Glasstown Brewing - Millville, NJ
One of the reasons I attended the 2016 Atlantic City Beer Fest was to find a New Jersey brewery that stood out that I'd never heard of before, much less tried anything from either. It took a while to pick one since we've been to at least 20+ breweries in the past few years. But as soon as we tried You're Coconuts and Danky Kong, we knew we had a clear winner - Glasstown Brewing.
It was quickly decided that this coconut porter and Double IPA were enough to warrant a visit to this new brewery in Millville, New Jersey. But there was one problem - this brewery isn't new. It's been around since 2014 and I was so disappointed in the fact that I had heard virtually nothing in Central Jersey about this place. Having planned a weekend trip to Stone Harbor, we thought it prudent to take a detour and visit this brewing company.
Upon arriving and walking into Glasstown, the rustic yet comfortable tap room has plenty of space for people to grab their own table of sit at the bar. It baffles me that apparently there is a note saying that the maximum size is 33 people, because it looks like it could fit so much more - but I'm guessing these are the limits a fire code has imposed on them. Either way, it's spacious even though the taproom isn't that big.
We were disappointed to see that Danky Kong was not on tap along with that the 856 DIPA and the Bourbon Brown Ale. It's a shame, because we probably would have enjoyed all three of them. I've yet to find a great New Jersey brown ale and was hoping Glasstown would be the one! Still, the offerings that were on the board were more than enough to satiate our thirst for craft beer. If anything, I knew there would at least be plenty of You're Coconuts for me to enjoy.
Even with the lack of a few beers on tap, we knew that the quality of the two beers we had at Atlantic City would speak to the overall quality of the brewery. Normally, I'd be afraid of the brewery with 10+ beers on tap, but seeing that Glasstown has existed for two years or so and having read previous positive feedback from others "in the know", we launched ourselves freely into the world of "I want one of everything". The first thing I'll say is that the beers here are all carefully thought out. There is something for everyone at Glasstown. If you're palate is a little more refined and you are looking for more hop-forward beers or a complex stout that drinks easily, you'll find it. If you're a craft beer rookie and feel intimidated by the abundance of options, don't fret, there are beginner beers here that will spread their arms wide open and embrace you into the culture.
First off, I'll say that in the absence of Danky King and 856, the 609 IPA holds up REALLY well. I actually ordered a full pint of it after trying out the flight. It did take me a second to warm up because I still had the memory of the hop bomb that was Danky Kong. I definitely recommend trying the 609.
Out of the two Pale Ales - I preferred the Old 47 Pale Ale more than the Lunch. Had I not ordered a pint of the 609, I certainly would have revisited the Old 47.
Out of the two Amber/Red Ales... wait, I'm sensing a trend here - a delicious trend! If I have to choose between two of the same style and both are pretty good and your taste buds need to declare a winner - then the real winner is the customer. I have no problem with this because every palate is different, and such was the case with the Glasstown Founder's Ale and the Fortescue's Fisherman Ale. The Fisherman won out in our books but it was pretty close and yet, good enough to warrant a pint as well!
To the point of great things coming in twos at Glasstown Brewing Co - the porters. Big Breakfast and You're Coconuts were both on tap and both are excellent. I still prefer the You're Coconuts but strictly because it is probably in my top 5 ever for coconut porters. Trust me, I went through quite a few last fall and Glasstown's definitely was top tier. I did enjoy the Big Breakfast though. The nose on this beer is pure maple syrup and a sweet kind of goodness emanates from the mouthfeel.
But I cannot conclude talking about these beers without talking about the stout, Stout with No Name. This beer was fantastic. We guessed the ABV incorrectly (we try not to look at the boards before consuming). The way this stout drank was on par with a 7-ish. We were surprised how easily drinkable this was at 9.5% and how good the flavor profile was on this. What is described as an Imperial Oatmeal stout turned out to be a delicious stout with coffee and chocolate notes. I definitely would have had a second if it weren't for the ABV and if I had a teleporter that could magically take us home.
Paste Magazine recently named Glasstown one of the top 50 most underrated breweries in the United States. Glasstown received the nomination for New Jersey and I'm inclined to almost agree. Personally, I'd probably split that between Glasstown and Conclave Brewing. Trust me, both are deserving and that's good company to be in. I'd slightly give the nod to Glasstown just because it's been around longer but it seems to be gaining some traction within the New Jersey craft beer scene.
I didn't even know that Glasstown was a "thing" until Atlantic City and I wish I had known sooner. Glasstown is to New Jersey what Mispillion is in Delaware for me. Every beer on the list serves a purpose, from being enjoyed by first timers all the way to appealing for those beer aficionados that like to scrutinize every hop profile within an IPA.
Glasstown Brewing Co is absolutely worth a visit. The variety in taps has something for everyone. Very few breweries in New Jersey can actually cover the spectrum of beer categories and do them quite well. Whether you are going by yourself to enjoy everything or going with a craft beer rookie or taking a brew tour, Glasstown is an absolute tick to check off on that craft beer bucket list. Cheers!