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HACKENSACK BREWING COMPANY

Hackensack Brewing Company | Hackensack, NJ | Beers | BeerAdvocate

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.

New Hackensack Brewing Company is coming soon to Bergen

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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.

ALEMENTARY BREWING COMPANY

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HACKENSACK, NEW JERSEY

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.

My wife and I revisited Alementary on Boxing Day, 2021, sitting at the barreled seat closest to the lacquered wood serving station. Surveying the electronic beer menu, I spotted four more previously untried suds to swallow.

Interesting dry-hopped, Italian-styled, light-bodied pilsner, Rock Opera, imparted a more floral-herbed citric aspect than its Czech-German rivals, bringing adjunctive lemon-limed Bergamot orange tartness to sweet-corned oats base.

Dedicated to pioneering microbrew enthusiast and Cloverleaf founder, George Dorchak, George’s Pre-Prohibition Lager, a rustic straw-yellowed moderation, coalesced maize-flaked barley malt crisping with a wispily orange-rotted dry champagne spritz, peppery herbal snip and leafy hop astringency.

Soft-tongued, smoothly creamed English mild ale, Doris, a cask conditioned ESB, brought subtle musky cellar fungi to earthen truffle, dewy peat and powdered cocoa illusions above bread-crusted barley graining.

A superfine mocha-induced nightcap, Arecibo, a blended Imperial Stout, ‘amplified’ coffee coconut-fused Porterico and milk-sugared Launchpad Oatmeal Stout, allowing caramel latte, cappuccino, espresso, Bakers chocolate and Black Forest cake richness to reach its gingerbread-spiced Graham Cracker spine (with dwindling bourbon vanilla-daubed coconut toasting).

During sunshiny June ’22 one-hour afternoon visit, found four more previously untried brews.

Honeyed banana wheat breading, mild coriander-clove spicing and white-peppered plantain dryness festooned Reizendbier, a durable hefeweizen with sugared wheat wafer base.

Dryer than most Belgian pale ales, Tune Up brought candied lemon tartness and peppery herb-tinged phenols to lightly vanilla-creamed banana spicing sweeping its gentle pilsner-malted white wheat sugaring.

Another dryer-than-expected Belgian styled brew, High Visibility Saison, let lemon-licked orange peel tartness pick up mild black peppering contrasted by bubble-gummy banana sugaring.

As its fluffy cream head subsided, briny Philippine lime tartness took over Island Life Fruited Gose, leaving subtle coriander seeded minting upon distant tangerine, kumquat and white grapefruit illusions.  

Limey strawberry rhubarb salting guided pinkish amber-hued Vast And Terrible Magic (Strawberry Rhubarb), a slightly vinous sour ale with wispy oaken vanilla tannins.   

www.alementary.com