JEFFERSON, NEW JERSEY
Inside a meticulous maroon-hued freestanding edifice stationed at the middle of Route 15 in the northwest Jersey town of Jefferson (a few miles south of Sparta’s beer-centric Mohawk House), TAPHOUSE 15 opened for business, December ’15. Described as a “quintessential neighborhood gathering place,” its charmingly quaint ’70′s-vintage decor includes intermittent tiled walls, puke green booths and pristinely detailed stacked stone walls.
A mod American grill with a penchant for well-selected craft beer, Taphouse 15′s creative food menu features wood-fired pizza, burgers, nachos, baked crab, artichoke dip, tuna poke and thai calamari. Dining tables sidle the U-shaped bar and a separate left side room offers a beautiful gas-fueled hearth, Edison lights, leathery orange chairs and wood tables. Large screen TV’s are everywhere and provide an upscale sportsbar atmosphere.
I grab a seat at the black slate-topped 25-seat central bar and grab three diverse brews to go alongside a mid-afternoon Fig & Prosciutto Pizza. An antique automobile enthusiast sitting next to me enjoys the Schaumburg Car Show Auction while consuming white wine. I quaff lemon-dried, floral-perfumed Carton Harvest Ekuanot as well as oats-flaked, citric-spiced Terrapin All American Oat Pale Ale and lightly bourbon-aged Abita Bourbon Street Mint Julep Stout (all fully reviewed in Beer Index).
On second visit a week later on a crowded Friday afternoon before Halloween, enjoyed Happy Hour with three fascinating Southern Tier brews and delicious Thai Calamari. While Southern Tier Nitro Milk Maple Bourbon soothed the tongue with its éclair-headed creaminess and maple-molasses milk chocolate center, Rum Barrel Pumking and Cold Press Coffee Imperial Pumking subtly expanded the horizon of its original autumnal Pumking offering (all fully reviewed in Beer Index).
Posh, yet unfussy, Taphouse 15 will please beer geeks and local freaks with its fine pub food, delightful draft-bottled beer and cleanly sleek vibrancy. I’ve returned here many times since.