Mike Bigger and Charles Aaron have thought a lot about Jersey girls. “A Jersey girl,” says Bigger, “is complex, deep, layered, bitter, sweet, subtle and sophisticated.”
Adds Aaron, “She is passionate, has attitude and confidence.”
Now here’s the connection: “A lot of those things,” Aaron notes, “are strong characteristics of a beer.”
For the last year and a half, Bigger, 48, and Aaron, 47, have been nursing their plan to birth a brewery.
Now the baby is alive and well, and this Friday, April 15, Jersey Girl Brewing Co. in Mount Olive will hold its grand opening from 4 to 8 pm. The festivities will continue through the weekend with guided tours and samplings of four craft beers in the brewery’s well-appointed tasting room. Beers can be purchased by the pint, half keg, one-sixth keg, or 64-ounce growler.
On Tuesday, April 19, Morris Tap and Grill in Randolph will become the first restaurant to debut Jersey Girl beers at a 4 pm sampling event.
For now, Bigger will keep his day job as an insurance underwriter. Aaron, a former corporate acquisitions expert, will oversee day-to-day brewery operations with cellarman Chris Pszonek.
There really is a woman, though not a Jersey Girl, involved in the central challenge of brewing: creating the recipes and setting up procedures. She is head brewer Jodi Andrews-Stoudt, who brings more than 23 years of brewing experience to the job.
“She has won 11 Great American Beer Festival medals,” says Bigger. “It’s one of the highest compliments you can get in the U.S. It’s a recognition of accuracy of brewing and flavor.”
The company opens with a lineup of golden and pale ales, porter and ESB (extra special bitters).
Presently, the microbrewery and tasting room occupy only about a third of the warehouse space, leaving plenty of room for expansion.
New Jersey fruits and vegetables will eventually find their way into Jersey Girl creations, insuring there will be a brew “for every type of Jersey girl there is,” says Bigger. “After all, there ain’t nothing in the world like a Jersey girl!”Click here to leave a comment