Beer Here

Eric Levin goes on a statewide pub crawl to find the brewpubs that offer the best food, drink, and atmosphere.

Eric Levin goes on a statewide pub crawl to find the brewpubs that offer the best food, drink, and atmosphere.

“I’ve heard some European brewers describe mass-market American beer as pain beer,” Joe Saia, head brewer at Long Valley Pub and Brewery in Long Valley, is saying, leading the way into the fermentation room in the pub’s basement. “What they mean is, the beer has no flavor. It’s designed to produce tactile sensations—coldness and carbonation. You don’t taste it. You feel it….But in brewpubs, we’re not going for pain; we’re going for flavor.”

To illustrate his point, Saia puts a clean glass under a small spigot on the side of tank number 4. “This is our ESB,” he says, opening the tap. The initials stand for Extra Special Bitter, a classic style of English ale. A straw-gold liquid fills the glass. The ESB is slightly cloudy because the residual yeast hasn’t yet been filtered out. “It’s been fermenting fourteen days now,” Saia says, handing me the glass. “It’s ready to go.”

The ale is cool, barely fizzy, and toasty in flavor, with a lively, acidic bitterness. The vocabulary of beer tasting isn’t as rich as that of wine, but it’s up there. What strikes me most is that the beer tastes not just fresh but young. In two weeks, something magical has happened to it, but it’s still close to its origins in germinated barley, the dried flower of the hop vine, yeast, and fresh local water.

Brewpubs filter most of their beers, removing residual yeast and microparticles for a clearer look, among other reasons. They often add carbonation to please the bubble-loving American palate, but they don’t pasteurize—a heat treatment used to stabilize many commercial beers against the vagaries of long-distance shipping and storage.

The Ship Inn in Milford was the first brewpub in the state, pulling its inaugural pint in 1995, only two years after the Legislature passed the law permitting brewpubs to operate. A decade later there are thirteen, the newest being Egan & Sons in Montclair, which opened in April. A brewpub, by New Jersey law, is a restaurant that makes its own beer in an “immediately adjoining” facility. Some people believe the law requires the brewing apparatus to be visible to the customer. The law says nothing about that, but the sight of those rotund copper kettles with their mad-scientist plumbing seems to help put people in the mood to eat and drink.

New Jersey was late getting into the brewpub game compared to other states, likely because the restaurant industry and beer wholesalers opposed the bill, which also established microbreweries. Ultimately, brewpubs were limited to selling their beer on site to retail customers. Microbreweries can sell wholesale or retail off site, or on site to people who have taken a tour of the facility.

The reasons to visit a New Jersey brewpub are many. The buildings are often architecturally interesting and include a renovated grain depot (J. J. Bitting in Woodbridge), a restored nineteenth-century barn (Long Valley), a Victorian structure (Ship Inn), and a multitiered postmodern brick-and-steel, windowless cavern (Triumph). The food is often simple and hearty and modestly priced, but there are sophisticated surprises, such as Trap Rock Brewery in Berkeley Heights. Next is the atmosphere—casual, old-fashioned but hip, and sometimes quite family-friendly (J. J. Bitting).

But most of all there’s the beer, fresh and varied, reflecting the brewer’s knowledge of the world’s vast repertoire of beer recipes along with his imagination, tempered by deference to local taste. With today’s easy access to a cornucopia of barley malts, specialty grains, hop species, and yeast strains, a brewer can turn out a citrusy South German wheat beer one week, a creamy Irish stout the next, and a super-hoppy American West Coast ale after that. Jersey brewpubs feature two to four of their most popular beers on tap all year and another two to four unusual or seasonal specials.

