Welcome to month eight of my year of seeking out the best and most interesting beers in New Jersey. It was fairly mild this year but February is usually a month I would like to endure on the couch — with a blanket, remote in hand.
It’s March now, and the chill is still in the air. In the culinary world, weather like this calls for comfort food. So why not comfort beer? If it’s not already, comfort beer should be a thing! Here are a few great Jersey beers I recommend snuggling up with.
Double Tap Brewing, Whippany
Part of the class of 2022’s new breweries, Double Tap occupies the old Whippany post office. Philatelists will definitely find the bar top interesting. What better way to fight the cold and damp than with an imperial stout? Hello Jerry has all the roast, chocolate, and stone fruit character that you need to keep cozy. At 10.8% ABV it’s a slow sipper that pairs nicely with a good novel. When I was there, Double Tap had a number of stouts on tap and a Wee Heavy as well. That’s quite a bit of comfort!
Sacrifice for Abundance
Czig Meister Brewing, Hackettstown
Housed in an old carriage house in historic Hackettstown, Czig Meister has a wonderfully varied tap list. Nothing says comfort more than a classic English Barleywine, and Sacrifice for Abundance is not short on boozy warmth. It’s a dark contemplative beer that calls for thoughtful nonfiction or a gripping documentary. The booze is cut by a little sticky caramel that stops well short of being cloying. So, put on your jammies, throw on a blanket and let it snow. Or sleet. We’ll deal with it in the morning.
Better Year Bitter
Bull and Bear Brewing, Summit
The comfort inherent in a British Pub is taken up another notch in the little side rooms they refer to as “snugs.” A sip of an English Best Bitter puts me right in that room with a hunting Spaniel curled up at my feet. The Bull and Bear is, itself, a snug little main street style brewery in downtown Summit. Better Year Bitter has all the toasty biscuit notes that you’d expect from this unique British style. Let’s light our pipes and have a bit of chin wag, shall we?
902 Brewing, Jersey City
After starting out as a gypsy brewery, 902 Brewing now has a beautiful brick-and-mortar location in Jersey City. And just because it’s winter it doesn’t mean we don’t need a hop fix every now and then. Call it a Black IPA or a Cascadian Dark Ale, Black Dynomite has all those comfy chocolate and cinnamon notes backed by a powerful herbal hop punch. It was the beer that bridged the gap from amateur to pro for 902 and it’s pretty obvious why. Black Dynomite is elegantly balanced and a fine example of a style that warms my heart. Where is Cascadia anyway? I kinda want to go there.
Hang in there. Spring is up ahead!