Next up on my list of breweries to visit in 2021 – Tonewood Brewery. My friend and I picked a gorgeous May weekday afternoon to meet up and see what’s what at the brewery. I love they are open Tuesday thru Sunday. Some of us like visiting breweries during the week rather than wait for the weekend. For whatever reason the location through me off a bit. The location is part industrial and, yet, part residential. I’m not sure what the building used to house and the person from Tonewood I spoke to didn’t know either. Reminded me of an old firehouse but don’t think it was. It butts right up to a residential property and neighborhood. I bet the zoning meetings for the approval had to be interesting. Also, there is a free parking lot across from the side of the building.
My friend and I chose to sit outside at the picnic tables that run along the side of the brewery. Beware you are sitting at a slant and might occasionally have to keep your beer from sliding down he table. The brewery itself is small but there are several tables inside, as well as, a bar. The wood table tops are are beautiful and I love the use of wood showcased in it’s natural glory. Pretty much the entire time I was there they played the Grateful Dead so you know this Gal was happy and it earned them huge bonus points!
Tonewood does not offer beer flights but once I saw they had a Schwarzbier on tap I new exactly what this Gal would be drinking. Black Bird Schwarzbier 4% Dark German Lager and oh so delish! Smooth, crisp and clean with hints of chocolate and pumpernickel. It was the perfect Spring beer for the early May afternoon. The day I was there the IPA’s were all hazy, just not my thing right now, so after the Schwarzbier I enjoyed the Two Versions of Me Dry Hopped Pilsner 5% and a collab beer from Tonewood and Cape May Brewing. It was a respectful Pilsner with tones of melon, white grape and a hint of oak.
Back in early May I had plans to meet a friend at Tonewood Brewing but realized Kings Road Brewery was just 10 minutes from Tonewood so felt it necessary to stop and check out Kings Road first. So glad I did.
Kings Road Brewery is located in the heart of downtown Haddonefield, NJ and what a cute town! A gorgeous downtown that just calls out for one to spend an afternoon strolling the streets, popping into the various mom and pops shops, restaurants, bakeries, and brewery. To say Haddonfield is cute is an understatement and I plan on going back to enjoy an afternoon of #smallbusiness. However, I did stop into a fun little spice and tea shop before heading to the brewery. The brewery is close to the Heritage Winery Tasting Room and across the street from The British Chop Shop which happens to be byob.
There is street meter parking out front and a rather large lot near the rear of the brewery across the street. Beings I was there on a weekday afternoon I had no problem finding parking out front. I opted to enjoy my beer outside in the back of the brewery where they had several picnic tables set up with a tent overhead for some shade. Besides the picnic table area they also had a few barrel tables outside in the front of the building and another outside area in the back with a few hightop tables and lots of sun. Inside the space is generous with lots of warm tones, wood and plenty of seating. You are allowed to bring food in and dogs are welcomed outside. The interior is a nice size and felt warm and inviting. The staff was very attentive and welcoming.
This Gal absolutely adored the tap list. It was really one of the most diverse brewery lists I’ve seen in a while and spot on for Spring. There were so many I wanted to try so opted for a taster flight:
Empire Strikes Back – English Bitter 5.1% ( you know I had to order it with a name like that) Very happy to see an English Bitter and even happier drinking it. This ESB had the perfect combination of malts and hops.
1944 Pilsner – 4.4% My go to style now a days. This was a true classic German style Pilsner. Starts with a bit of doughiness and follows up clean and crisp.
Hell n’ Bock – 6.7% A bock! Love a bock and so happy to see one on their menu. I cannot stress enough how much I loved their selection. This bock wasn’t as malty as some I’ve had but that’s ok there was still plenty of malt and had a slight taste of peppers.
Since the lager had kicked and the IPAs were NE stye, which just wasn’t in the mood for, I opted for the Black Musket Stout to round out the flight.
Black Musket Stout – 6.2% It’s been a while since I ordered a stout. I used to love the roasted coffee flavor to stouts but my taste have changed and since most stouts seem to have the coffee thing going on I tend to pass. This black beauty passed on the coffee and offered up an abundance of dark malts countered by hops and a hint of nuttiness. Rich, Smooth & Creamy.
