Evan John Porter added coffee-roasted cocoa bittering to tarry chocolate malting and molasses-draped toffee spicing.
Milk-sugared coffee and dark chocolate syrup graced Cockeyed Milk Stout, leaving wood-seared hops to buttress its molasses oats bottom.
Bettering all of ‘em, Gnarly Pine Barrel-Aged Barleywine let caramelized bourbon vanilla drape brown chocolate sweetness, whiskeyed Scotch warmth and toffee-spiced dried fruiting.