NEW JERSEY – NORTH
Across from picturesque Mohawk Lake in rural western Jersey, Sparta-based KROGH’S RESTAURANT (now a National Historic Landmark), is tucked into a Swiss chalet-styled building with low ceilings, wood-lacquered walls, and rear brew tanks. Serving homemade cuisine since 1937, this cozy tavern began brewing operations in 1999. Originally visited December ’06, Krogh’s left dining area and right side bar featured olden wood furnishings perfectly indicative of its idyllic western Jersey surroundings.
Seafood, burgers, chicken, ribs, and Cajun food went well with brewer Dave Cooper’s lighter fare such as maize-dried, hop-embittered Krogh’s Gold and straw-grassed, wheat-parched, light-hopped Three Sisters Golden Wheat (which had a yummy candy-coated cream ale sensation when raspberry syrup was added).
Prune-soured, fig-dried, champagne-fizzed Alpine Glow Red Ale picked up oaken cherry aridity, apple-cherry souring, and cocoa nuttiness.
Heartier thirsts will lean towards bitter piney-hopped, lemon-dried, orange-peeled, apple-apricot-laced Brogdon Meadow Pale Ale, walnut-hazelnut-skewed, molasses-smoked, hop-charred Log Cabin Brown Ale, nutty coffee-espresso-mocha-bound Old Krogh Oatmeal Stout, and cherry-honeyed, orange-peeled, anise-nutmeg-cinnamon-spiced Celebration Ale.
On one-hour October ’08 stopover, tried Band-Aid-wafted, bitterly-hopped, lemon-bruised, maize-dried, bark-smitten pungency Linfor’s Lager and cider-soured, lemon-tart, cranberry-puckered, white bread-leavened Windy Brow Cider Ale.
While in Sparta, June ’10, for my daughter Nicki’s softball tournament, returned to Krogh’s with mother and father for lunch (turkey club; pastrami; Caesar salad) and tried two newfound glories. Log Cabin Nut Brown retained chocolate-soured astringency as well as peanut-shelled walnut, hazelnut, and cola nuttiness to peppery hop-charred, wood-seared, burnt toast bittering. Bright citric-fronted, juniper-finishing B.K.’s IPA brought glazed peach-apple-pineapple tang to wood-dried, grapefruit-peeled, orange rind bittering.
Settled in on a hot Mayday in 2011 to try Cooper’s latest bold ale. Defiantly atypical, Gruney’s Belgian Dubbel prods hop-roasted burgundy, port, and barleywine wining out of dried fig, purple grape, and earthen fungi illusions.
During July ’20 trip, sat outside at front deck under Makers Mark umbrellas to sample five previously untried suds. Leaning on the dry side stylistically, each brew had a certain earthen rusticity.
Sessionable soft toner, Bud’s Spuds Pre Prohibition Lager allowed corn-flaked russet potato grits to infiltrate cardboard-grained cilantro herbage, sour lemon rot and perfume musk.
Dry spiced dewy minerality picked up reluctant orange-dried red cherry licks to contrast barnyard leathering for Bud’s Ooh La La Saison.
Herbal-tattered Blum’s Belgian Wit led its lemony orange-coriander tartness into white-peppered black tea, fern and chamomile pleasantries.
Muskily dry Nucky Johnson Prohibition Red Ale buried its expected red-orange-yellow fruiting behind wet-grained oily hop resin.
Floral-perfumed citrus spunk caressed moderate-to-medium body Wicked Happy NEIPA, leaving mildly persistent lemon-seeded yellow grapefruit tartness upon dry pine resin.