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In the heart of Long Beach Island in Beach Haven’s Bay Village, SHIP BOTTOM BREWERY came into fruition during the summer of 2016. On a second floor loft overlooking the bay, this increasingly popular brewpub features a steady flow of year-round beers (lager/ hefeweizen/ IPA/ stout), seasonals and one-offs readied for crowlers-to-go or on-site imbibing.

A spacious right side brew area with small serving table holds several mid-size tanks while the left side tasting room offers  10-seat bar with several community tables, electronic wall board (with beer listing), rustic white-boarded walls, six draught lines and one cask.

During October Chowderfest ’17, I got to quaff five diverse homemade suds.

Dry German-styled Barnegat Lager brought grain-toasted pale malting to perfumed citric pleasantries, earthen fungi must, sweet toffee reminders and light vegetal tones.

Candied Blood Orange Wheat Ale let its tangy blood orange adjunct pick up tangerine, clementine and grapefruit illusions above mild wheat malting.

Seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Ale on Cask contrasted honey-sweetened pumpkin pie spicing against vegetal earthen gourd dryness.

Sharply clean The Shack IPA decorated its spicy grapefruit, orange, mango and lemon tang with resinous pine tones and musky earthiness, leaving a spritzy citrus finish upon the tongue.

Sweet chocolate countered cocoa-dried coffee sedation for Barnicle Bottom Stout, a medium-bodied dark ale with mild Blackstrap molasses sinew and dark-roasted hops saddling its brown-sugared oatmeal base.

On return visit, June ’18, quaffed sharp-tongued heater, The Chicken Or The Egg IPA, a mighty cayenne-habanero-doused mouth burner plying grapefruit-orange peel bittering to dry pale malts and herbal snips below its distinct red pepper singe.

During October ’18 Chowderfest, got to try four more Ship Bottom brews, three of which took their stylistic dimension to new extremes.

Thinly flat cask-conditioned The Shack IPA with Soarchi Ace, let fennel tea-like sedation and celery-dried lemongrass dismiss its dill-pickled lemon licks and wispy barnyard acridity.

Brut champagne added bubbly sparkling wining to I Am Groot IPA – Brut, a sharply bitter hopped medium body with crisply dry-wooded yellow grapefruit and orange rind bite.

Mildly briny oyster shells contrasted milk-sugared chocolate sweetness for Chowderfest 30th Anniversary Oyster Stout, a creamily seductive dessert treat gathering tertiary cocoa, vanilla, tobacco and hazelnut illusions.

For a tropical changeup, busy OG Series: Double Hazy Imperial IPA brought juicy grapefruit, pineapple, orange, peach and melon tanginess to candy-spiced pale malts in a briskly carbolic manner, leaving gluey oats groats in its wake.

During September 2020, grabbed some stools at the makeshift ballfield patio and consumed two fine brews with wife.

Stylishly mild NEIPA, Hop & Hazy, brought zesty grapefruit sunshine and tropical orange-mango-pineapple tanginess to piney hop resin above creamy crystal malting for truly approachable serenity.

Light-roast coffee permeated The Local Stout, leaving ancillary espresso, dark chocolate and cocoa tones on the mildly nut-seared back end.

After hot Saturday in August ’23 body surfing in Holgate, discovered three more Ship Bottom brews.

Spritzy lemon spicing brightened easygoing Murmaid Blonde Ale, letting gentle herbage to seep into the biscuity wheat base.

Tart cranberry adjunct got sweetened by honeyed wheat for pilsner malted Bucket Of Chum Wheat, leaving watermelon candied red cherry and raspberry illusions on its cranberry tip.

Pumpernickel rye breading anchored Beach Haven Bootlegger Pub Ale, an English-styled moderation with fungi-cellared earthen peat mossing.



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Inside a pristine red-bricked Peoples National Bank on the corner of Main Street in the sleepy Western Jersey village of Hackettstown, MAN SKIRT BREWING became the area’s first new brewpub (since innovative hillside mainstay Long Valley) in October, 2015. As of my November ’16 one-hour jaunt, entrepreneurial brewing owner, Joe Fisher, manned a small stainless-steeled 7-barrel system that countered the custom penny-laminated tasting room bar set up alongside a few walnut tables.

