Haus of Beer

The new microbrewery and taproom, in the former site of Freedman's Bakery, is six blocks from the beach.

A selection of beers awaits tasters at the Beach Haus Taproom.
Photo by Joe Polillio

Since its start, Beach Haus Brewery has had Jersey Shore ownership, Jersey Shore attitude and a flagship brew—Beach Haus Classic American Pilsner—with a crisp taste intended as a Jersey Shore refresher. This summer it can boast the long-awaited missing piece: a Jersey Shore microbrewery and taproom six blocks from the beach in Belmar.

Launched in 2007 by Jersey guys John Merklin and Brian Ciriaco, Beach Haus had been producing its beers under contract with a brewery in upstate New York. The new Belmar brewery at 801 Main Street—the former site of Freedman’s Bakery—opened in May.

“We knew we wanted to be in a prominent Jersey Shore town,” says Merklin, a native of nearby Brick. Now the brewers are poised to play a prominent role in the town’s burgeoning food-and-beverage scene. “We want this to be a destination,” adds Merklin.

The brewery has the capacity to turn out about 30,000 barrels of beer a year. Visitors tour two floors of the spacious brewery before winding up in the second-floor taproom, which includes an open-air balcony.

The industrial-chic taproom—available for private parties—features tables, benches and bar wood reclaimed from Freedman’s. In addition to keeping the bakery’s original floors, the brewers have concocted Herb’s Rye—a wheat beer that pays tribute to bakery founder Herb Freedman. His iconic bakery sign was donated to the town. “We wanted to be the best we could be for the town,” says Merklin.

Numerous beers were on tap during an early-spring visit. Merklin promises more offerings in the future, including limited-time brews. Pints, ranging from $5.50 to $6.50, along with $7 flights, are the main attraction. A retail counter sells growlers, T-shirts, hats, glasses and other merchandise with the increasingly familiar Beach Haus logo.

The taproom does not serve food, but patrons will be able to order from Benny’s Fattoria, a new restaurant in an adjoining second-floor space to be launched by New Jersey native Biagio “Benny” Schiano, who runs Mossuto’s Market in Wall. Benny’s will feature beer-friendly fare such as sausage, bratwurst, kielbasa and pretzels, along with pizza, pasta dishes, sandwiches and salads.

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