The Ship Inn
61 Bridge Street
Milford
908-995-0188
www.shipinn.com
Year-round beers: Best Bitter, Golden Wheat, Extra Special Bitter
Winter specials: Dark Charger, Irish Stout, Welsh Ale

You won’t insult the house if you douse the British pub fare here with the bottled HP Brown Sauce on the table. In fact, brewer Tim Hall recommends you do just that. “English food is a vehicle for brown sauce,” he says, splashing HP on the inn’s popular British sampler of sausage roll, Scotch egg, tiddle-oggie, and flaky, tomato-flecked Lancashire cheese-and-onion pie, which is especially good. The rich food and the brown sauce, with its sweet tamarind and sharp vinegar flavors, together make a perfect vehicle for another Ship Inn specialty: traditional, English-style ales.

Milford, a quiet, lovely bridge town on the Delaware in Hunterdon Country, is ideal for strolling. A block up Bridge Street alongside a creek, the circa-1860s Ship Inn—long, narrow, and three stories high with a mansard roof—looks like it’s ready to weigh anchor. The inn uses a traditional English fermentation system: The fermenting tanks have no tops, relying instead on the sanitary barrier of carbon dioxide released by the yeast that lies on the surface of the beer like spongy tan mousse. Brewers differ about whether this method affects flavor, but it does extend the life of the yeast and is the best medium for the classic English Ringwood yeast Hall uses exclusively; Ringwood imparts a citrusy quality to the beer, although some describe it as butterscotchy. Another retro touch is that Hall doesn’t filter his beers. The yeast settles and is drained from the bottom of the tank, but trace amounts remain to add freshness, flavor, and character.

While the inn, like most beermakers, adds carbon dioxide to some of its beers, and serves them at 50 degrees—slightly warmer than most Americans prefer—it always has two cask-conditioned ales on tap. These are the most traditional English ales, not just unfiltered but with their carbonation provided only by fermentation. Because the yeast works best at about 70 degrees, the ale continues to mature when transferred from the fermentation tank to the serving tank. “I like our Best Bitter in the middle of the second week,” Hall says. “It’s good before that, but each person has their preference. Some people like it three days out, almost green.”


Long Valley Pub & Brewery
1 Fairmount Road,
Long Valley
908-876-1122
www.longvalleypubandbrewery.com
Year-round beers: Long Valley Nut Brown Ale, German Valley Amber Ale, Hookerman’s Light Ale, Lazy Jake Porter, Grist Mill Golden Ale, Long Valley’s Best Bitter
Winter specials: Celebration Ale

The Great American Beer Festival, held every autumn in Denver, includes competitions that are the Oscars of craft brewing. This year Long Valley won a stunning two golds, for its Nut Brown Ale and Our Porter. That makes six GABF medals since 1999 plus a silver at the North American Brewer’s Festival in Ohio this year, which is why Saia boasts, “We’re the most award-winning brewpub in New Jersey.”

Since the brewery opened in 1995, Saia has seen a steady rise in the sophistication of his customers’ beer palates. “It’s gotten to be much like wine, where people talk to me about things like balance and style or ask about which kind of hops and malts we use in different beers,” he says. Ask Saia a question, and he’ll enthusiastically answer in as much detail as you care to absorb. His explanation of how barley is malted—the fresh grain is soaked in warm water to trigger germination, after which it is dried—includes a nice analogy: The starch molecules in the ungerminated barley “are twisted up like balls of yarn. When the grain is warm and wet, enzymes break down the starch molecules into sugar molecules, which look like strands of yarn stretched out.” Later, in the fermentation process, yeast will convert the sugar into alcohol.

Saia, 43, grew up in Paterson and Sussex County, and after high school worked as a refrigerator repairman, an auto mechanic, and a plumber. “As it turned out, all those skills helped me in different ways in my brewing career,” he says. Like Tim Hall at the Ship Inn, Saia leans toward traditional English and Scottish styles. He doesn’t make wheat beers, and he looks askance at what he considers the fad for adding fruit to beer. “You put fruit in a bowl, beer in a glass,” he declares. “If there’s fruit in a Long Valley beer, it’s either a mistake or I’m not here anymore.”

