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Four Jersey-bred beer enthusiasts joined forces for HACKENSACK BREWING COMPANY, opening its doors January 2019. Though Bergen County remains too asininely exorbitant and monetarily manipulative to flourish in the current brewpub Renaissance, Hackensack now has two operational breweries within a quarter-mile of each other on Johnson Street.

Inside a white stucco warehouse with high ceilings, cement floors and barreled tables, HBC’s two-room interior features an overhead-doored brew room and right side pub.

At the pub’s V-shaped 12-stooled serving station, there’s several silver draught handles, a beer-ridden bulletin board, one central TV, Edison light fixtures and a crowler-filled refrigerator. Along the side wall are book-shelved seats and framed photos of several cool local musicians.


In early June ’19, stopped by to suck down nine straightforwardly original brews before grabbing dinner.

A fine opener, spunky Motion City Lager let casual lemondrop-hopped tangerine zest bring tongue-tingling spritz to buttery pale malt breading and latent herbal snips.

Pale malt spicing, lemony orange licks, dry wood tones and astringent herbal hops gather for bread-crusted moderation, Fairmount Pale Ale.

Summery fruit ale, Lawn Stripes, brought lacquered lemon-rotted raspberry candy and apricot pureeing to subtle resinous hop astringency over sweet wheat base.

Lemony banana-clove insistence permeated fine dry saison, Carried By Six, leaving funky barnyard earthiness, light white-peppered herbage and pale malt spicing upon candi-sugared citrus sweetness.

Just as effective and a tad lighter, more traditional Belgian-styled saison, Tried by Twelve, caressed its sweet orange-peeled coriander spicing, buttery banana breading and mild apricot sway with dry farmhouse herbage over a delicate sugary oats bed.

Easygoing New England-styled Imperial IPA, Walk-Off Double, brought tangy grapefruit zesting to lemon-sugared orange sweetness and barley-floured sourdough malting with irresistible splendor.

Crushed uziza pepper adds light herbal pungency to effectively offbeat hybridized Imperial Pale Ale, Pepper Coast, a cologne-perfumed dry body with limey chamomile resonance contrasting powdered lemonade tartness.

Subtle Madagascar vanilla creaminess faded over zesty citric hops for Nu-Bajan Blonde. Its coffee-beaned version, Nu-Bajan Breakfast Blend, coalesced light-roast coffee tones, creamy vanilla sweetness and mild coconut toasting above pale-malted citrus spicing.

Sweet toffee blanketed bittersweet chocolate and milk-sugared coffee tones for Toad Style Extra Stout, picking up dried anise, bruised black cherry and black grape illusions at the busy back end.


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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 bioligist, 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.