I squeezed this 2021 Breweries to Visit in the final week of the year. Its been many years since I visited Hightstown, NJ and I forgot just how cute the town is. Old Hights Brewing Company is a nice addition to the town. I’ve heard great things about this brewery since they opened in June of 2020. This Gal is glad she finally made the time to pay them a visit.
The establishment is bigger than I pictured with a long bar and high top tables inside on the main floor with more seating upstairs. You can also sit right up agains the brewing area. The tap wall is pretty impressive and love the tin roof over the area. The brewery has a beer hall charm to it and fun historical black and white photos line the wall. There’s also large outdoor beer garden with a couple of fire pits. The outside area is dog friendly.
As far as food goes you can bring in your own, they sell bags of pretzels and have to go menus available to order in. Also, across from the beer garden there was a food establishment which is super convenient.
On to the beer! They do not offer flights but you can buy several 5 oz pours at once and make up your own flight. I only had a short amount of time so I just enjoyed three 5 oz pours.
FaLaLaLaLa Red IPA 7.5% This was a fun beer with hints of citrus and winter spices.
Triangles Winter Solstice Belgian Saison 7% I just adore farmhouse saisons. This beer was crisp, fresh and hints of spicy fruit.
I used to love sours but truth be told I hesitate to order them any more. With their surge in popularity so came surge poorly brewed sours. However, that was not the case with the Harvest Fizzle.
Harvest Fizzle Seasonal Sour Ale 5.8% I thoroughly enjoyed the combo of cherry, plum and, my fav, pomegranate flavors that complimented each other nicely without being too sweet.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot time and had to make do with the 3 tasters but glad I finally got to try Old Hights Brewing Company.
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.
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.
Ladies market your calendars South Jersey GPO and Geeky Beer Gal are teaming up again and adding our friends Central Jersey GPO for another Philly Beer Crawl. You can join us for the entire duration or join us at any of our stops along the way. Stay tuned for the list of bars/breweries we’ll be visiting…
Don’t forget to follow this Gal on Facebook for all the latest beer happenings.
South Jersey GPO and Geeky Beer Gal are teaming up for our 1st Philly Bar Crawl! We’ll be perusing through the Fishtown section of the city at 5 of the best craft beer bars or breweries. You can join us for the entire duration or join us at any of our stops along the way.
There is street parking available off of Girard (Day and Crease St) and off N 2nd St near Urban Village. Parking can be limited so public transit is encouraged. You can take PATCO in to the city and Uber/Lyft to the Fishtown area. You could also carpool! Put the area or meet-up point below in the comments. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as we will be walking to each bar, bring cash to use at each bar (easier for quick purchase), event will be rain or shine, no cost for the Bar Crawl itself and ladies only please! The last stop at Urban Village will be till whenever – take time to drink water, eat some food, etc. PLEASE REMEMBER TO ENGAGE RESPONSIBLY! Have a DD or a travel plan in place.
Beer of the Week 2/6 – 2/12
The past week was a close one between New Belgium Brewing Citradelic and Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale. If I had to choose…you know what I don’t have to choose. They were both fun beers that caught me by surprise.
New Belgium Brewing Citradelic 6% – The tangerine is up front and helps to calm down the hops while be ever so refreshing.
Flying Dog Brewery Blood Orange Ale 7% – The citrus is not as prominent in this one but still there with hints of pineapple, spices and malt that end with some bitterness from the hops.
I look forward to pairing them with some spicy Thai in the near future.
Beer of the Week 1/30 – 2/5 – This weeks top pick goes to a classic and one of this Gal’s favs Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue). Not only do I love this beer because of the dark fruits, caramel, and malts topped off with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg but also it’s sentimentally a favorite of mine.
This Gal names her fur babies after beer and it all started with my cat/dog Chimay. A dog stuck in a cats body and one of the coolest cats around. Cheers Chimay!
Between tap takeovers and visits to a couple different breweries this Gal had the opportunity to taste an array of wonderful beers this week but the one that stood out to me the most was Spellbound Brewing Palo Santo Porter. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this beer on a few occasions and each and every time it’s outstanding.
Pours a velvety black with a up front chocolate presence and hints of wood, rich malts and a ting of vanilla. (beer to far right)