Tag Archives: NJ

May Beer Crawl

May 2016 – Hackettstown, NJ

For May we’re headed North, well, North Jersey that is to the Hackettstown/Long Valley area of New Jersey.

May’s Beer Crawl takes you to not 1 but 2 NEW NJ Breweries plus a long standing Brewpub. First stop Jersey Girl Brewing Company this brewery is brand spankin’ new – it just opened April 15th! They currently offer 4 beers on tap and this Gal has heard good things about the brewery and the beers they are brewing. Second stop is another relative newbie to the NJ brewery scene – Man Skirt Brewing opened since October 2015 and serving up their 3 flagship ales plus a seasonal. After visiting the latest additions to the New Jersey Brewing scene take a short ride over to the third and final stop of the May Beer Crawl, Long Valley Pub & Brewery, for some grub and, of course, beer. Hopefully you chose a nice day for you beer crawl so you can enjoy the outside patio at Long Valley. They offer a full food menu and have 5 to 6 of their own award winning beers on tap. Enjoy and let this Gal know what you think of May’s Beer Crawl.

Jersey Girl Brewing Company | 426 Sand Shore Road | Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Man Skirt Brewing | 144 Main Street | Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Long Valley Pub & Brewery | 1 Fairmount Road, Long Valley, NJ 07853

Total Distance 9.7 miles and a mere driving time of 17 from the first to the last stop.

Spellbound Brewing

IMG_2045Spellbound Brewing, Mt. Holly, NJ
Twitter – @Spellboundbrew


Right away I knew I was going to like this place. The entrance, even though in a warehouse facility, is inviting and makes you feel like you are entering someplace special that has an ethereal/mystical feel to it. Once inside you notice all the fabulous wood including bottle shaped flight trays carved from wood, fairy lights and very cool  tap handles.IMG_2039

The tasting room is a nice size with a long bar, several high top tables and railings along the wall for gathering at. Only down side is the lack of seating. Two stools at the bar for the entire tasting room? If there had been seating I feel confident in saying people would stay longer.


IMG_2041Of course this Gal went for a Taster Round. Now I love porters but even I was a bit surprised that 4 out of the six beers on tap were porters. My companion and I were hoping to have a bit more variation in styles to try.

Session Porter 4.5%
Lighter body but still full of flavor. Makes for a nice easy drinking porter.

Porter 6.9%
Full body with just the right balance bitter chocolate with roasted coffee..

Palo Santo Wood Aged Porter 6.9%
Good mix of chocolate, vanilla and anise with hints of a few other herbs.

IMG_2044Coconut Palo Santo Porter  6.9%
Coconut + chocolate = liquid mounds bar without being overly sweet. Very well done and quite yummy.

Also, had a sip of my friends:
Peach 2X IPA 7.5%
Well, I have a thing about peach flavored beverages so this didn’t go over well with me. It’s all I tasted so that was that.

IPA 6.5%
Piney hops mixed with malts make for a pleasant drinking experience.

I look forward to revisiting Spellbound Brewing and watching them grow into their full potential. After all they are off to a great start.

Note they are located just 2 miles from Village Idiot Brewing which makes for a fun little beer tasting excursion.


Village Idiot Brewing

IMG_2026Village Idiot Brewing, Mt. Holly, NJ
42 High Street, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060
Twitter – @_Village_Idiot_

Villiage Idiot Brewing is located in the heart of Mt. Holly which has a quaint small town amtosphere. Upon entering the brewery you feel as if you’re entering a cozy restaurant/bar with lots of dark wood, tables and and a nice little bar area. One can bring in food from outside so it’s easy to make an afternoon of it at Village Idiot. Great atmosphere for a relaxing afternoon of sipping their beer while enjoying a  kick butt game of scrabble.

There were four beers on a tap the day I  visited and, of course, I had to try each of them.

Bridgeton Blonde
Bridgeton Blonde

Bridgetown Blonde Ale 4.8%
Not what I come to expect form a blonde but than again I find this style can really vary. This particular blond tasted young to me with yeast and wheat notes. Not the smoothest rendition of the style.

Punk O'Lantern
Punk O’Lantern

Punk O’Lantern 6.5%
Very good pumpkin offering with just the right amount of spices without being overwhelming. The spices were accented by touches of caramel, malts and just a touch of earthiness.

Revolutionary Rye
Revolutionary Rye

Revolutionary Rye 6%
Nailed It! I’m not the biggest Rye fan but I can appreciate when the style is done right. It has the graininess one associates with a Rye with an underlying softness of spices and a mild bitter finish.

Bike Rail Pale Ale 5.3%
This was my favorite beer of the visit day and I’m not typically a Pale Ale Gal. The hops were definitely there but without being overpowering which allowed the grapefruit/citrus flavors to shine through.

Village Idiot is still young and I look forward to visiting again and seeing how their beers develop and mature.

Note they are located just 2 miles from Spellbound Brewing which makes for a fun little beer tasting excursion.

Blend Bar & Bistro

Blend Bar & Bistro

5060b8967fa4cf9d9db6771b280a33bf_dnjsBlend 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.

IMG_1009Blend 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.

IMG_1007Old 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:

IMG_1008Brother 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…

IMG_1010Comma 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.
#BlendBar #NJCraftBeer