NEW JERSEY - SOUTH
Tucked into Princeton’s industrious town center, TRIUMPH BREWING COMPANY, sojourned May ’09, has been brewing since ’96. Entering through a narrow hallway, this capacious Cathedral-like red- bricked bar with left side and loft dining exhibits traditionalist charm. Well-prepared entrees, sandwiches, and appetizers go well alongside brewer Tom Stevenson’s sterling brew selection.
Glass-encased brewtanks behind the bar served two bitter Cascade-hopped ales. Fruitier, less woody Centennial IPA (plying bold resin-hopped lemon-peeled grapefruit-currant bittering to earthen mineral grains) outdid lemony grapefruit-peeled, wood-lacquered, cologne-wafted, herbal-doused, pine-tarred Amber Ale. Inoffensive barley-toasted, grassy-hopped Vienna Lager and headier wildflower-honeyed, corn-dried Honey Wheat suited blue-collar thirsts.
Things picked up substantially with soft hand-pulled, caramelized rye-malted, earthen peat-tinged Extra Special Bitter and raspberry-tart, tangerine-soured, brimstone-treacled, limestone-leathered, lavender-oiled, white-peppered Framboise Strong Ale. Frothy soft-toned Oatmeal Stout brought coffee ice cream, chocolate éclair, and chocolate chip cookie sugaring to ancillary black licorice, black cherry, praline, cola nut, and macadamia sedation.
Making a tremendous showing with his latest stylish elixirs during June ’11 fling, Stevenson’s latest spot-on offerings proved to be fascinatingly diversified.
Seated at the upper bar with my wife, we shared a tasty flatbread Tuscan pizza while I consumed three previously untried libations. Well-defined Euro-derived brews leading the way this sweltering Saturday at noon were a German smoked beer, a noir English-styled dark ale, and a Scottish heather-tipped beauty.
Honey-glazed ham, bacon, salami, and pastrami drift into cedar-smoked beechwood recession for desiccated Band-aid-wafted Rauchbier, a fine smoked beer knockoff gaining iodized acridity by pallid meat-cured finish.
Lactose-bound Grover’s Mill Coffee & Cream Stout retained impressive egg-creamed froth and creamy mocha nuttiness of Guinness, daubing its clean milked-coffee midst with peat-smoked whiskey and white-brown chocolate sentiments.
Better still, Pictish Ale exemplified a non-hopped heather ale in all its sweetly floral glory. Hibiscus, rosebud, lavender, and lilac create fresh bouquet for honeyed crystal malting, lemon-limed tartness, gin-like juniper passing, and ester-y green grape bite.
My wife’s light-bodied, wheat-honeyed, citric-spoiled, dry-finishing Honey Blonde, couldn’t contend but still sufficed.
Hit Princeton area again October ’18, quaffing five previously untried Triumph brews during lunchtime while Supreme Court Judge Cavanaugh got rubbed up by senate probe.
Hoppy Northwest-styled Amber Ale retained tartly soured lemony grapefruit spicing, amber-grained caramel toasting and wispy earthen wood tones.
Dankly sourdough dried Oktoberfest left fennel-licked orange tartness upon leafy hops, moist earthen dewiness and recessive nut bread snips.
Effervescent Belgian candi-sugared Saison let black-peppered cardamom spicing tingle ancillary coriander, grains of paradise, lemony banana and perfumed cologne illusions.
Lemony yellow grapefruit tanginess enveloped New England IPA, leaving grassy hop astringency and crisp pine tones in its wake.
Soft nitro-like cask ale, Nutt’s Brown Ale, underpinned its dark-roast chocolate malting with day-old coffee souring and subtle nuttiness.