Best NJ Microbreweries
Fancy grabbing some buddies and hitting the bar, but a little tired of the same-old, same-old? Yes, you know exactly what you’re getting when you order that draft special at the local watering hole, but life is about adventure! If you’re hankering for some unique ales, it might just be time to explore some small-scale, specialty brewing companies. New Jersey may get compared unfairly to New York, and when it comes to microbreweries, the Garden State has a few tricks up its sleeves that rival the Big Apple, and certainly the big names in beer.
Kane Brewing Company in Ocean Township
Located in Ocean Township, Kane Brewing Company takes their beer seriously. And with three of their beers – Sunday Brunch, Mexican Brunch, and A Night to End All Dawns – leading New Jersey beers on brew-rating site BeerAdvocate.com, that effort has paid off. Along with those high-rated beers, Kane’s flagship IPA Head High has gotten rave reviews, and the brewery also produces “cerveza mysterioso,” their line of small-batch mystery beers. Kane prides itself on self-distributing its beer across the state, meaning that they keep a close eye on their products all the way to the supermarket shelf. If you plan on visiting Kane Brewing in person, you can take yourself on a free, self-guided tour at any time during opening hours.
Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands
With a kid-friendly atmosphere, friendly dogs greeting customers in the tasting room, and artwork hanging on the walls, Carton Brewing is well-regarded for its warm ambience. Carton does the tasting concept a little differently – five dollars will net you a tour of the brewery, and rather than send you back to your table with a bunch of beers, you’re given five poker chips that you can trade in at the bar at your convenience. Carton is most famous for its Boat Beer, a session ale, as well as the 077XX double IPA, but fans also clamor for their cream ale, Regular Coffee, which is based on flavors that you can probably guess from the name.
Departed Soles in Jersey City
Visitors to Departed Soles first take note of the brewpub’s quirky skateboard decor: the seating is made from repurposed skateboard decks, and the beer flights even come on mini skateboards.
Skateboard decor from the seating to the flights, which come on skateboards. But besides the quirky atmosphere, Departed Soles does offer one thing you might not find many places else: gluten-free beer. That’s right, while the brewery does serve drinks that are made from barley and wheat, many of their options are guaranteed to be 100 percent gluten-free. That includes their A Dark Night, which is a black IPA meant to taste like a Black and Tan. Bonus: Departed Soles is accessible by Jersey City transit.
A visit to New Jersey’s best microbreweries might lead to you drinking some beers with silly names, but with interesting flavors and environments to match, these brewing companies are sure to make a fun impression and leave you with some lasting memories. So, next time you’re out for happy hour, consider skipping the boring old domestics and hitting up these independent beer crafters instead.