New Jersey clearly has an interest in craft beer and there are around 100 other breweries to choose from. Where does one start? Which breweries can’t be missed? I’ve got a few ideas, listed in no particular order…
One of my favorite things about this brewery is that they give back. Each month, a portion of their proceeds from Hackensack Lager is donated to a different charity. They’ve got some great beers on tap right now (as of 2/17) including Double Agent (Like liquid cinnamon raisin toast. Dark bread crust with notes of coffee, dark chocolate and dark fruits.) and Story Problems (A little more aggressive lager with spicy floral hop aromas and flavors of toasted bread with the hops coming through on the mid palate.). Another reason to visit is their frequent yoga + beer events. Bring food, kids, dogs…it’s all good.
The largest brewery in New Jersey, Flying Fish gets much of its inspiration from the Garden State. Their Exit Series centers around Turnpike exits; each beer focuses on a unique aspect of an individual exit. For example, Exit 3 is a honey ale brewed with blueberries. They’ve also got the seasonal Salt and Sea, which evokes evenings on the boardwalk. We adore their efforts to be sustainable, including a rain garden and solar panels. Stop by for a guided tour and check out the tasting room.
Sussex County may not be the epicenter of brewing in New Jersey, but they do contribute to the scene! Angry Erik, founded 5 years ago, never fails to delight. They’ll be moving to a new location in Hampton this spring, but you can still visit for Trivia Revolution of February 23rd. It’s free to play and there will be prizes. Owned by a husband and wife team, you’ll find several delicious beers honoring their dogs – try Ravøl, For Fuggles Sake, and Citra Kisses!
Though everyone has a favorite, one of the best beers here is surely The Big Breakfast… It’s like biting into a fresh stack of pancakes, smothered in syrup, and finishing it off with a cup of Joe. While they don’t have any events coming up in the near future, they do have an annual event that’s absolutely amazing – an adult ornament hunt that benefits charity, costs just $5 to enter, is loads of fun, and has thousands of dollars of prizes available!
There’s a lot to love about Departed Soles, from the cool can art to their gluten-free beer. There are several options to choose from, along with a nice mix of “definitely not gluten-free” selections. “A Dark Night” (Black IPA) was ranked among the best gluten-free beers in the country. “New Jersey Ninja” ( a blonde ale) is brewed with organic, gluten free buckwheat, millet, oats, and malted rice, along with NJ honey and green tea – it’s another favorite.
This brewery is a total blast! They’re about sustainability, community, and good beer. What to try? The award-winning “Bad Hombre” (milk stout brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, peppers and coffee) is a good start. Prefer something less spicy? Consider “Peaches & Cream” (A NE-style IPA with peaches, vanilla beans, and lactose. Notes of soft peach, juice, citrus, vanilla cream, puff pastry, and a kick of Citra and Mosaic hops on the end to balance it out.). They’ve also got some pretty awesome events. Visit for yoga, board game nights, and more.
Is this the best brewery in New Jersey? Thrillist thinks so, and reviewers seem to agree. They’ve got thousands of devoted followers, so they’re definitely doing something right. We think it’s probably the beer…it’s really good. Try Shell Game, a barrel aged imperial stout with brown sugar, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Aged in Rye Whiskey barrels and conditioned on toasted coconut and granola.
This 15 barrel craft brewery offers 4 year-round beers, a variety of seasonal beers, and occasional one-off batches. Besides being delicious, their beers have the best names – Unholy Ritual (a Belgian quad), Chaos (a Belgian double), and The Shipwright (an American IPA). Visit on February 21st for trivia night and on April 13th for a ’90s biergarten party.
Beer Connoisseur labeled Cape May Brewing Co. as the third best brewery in the nation, but that’s not all. The brewery’s very own Topsail was named the number one best beer in the United States. Receiving a score of 98, it was designated as a world class beer. Other favorites include their Fresh Brewed Coffee Stout and The Bog Cranberry Shandy. A variety of tours are offered, including the Sour Brewery Tour (30 minutes) and the Production Brewery Tour (1 hour).
A lovely spot in a lovely town, this charming brewery takes beer seriously. Their boozy beverages have won multiple awards including First Place in the 2017 Atlantic City Beer Festival for Best IPA. Try Devil’s Juice, Chocolate Milk Stout, or Life on Mars! Visit tonight for beer and board games or head to Lone Eagle on March 30th for Crafts & Drafts – there will be a variety of local vendors
This 3-barrel nano-brewery takes beer back to basics in the best way. There are no preservatives and no filters, just beer made with locally sourced ingredients. “As pure as the pines,” their water comes from the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, home to some of the cleanest all-natural drinking water in the world. Take a tour and then try the Batona Trail Ale, award-winning Swamp Donkey, or the sweet Raspberry Jam Cream Ale.
What’s your favorite brewery in New Jersey? Do any of these rank among the best?
My name is Cori Dunphy and I’m a full time realtor with 17 years experience.
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