You know when you walk into a place with no expectations but then are so blown away it catches you off guard? That’s how I felt when I walked into Bradley Brew Project. A friend and I were having lunch in the Belmar area and since Bradley Brew Project was near the restaurant we decided to stop in for a beer. I hadn’t really done any research or new anything about them so I had no expectations but now they’ll be a regular stop when in the area and a destination for my Sunday drives. Yes, I love old school Sunday drives.
The brewery adds to the over all quaintness of the Bradley Beach area. Made up of cute Mom & Pop shops and restaurants with the train station at the heart of the town and just a 5 minute drive to the beaches of Asbury Park and the Silverball Museum. If you follow this Gal on FB & IG you know the Silverball is a fav!
Bradley Brew Project feels more like a fun/funky cafe that’s a bit more upscale than the average brewery which to me was part of the appeal. I just felt I was someplace special. Who ever designed the place nailed it. The esthetics of the space along with good beer, upbeat atmosphere and fun music combine to produce great vibes that just make you want spend some quality time relaxing and drinking. For you sports fan there is a TV to watch a game on and I liked that it was there but not intrusive and loud. Kids are welcome and dogs are allowed on the spacious back patio and the 3 tables at the front of the brewery along the large door opening. Other than a few light snack offerings it’s BYOF and you can double treat yourself by ordering from one of the many great restaurants in the area.
The beer is available in 3 different size pours as well as flights. On this particular day there were 7 beers on draft and the line up offered some unique and pleasing options. I started with the I Came Over To Celebrate Marzen Style Lager 5%. This is a fine German Style Lager. Crisp and clean with Munich malts and German hops. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Next up I had the Can I Put the Hops In? West Coast Style IPA 6.8%. Let’s hear for the West Coast…Woohoo! It was an enjoyable IPA with earthy hops and some tropical notes. It didn’t knock my socks off but then again I don’t expect every beer to knock them off. Decided to cap this visit with a small pour of the Third Wild Ale 4.9%. It’s been fun getting back to enjoying wild ales again. I really enjoyed this light body beer and the funky tartness with underlying notes of oaky cabernet sauvignon was the perfect ending to this visit.
This Gal looks forward to exploring Bradley Beach some more in the near future and stopping back to Bradley Brew Project for a beer or two or three.
I’ve been busy working my way through my 2021 Breweries to Visit list but this particular visit to Source Farmhouse Brewery was much anticipated having heard so many great things about Source and being a big fan of Farmhouse beers. From the minute you turn and see the brewery you know you arrived some place special. So much so that for a moment I just stood out front taking it all in. That was after I turned around from accidentally driving past the brewery. Source sits back and I was so busy looking at the distillery that sits out front…what can I say I zoomed right by the brewery.
As I was making my way to the entrance the aroma of roasting malts was in the air. This wonderful smell made me smile and also made me realize this was something I’ve been missing. I’m not sure that last time I smelled anything brewing on a brewery visit and I miss that. I guess the timing was just right on this particularly gorgeous Friday afternoon in August.
The Jersey heat was hanging on but being a bit more kind on this particular day and the awful humidity was finally taking a retreat which enabled me to enjoy a beer outside rather than spending the entire visit inside. However, both the inside and outside are beautiful and offer plenty of seating to relax and kick back with a beer. Inside there are high top barrel tables and picnic tables on the main level as well as additional seating in the upstairs loft area that would be a great space for a small group. From the loft you can access the outside upper deck which, also, leads to the grounds. The outside area is lush with plenty of seating spread out around the lawn area with more seating on the patio section. To say the expansive outside area is beautiful is an understatement. The beauty of this South Jersey brewery grounds reminds you just how special Jersey is and why it’s called the Garden State. Please folks stop thinking of the congestion of North Jersey and the horrendous Jersey Shore show as representation of all Jersey is because she’s a special Gal with so much to offer.
I enjoyed my first two beers inside. Looking at the diverse tap list I knew I had some tough decisions to make. There were seven to eights beers I wanted to try but had to limit myself and be responsible for the drive home. No flights but they do offer half pours and tasters. I started with half pours of the Summer Saison – Farmhouse Saison 6% and the Socal West – West Coast IPA 7.4% (Woohoo WC IPA!) The Saison was everything I love in Saison from the herbal hops, to the citrus and ginger with the slightly peppery finish. The Socal West…first I want to thank Source for having a West Coast IPA on tap, Thank you!…this IPA was spot on a smooth and crisp IPA full of hop bitterness that ends dry with a variety of citrus fruits and pine in between.
