Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beer Run

Here's the thing.

I'm a fanatic of microbrews. Have been since I went to the west coast in 1991. I wasn't much of a beer drinker until I moved to Seattle. Sure I drank beer, Guinness was my beer of choice, but when I wanted to get drunk, I'd drink Jack Daniels or Southern comfort like a rock and roll cliche. If I wanted to enjoy my booze, I'd go to TGIFs or Houlihans and get a fruity drink.

When we went to Twin's Pub across the street from Sloane House USA I would join in on the pitchers and drink...ugh...Budweiser. When it was my turn to buy, I would get a pitcher of Guinness which no one would partake in, yay more beer for me.

I digress, In 1991 I moved to the West Coast, home of the phenomenon known as microbrewery since the mid 80's. Oh what a joy it was to partake in fine craft brews like Red Hook, Portland Ale, Hale's Ale, Grant's Ale, Sierra Nevada, Widmers, and Alaskan Ale amongst others.

Anyway, every time I visited the east coast I was disappointed at how far behind New York was for many years. The last ten years have been a vast improvement in quality suds for the beer snob that must exist in the NYC area. I mean we're snobs about everything else, why not beer?

So, I had the day off, money in my account, cheap gas and nothing better to do, so I decided to visit some New Jersey brew pubs I have read about in recent weeks.

I mapped out three in the Union, Essex counties area. I wanted to visit some I haven't been to. The three that I felt would be convenient were Trap Rock in Berkeley Heights, Egan and Sons in Montclair, and Gaslight Brewery in South Orange.

I started my trip at a quarter to twelve because I never drink before noon. I was pleased that I mapped out a smooth trip from my place to Berkeley Heights using the back roads. It probably ended up being the fastest way to get there. I went through some towns I did not know but was pleased to see.

I found the Trap Rock easily enough but was unsure if it was the right place. It's a restaurant that didn't look like a brew pub. When I found the right entrance I saw the telltale casks that revealed un premise brewing. I went in had a beer, saw the food menu and decided I was only a beer snob not a food snob. The amber beer I had was good but I asked about samples. they had a set of six including the one I had. I opted to have a stout and a pilsner sample option instead. good stuff the pilsner, the stout was more porter like and okay but not great. I left feeling good and head to Montclair because I made good enough time to visit all three of the pubs I wanted to see.

Egan and sons was just as funny to find. I got there a little too early. It didn't open until 3. It was in a nice part of Montclair not far from a place I was looking to move to back in June. I knew there was a Popeyes for me to enjoy lunch at. I went back to Egans to find that the main entrance was not where the street address said it would be. That's okay. I was put off by the fact there were umbrellas outside with a Guinness logo. Do they brew their own beer? Yup, There's the casks. Not only do they brew their own beer, they also have a selection of the best beers you can get in this world, a lot of Belgian imports and what not. They had four beers to sample. I enjoyed it to my hearts content, three of the four. The fourth I drank tasted like butter. Oh well, I had the ale I found to be the best tasting. Now, I'm buzzed. It was starting to get dark, which was good because I wanted to see the gaslights of of Glen Ridge in action. Not as dramatic as that of Vancouver BC, but cool nonetheless.

I found the Gaslight Brewery in the center of downtown South Orange. Right away I loved my surroundings. It's the best downtown I've seen in some time. The brewpub was similar in its selection of beers that weren't brewed on premises. However, they had 8 beers to sample and in two rounds I enjoyed the whole lot of them. All but one were enjoyable.

Now I was buzzed good, so good I bought some comic book collections of Love and Rockets.

A good day, that hasn't quite ended yet.

No comments: