Blend Bar & Bistro has been open for over a year and half now and for some reason I just hadn’t been able to make the time to check it out. Even though several people had recommended I do so simply because of the beer line up. However, one of my drinking buddies recently invited me to join him and a few other beer buddies for the North Coast Tap Takeover at Blend and decided it was finally time to see what’s what.
Blend is located in Route 33 in Hamilton, NJ in a small little shopping center/strip ball. Nothing about the outside leads one to believe it’s much of anything but I was pleasantly surprised upon entering the establishment. I personally love the industrial décor, open ceilings, use of recycled materials, long bar and nice sturdy wood tables. This Gal also loves when love businesses support local artist and Blend does just that by showcasing local artist work on the walls.
Blend is exactly what the owners say it is – a bar. This is a full service bar at that; that is becoming known in the area for their craft beer selection. They have 12 taps 8 of which are dedicated to a lineup of rotating craft beers and 4 are still dedicated to, well, swill. They also offer a take home package section with a pretty nice selection. I’ve seen better but then again this isn’t a full service beer store but a bar that happens to offer six packs for sale.
Didn’t try the any of the food menu offerings on this visit but did take a quick look at the menu. It’s a small limited to apps, sandwiches and salads offerings that are both meat and vegetarian friendly. Really just the right size menu for a bar.
Now onto the beer. Since it was a North Coast Brewing Tap Takeover I decided enjoy one of their offerings first.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – North Coast Brewing 9%
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this beer previously but do love when I find it on tap. It’s a beauty with a nice rich black color and a full creamy head with just the right balance of roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, malts a small kick of hops at the end. A nice stout that goes down smoothly.
Next up was the beer behind one of my favorite beer labels:
Brother Thelonious Belgian Strong Dark Ale – North Coast Brewing 9.4%
Right out of the gate one can smell and taste the alcohol in the beer. It pours a nice deep ruby amber color with a small head. It has a slight sweet taste to it that is not over powering but helps to balances the bitterness that is there as well. When I say balance I really mean this beer is a nice balance of sweet/bitter and hops/malts that finishes with a slight caramel taste that fades away delicately.
Rounding out the night I had to go with a beer that caught my eye when I first arrived…
Comma Black Saison – Carton Brewing Company 6%
A black saison is just crazy talk which translates to this Gal having to try it. Holy Pepper! You start with pepper and finish with pepper but in between there is a nice Saison with fruit tones, sweet malt and that nice yeasty body Saisons offer. Personally, I would prefer this beer with food rather than just drinking it on its own but very happy that tried it.
I think Blend Bar & Bistro is continuing to grow and make it’s mark in the craft beer bar world. They continually offer and support new breweries, host craft beer nights, as well as, craft beer festivals. Coming up in June is the New Jersey 350th Birthday NJ Craft Beer Party.