All posts by John Fortunato

TOX BREWING COMPANY

Tox Brewing Company

NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT

TOX BREWING COMPANY became New London, Connecticut’s first brewpub, April 2019. Run by a few local ‘curiosity-filled’ beer nerds, Tox crafts many vibrantly sharp IPA’s alongside an eclectic array of stylistic offshoots.

Occupying a rustic cabin with community-tabled front patio, the epoxy-floored pub offers a six-chaired L-shaped serving station, several metal-wood Industrial tables and a fabulous Beer Style map on the right wall. The turquoise-daubed copper patina draught stations match the bar frontage while twisted Edison lights provide cool antiquity and a TV at the bar sits atop the mushroom-handled draught taps. The rear brew room has a raw feel.

During my December ’21 venture, got to try nine impressive suds.

Dry pilsner-malted kolsch, Crocus, let orange-rotted champagne fizz prickle vinous grape, tart cherry and spicy saffron as well as Noble hop herbage in a mild manner.

Dewy dried fruited spicing anchored Mandrake, a heady 9.5% ABV Scotch Ale with caramelized chestnut, praline and almond nuttiness and light tobacco roast.

Sharp flagship IPA, Amanita, brought floral-spiced tropicalia to the fore as mango-candied grapefruit, orange and tangerine tang contrasted piney hop bittering.

Dry soft-tongued NEIPA, Devil’s Trumpet, allowed lemon-candied peach, mango and pineapple tanginess to penetrate mild coniferous pine tones and black pepper whims.

Bright ‘n lively IPA, Eft Citra, let zesty lemon and orange-candied mango, papaya and grapefruit spicing pick up waxy crayon grouting and lacquered pine oiling.

Cocktail-inspired sour IPA, Box Jelly Paloma, based on Mexico’s national drink, plied sea-salted agave to mild limey grapefruit pith bittering for a nifty tequila knockoff.

Briskly sharp Christmas-spiced fruited sour, Lily Of The Valley – Spiced Cranberry Sauce, a distinct Berliner Weiss variant, backed its salted lemony cranberry tartness with orange-peeled cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger seasoning and vanilla-daubed maple syruping.

Another wintry treat, Holly, Holiday Fruitcake Winter Warmer, hurled gingerbread-bound cinnamon, vanilla and almond sweetness at dried fruited nuttiness for a strong 8.5% ABV confection.

Guatemalan coffee roast pervaded luxurious milk stout, Deadly Nightshade, bringing brown-sugared cinnamon spicing, candied hazelnut glaze, vanilla and espresso illusions into the rich java scheme.

JOHN MADDEN R.I.P.

There will never be a more endearing, honest and well-liked man to walk this earth as John Madden. A larger-than-life Oakland Raiders coach and highly decorated sportscaster, he was loved by all for his humor, personality and respect for the game of football. He will be missed for his generosity and kindness of spirit. Here he is winning the 1977 Super Bowl.

Image result for john madden wins super bowl carried

ZEUS BREWING COMPANY

Thinking About Robots - Zeus Brewing Company | Photos - Untappd

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK

At the bottom of the hill in Poughkeepsie’s bustling Main Street promenade, ZEUS BREWING COMPANY began operations December ’19. An exquisite Industrial chic pub on the large-windowed first floor of the Queen City loft, its rooftop bar and lounge overlook the Hudson River. Rising to prominence quickly, Zeus joins King’s Court, Mill House and Blue Collar as Poughkeepsie’s first four modern microbreweries.

Brewmaster Amit Ram (formerly of nearby Peekskill and Newburgh breweries) utilizes a left side seven-barrel system to craft his brisk IPA-centric fare as well as nifty one-offs and recurring fare. The upscale pub menu includes brick oven pizza, artisanal entrees, burgers, wings and sandwiches plus specialty cocktails, wine and ciders.

Two colossal neo-Classical wood cabinet murals grace the ten-seat bar. The beautiful black brick-tiled bar back features one bronze draught station with twelve tap handles (and a TV peering out from each corner). Several four-seat wood tables fill out the high-ceilinged black and white-walled pub.

Zeus Brewing: Poughkeepsie's Newest Brewpub Aims for Beer Worthy of Gods |  Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Classic soul music played as my wife and I enjoyed all ten available brews during our December ’21 trip prior to dinner up the street at Schatzi’s.

