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New Jersey Breweries
has arrived!

If you'd like a sample of New Jersey Breweries, I'm listing all the breweries and regions here, with a bit from the manuscript for each one, just as a teaser. Remember: this is a book about the whole experience, so the quote might be about the beer, the people, the food, a local bar or attraction, or even the parking. It's all in there! (And the new cover, too!)

Brewery Name


Quote from the book


Big Red One

If itís night-time, youíll see the red glow of the big neon sign on top of the brewery, a flying representation of the Anheuser-Busch eagle. Yes, it says, weíre here, in New Jersey, beside the refineries, beside the Newark Airport, beside the docks and marshes, and we make Budweiser beer.

Climax Brewing Co.


Dave Hoffmann has an opinion on everything, particularly beer and brewing in New Jersey and speaks his mind when asked or taken to the brink. But heís not being mean-spirited, just spirited. "I try to keep quiet, but sometimes they take me too far," explains Dave. "Everybody has an opinion, but maybe I tend to be more vocal sometimes."

Cricket Hill Brewing Co.


"I donít believe that everyone wants to drink a super lupulin-infused or a 15% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer all the time," Rick contends. "I try to fill the bill when a session beer is called forÖsitting around with friends watching the game or after mowing the lawn, for example."

Egan & Sonís


Chris worked at Commonwealth Brewing in Boston, back in the day. Commonwealth sat right beside Boston Garden, and it was a real gold standard place, real ale all the time, open square fermenters, English ales at English temperatures and English carbonation levels, the customersí preference be damned. I remember thinking Iíd died and gone to heaven the first time I visited.

Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant


The Gaslight has that neighborhood bar feel to it. The warm wood and brick walls with lots of breweriana makes for a very familiar and comfortable decor. The neon signs, sports items and 7 TVís let you know that youíll not be missing any games here. Sitting down at the bar, I notice something different. I donít feel wood or metal under my butt. The seats are the most comfortable Iíve ever sat on in a pub settingÖnicely upholstered and soft to keep the bottom from tiring during those long beer sessions or overtime games.

Harvest Moon Brewery/ Cafť


Harvest Moon has an open door policy in place: when nice weather prevails, they open the doors to the street and let the sights and sounds of downtown in. Nothing like finding a nice table by the street, contemplating a good beer, and doing "sociological research," watching the world go by on a beautiful day. Even when the weather is not so nice and your view is through the glass doors, knocking back a winter warmer while observing those battling the elements from your ringside seat is not a bad thing.

J.J. Bitting Brewing Co.


This building, constructed circa 1915, was home to the J.J. Bitting Coal and Grain Co. until the 1950ís when oil and gas became the fuels of choice and the car the preferred mode of transport. The edifice was once the tallest building in the city and was the hub of the downtown area. Replete with its own rail siding, trains picked up and delivered to this once thriving business. When it was sold, it was subdivided and became a furniture store, appliance retailer, and other businesses until finally closed in 1962. It sat for 35 years and was slated for demolition.

Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill & Brewery


Pizzeria Uno in Metuchen is the sole location in this chain of over 200 restaurants where they brew their own beer. The company was hoping to have a chain of brewpubs to supply all their locations with beer, but due to the restrictive laws in some states, they found it not in their best interest to proceed further than this single venue. A loss for the nation, but a win for New Jersey.

Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery


Why would you leave a good job at a large brewery for a brewpub? "First, I was commuting every day to Pennsylvania from New Jersey," he explained. "This position would put me close to home. Second, the opportunity to run your own brewery and be able to sit and watch the people enjoy the fruits of your labor right there is so rewarding. Brewing is an art and the consumers are the critics. I love to talk to them and get feedback about what Iím doing and/or should be doing."

Basil T's Brew Pub & Italian Grill

Down by the Sea

"Iím having a great time brewing at this location," stated Dave. "At Climax, I make the same beers day in and day out. Here I get to play! Iíve made some styles Iíve always wanted to brew. Once it gets to be a grind and I donít enjoy it anymore, Iíll give it up to someone else. Other than that, as long as they want me to stay, Iíll be here."