I wish I had more time to spend at Kings Road Brewery but I had to move onto my next stop but I’ll definitely be back.
Even though my 2020 Breweries to Visit list…oh heck we all know what happened to any plans made in 2020. The fact that 2020 was a wash didn’t stop me from making my 2021 Breweries to Visit list. This year’s list focuses heavily only #NJCraftBeer with a few PA breweries in the mix and so far I’m on track with visits. My latest stop was to Icarus Brewing in Lakewood, NJ. I’ve been hearing so many good things about their beer and had to check it out for myself.
I recently met a friend there on a rainy afternoon so outside sitting wasn’t going to work. However, on nice days there is a small makeshift seating area in the parking lot in front of the brewery. Parking appears to be limited unless I missed a second lot. We chose to go early on a Friday in hopes it wouldn’t be crowded at 1:30pm and our plan worked.
The brewery is much smaller than I imagined but the layout doesn’t make you feel cramped and even though it’s in a warehouse they have it set up to be warm and inviting. There are only a handful of tables with the tables along the wall having hanging dividers between them. There are also hooks along the wall and under the bar to hang purses and coats or whatever, as well as, charging outlets. Very nice touch! (no bar seating right now) Since I had my pups with me I chose the corner table next to the bar which was really out of the way from others.
The tap list is diverse from Pilsner, IPA, Pale Ale, Fruit, Stouts and Quads on tap. I was excited to see two Pilsners on the list, my go to style right now and stuck to them and IPA’s for this trip. I was happy with all my choices. The Three B’s Pilsner 6.9% and Pound of Feathers Imperial Pilsner 7.1% both were well done, clean and crisp and my favs of the day. I enjoyed the Pound of Feathers so much I bought 4 pack for my brother. I also really enjoyed the Piner West Coast IPA 7.4%. I love a good old school W.C. IPA and the Piner was exactly what I was in the mood for with hints of pine and citrus.
The artwork on the walls is fun and I even spotted a Grateful Dead painting so you know that made this Gal happy. The have a large collection of vinyl that they play and I love that they display the album sleeve of what is currently playing. Another nice touch!
We brought our own food to enjoy. I stopped on the way to Icarus at Mama Dude’s a fantastic little mom & pop farm to table take out joint…highly recommend them. We enjoyed lunch, beers and catching up which really made for such a relaxing afternoon.
Right now seating is limited to 90 minutes if crowded, no flights and there’s a take out window up front for purchases. The staff is friendly and happy to answer any questions and the brewery is dog friendly. Mama T. and Sullivan felt very welcomed.
For the first time in a year I was inside a brewery. It was surreal and yet normal all at the same time. Being in the high risk group for Covid I have limited my time out in the public and only visited 3 breweries last year (all outside) and for the most part enjoy beer at home or at my local beer joint down the street that has a year round outdoor patio. Fortunately, their tap list is always top notch. However, it was nice to try out a new place and drink some different beers.
Newton Brewing Company had been on my list of places to visit last year but we all know what happened to our lists of things to do and places to visit in 2020. I’m determined to get through my list this year. Granted I showed up 5 minutes before they opened so I could get there first thing, limited myself to a taster round and promised my partner we would be out before it got people-ly. I had just wrapped up the taster round when others arrived so we had the place to ourselves pretty much our entire visit.
ATMOSPHERE – Like many other breweries it is in an industrial type complex but the minute you walk through the door you forget that. The owners did a top notch job making the brewery feel warm and inviting. I absolutely love all the wood and the overall decor of the place. I also really like that there are a choice of table styles to choose from – high tops, barrels, and regular 4 top tables. (Bar sitting doesn’t exist right now because of the pandemic ) Another bonus sound buffers on the walls and ceilings. The brewery is BYOF and often has food trucks, check out their schedule, and being its PA during Covid hot dogs are available for purchase to cover the required table food law.
THE BEER – The tap list is nice with truly something for everyone. Personally, I was thrilled to see a Dunkel on the list and that was my fav of the day. Their Imperial IPA also ranked high. They also serve wine from a local winery, soft drinks, hard cider and seltzer as well. This place has me excited to visit breweries again and I look forward to my 2021 Beer Tasting Adventures.
Please note me and my partner’s comfort level and precautions with the pandemic are our decision and I will not debate them.