Next up I did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I ordered a sour beer. I used to love sours and for years begged for breweries to brew more of this style. I learned the hard way careful what you ask for. Most are not for me but on this day, I was intrigued by the Good Ribes – Sweet Tart Ale w/ Currants & Vanilla 5%. It was tart without being overly so; yet it’s the tartness I enjoyed because my fear was it would be sweet with the vanilla and currants. It wasn’t. It was a pleasant, thirst quenching easy to drink beer with such a pleasant tart finish. Followed that up with a half pour of the Ultra Motueka – Imperial IPA 8% I didn’t realize when I ordered it that it was a NE style DIPA but I looked past that when drinking it. With bits of tropical fruits, some earthy herbs and a hit of lime it made for an enjoyable beer. I enjoyed it so much I bought a four pack. I was on a roll mixing it up that day.
Last pour for this Gal was the Source of Cheers Munich Style Helles Lager 5.4% this beer is only available for half liter and full liter pours so went for the half. This beer really did bring me back to Germany with its bread/malt sweetness and hop bitterness. An easy drinking beer is always a good way to end a summer day brewery visit. Decided to have another out of the box moment and buy a four pack of this beer as well.
What I truly loved about Source is their passion and love for what they do not only shows in the beer they brew but in the positive energy that zips around the brewery and within the professional, friendly and helpful staff. It’s a bit of a drive for me but I know I’ll be making regular treks to Source because their beer is great, I love the vibe of the place and it’s now one of my Top 5 fav breweries!
Well it only took me forever and a day to visit Punch Buggy Brewing but I finally made it. A little backstory. Punch Buggy has been on my list of breweries to visit since before they opened. As the sponsor of the Beer & Wine Garden at Trails4Tails Fest (happening Oct. 16 this year) part of responsibility is securing the beer for the event. The one year we rented beer equipment from a supplier located next to the soon to be opened Punch Buggy Brewing. However, there was some issues with the equipment and Punch Buggy came to our rescue and loaned us, free of charge, some items we needed and just asked we bring them back. The person handling the pick up and delivery did return everything with our sincere thanks and she and I made a pack to visit once they opened. Well we finally did meet up at the brewery. In our defense there was that whole 2020 mess so we lost a good year or more with that.
Back to the summer of 2021. I packed up the pups and headed into Philly on an absolutely gorgeous Friday afternoon in July to finally meet my friend at Punch Buggy. The brewery is located in a residential part of Fishtown and parking can be tricky. Truth be told it was this Gal’s first trip back to Philly in over a year and I forgot about the NON stop construction on 95 that has seriously been going on for the last 20+ years and Philly parking. Took me 3 trips around the block before I found something but I scored a sweet spot. This was the pups first visit to the City of Brotherly Love/Beer and they were quite taken with all scents and sounds as we walked the short distance over to the brewery.
The brewery is located between a small cafe (the former beer equipment place) and residential living. I just adore how small this brewery is and how much happiness radiants from it. One can tell the owners have put a lot of love and thought into making this small batch brewery a fun, relaxed spot that makes folks feel welcomed and invites them to hang and chill. The pups loved all the attention from the guys working that day and the other guests.
Even though the brewery is small they have made the most of the space with a small bar, high top tables along the one wall and regular tables and bench seating along the other. With the garage door open its airy and roomy. The inside has funky hops lamps hanging from the tin ceiling and be sure to check out the local art for sale in the rest rooms. There’s a nice patio are with several picnic tables and umbrellas for shade. Since I had the #beerdogs with me and it was so nice out we chose to sit at one of the picnic tables.
You go up to the bar to order both beer and food. Food will be brought out to your table when ready. On this particular visit there were 8 beers on tap, available in 10oz or 16oz pours, and the recently released collab DIPA in cans was available as well. For the non beer drinkers they do offer cider. There’s also a small eclectic food menu available with different hot dogs and grilled cheese options. My friend and I enjoyed the grilled cheese but were a bit perplexed by the s’mores sandwich. We didn’t realize the S’mores offering was a sandwich served with a pickle and chips. Let’s just say it was an interesting combo. The fresh Pico de Gallo comes highly recommended.
Back to the beer! I started with a 10oz pour of the Cruise Control Session IPA 5.0% – again happy to see the Sessions popping back up. Such a nice option for the summer or when you have to drive. It was refreshing and tropical fruit driven counter balanced by the hops.
Next up I had to try the collab with Urban Village Brewing – Mischief Maker DIPA 7.5% – This was a fun beer and not just because the label is funky. Citra hops balanced by the Loki yeast made for a smooth drinking DIPA.
I would have loved to have enjoyed a third beer but since I went with a DIPA and had to drive I put the breaks on the drinking. However, I do look forward to returning to Punch Buggy Brewing and trying some of their other beer offerings.
If you find yourself in Philly do yourself a favor and stop in at Punch Buggy Brewing. It’s hidden gem worth visiting.
