HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY
In the rural northwestern Jersey village of Hampton Township, ANGRY ERIK moved from nearby Lafayette to now occupy a maroon aluminum-sided barnhouse at a newish industrial mall area during 2019.
A high ceilinged cement-floored open space with 14-seat wood-topped serving station, stooled tables and random barrels, Angry Erik’s pristine yellow-walled interior also features a massive bar-centered brewery banner, cool end-of-bar serpent and at least 12 tap handles.
A maroon-umbrellaed, slate-pavered side deck with plastic furnishings offers plenty of outside seating along the hillside.
A host of patrons greet my dog Roscoe upon my initial August ’19 sojourn. My wife and I will quaff five previously untried suds while grabbing a few seats on the deck midafternoon.
Dryer than expected, Belgian Abbey singel, Hand Of Tyr, brought mild raw honeyed bittering and tart fig-date-apricot dried fruiting to its relegated beet-sugared pecan glaze.
Honey-spiced tripel, H2 Ale with Honey & Hibiscus Tripel, reeled in its unassuming 10% ABV to reveal vibrant citrus tanginess, gentle hibiscus tropicalia and subtle floral herbage.
Hybridized Belgian-styled India Pale Ale, Fjord Crosser, retained a dryer wood-toned citrus bittering as lemony grapefruit-seeded desiccation and grainy pine rusticity picked up sweet honeydew, tart lychee and sour gooseberry undertones.
An interesting black ale/ Maxwell Heavy Scotch Ale blend, Shady Max coalesced its dewy Scotch-fruited tobacco leafing with cocoa-dried black patent malts in a well-conceived manner.
Best bet: glorious Bourbon Barrel-aged Vangandr, a 2019 version of Belgian brown ale aged in sweet bourbon, regaled sharp-spiced cherry, banana, toffee, raisin and coconut luster as well as peated whiskey persistence.
LAFAYETTE, NEW JERSEY
Directly off Route 94 in the rural Western Jersey town of Lafayette, ANGRY ERIK BREWING is a small, successful, independent business ready for imminent expansion. Since opening in 2014, the entrepreneurial husband-wife tandem of Erik & Heide Hassing have taken their steady offering of one-off beers and seasonal repeats statewide and beyond.
Relishing the cool “Don’t Get Mad, Get Angry” slogan and utilizing a thrasher-wielding dragon Viking insignia, Angry Erik boasts a “constant variety of beers to quench every craft beer lover. Inside a red-tanned light Industrial complex, its eight-seat bar features several tap handles and a blackboard listing draught selections while three wood tables line the left side. In the back brew room are two plastic picnic tables for further seating.
Just ten miles away from Sparta’s beer-centric Krogh’s Brewpub and Mohawk House Restaurant, Angry Erik’s ever-changing beer menu moves faster than a speeding bullet.
On my celebratory 4-20 visit during 2018, the entire menu changed from a mere two weeks hence. I got to quaff five previously untried suds before heading East at sundown.
First up, Angry Erik’s easygoing Belgian What? Belgian Blonde let spritzy orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and lime zest gain moderate Amarillo piney hop bittering above oats-dried wheat malts.
Next, ‘seductive’ elderflower-enhanced The Dainty Viking Blonde Ale brought tart citrus-spiced Chardonnay buttering to subdued pale malting, though its rustic dried flowering seemed overwhelmed.
Tidy IPA, To Taste (Hoppy Heide #4), spread moderate yellow grapefruit bittering across spritzy pineapple, peach, orange and tangerine tanginess above crystal malt sugaring.
Politely hop-headed IPA, Hop The Fence, brought sweet ‘n sour grapefruit tones to ashen pine resin and plasticine-grouted clay hops, gaining tertiary peach, pineapple and orange juiciness at the moderately bitter citrus finish.
For silken Valentines Day-inspired dessert, Cordially, Cupid Porter regaled prominent Black Forest cake sweetness thanks to tartly sweet ‘n sour black cherries and sugary chocolate-cocoa fudging.