This Gal recently found herself at her fav beer store, Trenton Road Take Out, I was there to pick up a few things but decided to treat myself to a small beer. I always find the tap list to have a nice selection but on this particular occasion it was spot on! I was trying to decide between Toppling Goliath Light Speed DDH Pale Ale or Bissel Brothers “Lux” Pale Ale when the helpful young gentleman working the taps recommended a taste of the Sierra Nevada 40th Hoppy Anniversary Ale…ding, ding, ding we had the winner. I’m so glad he recommended it and was kicking myself for glossing right over it on the board. After all, I talk so often about Sierra can be overlooked and yet is so good. Here I was doing it myself…I was distracted by the shiny new beer and looking over the classic.
As I sat back and enjoyed this fab classic it really started to sink in that they were celebrating 40 years…40 years! That 40th Hoppy Anniversary Ale transported me back in time to my first sip of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; it was the parking lot of a Grate Dead show. I thought it was so cool I was drinking a beer on the east coast that I never heard of and was from the west coast. The next time I was at a show I found myself searching for that beer from California. It was rare once, stood the test of time and all the various beer trends and is still going strong. Sitting back at Trenton Road Take Out sipping on that Sierra made me appreciate their journey as well as my own.
Thank you to the young gentleman for reminding me to cherish the classics.
Recently my brother, often referred to as the world’s greatest brother, was at Trillium Brewing and texted me few cool pics of the place and in return I every so sweetly reminded him that I love suveniors. He asked if I would like to pick a few beers from their can list to bring back for me? Yes please and thank you! I’ve been on a kick of going out side my norm and trying beers that might not normally appeal to me. So I picked my 4 out of the box beers and 2 styles I normally enjoy. I enjoyed all the beers but the one that shocked me and I just loved was the one I saved for last because I thought, “why did I pick this one?” Double Seesaw American Gose Ale Brewed with Plum. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a Gose every now and then but I’m not big into the fruit beers and am not a fan of plum in general. That has now changes. This beer is so delightful and fun! It comes in at only 5.3%. During the pour the sent of citrus, berries and, of course, plum are very noticeable. The color is striking and the taste simply incredible. It’s a medium body plum lemonade! There’s a tartness from the plum but that is counter balanced by the sweetness of the berries and the saltiness found with this style. It is one of the most perfectly balanced beers I have in a very long time. What a genuinely pleasant surprise and so happy I chose to go outside the norm on my selection.
Beer of the Week for 1/9-1/15.
This week’s Beer of the Week goes to Avery Brewing CompanySalvation. Belgian Strong Pale Ale 9%This gem has been hanging out in my aging cellar but I felt it was time to enjoy it instead of just looking at it.Salvation is truly divine. It’s one of those special beers that’s wonderful on it’s own but can also be paired with an array of foods. Hints of pitted fruits with accents of nutmeg make for a delightful sipping beer.
Runner Up – @AveryBrewingCo Out of Bounds Stout 6.3%. This beer is quickly becoming one of my favorite stouts. I love vanilla, chocolate and coffee stouts but I greatly appreciate that this is purely a stout. Standing on it’s own in rich roasted barely and malty goodness balanced out by hoppy goodness.
There’s quite a few Avery’s in my beer cellar patiently waiting their turn to be enjoyed.
This Gal was fortunate enough to travel around the coast of Ireland for 8 action packed wonderful days. Ireland is a very clean and beautiful country, the people are friendly and, of course, there’s lots of beer. Now I know the first beer that comes to mind when one thinks of Ireland is Guinness…they go hand in hand. However, I quickly discovered there really is so much other wonderfully crafted local beer available.
On our first day my companion and I had a bit of free time before the tour group was gathering so we started walking towards the Guinness store. We walked and walked and walked…our free time was dwindling and then I saw it! The sign for J.W. Sweetman Craft Brewery. Heck, one can get a Guinness ANYWHERE in Ireland (really it’s everywhere) but I knew I couldn’t get J. W. Sweetman beer everywhere. Seeing the brewery sign prompted me to develop a new beer plan for the trip – drink local. No worries I had a Guinness – actually 2 during my 8 days in Ireland but for the most part I sought out what was local to the area we were visiting and since we were in a new area almost daily I tried a nice variety of local beers. Craft beer is still a relatively new thing in Ireland and the bartenders almost seem apologetic when saying something is a craft beer. At each place if something didn’t stand out as local I would ask what was available from the area. Several times bartenders answered with – “…. but it’s a craft, is that OK?” YES!
