Image result for autodidact beer


Opened for business, March 2023, AUTODIDACT BEER crafts precision-guided, stylistically efficient brews. Occupying a pristine Morris Plains strip mall in an epoxy floored neo-Industrial middle space, Autodidact is run by long-time friends Ron Scouten and Ron Cassell, whose beer journey started when they utilized stovetop brewkits.

A concrete-topped ten-draught serving station anchors the studio-like black ceilinged pub. There’s a loungey right side area, four metal-chaired left side tables and benched tables. Windowed brew tanks are in the back.

I sojourned to Autodidact one rainy Thursday afternoon in September ’23 to try all eight available brews.

Delicate light-bodied Bavarian-styled Pastel Pilsner allowed nutty millet graining and husked corn dryness to spread thru mildly musky herbal hopped pungency.

Crisply clean dry-bodied West Coast-styled Hexagram Classic Pale Ale retained orange-oiled yellow grapefruit bittering and resinous floral herbage above muskily grained pale malting.

Soft-toned Wash Grisette let herbal botanicals soak into lemon-oiled vodka salting contrasted by honeyed rum florality.

Dry sea-salted liming and mild coriander spicing guided Burn Out The Limelight Gose, leaving lemony cologne musk on key lime pie tartness at the backend.

Easygoing Colder Hearts Cold IPA placed flaked rice sweetness inside its lemony orange-peeled grapefruit spritz, retaining a mildly creamed vanilla froth to contrast its latent grassy astringency.

Peachy pineapple tanginess, orange-peeled grapefruit zest and mildly salted guava-passionfruit enveloped Dualism New England IPA, as dry cannabis-oiled Strata hops and lemony pined Pacific Sunrise hops coalesced above sugary pale malts.

Rye-dried Sign The Bill Phil NEIPA utilized Sabro hops to remit mild coconut toasting, candied lollipop tartness, lemon meringue piquancy, orange marmalade tanginess and sugary spicing.

Oats-charred molasses treacled thru the nutty black chocolate bittering of Hawks And Doves Oatmeal Stout, a dryer stylistic changeup.

On Thanksgiving Eve ’23, sank four new Autodidact creations, including two less creamier and sourer NEIPA’s (with citric-pined West Coast aspirations) plus a dryer witbier and a herbier saison collab. I chatted with co-owning brewer, Ron Cassel, who was manning the tanks this cold afternoon.

Dried orange peel tartness and sour lemon rot dotted the delicate coriander spicing and teasing herbal musk of Tempest Witbier.

An interesting alliance with gypsy brewer, Dekkera, citric herbed barnyard-grained farmhouse ale, Late Bloomers Saison, placed tart lemon meringue, tangy marmalade, sweet banana and key lime piquancy across basil, sage and minty lemongrass seasoning.

Sharp piney citrus bittering embraced NEIPA, Shellstar, lifting bright lemony orange-peeled yellow grapefruit sunshine above mild oats-dried malts.

Dryer than Shellstar, lemon-dropped grapefruit, orange and pineapple zesting fronted Glint, a West Coast hop-influenced NEIPA with mild peachy mango tang and lightly soured redcurrant-gooseberry snips topping buttery oated wheat creaming.


Image result for hoovers tavern


For an independent ‘old man’s bar,’ Morris Plains roadhouse, HOOVER’S TAVERN, stays youthful capturing western Jersey’s woodsy suburban rusticity while serving some of the finest tapped craft beer in the area.

Sure, there’s the typical Bud-Miller-Coors fare, but most of the draughts at this 1930′s established dive bar will please even the most stubborn beer snobs.

An illuminated Sierra Nevada sign guides patrons to this paraphernalia-laden one-room joint. Inside the pale blue bar is an ancient oval bar with 50-plus seats, three small tables and old reliable kitchen appliances to cook pizza, hot dogs and pretzels.

There’s a Heineken sign stretched along the wood-paneled front wall and several TV’s generate local sports fans. Live entertainment could be found on the weekends.

On my initial May ’18 mid-afternoon jaunt, I consumed Southern Tier Somoa This (a S’mores-like Imperial Stout), Stoudt’s Hobo Ed’s Imperial Coffee Porter and New Belgium Tartaion Lemon Ginger Sour Ale. Full reviews are in Beer Index.




Image result for tiff's grill and ale house


An exquisitely convivial sportsbar, Morris Plains-based TIFF’S GRILL & ALE HOUSE brings Classical elegance to its small central Jersey bedroom community. Serving craft beers for over one year as of my October 2016 mid-afternoon sojourn, Colonial-styled TIFF’S features 24 tapped brews and fine spirits to go alongside craft burgers, gourmet sandwiches and quesidillas.

Multiple TV’s line the walls at the twin L-shaped 12-stool slate-top bars while the right side wooden dining tables recall a family-styled British pub. A well-kept red brick front deck features black metal furnishings and a private second-floor party room is also available.

Upon my initial visitation, three previously untried brews struck my fancy (fully reviewed in Beer index). First up, sessionably soft-toned summertime suds, Jersey Girl Hefeweizen, will best suit light thirsts as its lemony banana-clove essence gets watered down. Next, Evil Genius Stacy’s Mom Citra IPA brought sharp citric bittering and dry wood tones to sugar-spiced pale malting. Before departing, Clown Shoes Galactica IPA hit my mouth with a lip-smacking lemony grapefruit and orange bittering, floral hop spicing and honeyed malts. 60-ounce beer towers are available for heartier thirsts.