Traditional beers suit the pub’s setting, a renovated 200-year-old barn in the rolling Morris County countryside. Chef Juan Nujica’s menu is simple, hearty, and fresh, featuring a T-bone rib eye, barbecued ribs, fried coconut shrimp, pastas, and Wiener schnitzel.


Triumph Brewing Company
138 Nassau Street
Princeton
609-924-7855
www.triumphbrew.com
Year-round beers: Honey Wheat, Amber Ale, Bengal Gold India Pale Ale
Winter specials: Winter Wonder Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Czech Pilsner

From Nassau Street, Princeton’s main drag, Triumph’s slender, modern entranceway almost disappears amid the row of aggressively charming storefronts that face the university campus. But at the end of a long, dark, dramatically lit corridor, the space expands into the most architecturally striking interior of any New Jersey brewpub.

The beers are the province of brewer Tom Stevenson, 53, who joined Triumph shortly before it opened in 1995. At the time, Stevenson was primarily a home brewer whose career in horticulture was a bit stalled. “I told the owners they needed me, and for some reason they bought it,” he recalls with a laugh. “I think they needed a guy to do the grunt work, so that was me.”

But Stevenson soon found himself in charge, and he quickly matured into a skilled and discerning pro. Triumph has long produced more beer than any brewpub in the state. Stevenson always has four specials on tap in addition to his trio of year-rounders. In October Triumph won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Czech Pilsner, in the Bohemian-style pilsner category.

Executive Chef Mark Valenza’s food holds its own with the architecture and the beer. Choices include chicken-liver crostini, steamed mussels, colcannon (mashed potatoes and cabbage), chicken risotto, and vegetable shepherd’s pie. If Triumph’s entrance seems narrow on the way in, it may feel like the eye of a needle on the way out.


Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery
279 Springfield Avenue
Berkeley Heights
908-665-1755
www.traprockrest.com
Year-round beers:Ghost Pony Helles Lager, Ghost Pony Light, Kestrel’s Joy IPA, Hathor Red Lager
Winter specials: Stout Mammal Porter, William Tell Ale

Which brewpub would be worth going to for the food alone? Trap Rock, for sure, whose kitchen got off to a distinguished start in 1997 with Chef Bruce Johnson, (now at sister restaurant 3 West in Basking Ridge). The more than capable keeper of the flame is Joshua Fryer.

Fryer’s grilled baby back ribs with habanero barbecue sauce are superb; likewise his pan-roasted monkfish with toasted barley, artichokes, and olives, and his pork loin with white-bean-and-chorizo ragoût, topped with crispy fried shoestring parsnips. Two or three times a year Fryer fashions a six-course dinner around a specialty beer tasting for $75 per person including dessert.

Still, you go to a brewpub to enjoy what the brewer can do, and you’ll be in good hands with Trap Rock’s Charlie Schroeder. Every brewpub makes a couple of “transitional” beers to wean people off bland commercial suds. Schroeder’s Ghost Pony Light and Ghost Pony Helles Lager are seductive examples of the breed, with the latter packing a delicious citrusy tang and a distinctively German malt flavor.


Egan & Sons
118 Walnut Street
Montclair
973-744-1413
www.eganandsons.com
Year-round beers: Oddfellows Ale, Cranetown Wheat, Speertown Pilsner, Todd’s Pipple
Winter specials: Porter, London Bitter, Dunkelbier

The newest brewpub in the state, Egan & Sons is also the first in the nation to employ a new brewing system developed in Canada called Breworx. The first two steps of the process—mashing and boiling—are performed at Canadian microbreweries. The resulting sweet malty liquid, known as fresh wort, is shipped in concentrated form to the client pub, which needs only to add yeast and water and ferment the beer in its own tanks. It’s a shortcut, at least for the pub, and gets the proprietor into brewing at a lower cost and with a smaller footprint. The beer Egan & Sons produces this way would pass many a taste test.