J.W. Sweetman– Dublin
Amazing historic building with a beautifully ornate staircase, several small private seating areas and multiple levels. Service was superb and the prices very reasonable. The offered 7 beers on tap and this Gal had the pleasure of trying 5 of them. Full service food menu that is veg, meat and gluten free friendly.
Blonde 4.3% – Hints of hops with citrus and subtle malts.
Weiss 5% – Had the cloves and banana that I’ve come to associate with a weiss along with a delightful tangy finish.
Red Ale 4.8% – A true Irish Red Ale – Yippy! This is an easy drinking beer that offers sweet malts, caramel and just a tinge of cocoa.
Pale Ale 4.5% – West Coast Hops and dry hopped at that. Underneath the hops is a layer of malts citrus that combine for a medium mouth feel.
Porter 4.8% – So happy to have a porter and a good one at that. All the beers were great but this was my favorite from the taster round. First up is the rich roasted bitter coffee and chocolate with a smokey smooth finish. This a full-bodied beer.
That night I had to stop at the little pub down the street from our hotel – The Ferryman. It’s a traditional Irish Pub overlooking the water that provides old world charm and a wide selection of brews. For my local selection I went with the McGargles IPA.
McGargles IPA – Hello West Coast hops! It’s hops alright but there’s enough tropical flavors going on to help tone down the hops and end on a refreshing note.
The next town we stayed overnight at was Waterford. Yes, the home of Waterford Crystal. Also, home to Downes of Waterford Pub. Where they mix their own whiskey Henry Downes No. 9 Irish Whiskey. Now this Gal is not a whiskey drinker but I felt I must try the No. 9 since it’s not available anywhere else. Along with the whiskey I had a half pour of Metalman IPA from Metalman Brewing.
Downes Whiskey No. 9 – please keep in mind I know NOTHING about whiskey – all I can say is this was smooth.
Metalman IPA 4.3% – The citrus and floral announce themselves first followed by the hops adding up to a refreshing beer.
Killarney was up next. This town is so quaint and easy to get around. If you have the chance to visit Ireland make sure Killarney is on your list of towns to stay over in. I requested a local brew from the bar I was at and was poured a half pint of Cute Hoor Irish Pale Ale which I later found out was not local by indeed brewed by Heineken. As much as I wanted to keep it local it wasn’t always possible. I also wanted to make sure and try the OTHER Irish Stout Murphy’s which I prefer over Guinness. I later found out Killarney Brewing is in town but unfortunately time did not permit a visit.
Cute Hoor Irish Pale Ale 5% – Mild hops accented by pine overall the taste fades quickly
Murphy’s Irish Stout 4% – Much smoother than Guinness with a slightly
The town of Galway was the next chance for me to try a local brew and that I did with Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale (yes, it’s mostly Irish Pale Ale’s that are available).
Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale 4.4% – Similar to an
American Pale Ale but with a bit more malts. Nice citrus aftertaste that tames the bitterness.
My final local brew was from a brewery in the town of Derry in Northern Ireland – Northbound Brewery No. 8 Kolsch Style. I enjoyed all the beers that I had the opportunity to try but the No. 8 was by far my favorite beer of the trip.
No. 8 Kolsch – The brewery makes of point of saying this beer is inspired by the German Kolsch which it cleary is but with a twist – a very smooth twist. Another words this has to be the smoothest Kolsch I’ve ever tried. The hops giveaway to the malts with a silky mouthfeel.
This particular tour has you on the go so not a lot of down time but made the most of time I had and enjoyed sampling the brews of Ireland. I hope to one day return and see what’s the Emerald Isle has brewing.
A bit of background before jumping into the review of Bar Hygee. This Gal is a long time fan of Tom Baker’s brewing skills and I was heartbroken when he and Peggy closed Heavyweight Brewing. (I still have a bottle of Old Salty in my beer cellar) Them opening Earth, Bread & Brewery helped ease the pain but with the opening Bar Hygge I’m much happier and the lost of Heavyweight has subsided.
