The Stirling Hotel - Stirling, NJ
I've heard of The Stirling Hotel before - many, many times. It's not really a secret within the New Jersey craft beer community. Still, I had yet to visit - and the perfect opportunity presented itself with the Twin Elephant Tap Takeover on July 31st. Kill two birds with one stone? Why not?
Located in Stirling, NJ - The Stirling Hotel has been around for quite a while and amassed quite the reputation as a culinary epicenter within the surrounding area and one of the pioneers when it came to believing in the craft beer movement. Naturally, the marriage of both makes sense to a curious and potential patron like myself. I knew I'd be in for a few rounds of fine, quality beer artfully crafted by the good people at Twin Elephant, so I was a bit more curious of the food and the location overall.
Craft beer nerds, REJOICE. The Stirling Hotel has 18 different beers on tap. You're no longer allowed to be surprised by the fact that they do support a lot of the local breweries within New Jersey. I've seen Carton, Brix City, Bolero Snort, Flying Fish and of course, Twin Elephant on tap here. If nothing on tap looks appealing, The Stirling has your back, with over 20 bottles of different beers as well. You have no shortage of options to pair up with whatever lunch, dinner or brunch item you are going to order.
For the Twin Elephant Tap Takeover, The Stirling Hotel had five options to choose from, as well as retaining some other local taps. As seen in my previous review dedicated to just Twin Elephant, I mightily enjoyed my choices from this wonderful brewery. The service here was phenomenal, as well. I cannot say enough about the bartenders behind that counter. The ladies were very attentive, always engaging, and 100% on top of making sure that everything when it came concerned to the beer and that the food was meeting my expectations. Congratulations, The Stirling Hotel - your bartenders NAILED IT.
Let's talk some food, because it is totally worth talking about. I wish I could tell you what was in the short rib tacos other than the delicious short ribs and the fresh tomato and onions - but I honestly didn't write it down. It was on the brunch specials for the day to accompany the tap takeover. So, if you need a point of reference as to what was in the tacos along with the short ribs - it was full of "om nom nom". You can quote me on that. This went perfectly with some Juicy Busey from Twin Elephant Brewing.
If you've been following my website for a while, I've made it clearly that I love wings, and I'm rapidly becoming obsessed with Mexican street corn. The Mexican street corn was a no brainer and it was such a great portrayal of it too. It was delicious and I chomped down on it immediately. It was definitely well worth the $4 standard price for some fantastic street corn. I paired it up with some Chipotle BBQ wings. Full disclaimer: I've had so many wings in my life that say that their standard BBQ sauce is "spicy" or "hot", but trust me... this Chipotle BBQ sauce is both spicy and hot. My taste buds were not equipped for this. I'm the "mildly hot" kinda guy and having this with Lil Shimmy Ye was a delicious mistake. I'm not ashamed to say that I was sweating and my nose was running. It definitely added an extra kick to those hops from Lil Shimmy though. Delicious wings - just so spicy. I'd order them again. I'll just think of the sweating as a side effect.
Before I even talk about this burger, I'm going to grab word by word what The Stirling Hotel uses to describe this burger: ground short rib & brisket with cheddar, applewood bacon, house steak sauce, truffle mayo, tossed greens, tomato.
Look at the picture, now read the words again. Now look at the picture again. Let that sink in. I had that burger. I enjoyed that burger. I wanted to marry that burger. I still might? The ground short rib & brisket shine with that steak sauce and truffle mayo. The bacon is just the cherry on top. Everything about this burger was so good and the temperature was nailed to the tee. As if this burger weren't big enough, a perfect onion ring is tossed on top. Oh yeah, there's some sweet potato fries on the side, I guess. They were good, well, they were better than good, but that burger though. It was perfect. You can pair this with any beer and nail it. I had a Diamonds & Pearls from Twin Elephant Brewing and called that dessert.
Sadly, the Beer Garden was closed for the day due to the weather, but I'll definitely be back (hopefully before it's too cold to) and enjoy some fine brews within a great location. There are three areas outside to hang out, enjoy food, and some good music. The Stirling Hotel has quite the footprint and had no shortage of customers on a Sunday afternoon, despite the weather. I expected there to be some decent food to go along with the great craft beer from the good folks at Twin Elephant, but I didn't realize it would be this good.
The Stirling Hotel checks off all the boxes required for me to want to come back, even if it isn't the closest venue to me: great beer, spectacular food, and incredible service at the bar. I can't wait to go back and try some of their other dishes. I might even try to conquer those wings again. Knowing that it is only a 15 minute drive from Twin Elephant Brewing makes it even better because I'd definitely visit both again. I could go on and on about this establishment, the sense of community both with the employees and customers, as well as the culinary excellence, but I think this is an experience better to be lived by you, the reader, at this point than through my words. Cheers and bon appetit!