About two weeks after Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co. opened a friend had reached out to see if I had checked out the brewery yet – I had not. I like to give new places a good four to six weeks to work out the kinks before I visit. Fast forward a couple days from that conversation only to find myself at the brewery. Who am I to turn down an invitation to celebrate a family member’s birthday with a beer or two?
Even though Aristaeus had only been open a couple of weeks rest sure they have all the kinks worked out. Right from the beginning I was impressed with the attention to detail…the logo/branding is beautiful, the building is upscale casual and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The decor is clean and contemporary with rustic accents such as the exposed ceiling and an old piano on the wall. Even though the overall brewery is small they have made the most of the space and laid it out in such a way that it’s spacious and inviting. There’s plenty of seating at the bar plus ledge seating around on the opposite wall and the brewing floor plus both high top and regular tables to choose from. Outside there’s some seating out front and a large patio area on the side that overlooks the train tracks. Dogs are welcomed on the patio!
The other thing that really stood out was the sense of community that is evident from the moment you arrive. They clearly state CRAFT. LOVE. COMMUNITY. and follow that up with partnering with local businesses in the area. Several of their food offerings are from local businesses and the wine they serve is from the Lehigh Valley. #supportlocal
Not only do they support local businesses but the sense of community is shown with how welcomed they make each patron feel.
On this particular day there were seven (out of twelve) beers on tap and the variety was nice. Of course, I ended up trying all seven but what shocked me was that I ended up going with the Kalapa Stout 5.5% for my full pour. It’s been forever and a day since I ordered a stout. This one was easy drinking with hints of toasted coconut and cocoa without the roasted coffee that can over power some stouts.
The other beer that really stood out to me was the Alpha Brown 5%. Woohoo, I love when there’s a brown on the tap list and glad to see them a bit more now. This Southern English brown did not disappoint. It had that nuttiness I just love with a good brown ale balanced by the malts and finishes clean.
The tap list was rounded out by a Rye Saison, Irish Red, Cream Ale, Belgian Blonde and a Session IPA. This gal was so pleasantly surprised to see a session IPA on the list. For me, personally, I just need a break from the hazy IPA’s and was happy on this warm day for a session IPA. Cascade Affect 5% is a clean classic easy drinking IPA, how refreshing.
As I previously mentioned there is a small snack menu plus you can bring in your own food and on the day I visited there was food truck in the parking lot. So plenty of options if you’re hungry. On this particular visit I enjoyed a soft pretzel with hot mustard. I’m hoping they partner with a local cheese place to make a beer cheese to accompany the pretzels. They also offer wine and hard seltzers plus cold brew coffees for the non beer drinkers.
Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co. is a welcome addition to the community and a place I look forward to watching how they grow. One can tell they put a lot of thought and attention to making sure their guests are comfortable and appreciated while brewing good beer which makes me really look forward to my next visit.
Next up this Gal returns to her 2021 Breweries to Visit list.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a dear old friend…Maine Beer Company. It has been a few years since my last visit and six since my first visit and review. I had previously been back since they expanded but I decided I wanted to write a quick follow up because here we are six years later and I’m still so impressed by the brewery, staff and beer. Even though they have grown leaps and bounds they have stayed true to their core. The beer is still top notch and some of the cleanest, tastiest beer around, they still partner with several nonprofit charities and the staff has remained helpful, friendly and fun. It’s not only the beer I respect at Maine Beer Company but their philosophy as a whole.
Since my first visit the building has expanded…it’s huge. I’m not gong to front my first visit after the expansion I was a bit shocked by the size of the new tasting room and missed the little one but I was also happy to see them doing so well. They worked hard and deserved it. Now that I’m use to the size it didn’t phase me on this visit. Instead I could really take the time to sit back and enjoy how they have grown yet stayed the same.
What else has changed? No flights, a host to seat you, besides the pizza they now offer a few other snacks plus wine and expanded outside seating. Since the pandemic they have removed tables making the seating more spacious. I also noticed seating on the 2nd level – old tap room – I’m not sure if that was being utilized last visit or if it was added because of the pandemic.
On this particular visit I enjoyed:
Prince Percy Pilsner 5.1% – I was one lucky gal to enjoy two great pilsners in one day, Bissell Brothers prior. A bit hop forward balanced by the malts with classic floral aromas and hints of citrus as well.
Black Barn No. 22 IPA 6.3% – a very nice easy drinking IPA with hints of melon and lemon.
Dinner DIPA 8.2% – Of course! Tropical fruits with hints of Maine Pine and earthy garden. I always enjoy this classic.
I also purchased a bottle of Thank you IPA 6.4% to enjoy later in the week and enjoy I did. There’s a lot going on with this IPA from Saaz hops to malts with notes of fresh baked bread, coconut, mango and lemon.
After spending sometime at with this dear old friend I felt reset, relaxed and ready to enjoy Maine!
