Nothing says fall and football season possibly more than a nice, cold beer. And now is the perfect time to plan a trip to one of New Jersey’s more than 100 craft breweries (134 to be exact – ranking us 20th in the United States). You can find a new favorite to enjoy with the cool, crisp weather. Our area has some great breweries, so plan a weekend to stop by and sample a brew.
9 Stoney Court, Unit C, Ocean View
Owner and managing partner Billy Topley is a pizza maker by trade, a beer fan, and was an avid homebrewer before opening Ludlam Island Brewery. “When New Jersey changed their laws to allow tasting rooms, I felt it was an awesome opportunity to combine my love of beer with my desire to own my own business,” he says. Open noon to 8pm every day, “even major holidays,” says Topley, the brewery offers IPAs, shandies, stouts, and lagers, with cans to go that also include hard seltzer and sour beers. Its bestseller is Fish Alley, with 7 percent ABV, an American IPA with low bitterness, and a sweet citrus hop profile. “It’s the beer we try hard to always have in stock for our bar and restaurant partners, but in truth, we rotate over 30 beers in our portfolio,” Billy says, including Amontillado, a double stout brewed with dark malts, and Goats Go to Hell, a lager brewed with all German malts and hops. “We are very quaint and friendly,” adds Billy. “We don’t have a TV and find that it fosters so many great exchanges between guests. There’s always someone to share a beer with.” Ludlam Island Brewery beers can be found up and down the coast at more than 200 retail outlets.
6754 Washington Ave., Unit B, Egg Harbor Township
What’s unique about this company is that it uses a well to tap into the rainwater under the ground to use it for their craft beer because “quality water is essential to quality beer,” says John Cipriani, a managing member. Its tasting room is open noon to 6pm Sunday, 3-8pm, Tuesday through Thursday, 1-9pm, Friday, and noon to 9pm on Saturday, offering a wide range of options on tap. Try First Drop, with 6 percent ABV, a Baltic Porter brewed with German pilsner, dark Munich, chocolate, and caramel and then blended with dark maple syrups and conditioned atop coffee beans, or their award-winning 800-foot Pilsner, with 5.5 percent ABV, a German Pilsner Malt with Hallertau and Tettnanger hops, and West Coast IPA. “The key ingredient in our beer is the pristine water from the 800-foot Sands aquifer or Atlantic City Sands aquifer,” says John. “Water has such a profound effect on the character of beer that brewers are often forced to treat their water sources in various ways in order to achieve their desired results. We set out to start with the best available water source in order to brew the best possible beer.” Seasonal and limited options available, as well as sours and IPAs. A tented outdoor beer garden is open to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis with 90-minute time limits. Can’t make it to the brewery, check the beer locator on their website to find your favorites. “There are always 12 different beers on tap with a wide variety of beers that cross many pallets. You will be able to find something for everyone in your family or group, even the non-beer members,” adds John. “And on the way out the door, make sure you fill your water bottle with some of our water directly from the aquifer.”
247 White Horse Pike, Galloway
Following the motto of “A Beer for Everyone,” this brewing company offers 16 different beers on tap ranging from a light cream ale, which is comparable to a standard American lager, a variety of IPAs, to dark beers such as their Leeds Point Wicked Porter. “When you come into Garden State we like to think you will find something you enjoy over the range of beers we make,” says Carisa Stairs, owner and tasting room manager. Try the Old Ordinary Ale, with 4.2 percent ABV, an English Bitter Pale Ale; A Better Time IPA, with 6 percent ABV, a double dry-hopped IPA with hefty amounts of oats and hops, or pick up a four-option flight for $8. Four-pack of 16-ounce cans are available for their bestselling Blue Jersey American Wheat (an American Wheat with blueberry), Traditional Cream Ale, Leeds Point Wicked Porter, Don’t Go Chasing Watermelons, and You Are The Brut Squad IPA, and their beer can usually be found in and around Atlantic County at Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House in Atlantic City, Tailgaters Sports Bar & Grille in Egg Harbor City, White Horse Wine and Spirits, and more. Indoor tasting room hours are 3-9pm Monday through Friday, noon to 9pm Saturday, and noon to 6pm Sunday. There is also outdoor seating available. “My husband, Jason, and I both have degrees in chemistry. We have applied our science backgrounds to produce highly drinkable beer on a consistent basis,” adds Carisa. “Particular attention is paid to the water chemistry. We regularly send our water out to be tested for its mineral content. Based on the findings, each recipe has its own salt/mineral additions that are specially designed for the style of beer being made.”
