I think I’ve mentioned previously that one of the cool things about The Brew Club is that it provides me with a lot of personal firsts regarding beer and beer drinking. Its hard to say definitively, but I’d say at least 95% of the beers I’ve tried and then written about here have been first-time experiences – meaning I’ve never had that beer before.
What’s that have to do with the title of today’s post “Local Beer – New Jersey”? Well, it seems that after a year or so of reviewing beers from all sized breweries from all over the country and world, we’ve only tried a select few from the brewers in our own back yard!
Can it be? Well it seems so unfortunately. The only craft beer that we’ve tried so far that originates from New Jersey was way back in the beginning when The Brew Club reviewed the Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale. Flying Fish is a New Jersey brewery located in Cherry Hill, NJ and we’ve only had one of their beers so far!
You can argue that many of the beers we’ve tried like Rolling Rock that are brewed in New Jersey by Anheuser-Busch from their massive brewery in Newark, NJ – and you would be right. Its just hard to tell which of their beers come specifically from the Newark, NJ plant and which do not so, plus they can’t be considered craft beers either which it the topic of this post.
So, what do we do? Wouldn’t it be nice to explore beers brewed right here in New Jersey before we review beers from states like Vermont, California or Colorado? Well, yes it would – but I’ll confess that even to a native of New Jersey, this state doesn’t have a real big craft-brew reputation. Much like Revolutionary War history, or today’s mass-media market, New Jersey’s beer reputation is often overshadowed by what happens in New York and Philadelphia, which are both brewing powerhouse cities.
Have you heard of New Jersey brewers or tried any beers from New Jersey? Not sure? Here’s a list of New Jersey brewers that I was able to put together in no particular order.
- Flying Fish was previously mentioned and is probably New Jersey’s best known craft brewer. They make the recently controversial ‘Exit Series‘ of beers based on NJ Turnpike exits.
- Founded in 1994, the High Point Brewing Company is the first exclusive wheat beer brewery in America. High Point makes the Ramstein beers, named after the city in Germany. Interestingly enough, the wheat, barley, hops and yeast used in Ramstein beers are all imported directly from Bavaria.
- Climax Brewing Company’s mission is to be the premier brewer of authentic styles of beers and ales in New Jersey, while at the same time reviving the art of locally-brewed beer.
- Cricket Hill Brewery is New Jersey’s newest craft brewery. Since 2002, they’ve been brewing beers like East Coast Lager, American Ale and Jersey Breakfast Ale.
- River Horse Brewery has been cranking out beers in New Jersey since 1996. Their beers can be found throughout the Mid-Atlantic States and even up into New England.
There are also several brewpubs that produce their own beer in small batches. Among them are Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, NJ, Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade, NJ, Tun Tavern in Atlantic City, NJ, Basil T’s Brewery in Red Bank, NJ, JJ Bitting Brewing Company in Woodbridge, NJ, Gaslight Brewery in South Orange, NJ, and Krogh’s Brew Pub in Sparta, NJ.
I’m sure there are some New Jersey beers brewers I’m missing, so please let us know!
Cool New Jersey beer resources worth investigating might be the book “New Jersey Breweries” by Lew Bryson and Mark Hayniem. Online, you can find information at the Garden State Craft Brewer’s Guild website.
Are you a fan of New Jersey beers? What’s your favorite? If not, how’s the Craft Beer scene in your State and do you try to support your local brewers?