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In a raw tongue-n-grooved warehouse with aluminum fixings just off Route 4 in Hackensack, ALEMENTARY BREWING COMPANY let those cranky conservative Bergen County folks understand what fresh quality ales have to offer the washed and unwashed masses.

Featuring two community tables, ten-seat hardwood bar, side garage doors and windowed stainless steel brew tanks as of May 2016 (expansion is imminent and bottling seems forthcoming), the ‘rustic-chic’ Alementary is owned and operated by former chemical engineer, Blake Crawford, and molecular biologist, Dr. Mike Roosevelt.

On draught today are four crisply clean light-hued ales, three interrelated dark-hued ones and a contrastive Cascadian Dark. Interesting gose-styled initiation, Let’s Begin, brought salty lemon-dropped lime parch to dry ginger tones before warming up and allowing its Graham Cracker sweetness to cut thru the gentle Seltzer fizz and proved to be a nice aperitif.

A sturdy followup, The Kolsch tossed lemon-limed tartness at lemongrass herbage and dried fig-apricot nuances. Easygoing IPA, 1st Session, provided soft-toned piney grapefruit bittering as well as lemon-pitted pineapple and orange tones above moderate hop resin.

Refreshing flagship beer, A-Game, a sharply rounded IPA, retained its piney orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and peach tang atop lightly sprinkled sugar-spiced crystal malts.

On the dark side, Vindication succinctly blended black patent malt bittering with tart yellow grapefruit and black grape tones over dark-roasted ashen hop pungency and charred pine remnants.

Mild Dark English Ale, Mr. Stevens, engaged light-roast coffee nuttiness with wispy black chocolate tones.

Two similarly mocha-forward dark ales, The Porter, and its even smoother nitro version, placed nutty coffee, black chocolate and dried cocoa illusions atop laid-back dark-roasted hops, but the nitro porter never amassed a sinewy maple molasses sweetness.

At Shepherd & Knucklehead – Hoboken, quaffed Alementary 1st Session, a sessionable IPA with zesty grapefruit, orange, lemon and pineapple tang receiving wispy ‘strawberry, mango and melon’ illusions as well as grassy-hopped herbal snips.

My wife and I revisited Alementary on Boxing Day, 2021, sitting at the barreled seat closest to the lacquered wood serving station. Surveying the electronic beer menu, I spotted four more previously untried suds to swallow.

Interesting dry-hopped, Italian-styled, light-bodied pilsner, Rock Opera, imparted a more floral-herbed citric aspect than its Czech-German rivals, bringing adjunctive lemon-limed Bergamot orange tartness to sweet-corned oats base.

Dedicated to pioneering microbrew enthusiast and Cloverleaf founder, George Dorchak, George’s Pre-Prohibition Lager, a rustic straw-yellowed moderation, coalesced maize-flaked barley malt crisping with a wispily orange-rotted dry champagne spritz, peppery herbal snip and leafy hop astringency.

Soft-tongued, smoothly creamed English mild ale, Doris, a cask conditioned ESB, brought subtle musky cellar fungi to earthen truffle, dewy peat and powdered cocoa illusions above bread-crusted barley graining.

A superfine mocha-induced nightcap, Arecibo, a blended Imperial Stout, ‘amplified’ coffee coconut-fused Porterico and milk-sugared Launchpad Oatmeal Stout, allowing caramel latte, cappuccino, espresso, Bakers chocolate and Black Forest cake richness to reach its gingerbread-spiced Graham Cracker spine (with dwindling bourbon vanilla-daubed coconut toasting).

During sunshiny June ’22 one-hour afternoon visit, found four more previously untried brews.

Honeyed banana wheat breading, mild coriander-clove spicing and white-peppered plantain dryness festooned Reizendbier, a durable hefeweizen with sugared wheat wafer base.

Dryer than most Belgian pale ales, Tune Up brought candied lemon tartness and peppery herb-tinged phenols to lightly vanilla-creamed banana spicing sweeping its gentle pilsner-malted white wheat sugaring.

Another dryer-than-expected Belgian styled brew, High Visibility Saison, let lemon-licked orange peel tartness pick up mild black peppering contrasted by bubble-gummy banana sugaring.

As its fluffy cream head subsided, briny Philippine lime tartness took over Island Life Fruited Gose, leaving subtle coriander seeded minting upon distant tangerine, kumquat and white grapefruit illusions.  

Limey strawberry rhubarb salting guided pinkish amber-hued Vast And Terrible Magic (Strawberry Rhubarb), a slightly vinous sour ale with wispy oaken vanilla tannins.

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