Egan’s looks like an old Dublin pub, perhaps because Chris Egan and his family own three pubs in Dublin. The 55-foot oak bar and its accompanying woodwork were made in Dublin about 150 years ago, interestingly of timber imported from Oregon. Huge copper lanterns overhang the bar, and the high-ceilinged dining room is lined in gorgeous old paneling from the dormitory of an Irish seminary.

The food too, by Chef François Chaterlan, is modern but informed by tradition—good bangers-and-mash, fish-and-chips, and mussels steamed in ale. The desserts are by noted Montclair baker Linda Ippolito. If you think bread pudding is the anvil of sweets, her luscious chocolate brioche pudding will change your mind.


J. J. Bitting Brewing Company & Restaurant
33 Main Street
Woodbridge
732-634-2929
www.njbrewpubs.com
Year-round beers: Victoria’s Golden Ale, J.J.’s Raspberry Wheat, Avenel Amber
Winter specials: Woodbridge Winter Warmer Ale, Doppelbock, blackjack Oatmeal Stout

Looming over the elevated NJ Transit tracks in Woodbridge, the 100-year-old brick building that once housed the J. J. Bitting Coal and Feed Depot was boarded up and condemned when Mike Cerami persuaded the town not to demolish it. He bought and renovated the building, opening the J. J. Bitting brewpub in 1997. The base of the original brick tower is wide enough to accommodate a four-sided, 16-foot-long bar that affords every patron an excellent view of every other patron.

Two stories above their heads, in a loft visible from parts of the bar, stand three gleaming copper brewing kettles that weigh 14 tons when filled. This is where brewmaster August B. Lightfoot, 34, cooks the mash, which yields the syrupy liquid that is boiled with hops, cooled, and sent downstairs to ferment with yeast in the giant steel tanks that dominate the center of the dining room. “I don’t get a lot of sleep sometimes or spend a lot of time at home, because I care about the beer,” says Lightfoot, a Boise native who married a Jersey Girl. “It’s kind of my baby.”

Lightfoot, like many pub brewers, enjoys talking to his customers, listening to their feedback, and both pleasing and challenging their palates with a wide range of styles. “Making beers and seeing people enjoy them makes me happy,” he says.


Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant
15 South Orange Avenue
South Orange
973-762-7077
www.gaslightbrewery.com
Year-round beers: Bulldog Blonde American Ale, Pirate Pale Ale, Bison Brown Ale, Perfect Stout
Winter specials: Satan Claws, Strong Old Ale, Three Ring India Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Pinhead Pilsner, Damian Strong Ale

The Gaslight has a certain charm. Call it cluttered college eclectic—Seton Hall is down the road—it has a dartboard and lots of beer signs, framed pictures, and bric-a-brac on its dark paneled walls. It seems to want to look more steeped in tradition than it is, having opened in 1998. Yet authenticity does run deep here, but just happens to be on tap.

The Gaslight offers eight or nine of its own well-made beers on tap at any one time, in addition to a few commercial drafts and a host of bottled beers imported and domestic. Brewer Dan Soboti Jr. is built like a keg of beer, and it would not be surprising if beer ran through his veins, possibly the brick amber Satan Claws Ale that won him a gold medal earlier this year from the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. It’s 9 percent alcohol by volume, packing roughly twice the punch of most stouts, porters, and golden ales. (It’s a fallacy that stouts are high in alcohol.) Like many of New Jersey’s brewpub brewers, Soboti, 31, started with home-brewing and then got serious. In 1993, he and his father opened a home-brewing supply store, U-Brew, which occupies the floor above the Gaslight.

The Sobotis grind their own beef and make their own pasta, hot sauce, and desserts. Every Thursday night at 7:30 they bring up a fresh firkin (11-gallon keg) of cask-conditioned ale and tap it at the bar.