Bar Hygee is located on Fairmount Avenue in one of my all time favorite Philly neighborhoods. It’s off street parking but with just a few circles of the block I secured a space right out front. Once you walk in you know you are some place special. Bar Hygge has taken brewpubs to a new level. It’s sophisticated without being pretentious. The decor is rustically upscale yet comfortable. The bar is beautifully crafted reclaimed wood and has the feel of relaxing at a friends cabin. There’s a room off to the left of the entrance that provides laid back seating and space for private events. On this particular night there was a wine tasting happening in the room. Yes, this is a full service brewpub/bar with 7 house and 2 guest beers along with 5 wines and 1 cocktail all on tap. Various other wines (impressive wine list) and cocktails available as well.
My companion and I took residence at the bar where Rose provided outstanding service. With 7 of Tom’s amazing beers on tap and appropriate planning I was able to try them all and still drink responsibly. Stop – let me make sure I’m making myself clear The Tap List Floored Me. A brown, Scottish-style, Dopplebock, DIPA, Farmhouse and Stout all on the list! Choosing where to start was difficult. Now let’s continue on…
The beers on tap are available as half and whole pours and reasonably priced $4/$6*. Flights aren’t available but tastes are. I started with a half pour of Grinding Grooves and stole a taste of my friends Exaggerator Dopplebock both were outstanding. Continuing on we decided to order some food to accompany the next round of beers.
Not only does Bar Hygge offer a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy great beer in but they offer amazing food as well. I was truly impressed with the offerings from the kitchen. We started with a Hygge Board (choice of 1, 3 or 5 items). For our board we picked the Drunken Goat Cheese, Lamb Kabobs and Miso Sunchokes. Sunchokes just may be my new favorite food! Prior to the Board being served Bar Hygge likes to entice your pallet with an Amour-bouche which on this particular evening was a roasted kale and white bean salad. Goal met our appetites were enticed! Too accompany our beautifully presented board we selected the Doon The Watter (Scottish Style!) and IZZI Brown Ale beer – both paired wonderfully with the board offerings. The combination of the earthy miso and rich malty mouthfeel of the scottish ale blended together perfectly.
The next course consisted of Phoebe Bier de Garde, Ripsnorter DIPA and the La Vache Noire Stout along with Waffle Wings (with pickled watermelon) and Sunflower-crusted Cauliflower. One most simply try pickled watermelon at least once in their life – amazing. Our taste buds were were being spoiled by the different spectrums of flavors going on with each bite of food and sip of beer.
Do your self a favor and treat yourself to Bar Hygge. After all you deserve the best life has to offer.
Ripsnorter Double IPA 8.2% (centennial, simcoe, bravo and amarillo hops) It’s getting to the point if I know simcoe hops are involved I need to try it. Being a DIPA the hops were front and center but didn’t leave your mouth/taste buds numb with overkill.
Exaggerator German-style Dopplebock 7.2%
Cheers to having a Dopplebock on tap. One of my favorite styles and this one didn’t disappoint. Full-bodied maltiness with a slight roasty chocolate ending.
IZZI Brown Ale Saison Brune with rye and caraway 5.6%
The rye and caraway are there but in a subtle complementing way. The combination of a brown and Saison melds together to make for a very enjoyable beer.
La Vache Noire Belgian Milk Stout 5.6%
Milk stout – need I say more? Rich and complex with a silky smooth mouthfeel.
Grinding Grooves Gotlandsdricka 6.8%
Farmhouse ale with a slight smokey taste that helps to calm the tartness of the juniper.
Doon the Watter Scottish-style Export 6.2%
I was truly delighted to see a Scottish style ale on tap. Full-bodied and loaded with with malty/caramel goodness.
“Phoebe” Biere de Garde 6.2%
A great beer on it’s own or with food. The slight malt and hops along with the black pepper and orange are all enhanced when paired with food.
*Prices overall at Bar Hygge are very reasonable especially for the quality of beer and food being served. Menu is both vegetarian and meatarian friendly.
