Not so long ago, your beer choices were limited to the brews made by large brewing companies. Although you knew exactly what you were getting when you popped open a can of big-name beer, chugging the same old brand did become a little boring. Fortunately, that’s changed since the introduction of microbreweries and small breweries in New Jersey. When you visit one of these brewing companies, you’ll enjoy one-of-a-kind beers that incorporate the freshest local ingredients.
Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company
An actual cyclone (Hurricane Irene) inspired Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company co-owners, Brian Teel and Jan Chwiedosiuk, to begin brewing beer at home. Their hobby eventually led to the opening of the Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company in 2019. Today, the brewing company offers a selection of unique beers sure to please your taste buds. Among the beers on tap is the Life in the Clouds beer, a classic, yeasty beer that features hints of banana and clove, and Silent Reflection, a dry Belgian quad that incorporates Crème brûlée and a dark caramel nose.
Village Brewing Company
Located in downtown Somerville, Village Brewing Company not only brews craft beers in-house but also offers wine, cocktails, and a farm-to-table menu featuring classic American cuisine. The brewing company’s Chill Ville Pale Ale offers a slightly crisp, fruity taste. The Nit Wit Wheat Beer, another good choice, is a Belgian-style beer brewed with wheat, oats, and barley and spiced with orange peel and coriander. While you enjoy your beer, nibble on the VBC jumbo chicken wings, the mac and cheese skillet, the New York strip steak, or the bourbon-glazed Norwegian salmon.
Lone Eagle Brewing
Lone Eagle Brewing is a local brewery in more ways than one. Its tables and benches were made by students at Hunterdon County Polytech, and the 5,000-square-foot tasting room includes reclaimed wood from Hunterdon County. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available. Lone Eagle offers 12 to 14 beers on tap, 32- and 64-ounce growlers, 32-ounce crowlers, specialty bottles of limited-release beers, and four-packs. The next time you’re in Flemington, stop by the brewery for a Station Lager and see if you can detect hints of caramel or freshly baked bread.
Descendants Brewing Company at the Old Ship Inn
Family-friendly Descendants Brewing Company at the Old Ship Inn offers creative craft beers and casual dining with locally sourced ingredients. Windows in the dining room provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the English brewing process. During your visit to Descendants, try one of the brewery’s pale ales or porters, like the Alexander Hamilton, a dark, light-bodied American porter that offers a subtle hint of smoke. Sample the crab cakes, wings, burgers, steak, shrimp, or salmon dishes during your visit.
The brewery also offers a kids' menu sure to please picky eaters, including chicken fingers, pasta, chicken breast, and mac and cheese. During Wednesday’s Family Night, children 12 and younger eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Flounder Brewery, formerly located in the Hillsborough Business Park, has recently relocated to a renovated Dutch barn on the Carriage Farm in Hillsborough. The new location is large enough for a 2,000-square-foot tasting room and two outdoor beer gardens. Among the dozen beers on tap are the Strawberry Patch Fruited Amber and the Grand Design, an 11% English-style barleywine with a soft-mouth feel. Although Flounder doesn’t serve meals, guests are welcome to bring their own food.
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