Muskily earthen grained German-styled light-body, Queen City Pilsner, left a dainty floral-spiced lemon spec upon its French-breaded spine.

Dewy Aviator Doppelbock let rye-spiced brown breading, peaty mossing and dried fig combine alongside sugary toffee malts.

Rustic P.F.L. Harvest Lager retained leathery hay dryness, earthen truffle musk and honeyed rye buttering for mild butternut squash adjunct.

Crisp moderate dark lager, Crown & Anchor English Mild, filled its dewy peat meadow with sashayed red-orange fruiting and leafy hop astringency above biscuity cereal malts.

A Mosaic-hopped West Coast pilsner (collaboration with Wayward Lane), Everything For Everyone brought sharp floral-perfumed lemon bittering to mild lacquered pine tones contrasting cereal grained pilsner malting.

Similarly West Coast styled, Cruisin’ The One, a bright IPA, let juicily yellow grapefruit-peeled orange tanginess and candied lemon absorb floral-daubed piney hop resin.

Escaping to two East Coast IPA variants, dry Nelson Sauvin-hopped Nelson Road hid sour gooseberry tartness beneath lightly lingered grapefruit and mandarin orange bittering.

Meanwhile, fellow New England IPA, Mall Santa, provided spicier sweetness to its zestful grapefruit, orange, pineapple and peach tang.

Delicate yellow-hazed Imperial IPA, Square Two, retained dry grapefruit-orange zesting, mild pine bittering and floral-herbed snips as subtle apricot-tangerine notions waver.

Easygoing Berliner Weiss, Urban Oasis Italian Plum & Cranberry, allowed sour cranberry and dried plum tartness to gain briny lemon liming without overloading citric acidity.          

JERSEY CYCLONE BREWING COMPANY

Image result for jersey cyclone brewing exterior

SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY

Open May 2019, JERSEY CYCLONE BREWING COMPANY operates a light modern Industrial-furnished 2,500 square foot tasting room in the middle of a professional office mall in Somerset. Local proprietary homebrewers Jan Chwiedosiuk and Brian Teel began working together a few years back and now they specialize in wholly expressive IPA’s and stouts plus worthy pilsner-lagers and fruity kettle-soured Uncharted Waters variants.

Jersey Cyclone’s brick-based, wood lacquer-topped back bar draws 14-plus brews from the stainless steel draught station. Twisted metal-designed cyclone-webbed tap handles occupy the repurposed fire hydrants (previously used as water fountains) and caged Edison lights hang from the ceiling. Community-tabled benches fill out the pristine interior and an outdoor beer garden provides further space.

I hung out with owner Jan Chwiedosiuk at Plank Pizza one Friday night in early December ’21 to down eight proprietary 5-ouncers. Then, a week hence, my wife and I dropped by Jersey Cyclone to down a few more diversified suds.

Jersey Cyclone Brewing is open for business in Franklin

Soft-toned Eye Of The Storm, a sunny tropical flagship India Pale Ale, combined lemony grapefruit zesting, brisk orange peel sweetness and spicy peach-mango-tangerine sugaring above crystal-caramel malts – leaving dank pine tones on its candied citrus finish.

Easygoing tropical-fruited IPA, Microburst, gathered orange-peeled grapefruit zesting, peachy lychee-pineapple-mango tanginess and wax-candied cherry blip to contrast juniper-embittered currant tannins.

Lightly lactic Imperial IPA, Harbor Of Refuge, contrasted tangy citrus spicing and sweet caramel malts against mild red-peppered jalapeno heat as earthen pine resin and celery-watered herbage scurried below.

Pleasantly fruited kettle sour, Uncharted Waters Cranberry Orange, plied salted berry-citrus tartness and pithy orange juicing (plus white peach tartness) to lactic acidulated malts.

Toasted amber graining and dewy peat mossing (reminiscent of a red ale) picked up mild dried fruiting and dainty nuttiness over biscuity malts for Touchdown Lager, an offbeat Dunkelweizen.

Tarry black patent-malted dark chocolate syruping greeted Baltic Porter, Storm Surge, bringing ancillary coffee-stained maple oats and dark toffee spicing to dewy brown-leafed hop astringency.

Luxuriously detailed Imperial Stout, Barrel Aged Flood, steeped in rum, rye and bourbon barrels, let creamy dark chocolate and bourbon vanilla richness propel molasses-sapped nuttiness, dainty raisin-plum-prune subtleties and brandied burgundy wining above recessive charcoal hop sear.