To say Bissell Brothers Brewing has been on my Breweries to Visit list for some time would be an understatement. As the saying goes…All in good time and that time finally arrived. I decided I’d be making two stops this year on my beloved trek north to Maine – Bissell Brothers Brewing (Portland Location) and Maine Beer Co.
I had no preconceived thoughts as to what BBB would be like but they didn’t disappoint. They are located a bit off the beaten path, aren’t most breweries, in an old railway building. So yea, the building is pretty cool with its rustic charm and the vibe is bright, energetic and fun! There’s a very nice patio area for outdoor enjoyment and inside the main floor is large with plenty of seating and there’s also a small upper level as well. You order at the bar, the line moves quickly and the staff is very friendly and helpful. There were 14 beers on tap and the list was broken up by IPA & Hop-Forward, Dark & Malty, Lager & Traditional and Funky & Wild. I think the way they had the tap list is very helpful and cuts down on a lot of questions from folks.
Beings there was a Pilsner on tap and that’s my fav style right now, yea I said it, I went with that first. Precept Pilsner 5.6% – Oh yum! This pilsner was so crisp and clean. This particular pilsner uses Mittelfruh & Saaz hops along with Maine Pilsner malts. The malt to hops ratio was spot on and it was the perfect refresher after sitting in the car for 6 hours.
Next up I enjoyed the Zoo Hypothesis Double IPA 7.7% – What a treat this DIPA was. It’s made with Lotus, Citrus and Mosaic hops along with 2-row, Maine Oats & Maine Wheat malts. The nose consists of a variety of fruits including tropical along with orange and grapefruit. The orange and grapefruit are the forward tastes balanced by earthy herbs and spices.
I was surprised they offered a selection of food from tacos, sandwiches and burgers along with a kid’s menu as well. They also offer wine, craft cider and soda
Because we still had a stop at Maine Beer Company and the rest of the drive to our final desertion I had to make do with just enjoying the two beers this visit but I look forward to a return trip.
Next on my list of 2021 Breweries to Visit was Odd Bird Brewing in Stockton, NJ. When I found out a brewery had opened in the quaint town of Stockton not only was I excited that there was new beer to try, just a scenic drive away, but felt this would be a perfect addition to the town.
One of the first things to catch my eye about Odd Bird is the logo…it’s gorgeous. This Gal’s background is marketing and graphic design so things like logos and branding, always stick out to me and tell me a bit about the business, whether it be a brewery or something else. If a place realizes the importance of professional design and branding they realize the importance of small but mighty details. Odd Bird does just that…recognizes the importance of even the smallest details and the bigger ones too. It’s an aesthetically pleasing and inviting space and the owners make you feel very welcomed. The tap handles are gorgeous hand blow glass and the wood tables add a nice rustic feel. I look forward to the day the inside is open to the patrons. The husband-and-wife team run the place by themselves so for now only the outside tent patio is open for seating. They are looking to welcome the public inside in the fall.
Odd Bird is small but laid out in the way to make the most of the space inside and out. The tent backs up to a hill and has several low and high-top tables plus a “bar” at the front you can sit at. Parking is tough and my guess is will be better in the colder weather once the tent is gone. The Saturday night I was there I was able to snag a spot right out front otherwise you can park down the street at the Prallsville Mill. Because the brewery is located in a food manufacturing facility no dogs allowed. You are welcomed to bring food in and there is a plethora of places in Stockton to get take out from or take your beer to go to one of the BYOB restaurants. Stockton is really a cute town and worth taking a few movements to walk around and enjoy. There’s also a tow path you can walk or ride your bike on and then stop at the brewery for a beer reward after.
Now onto the beer! Right now, no flights but they are very generous with tasters. There were 9 beers on tap and 1 on cask the night I was there and the list was pretty diverse. As soon as I saw they offered a ESB I knew that’s what this Gal was getting. I’ll say it again – I’m so freaking happy to see this style popping up more and more on tap list! It’s been overlooked for far too long.
Extra Stockton Bitter ESB 4.5% – It did not disappoint. I always appreciate a good malt forward beer balanced by the bitterness of hops.
I was happy that both the IPA offerings were not hazy. Did a taster of each Extraordinary Machine IPA 6.4% and the Catbird IPA 6.9%. Decided on the Extraordinary for the pour. It’s nice crisp and clean IPA that goes down easily with a soft note of hops.
The final taste of the evening for this Gal was the Joe’s Garage Kölsch 5.2%. Another style I’m happy to be seeing on tap list again. A Kölsch is always a good kick back summer refresher. Joe’s Garage is well done. A breath of freshness with hits of floral hops and malt aromas.
The brewery is just a hop, skip and jump away from Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA so incorporating a stop into your day of sighting seeing would be an added bonus! I look forward to watching the Odd Bird grow and become an anchor to the Stockton community.