SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY
Launched in December ’20, Summit’s BULL N BEAR BREWERY holds its own with formidable local competitors Trap Rock, Twin Elephant, Untied and Lions Roar. Utilizing a rear-stationed 10-barrel steam system with a reverse osmosis water filter adding a clean finish to each tidy elixir, this tavern-like downtown pub creates crushable stylistic fare.
Founding owner Will Dodge, a Belgian beer lover, teamed up with head brewer Mike Formisano, a nationally recognized award-winning home brewer leaning towards traditional German and English styled brews, to solidify the menu at this cozy gray-walled Central Jersey hotspot.
An inconspicuous glass-doored, wood-floored workshop with left side serving station countering a few wood chairs, Bull N Bear’s stainless steel brewing tanks create the superbly stylistic varietal selections, some with an added twist.
My wife and I enjoyed ten sundry selections on a sunny Saturday at noon, September ’21.
Earthen amber-grained minerality surfaced softly for dryly dewy California Common Stock, a traditional steam beer utilizing herbal Goldings hops for a mild English-styled bittering.
Crisply autumnal Von Albrecht Oktoberfest let dewy foliage sweeten its compost-like field graining and brisk red-orange fruiting for simple seasonal splendor.
Raw honeyed spicing slid into mildly embittered hop astringency for Investment Grade Honey Blonde, an easygoing off-dry moderation.
Lemony banana, clove and coriander graced Hedge Fund Hefe, leaving salty Noble-hopped herbal remnant upon its sourdough bottom.
Slightly sweet coriander-spiced orange zesting faded into mild banana tartness and teasing lemongrass-chamomile herbage to set up Wit-Collar Crime, a dryer than usual Belgian-styled witbier.
Sweet ‘n sour orange pureed spicing and Belgian candi-sugared yeast hid musky herbage for Tranche Saison, an efficient farmhouse ale with mild barnyard acridity.
Dryer stylishly, Saint Alphonsus Dubbel plied raisin, plum and prune expectancy to tea-like tobacco roasting and starchy plantain tartness, limiting its candi-sugared tingle.
Sprightly Pyramid Pale Ale tossed dry orange, tangy tangerine, tart cherry and sweet peach at rich caramelized malts, gaining a mild wood parch (reminiscent of West Coast IPA’s).
Sharply spiced tropical fruiting embraced Mango Contango IPA, regaling its tangy mango entry with lemon-limed grapefruit and pineapple tartness as well as wispy peach-papaya snips above turpentined pine sapping.
Wood-burnt dark chocolate, dry hop-charred coffee nuttiness and dark-roast barley malts secured Mackey’s Nitro Irish Stout, a smoothly creamed soft-tongued delight.