Decadent confectionery dessert, Back For S’More, a bold lactose stout with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and cinnamon, received chewy marshmallow-honeyed Graham Cracker sugaring and sneaky almond-praline-toffee illusions latently contrasted by a subtle wood-singed hop char. its fudgy brown chocolate overtones and creamy vanilla richness enhanced the fulsome finish.

The above beers were consumed at Plank Pizza, but the suds below got imbibed at Jersey Cyclone early December ’21.

Brisk clear golden Czech pilsner, Clear Skies, combined raw-grained oated wheat with musky floral herbage.

Lively NEIPA, Pole Reversal, brought orange-peeled peach, pineapple and grapefruit tanginess to salty pine needled hop bittering above sugary pale malts in a stylishly straightforward way.

Lactic kettle-soured fruited gose, Uncharted Waters Passionfruit, let mildly acidic lemon-limed Himalayan pink salting embitter its dry passionfruit-pureed gooseberry tartness.

A spicier Baltic Porter, Storm Surge engaged its caramelized dark chocolate base with cinnamon French toast illusions plus spiced coffee, anise and toffee atop molasses-smeared brown breading.

Coffee-stained dark chocolate malting saddled Flood, a dewy Imperial Stout with soily compost-wafted nuttiness.

Bold lactic vanilla beaned Imperial Coffee Porter, Snowtoberfest, graced its roasted coffee frontage with holiday-inspired cinnamon-spiced brown chocolate, gingerbread, Amaretto, glazed hazelnut and dark cocoa regalia.

FLOUNDER BREWING COMPANY

NJ breweries: Flounder Brewing relocates to Hillsborough farm

HILLSBOROUGH, NEW JERSEY

After nearly a decade at crowded Hillsborough Business Park, FLOUNDER BREWING COMPANY moved to a huge wood-paneled barnhouse on a 19-acre Carraige Farm a few miles away (next to Bellemara Distillery), springtime 2021. Initiated by former homebrewer, Jeremy Lees, the winner of Sam Adams 2016 Brewing and Business Experienceship award, Flounder continues to grow exponentially.

Making great use of plank wood and prestigious wood columns, the stainless steel-tanked interior also offers mezzanine seating. The high-ceilinged, polyurethane-floored, repurposed microbrewery features several community tables, four-seat metal chaired wood tables and a fifteen-barrel system crafting a wide range of one-offs, recurring favorites and splendid dark ales.

Two opposing overhead side doors, one leading to back patio seating with strewn Edison lights, get utilized for outdoor quaffing.

Flounder Brewing Company, United States, New Jersey, Hillsborough |  BrewCruizer

I’d already experienced a dozen or so Flounder brews at the old business park locale before downing six more previously untried libations spanning the gamut from German-styled kellerbier to amber and pale ale to English bitter, nitro porter and spiced-up Christmas ale.

Crisply rustic Kellerbier, Sich Unterhalter, pitched musty raw-grained earthiness to orange-spiced herbal musk over bready pilsner malts.

Soft-tongued dewy peat mossing led easygoing English bitter, One And Done, placing buttery fig-dried nuttiness alongside earthen herbal licks.

Stylishly bold amber ale, Slow Roller, let the orange-peeled grapefruit zesting and dank pine resin of an IPA blend with sweetly spiced amber graining.

Brisk orange-peeled lemon zest brightened lovely floral-spiced pale ale, Almost Persuaded, a sunshiny moderation with mild piney hop bittering.

Dry nutty dark chocolate and mild black coffee bittering sufficed for nitro porter, Post Digger, leaving burnt caramel sweetness upon its charred hop backend.

Festive Christmas ale, St. Nick, plied brown-sugared dried fruiting to dainty cinnamon-nutmeg-allspice seasoning, gingerbread cookie sweetness and singed cedar-hickory wisps.

GOOSE ISLAND BOURBON COUNTY CLASSIC COLA STOUT

On tap at Beef Trust, boundlessly complex (and frustratingly profuse) whiskeyed cola knockoff is pleasantly off-balance. Classic cola soda frontage cleared away by bourbon vanilla spicing and tertiary orange juicing stays distant before the brown-sugared Cassia-barked Graham Cracker base solidifies. Wispy maple molasses, cherry, toffee and chocolate undertones waver.

Bourbon County Brand Classic Cola Stout (2021) - Goose Island Beer Co. -  Untappd