Krogh’s Restaurant & Brew Pub
23 White Deer Plaza
Sparta
973-729-8428
www.kroghs.com
Year-round beers: Old Krogh’s Oatmeal Stout, Alpine Glow Red Ale, Krogh’s Gold, Three Sisters Wheat, Log Cabin Nut Brown Ale, Meadow Pale Ale
Winter specials: Doppelbock, Celebration Ale

Krogh’s didn’t start brewing beer until 1999, but its restaurant and tavern are as old as Lake Mohawk, which it faces. The lake used to be a valley, until the stream running through it was dammed in 1926 to create a recreation area with residential property. A tearoom opened on the site the following year, becoming a restaurant and, after Prohibition, a tavern, which Mrs. Frede Krogh bought in 1937. Present owner Bob Fuchs took over in 1981, and David Cooper has been his chef since 1982, in 1999 becoming the brewmaster as well. “It’s a scramble,” Cooper says of his dual roles, “but I have an assistant to help with the brewing.”

The log cabin interior is dark and low-ceilinged but spacious, with a U-shaped bar. Wood beams and posts near the bar are covered with tiny brass plaques, each etched with a first name and a number. Get your Krogh’s Brew Club card stamped each time you order one of the house beers, and when you fill the card 84 steins later, you get a brass plaque inscribed with your name. Many patrons have multiple plaques. The current record holder is Karl Blum, who has 33 above the bar near the men’s room door, appropriately enough—and already has a place reserved for number 34.

Cooper makes good beer and decent food. Whatever you order, whether it’s a burger, fries, grilled chicken, or nachos, order a side of Welsh rarebit sauce. The recipe, which predates even Cooper’s arrival, is basically melted Cheddar simmered with Krogh’s Alpine Glow Red Ale. It’s rich, smooth, and tart, several cuts above ordinary cheese sauce.


Harvest Moon Brewery/Cafe
392 George Street
New Brunswick
732-249-6666
www.harvestmoonbrewery.com
Year-round beers: Moonlight Ale, Elmes’ Mild Manor Bitter, Jimmy D’s Firehouse Red, Full Moon Pale Ale, Shoot the Moon India Pale Ale
Winter specials: Spiced Winter Warmer, Belgian Trippel Ale, Imperial Stout

“I like balance in beer,” says Harvest Moon brewmaster Matt McCord. “Nothing’s a smack in the face here.” McCord’s beers don’t lack character, a case in point being his Spiced Winter Warmer, a deep maroon ale flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and whole vanilla beans. As with most brewpubs, Harvest Moon always has a couple of crisp, light-bodied transitional brews on tap to woo Coors and Bud drinkers. These are made in the craft-brewing tradition with all-barley malt, not pillowed out with corn or rice.

Harvest Moon opened in 1996. McCord, 32, a Cherry Hill native who started as a home brewer, arrived three years ago and was soon applauded in the industry bible, The Ale Street News, for improving the quality and consistency of the brewing operation. The café has an oak Mission-style look and a menu that ranges from pizzas, burgers, and short ribs to French onion ale soup and six different entrée salads.


The Original Basil T’s Brewery & Italian Grill
183 Riverside Avenue
Red Bank
732- 842-5990
www.basilt.com
Year-round beers: Ms. Lucy’s Weimaraner Wheat, Rosie’s Tale Waggin’ Pale Ale, Rocket Red Ale, Maxwell’s Dry Stout
Winter specials: Red Ribbon Ale, Big Vic’s Short Order Porter

The only brewpub in the state with an all-Italian menu, the Original Basil T’s is also the only one with a female brewmaster. Gretchen Schmidhausler, a onetime reporter for the Asbury Park Press, has been a professional brewer for ten years. “I never thought brewing would be a career, but I seem to have a knack for it,” Schmidhausler says. Indeed, in 2002 her Maxwell’s Dry Stout won a gold medal in the coffee-flavored beer category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Schmidhausler’s beers seem just right for the Original Basil T’s, judging by the more than 1,000 members of its mug club. A $30 annual fee buys you a 21-ounce ceramic stein and discounts on all pub-brewed beers. Owner Victor Rallo oversees the kitchen, which turns out, among other dishes, homemade gnocchi, crisp-crust pizza, halibut with pignoli crust, and Rallo’s own secret-recipe meatballs.


