Brix City Brewing - Little Ferry, NJ
Brix City Brewing has been on my radar for quite a while. I had heard some pretty good things about this brewery located in Little Ferry, NJ but had yet to grace this establishment until this past weekend. Since they've begun canning, I've heard that at least 1 or 2 of their IPA's were worth the try. I honestly didn't know what to expect. I haven't usually frequented breweries in North Jersey, but I always like to walk into my first visit with an open mind and ready to have a flight of beer.
First of all, it's very important to know that Brix City Brewing is one of the few breweries in New Jersey that is actually open 7 days a week - an absolute rarity in a state mired with breweries that open at most 3 - 4 days a week. Visiting hours are pretty convenient during the week with opening being at 4 PM. If you're around that area and love some beer, happy hour got a whole lot easier.
Upon entering the building and into the taproom, the bar is the very first thing you see. Looking to your right, you'll see a few benches to sit down, some barrels for future beer goodness and the equipment from which liquid courage is made in. The setup is pretty straight-forward and designed specifically to just seat people who want to come in and have a pint or a flight.
Open for almost two years, by now, Brix City's taproom is a recipe for simplicity that really doesn't need to be tinkered with as long as the beer speaks for itself. Owners Peter and Joe have evolved the business from a 2 day operation into a 7 day operation and not by accident nor mistake. They were the first brewery in Bergen County and since then, have been joined by other breweries in North Jersey. A lot has changed in the last two years as far as the beer landscape in New Jersey is concerned, but Brix City has maintained and grown in that time.
This brewery is very approachable and "rookie" friendly. With quite a few styles to pick from, there is no real lack of choices. The choices from the picture above aren't all the options either, as I've seen that they've brewed other sought out styles as well, like their coffee stout, Joe & Oats. Looking for a less hoppier, beginner-friendly beer? Hit up the Gloria Belgian Blonde or or the Jaromir Lager. Want something darker? Porter Authority or the aforementioned, Joe & Oats will be sure to delight your roasty palate. And of course, hopheads get options galore!
For the first flight, four very yellow beers were sampled. I should have planned this a bit better, because in hindsight, I had some of these twice - which is a testament, overall, to the beers being average to above average. They are good enough to repeat. From left to right: Cosmic Charlie, 68 RYOT, Cheap Labor, and Just Another DIPA.
- Cosmic Charlie: This was just released this past weekend. 7% ABV IPA. It's an unconventional IPA in the sense that the main hops are Calypso, Denali, and El Dorado which aren't prominent hops I've seen up front. To top it off there is some Citra and Mosaic to give the beer that fruity, citrusy flavor. It wasn't my favorite of the bunch, but I see the appeal of it. I really wanted it to have an extra amount of OOMPH though that'd set this beer into the next stratosphere.
- 68 RYOT: It's a very hazy, yellow IPA that is also clocking in at 7% ABV. I think out of all of the IPA's, this might have been my favorite. It could very well be because I'm not that much knowledgeable about rye IPA's, but the Citra and Simcoe hops make up for it. It's perfectly hoppy enough though and there's plenty of flavor to be had. I did enjoy this much more in a can, possibly because I didn't gulp it in two shots like I did at the brewery.
- Cheap Labor: This is a pretty standard Pale Ale at 5.5% that would please any hophead in training. If you like the lower ABV and not overly hoppy beer, this one is for you. It's more reminiscent of a citrus-like beer without being too overbearing on a palate new to hoppier beers.
- Just Another DIPA: A stronger version of Just Another IPA, this ones comes in a bit heavier at 9% ABV. I did enjoy this, but I do think Just Another IPA is slightly better since it's less boozier and you get a better grasp of the blend of Mosaic and Amarillo hops. Just Another IPA and Just Another DIPA are definitely worth a try, it's just a matter of where you want to skirt the ABV line with those two.
Another flight was ordered with a slight variation this time - Porter Authority. I've had an issue with finding a decent, regular porter in New Jersey. Other than a handful of places, most breweries seem to jump into the stout pool. With that said, I was very curious as to how Porter Authority would hold up to my standards and I was pretty impressed. Sometimes I just want an easy drinking porter under 7% that isn't overly sweet nor boozy with that signature flavor coming from malted barley. To me, it rivals The Great Porter from Man Skirt Brewing. Although Porter Authority is sweeter, they both fill a role very nicely within the porter world - especially in New Jersey. If you love darker beers on the sweeter, chocaltier side, absolutely give the Porter Authority its fair chance.
I enjoyed my visit to Brix City Brewing. It's one of the few breweries that I've visited in New Jersey that I had the least amount of information about. It's worth the visit and with the multitude of liquid options, I'm sure you'll be more than satisfied to the point of leaving with at least one 4-pack of something, just as I did. The 68 RYOT did come home and I already regret not buying one of the Porter Authority. I'm 150% sure that the next time I visit, I'll definitely be taking some of that wonderful and delightful porter back with me, even if it's in the middle of summer.
If you bring back the 68 RYOT IPA back home, let it breath and warm up a bit. The hops shine as the drinking session goes on. I'm glad that Brix City is canning and the variety is permeating throughout New Jersey. I love a brewery not afraid to put out IPA's on a rotating basis but also lesser "popular" styles like a porter or a lager. Next time, I'll make sure to have 1 of everything within their flights - I really didn't spend enough time at the brewery and for that, feel free to ring the shame bell from Game of Thrones at me. In other words, don't make my mistake, kick back, stay a while - have a flight or two.