I originally wrote about New Brunswick-based HARVEST MOON BREWERY & CAFÉ in Aquarian Weekly during 1999, then revisited Rutgers campus tavern, March ’06. Since first sojourn to industrious New Brunswick metropolis, much had changed. New brewer Matt Mc Cord brought new English ale recipes, the American cuisine got better, and the exterior became cream colored.
An antique wood bar at the entrance curls to the right of this upscale, brick-walled, high-ceilinged pub. Stainless steel brew kettles bedeck the left side and basement fermentation tanks are visible at street level. Upstairs dining is available.
Ate meritorious Duck Confit Salad while quaffing peppery Saaz-hopped, wet-grassed, wheat-chaffed Moonlight Ale and floral Fuggle-hopped, mineral-grained, grapefruit-soured, apple-spiced Elmes’ Mild Manor. Sharply wood-grained, orange-moistened, grain-toasted Full Moon Pale Ale resembled an IPA with its oaken pine-needled bark bite and ample grapefruit bittering. Astringent dark-fruited, coffee-roasted, chestnut-toasted British Nut Brown was just OK.
These standards were bettered by sedate black chocolate-centered, cocoa-beaned, dry-wooded Oatmeal Stout, sharply red-fruited, rosebud-wildflower-tinged, bitterly-hopped Shoot The Moon IPA, and prickly yellow-fruited, grain-toasted, Vienna malted, tea-like, Irish-styled Jimmy D’s Firehouse Red.
Magnificent top shelf items were bourbon-themed, brandy-tweaked, candi-sugared Doppel Bock (with its overripe raisin persistence) and burgundy-lingered, cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger-affected, fig-date-dried Spiced Winter Warmer.
While roaming Rutgers University August ’08, sampled mild bourbon-burgundy-affected, caramel-buttered, green-hop embittered, dried fruit-mingled, citric-tingled Moonshine Barleywine as well as soapy banana bubblegum-centered, lemony orange-backed, clove-spiced Harvest Hefeweizen. Hopheads will go nuts for Hops Double IPA, where resinous hop oils pervade brassy pine-needled grapefruit-juniper bittering and floral-teased orange-apricot easement.
Now manning the kettles, new brewer Kyle Mc Donald came aboard in 2010. Upon June ’11 revisit, sampled two Belgian-styled brews, a hyped-up IPA, and newfangled ‘Moonshine.’
Candi-sugared banana-clove-coriander theme propelled white-peppered Belgian Wit that was bettered by orange-bruised, apple-spiced, melon-sweet, banana-pureed Belgian Saison. Fruitier than less embittered Full Moon, Pop’s Sturgis Double IPA placed pale-crystal malting beneath oaken pine-needled bark bite and grapefruit-peeled apricot-pear fruiting.
Loved newest version of Moonshine Barleywine, a lusty potion saturating cherry-bruised melon, cantaloupe, tangerine, peach, and mango tropicalia with Irish whiskey, buttered rum, bourbon, and burgundy illusions.
Before leaving at 3 PM with Yankees beating the Indians on one of the bar’s four TV’s, settled in with peanut-shelled, mocha-bottomed, walnut-macadamia-hazenut-bound Mocha Porter.