Basil T’s Brewpub & Italian Grill
1171 Hooper Avenue
Toms River
732- 244-7566
www.basilts.com
Year-round beers: Barnegat Light, Pale Ale, Toms River Red
Winter specials: Schwarzbier, Doppelbock

Victor Rallo opened this brewpub in 1997 as a branch of his Red Bank operation, then sold it, along with the name, in 2001. Under new owner Petros Gregorakis, the menu is more Mediterranean (mostly Italian) in addition to offering pub standards like Buffalo wings and fish-and-chips. David Hoffman, a well-known figure in New Jersey brewing circles—he runs Climax Brewing Company in Roselle Park—brews two days a week at Basil T’s.


Tun Tavern Brewery & Restaurant
2 Miss America Way
Atlantic City
609-347-7800
www.tuntavern.com
Year-round beers: Tun Light Golden Ale, Irish Red Ale, Devil Dog Pale Ale, Bullies Brown Ale, Leatherneck Stout,
Winter specials: Freedom Ale, Belgian Ale, Pumpkin Ale

Required knowledge for all Marines is that the Corps was founded in 1775 at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. Montgomery Dahm learned that on practically his first day at boot camp in 1984. Over a decade later, aiming to open a pub in Atlantic City, Dahm licensed the name from the charitable foundation set up to rebuild the original tavern. The reconstruction remains a dream, but Dahm’s brewpub still contributes a percentage of its gross revenues to the fund.

You don’t have to be a leatherneck to get into the Tun, which adjoins the Atlantic City Sheraton and the Convention Center. It has a classic pub menu with a large steak section and ten of brewer Ted Briggs’s beers on tap at a time. Last year Briggs won a Bronze Medal at the World Beer Cup for his 11 percent alcohol Barleywine.


Uno Chicago Grill & Brewery
61 Route 1 South
Metuchen
732-548-7979
www.pizzeriauno.com
Year-round beers: Ike’s India Pale Ale, Stationhouse Red, Gust-and-Gale Porter, Bootleg Blonde, 32-Inning Ale
Winter specials: Scotch Ale

This familiar chain has eight locations in New Jersey, with Metuchen standing out from the rest because it makes its own beer. And the beer is good. A memorable special last summer was a German-style weissenbock, with a creamy texture, dark caramel color, mellow hops, and a pleasingly sweet malt flavor.

Although New Jersey law has long allowed breweries of all sizes, microbreweries didn’t take off until shortly after brewpubs were legalized in 1993. Though few in number, New Jersey’s microbreweries have won accolades in tastings and competitions. In 1997, the Legislature gave the micros a boost, allowing them to hold tastings at the end of brewery tours and sell up to two six-packs to consumers who have taken the tour. Says High Point Brewing Company’s Greg Zaccardi, “It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in New Jersey.”

CLIMAX BREWING COMPANY
112 Valley Road
Roselle Park
908-620-9585
www.climaxbrewing.com

Mash Notes: Producing under 1,000 barrels a year and distributed only in kegs and half-gallon growlers (jugs), Climax beers are hard to find. Kurt Hoffman, a German émigré, and his son David, run the company. In 1997, only their second year in business, their beers received a positive review from the dean of beer experts, Michael Jackson, in his book Ultimate Beer.

Beers: Extra Special Bitter, India Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale, Cream Ale, Oktoberfest, Helles, Bavarian Dark

Brewmaster: David Hoffman

Tours: By appointment


CRICKET HILL BREWING COMPANY
24 Kulick Road
Fairfield
973-276-9415
www.crickethillbrewery.com

Mash Notes: The newest microbrewery in the state, Cricket Hill opened in 2002. It produces classic, crisp styles of beer.

