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

Kane Brewing Company,
Ocean Township
Opened August 2011

Like many beer entrepreneurs, Michael Kane started as a home brewer, inspired by the European beers he enjoyed. That led Kane to create a variety of Belgian-influenced beers with an American twist, such as the popular Single Fin, a blonde ale. Kane enjoys “experimenting with new beer styles”—and that’s led to creations such as A Night to End All Dawns (a barrel-aged imperial stout), Apiary (brewed with local wildflower honey) and Malus (a dark ale made with locally sourced apple cider and autumn spices). On tap for 2016: expand the cellar, can Head High year-round and grow the barrel-aging program. Fan Favorites: Head High IPA; Overhead Imperial IPA; A Night to End All Dawns Imperial Stout—CM

The tasting room at Magnify, our panel's pick for best new brewery.

Photo by Ted Axelrod

Magnify Brewing Company, Fairfield
Opened May 2015

Though new to the Jersey beer scene, Eric Ruta, 24, and Erich Carrle, 30, had both worked at breweries before launching Magnify. Now they have the freedom to experiment as they please. “We get to be creative on a daily basis,” says Ruta. Witness the brewery’s best-known beers, such as Black Wheat, a light-bodied dark beer with notes of espresso and an herbal kick—as well as monthly, envelope-pushing limited releases, including the 30 Hours Imperial Pale Ale brewed with 650 pounds of peaches (which took 30 man hours to cut) and Pollinator IPA, made with 200 pounds of Jersey honey. Our expert panel picked Magnify as Jersey’s best new brewery of 2015. Flagships: Black Wheat; Search Saison; Low Visibility Pale Ale; Vine Shine IPA—CM

New Jersey Beer Company, North Bergen
Opened May 2010

As its name suggests, this brewery is all about the Garden State. “We are New Jersey. Our people, our beers, our story,” says Paul Silverman, the Hudson County real estate developer who became chairman of the brewery in 2011. Silverman and his NJBC staff have put the brewery on the map with Hudson Pale Ale, Garden State Stout, 1787 Abbey Single Ale, and the cleverly named LBIPA. NJBC recently hired a new brewer, Mehmet Kadiev, and is preparing to add two new beers to the lineup, their first new releases since LBIPA in 2013. NJBC’s brews are the only craft beers sold at the Prudential Center, home of the Devils. Fan Favorites: LBIPA; 1787 Abbey Single Ale; Garden State Stout; Hudson Pale Ale—CM

Rinn Duin Brewing, Toms River
Opened Januray 2014

Chip Town started home brewing 20 years ago; he later shared the hobby with his daughter, Jacqui. In the summer of 2011, father and daughter lost their jobs within two weeks of each other. Nearly three years later, they opened Rinn Duin. Named after a 13th-century castle in County Roscommon, Ireland—Chip’s ancestors once lived on the grounds—Rinn Duin specializes in British and Irish styles. In the pub tradition, the owners “interact personally with tasting-room visitors,” says Jacqui. That provides feedback on future brews, “while earning significantly more revenue with greater profit margins,” she adds. Rinn Duin distributes to 11 counties around New Jersey and hopes to fill in the rest by the end of this year. The brewery also plans a beer garden. Flagship: St. John’s Irish Red—TN

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