When Maloney's Pub & Grill announced a Beer Festival & IPA Contest consisting of just New Jersey breweries, I was ecstatic. This gave me the chance to not just try some new beers and IPA's from local breweries but to also revisit some favorites. With over 20 breweries present and a beautiful November day - there was so much to be tried and enjoyed. Every person was given a set amount of tickets to try out a finite number of beers and 3 tokens so you could vote for your favorites of the day.
Since it was indeed an IPA contest in addition to a Beer Festival, most of the beers present were indeed India Pale Ale's. A style that has taken over the country by storm in the past few years, New Jersey has thrown its hat in the ring as an emerging stalwart within the style, evolving with its own East Coast style of beers. I won't go through all of the beers I tried today but will talk about some of the new ones I tried along with a few photos from the event.
First beer of the day was The Shack from Ship Bottom Brewery. I wanted to get an old favorite down first and visit the great people from Ship Bottom. I've talked about The Shack before, so I'll keep it to a mininum: I love this beer and it's east coast style piney hop bite. Always great to say hi to a good old friend in a mini taster glass.
In addition to The Shack, I also got to taste Bullyjuice from Bolero Snort Brewing. 8.1% ABV IPA with some very good tropical notes with a lot of mango and maybe some guava in the back-end. There's a picture in the slideshow below. A great entry for Bolero Snort and a beer I would sneak out if I can still find it in stores.
Carton attended and much to my surprise, Sundae was on tap! A departure from the IPA's that everyone was bringing, I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to see this available. A Russian Imperial Stout in the middle of a fall-like November afternoon? I signed up immediately. It's a deep, rich, decadent stout from Carton Brewing that I hope will make a comeback in 2018. The rumors about it doing so are pretty strong. Cognac barrels did Cosmonaut such a wonderful service by turning it into Sundae. 1000% recommended if you see this available next year!
Brotherton Brewing brought their Jersey Devil Double IPA and their Brotherton IPA. Both are wonderful beers crafted by the up and coming brewery that's made waves since 2016. I hope that one day they finish the taproom so I can come out and visit. The brothers are definitely out and about in New Jersey with bar events and killing the presence game with draft accounts all over.
I was excited to see Three 3's Brewing in attendance. Because of the relative distance from my house to their taproom, it makes it a bit tough to come out and visit. That said, I loved my one visit last year to their taproom and talking with the owner about Vermont beers. Since recently visiting Vermont, I can agree that he's done good with the style of IPA brewed in that state and I'm looking forward to going back soon. That said, their Totally Drenched IPA was so, so good. If you're ever in the area of Hammonton or want to consolidate a trip with 3 breweries in that area, please make sure you asterisk Three 3's for your trip - wonderful brewery!
Out of everything I had on this day, I'd have to say the most surprising item was the Jersey Squeeze from Melovino Meadery. Described as a NE IPA Style Mead, it's something you really need to try because it's so hard to describe what it is. I was only recently turned onto meads when some friends brought a few bottles of mead over to a bottle share. I'm in. I love it and now I'm excited to go visit Melovino and see if they have any more of this Jersey Squeeze and everything else they have to offer. After checking Melovino's Facebook, I'm so happy to hear that they will be canning it in the future. You HAVE to give this a try. Out of all of the beers had today, the group I was with pretty much agreed that this was one of the best. It bridges the gap of someone who loves IPA's with someone who likes more of a mead-style beer. Even the non-IPA lover went back for more of the Jersey Squeeze. Bravo, Melovino, you got a token.
One of my favorite breweries in 2017, Icarus Brewing, came out and their crew was ready to party! They brought out We Want the Gold and Not a Schooner. Although Not a Schooner is a NE IPA, I'd say I preferred We Want the Gold. Both are VERY good IPA's, but We Want the Gold ticked off those tropical boxes for me that I've been craving for lately. Had a great time chatting it up with the Icarus crew, always a fun bunch and I'll very easily say, I dropped a token off for We Want the Gold.
Below, are a few more pictures from the event. I'd like to thank Maloney's for putting all of this together and giving a lot of us some glimpses of New Jersey breweries and their offerings. I enjoyed seeing people trying to vote for Sundae even though the tokens were for IPA's. The band that was there crushed it. The event was very organized and even thought it filled up by mid-afternoon, the event was well managed and tons of fun. I know I missed out on a few breweries within this article, but I know I'll be visiting them soon. Beers from breweries like Cypress, Ramstein, and 7 Mile were appreciated and enjoyed. I skipped some like Jughandle and Kane, simply because they're 15 minutes away, but I was very happy to see them there. Because I decided to go have some onion rings and wings inside the restaurant, I did miss out on who won the IPA contest. I'm not sure which was my favorite for the day, but I'll absolutely gush about Melovino's Jersey Squeeze to no end. I hope that Maloney's will revisit doing something like this again next year.