Something you should know about this Gal, if you already haven’t figured it out, I can be stubborn when I want to be. Although, I like to think of it as more determination that stubbornness. That being said way back in the late spring/early summer a friend and I ventured into the city for a self made pub crawl. One of the places I wanted to try the most was Jimmy’s No. 43. I kept hearing how great the beer selection is and it has appeared on many top beer places in NYC lists. Needless to say I was beyond disappointed when I arrived to find them closed. Ever so determined to check out Jimmy’s No. 43 for myself I once again trekked back to the city and voilà found myself at Jimmy’s No. 43 and it was open!
You have to go down a flight to enter Jimmy’s and when you do you feel you’ve been transported back in time to the catacombs of Old World Europe either that or a vampires lair. Jimmy’s is small and cozy with arched brick ceilings, lots of wood and carved cathedral style openings. Over all a very inmate setting. The bar is in front of you when you first walk in and is smaller than I thought it be maybe seating 9 or 10 people. I loved the marble bar top and all the old wooden barrels around the ceiling perimeter.
Besides wanting a beer my friend and I were in need of some food too. Jimmy’s offers a small but interesting menu so we were looking forward to enjoying something different. That being said as we scoped out the joint I asked the bartender if they were serving food. Normally they would be but since things seemed pretty darn quiet I figured I better ask. Sadly they were not, the kitchen wasn’t ready yet. Ummm, OK. So we took a seat at the bar and scanned the area for the tap list. Not spotting one I asked the bartender what was available. She pointed to the clipboards near the entrance said the tap list was on that but she hadn’t had time to update it. Alrighty then.
The list consisted of 12 beers on tap and a rather extensive bottle list. The tap list was indeed good but not as impressive as I thought it be giving all the hoopla I’ve heard about Jimmy’s. Although, I feel spoiled with the wonderful tap selections in such close proximity to home. Heck, this Gal is just 30 minutes from some the best tap lists the City of Brother Beer (Philly) has to offer.
I had finally decided on my beer request but the bartender was busy behind the bar doing I’m not sure what. So I waiting patiently for her to take my beer order. Instead she announced she had to go check on her food, grabbed her purse and left. I looked at my companion and said,”did she really just leave?” She sure did. So we sat and waited because no matter what I was having a beer at Jimmy’s No. 43 . Upon her return I requested the Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter but unfortunately, that was one of the beers they were out of. Instead I opted for the Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout (Nitro). It was lovely how it cascaded into the glass and I was looking so forward drinking it but it sat and sat and sat and then sat some more while, once again, the bartender did – God knows what behind the bar. Seriously, we were sitting at the bar and I do not for the love of anything sane understand what she was occupying her time with but it certainly wasn’t attending to her customers. I was to the point that I was ready to reach over and grab the beer when she finally served it to me. I will say it was worth the wait.
Coffee Milk Stout, Black Hog, CT (Nitro) – 5.5%
This pours beautifully leaving gorgeous rings on the glass as you sip it. Rich roasted coffee, bitter on the backside with the silky smooth creaminess of a milk stout. Velvet silk in a glass.
By the time I had been served the Black Hog I pretty much figured I would only be having the one beer and moving on. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for bad service and the service or lack there of at Jimmy’s was getting increasingly bad. Wait…it gets worse.
The beer was $8 and I put on $10 on the bar next to my glass. As the glass became empty I figured at some point the bartender would acknowledge the empty glass and I could settle up my tab. Yeah, that wasn’t to be the case. It really became very clear that she didn’t care about her customers. So my companion and I got up to leave with the $10 clearly sitting next to my empty glass. I was first up the stairs when I realized my companion was still inside. Turns out our leaving FINALLY got the bartenders attention and she yelled at him about leaving without paying. I find it curious that her first reaction would be to accuse a customer of not paying instead of perhaps nicely saying something to them or looking on the bar first to see if they left money. She was informed the money was indeed on the bar next to the EMPTY glass and her response – “oh”. Not ok, thank you or sorry about that – just Oh.
As a former bartender I completely understand one can have an off day but by the end of our visit I really just got the feeling that this type of service was the norm at least for this bartender. As someone who lives on a budget and carefully chooses when and where to spend my money I much rather spend it somewhere that truly appreciates ones customers. That being said there are plenty of bars in NYC with great tap list and good service that appreciates the business their customers bring. Sadly this was not the case on this visit.