1072 Route 83, Unit 3, Clermont
Founded by brothers Jason and Tadhg Campbell, this brewing company opened in 2015 with a 27-gallon system and a six-barrel cellar and now has a 120 barrel cellar. They have flagship beers and rotating beers available. Try their bestselling Angry Osprey, with 6.8 percent ABV, a hopforward IPA highlighted with pine and citrus notes, or Monkey Face, with 5.3 percent ABV, a dry stout with roasted coffee flavor, during tasting room hours from noon to 8pm every day, Monday through Sunday. Indoor and outdoor seating is available with limited capacity. Slack Tide beer can also be found in more than 200 locations in Southern and Central New Jersey (the brewing company website has a Google Map with available locations). For fans of the beer, there is a Mug Club, with a waitlist for 2022. The club gives you early access to new can releases, a special 20-ounce Slacker Mug Club mug and cup for fills in the tasting room at the regular 16-ounce price, a T-shirt, discount off apparel, and more. “We have a broad selection of beers and a loyal following,” says Jason, “It’s a place where locals and tourists feel equally welcome.”
3092 English Creek Ave., Egg Harbor Township
They offer flagship beers, such as New Old School, with 4.2 percent ABV, a traditional West Coast IPA bittered with Columbus and dryhopped with Centennial, Cascade, and Falconers Flight for a balanced blend of pine and lemon/ lime and Steelmantown Porter, with 6.2 percent ABV, a smoked porter with hints of vanilla bean, American Red Oak, and Scottish peat, as well as seasonal and limited-release options. Tasting room and beer garden hours are 3-9pm Monday through Friday and noon to 9pm Saturday and noon to 6pm Sunday.
705 W. New York Ave., Somers Point
Also called SoPo, this local independent craft brewer makes small-batch beers, such as Big Nose Blonde Ale, with 5.9 percent ABV, a lightbodied ale with floral and fruit notes; 7th Street Saison, with 7 percent ABV, a light-bodied saison with spicey, peppery, and citrusy notes and dry finish; Flake News New England IPA, with 6.5 percent ABV, an IPA with flaked oats and El Dorado, Mosaic, and Summit hops, plus more beer options, as well as a non-alcoholic root beer. Stop by the tasting room to sample their beers (a beer flight is four for $8) or to purchase a 32-ounce growler or 64-ounce growler to take home. The brewery offers tours of its seven-barrel brewing system and has outdoor seating for those looking to relax with a drink. SoPo beers are available for purchase at bars and restaurants in Linwood, Longport, Margate, Northfield, Ocean City, Somers Point, and parts of Egg Harbor Township. Travel a little north or south and visit some of these other breweries and distilleries in southern New Jersey:
807 Baltic Ave., Unit B, Atlantic City
Founded by two brothers, this craft distillery offers rum, whiskey, vodka, and gin “for thirsty souls in the Garden State and beyond.” Weekend tours available for $8 per person.
204 N. Delaware Ave., Atlantic City
With the tagline, “A Living Beer Project,” this taphouse focuses on the art and science of beer making, especially regarding the changes in nature, which allows them to experiment with flavors.
205 North Main St., Cape May Court House
Founded in 2016 by two identical twin brothers (who are firemen), this brewery uses traditional brewing methods to make their ales, pilsners, and lagers in small batches. Seasonal offerings are also available.
371 NJ-47, Cape May Court House
Started by two college friends, this craft distillery produces rum, bourbon, whiskey, gin, honey spirits, and vodka using local ingredients. The liquor is blended and small-batch distilled on-site.
916 Shunpike Road, Cape May
Located on a 60-acre farm, this distillery produces handcrafted vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon, and rum using ingredients grown on their farm. Live music, tours, and tasting are available on-site.
Both North & South
1328 Harding Highway, Richland, and 135 E. Spicer Ave., Wildwood
Making hand-crafted vodka and barrel-aged spirits, this distillery allows you to make your favorite cocktails. These products can be found at local establishments listed on their website.