Unlike its bigger-sized competition at Jersey Girl and Czig Meister, Man Skirt relies on a smaller amount of hand-crafted tap brews. But each of the five offerings available this Sunday afternoon were right on the money and wholly worthwhile.

For starters, dainty moderation, Gold Bar Blonde, retained spicy orange fruiting and sour lemon dryness above crisp barley malts, capturing the natural essence of Cascade-Centennial hops.

Peaty dry-bodied Better Than Pants Best Bitter, a lean English pub ale, brought mossy earthen dew to oily hop resin, biscuity wheat malts and gentle nuttiness.

Also leaning on the Brit side, Hop Jostler Fresh Hop IPA caressed caramelized Maris Otter sugaring with dewy mineral graining and dankly citric hop resin.

Sugared fig battled back sour plum over banana-breaded caramel malts for cherished medium-bodied delight, Badunkeldonk Dunkelweizen.

An earthen-grained coffee and chocolate roast permeated lightly creamed, black-malted dark ale, The Great Porter.

The brewing floodgates have opened for New Jersey’s rustic northwest region and no matter what size or shape they may come in, each has its own distinct suds, charm and rural splendor.




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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 biologist, 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.   



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At Little Egg Harbor’s Great Bay Business Park in a beige aluminum warehouse with red awning lies PINELANDS BREWING COMPANY,  a nanobrewery looking to expand to a 7-barrel brew system by May 2016. Presently, Pinelands raw space contains an office area, brew tank room and tap room (with slate-topped bar, picnic table, small community table and green-walled beer bottles).

Brewmaster Jason Chapman utilizes exquisite locally sourced water to craft an ever-changing lineup of well-rounded brews. As of my April ’16 one-hour stopover, Chapman’s already created 30-plus elixirs in a few months.

Two fine flagship beers initially caught my senses. Easygoing Pitch Pine Pale Ale brought lemony orange tang to mild leafy hop pungency, subtle pine resin and wispy herbal restraint. Bright ‘n lively Evergreen IPA bettered Pitch Pine with its crisper clean-watered minerality underlining juicy grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and woody dry-hopped astringency.

Smoked rye malts and peppery nuances gave Rye Nugget Pale Ale a certain uniqueness as its carbolic spritz tickled the nose while the diacetyl vegetal tinge never seemed out of place. Coming on like a beefed-up amber ale, perhaps, Sharpshooter IPA provided an apricot tea-like sweetness for caramel malts, leafy hops, dewy peat and dried fig.

Gathering spiced yellow fruiting, caramelized pilsner malts and grassy hops, Bueno Con Taco (a moderate-bodied lager) must’ve been made to go alongside simple Mexican dishes since it’s light flavor doesn’t overwhelm snack foods.

Great Bay IRA (Imperial Red Ale) softened its sharp grapefruit-seeded orange rind hop pining and black tea-like bittering with caramel-roasted amber malt sweetness, tangy peach-apple-grape conflux and crisp tobacco respite.

Perhaps my personal fave, Evan John Porter, let toffee-spiced vanilla bean sweetness pick up sugared coffee, Kahlua, caramel latte, hazelnut, cappuccino and Coca-Cola tones above its dewy earthen base.

Not to be outdone, Zero Shuck Oyster Stout provided creamy oyster-shelled sinew for its black patent-malted dark chocolate, cocoa bean and vanilla overtones and bitter French-roast coffee sedation.

On early March ’22 stopover, snow came down as I indulged in a few more Pinelands libations.

Thin cream ale, Raspberry Jam, found soapy raspberry chalkiness lingering lightly in salty lemon-hopped astringency.

Juicy tropical fruited floral spicing and dry pine resin indulged Imperial IPA, Tucker’s Beacon, unfurling sunny grapefruit, pineapple, peach, orange and tangerine tanginess upon sugared pale malting.

Nitrogenated Evan John Porter added coffee-roasted cocoa bittering to tarry chocolate malting and molasses-draped toffee spicing.

Milk-sugared coffee and dark chocolate syrup graced Cockeyed Milk Stout, leaving wood-seared hops to buttress its molasses oats bottom.

Bettering all of ‘em, Gnarly Pine Barrel-Aged Barleywine let caramelized bourbon vanilla drape brown chocolate sweetness, whiskeyed Scotch warmth and toffee-spiced dried fruiting.