The Sweet 16: New Jersey’s Best Craft Breweries

Jersey’s best craft breweries, as chosen by our panel of experts.

Photo by Erik Rank

Flying Fish Brewing Company, Somerdale
Opened August 1996

The biggest brewer of craft beer in in the state moved from Cherry Hill to its current location in in 2013, expanding from 10,000 to 45,000 square feet. Its beers have won eight Great American Beer Fest medals, and our panel named it number 1 for use of New Jersey themes (no doubt swayed by Flying Fish’s Jersey Turnpike-inspired Exit Series). Tasting-room manager Robin Tama’s Chihuahua, Lewis, entertains visitors while brewery manager Barry Holsten turns out 25,000 barrels per year. Flying Fish, one of the most familiar of Jersey beer brands, has distribution throughout the state, as well as eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Flagships: Hopfish IPA; Farmhouse Summer Ale; Exit Series—TN

Photo by Erik Rank

Photo by Erik Rank

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company, Cherry Hill
Opened October 2014

A visit to this South Jersey brewery feels a little like a trip back in time to the heyday of the Asbury Park boardwalk, which is exactly what co-owners Jamie Queli and Seth Dolled intended. Queli grew up at the Shore; she wanted to revive the colorful carnival atmosphere with Skee-Ball, funhouse mirrors and an antique carousel for decoration. Adirondack chairs offer a place to relax outside the brewery when a trip to an actual beach or boardwalk isn’t an option. Queli describes the whole experience as “fun, witty, conversational.” Head brewer David Bronstein brews up suds that can be sampled all over New Jersey and Philadelphia and adds pizzazz with one-off flavors offered only in the tasting room. Flagships: Funnel Cake Boardwalk Ale; What the Butler Saw Wit; 1916 Shore Shiver IPA—TN

Glasstown Brewing Company, Millville
Opened December 2013

When Glasstown co-owners Paul and Jenifer Simmons moved to Millville from the Shore, they had no intention of starting a brewery. But after dabbling in home brewing, they decided to take the plunge. Two years later, they are making six to seven times as much beer as they initially produced. “One of the biggest challenges of starting so small is just trying to make more beer constantly,” says Paul. “You can never make enough.” Glasstown distributes kegs to more than 30 accounts in South Jersey but hopes to bump that to 75 in 2016 and start selling limited-edition bottles in the tasting room. They aim to triple capacity in 2017. Flagships: 609 IPA; Maurice River Bourbon Brown; Nightcap Belgian Blonde; Danky Kong DIPA—TN

High Point Brewing Company, Butler
Opened November 1996

Montclair-bred Greg Zaccardi describes his job as “manufacturer, educator, promoter, scientist and artist.” A former chemist, he completed an apprenticeship in Germany, then returned to the States, developed a business plan and launched High Point with a commitment to adhere to Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s strict beer laws. He named his brand Ramstein after the German town that’s home to a U.S. Air Force base. Like the town, his beer is decidedly German, yet manages to display some American flair. Flagships: Blonde Hefe-weizen; Dunkel Hefe-weizen; Amber Lager—CM

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