Beers: East Coast Lager, American Ale, Hopnotic India Pale Ale.

Brewmaster: Rick Reed

Tours: Usually Fridays. Call ahead.


FLYING FISH BREWING COMPANY
1940 Olney Avenue
Cherry Hill
856-489-006
www.flyingfish.com

Mash Notes: Flying Fish makes ales in English, Belgian, and American styles. “We design them to complement food, and we try to keep the alcohol content moderate,” owner Gene Muller says.

Beers: Extra Pale Ale, ESB (Extra Special Bitter) Ale, Porter, Belgian Abbey Dubbel, Farmhouse Summer Ale, Oktoberfish, Grand Cru Winter Reserve, Hopfish

Brewmaster: Casey Hughes

Tours: Saturdays, 1–4 pm


HEAVYWEIGHT BREWING COMPANY
1701 Valley Road
Ocean Township
732-493-5009
www.heavyweightbrewing.com

Mash Notes: Tom Baker makes the beer while his wife, Peggy Zwerver, manages the business. Heavyweight makes unusual, distinctive beers worthy of its name. Big in body, flavor complexity, and alcohol, they are unfiltered and bottle-conditioned, developing a slight yeast sediment at the bottom. They can be aged a year or more.

Beers: Lunacy Belgian-Style Golden Ale, Perkuno’s Hammer Imperial Porter, Stickenjab Alt Bier, Cinderbock Lager, Baltus OVS (Our Very Special), Old Salty Barleywine, Bier D’Art, Two Druids Grut Ale. Beers rotate every three months.

Brewmaster: Tom Baker

Tours: By appointment


HIGH POINT BREWING COMPANY (RAMSTEIN)
22 Park Place
Butler
973-838-7400
www.ramsteinbeer.com

Mash Notes: Greg Zaccardi’s highly praised wheat beers are made in the Bavarian style with Bavarian barley malt and wheat and an exclusive strain of yeast licensed to him via a small brewery in Bavaria. The beers are sold under the brand name Ramstein, named for the American Air Force Base in Germany. These days High Point makes lagers too. “We were starting to paint ourselves into a corner,” Zaccardi says.

Beers: Blonde, Classic, Winter Wheat Doppelbock, Golden Lager, Oktoberfest, Maibock, Pale Ale

Brewmaster: Paul Scarmazzo

Tours: Second Saturday of each month, 2–4 pm


RIVER HORSE BREWING COMPANY
80 Lambert Lane
Lambertville
609-397-7776
www.riverhorse.com

Mash Notes: River Horse, owned by brothers Jim, Tim, and Jack Bryan, makes only six beers, but makes them well. Distribution now extends from Virginia to Massachusetts, including Pennsylvania and Ohio; New York City was added in September. With an output of 7500 barrels a year (up 15 percent from 2004), River Horse is the state’s second largest microbrewery.

Beers: Lager, HopHazard Special Ale ESB, Summer Blonde Ale, Belgian Frostbite Winter Ale, Tripel Horse

Brewmaster: Erik Dickersbach

Tours: Seven days a week, noon–5 pm


WIEDENMAYER BREWING COMPANY
438 Main Street
Bedminster
908-470-4000
www.wiedenmayerbrewing.com

Mash Notes: George W. Wiedenmayer opened his brewery in downtown Newark in 1879. The brewery folded with Prohibition, but its flagship brew was revived last June by George W.’s great-great grandson, entrepreneur Christopher M. Wiedenmayer, a Choate, Dartmouth, and Columbia grad who was born in Newark, grew up in South Orange, and lives in Bernardsville. Alhough the company is located in Bedminster, the beer, a malty amber lager similar to Sam Adams, is brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Beers: Jersey Lager

Brewmaster: Paul McErlean (Saratoga Springs Brewing Company)

Tours: None

Article from December, 2005 Issue.

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