Brewer's Apprentice

Down by the Sea

Tired of making the drive to your local package store and staring down the beer aisle overwhelmed by all the choices? Always wanted to try your hand at homebrewing, but didn't know where to start or get equipment? Or are you not brewing in the summer because you have no place cool enough to ferment it? Brewer's Apprentice in Freehold is for you. It is the state's only Brew-On-Premise.

Laird's Distilling

Down by the Sea

Why did we include a distillery in a book about New Jerseyís breweries? Honestly, one of the reasons was because itís a small book, and we wanted to give you your moneyís worth. But the main reason is because Lairdís is unique. It is the oldest booze business in America, and it makes a product that has been associated with New Jersey for over 300 years.

The Original Basil T's

Down by the Sea

Convenient to the Garden State Parkway, Red Bank is a community on the rise with lots of artsy, high-brow places to visitÖart galleries, theaters, restaurants of all kinds. Beer is the red-headed stepdaughter it seems, as good wine lists are the norm and even mention of mainstream beers is rare. At Basil Tís though, you can have it all. Good food, good beer, good wine, and good service. Buono apetito!

Tun Tavern Brewing Co.

Down by the Sea

One of the most common questions about Atlantic City is, "Is there life outside the casinos?" For good beer drinkers, the choices inside and outside the casinos are few. The one oasis in this desert is the Tun Tavern. Opened in January 1998 as part of the Convention Center-Sheraton Hotel project, Atlantic Cityís only brewpub began brewing operations for a small but eager group of beer aficionados.

High Point Brewing


Greg is an outspoken advocate for New Jersey beers, but sees a few changes that would certainly enhance the growth of the industry in the state. "You can go into a winery and buy as much as you want directly from the producer," he said, "but with beer, I can only sell them two six-packs per person per visit. We need to get some legislative support in order to bring breweries and brewpubs into this new world. The arcane rules under which we operate make it difficult to stay here in New Jersey."

Krogh's Restaurant & Brew Pub


As you stand in front of the building, youĎre transported back to a time of legend where edifices of this style existed. High-peaked roofs, Tudor battens, and stone facades conjure up visions of fairy tales and storybook characters. I almost expected to see the Seven Dwarves come marching out of the entrance to greet us. Instead, the owner, Barbara Fuchs, welcomed us at the door. The outside appearance definitely prepares you for the rustic interior: hand-hewn beams, filled log walls, and log posts standing like trees sprouting out of the floor are from another century and belie its true age.

Long Valley Pub & Brewery


This makes a true blending of old and newÖboth in the brewery and in the building. Joe Saia, the brewer, has been there since close to the beginning and learned to brew under Tim Yarrington, the original kettle master. "I believe in traditional styles, but Iíll use all the latest technology and ingredients to affect that result," he explains. "I just started using a hopback I built to add more hop flavor and aroma to the Pale Ale and the Best Bitter." I can assure you it works beautifully! The Signature Pale Ale is tasting the best it ever has.

Flying Fish Brewing Co.

The Western Waters

Gene Mullerís running the second-biggest brewery in New Jersey. Heís looking at real estate for a future expansion. When I visited, he had just bought a new, faster bottling line he was going to shoe-horn into the current building. He does promotional events, like dinners and tastings. Geneís even done some lobbying for the brewers of New Jersey. What he doesnít do, is brew.

River Horse Brewing Co.

The Western Waters

"We were looking for a business that was three things," Glenn explained. "It had to be in manufacturing, making something we cared about, and not be a situation where we had to cut fat, cut losses and jobs. That was just not something we wanted to have to do. We both have liked craft beer, for a long time, so when this came alongÖ" What did River Horse need? "You name it," Glenn said.

Ship Inn

The Western Waters

"I donít care about the beer geeks," he said. "Ringwood is reliable, and we have a good working relationship. Whatís wrong with a yeast that imparts flavor? Itís core to this type of beer. You work with Ringwood and it becomes your yeast, it fits to your house."

Triumph Brewing Co.

The Western Waters

Youíd think that tall glass wall would create a goldfish bowl effect for brewer Tom Stevenson, but he says itís not so: "The customers donít really pay attention, except when I wash the windows. Brewing is not a spectator sport. ĎLook, heís hooking up a hose, look, heís flipping a switch.í"


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Copyright © 2008 Lew Bryson. All rights reserved. 
Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.
Revised: July 19, 2008