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Dec 13, 2008 11:37 PM

Microbreweries or great beer in NNJ

We'll be visiting my family in a week. We moved to SoCal about 10 years ago and love our local microbreweries that are so common and so good here.. But we're wondering if there are any microbreweries or bars that serve great local brews in the Bergen Co, No NJ area for our vacation. One day we'll be in Manhattan so if there are some fun spots there,we'd love to know about that too.

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  1. I don't think N.J. can compare to a lot of states, but there is good beer to be found. I think the Long Valley Brew Pub in Long Valley has the best beers for a brewpub. Especially good is their Lazy Jake Porter which won a gold medal one year at the Great American Beer Festival. Triumph Brew Pub in Princeton has good beer. Their amber ale is a standout.

    The best microbrewery in the state (and one of the best in the country) in my opinion is Climax Brewing Co. in Roselle Park. All of their beers are outstanding. Their ESB was rated highly by beer guru Michael Jackson. The IPA is in the English style (less hoppy than American style) and is my favorite beer. Or at least one of my 3 or 5 favorites since I like more than one style of beer. Climax is a tiny micro with no bottling line. Their beer is served on tap at many bars and in growlers at local liquor stores. Well worth seeking out.

    There is a place in Bogota (Bergen County) that serves Climax beers on tap. I think the name of the place is Andy's Corner Bar.

    3 Replies
    1. I'm not a huge fan of Long Valley's Beer, though they have a large selection...if yer looking for a bar with a good beer selection, Tommy Foxe's in Bergenfield has a lot of great beers on tap and more by the bottle.

      1. Head to Cricket Hill in Fairfield on a friday afternoon for their 'tour' / political rally.

        1. A new place just opened in North Arlington directly across from the entrance to Holy Cross Cemetery on Ridge Rd...Coppermine Pub. GREAT selection of micro brew beers on tap and MANY in bottles.

          5 Replies
          1. re: RayP

            Thanks for mentioning this new place - I will need to check it out soon. The OP might check out Andy's Corner Bar in Bogota or The Shepherd and Knucklehead in Upper Haledon (please don't ask for directions).

            Our state really doesn't get the whole micro/craft brew thing. The number of breweries and bars is very limited and generally of low quality (Climax being an exception, if you can find it!). I think this is somewhat related to the limited number of licences available: why go out of your way to struggle with a premium product when you can sell only high profit margin swill? You are the only game in town.

            1. re: jmoryl

              We'd probably have better quality brewers if the State would remove the wall between operating as a Brewpub or as a Microbrewery. As it stands a Micro can't have a tap room, and a Brewpub can't sell off premesis. If one were to consider starting up a new brewery it would be much more attractive to go next door to either New York or Pennsylvania where you could do both (FWIW- when Defiant opened up in Pearl River, just over the border in NY Neill mentioned that was one of his considerations when choosing his location).

              Speaking of Defiant- they truly are just a stone's throw from Bergen County and are worth checking out. The beer is served unfiltered via gravity- it is much better at the source, though they will fill growlers to go as well as hand bottle some specialty brews.. There is no set lineup either, usually whatever they feel like brewing at the time. Local bars in the area will also serve their beer on cask.

              Andy's is the place to go as far as bars are concerned. They don't serve food, but if you were to bring in some burgers from White Manna you wouldn't be the first person to do it. ;)

              In Manhattan check out the Blind Tiger and/or the Gingerman.

              Some other local brewers to keep an eye out for, whether you are in a bar or restaurant during your stay:
              Ramstein (High Point Brewing Co)- particularly the Winter Wheat, if you come across it.
              Sixpoint for hoppy beers.
              Brooklyn has seasonal Brewmaster's Reserve beers that are draft only. There is also the Black Chocolate Stout (which has returned to form this year- yay!).
              Captain Lawrence- really nice smoked porter
              Sly Fox for excellent lagers.
              Troegs- Mad Elf (Belgian style seasonal with spices and honey, around 10%) or Hopback Amber.
              Blue Point has some cask accounts around town, keep an eye out- the oatmeal stout and Hoptical Illusion are great quaffers.

              I'm sure I'll think of more, but that should be a good start. Climax is pretty good, but a tier below the ones mentioned above imo.

              1. re: TongoRad

                never heard of defiant brewery and will indeed be checking it out- Thanks

                1. re: sixelagogo

                  I honestly can't believe I've never heard of this place...i googled around and found a great review of the place in beer advocate. I'm totally there.

                  1. re: sixelagogo

                    Yeah- I remember that review. It's framed on the wall behind the bar. Good thing you found it- it saved me the trouble of digging up the address and phone # :). If you know where the train station is, you can't miss it; it's right across the tracks. I'd call ahead before going, though, just to verify the hours for that day. I've made the trip only to have nobody home once or twice (that was during the week at an early time, though- 4-5 pm.)

                    The Triple and the Porter are really good, if they have them. I'm about due for a keg fill myself...