NEW JERSEY – NORTH
A few blocks from downtown Montclair and 20 minutes west of Manhattan, EGAN & SONS is tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood on Walnut Street. Initially visited October ’07, upscale brown-bricked restaurant-saloon had small front and side patios, quaint frontal barstool area, elongated left-hand bar across panel-sided tables, cozy eight-chaired private booth, and rear dining space (with striking tiled ceiling).
Many exquisite wood furnishings were salvaged from a Dublin Castle pub, adding an overall Classical feel. English-styled grog consisted of bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and lamb while honey maple wings, calamari, mussels, and blue cheese salad topped the appetizer menu. A white-marbled dumbwaiter brought food orders from basement kitchen to central bar area. Fine whiskey, bourbon, wine, and bottled beers supplemented conservatively well-crafted beers brewed on small loft level.
Straw wheat-dried corn-husked cereal-grained phenol-hopped Todd’s Lager was rather robust. Subtly perfumed floral hop bittering overlaid calm clementine-peach-apricot fruitiness of Old Fellow Pale Ale. Salt-watered quince-tangerine-cherry tang festooned cream-centered Red Ale and acidulous hop-fizzed vegetal-citric alcohol-burned Egan Fest lacked autumnal pumpkin spicing.
In November ’08, revisited with parents and wife prior to Al Green concert at nearly Wellmont Theatre to quaff dark chocolate-y hop-charred coffee-burnt maple-sapped vanilla-sweet walnut-buttered Chocolate Porter.
Upon May 2011 inspection, retried two standard brews alongside a fine India Pale Ale and Hooegaarden-like summertime witbier. While dry maize-grained lemon-peeled leather-backed light body, Todd’s Tipple Lager, continues to soothe session beer advocates, the more appealing apple-spiced, orange-dried, wood-lacquered, juniper-embittered Red Ale still pleases bolder thirsts.
As for the two previously untried offerings, both were convincing. Piney grapefruit-peeled, perfume-hopped, peach-toned Odd Fellow’s IPA competes favorably against stronger stylistic competition. And dry lemon-wedged citric-embittered floral-hopped hibiscus-backed Summer Wheat stayed effervescently soft-toned.