Three 3's Brewing - Hammonton, NJ
Every once in a while, we will randomly stumble upon a brewery on the East Coast either by driving by or finding it on a website or a random review. It's always a blessing and a happy accident when you find one that you wish you had more time to spend at. More often than not, we visit breweries based on calculated research taking into account maximizing our time based on how many we could visit in a day. However, this time, we found Three 3's at the very last minute and decided to give it a shot. I'll just say this - absolutely 1 regret - arriving there at approximately its closing time.
What I loved about this particular trip was the fact that I went in completely blind and with zero information. We just knew there was a brewery and that was all. We didn't know when it had opened, what beers it might have on tap, and had never even had a single taste at any beer fest in the past few months. We were skeptical and rightfully so, with absolutely no intel or insight on Three 3's, the bar was set low on what to expect with the offerings. We've been burned in the past with other places, not just in New Jersey, but within the surrounding states as well.
But as we walked in, we were treated visually with a very clean and well thought out decor. Upon entering and turning to your right you can see a huge, comfortable-looking couch, a community table and the bar area. It's very modern and inviting with a design that looks to bring people together even if they didn't arrive together.
The first thing that jumped out to me from the brewing area was how big, open, and visible everything was. Everything back here is clean and organized as well. When meeting with Dave and Lisa, you could tell that their enthusiasm for their beer and their establishment just exudes everywhere.
After being informed that Dave had been the one to construct the separate rooms for some of the brewing equipment, you could immediately tell that he is a guy who knows his beer. Everything has a reason and serves a purpose, I could easily surmise that Dave is a brewer's brewer. His excitement talking about Vermont IPA's gave me a clear look into what he is going for on his tap list. And although there are many breweries popping up even in New Jersey that are "business first, beer second", I can testify to that fact that this is not the case with Three 3's Brewing. Talk to Dave for a few minutes about his own beer or any beer and you'll walk away with the conclusion that he just wants to make good beer that people will enjoy. This idea always excites us when it comes to beer, because the passion shows in the final product.
Upon visiting the board, we were impressed with the variety of selections. There were 10 beers on tap at the time of our visit. Even though 5 of them were single IPA's and 1 of them was a Double IPA, all of them have individual characteristics that set them apart from each other. They do have a stout and a porter, and seem to specialize in saisons as well. So it doesn't matter what your palate is like, there will be something for you at Three 3's Brewing.
The flights are "flights of three" for $7. Now, that might seem expensive to some, but it actually isn't - reason being that the pours are actually 6oz versus the traditional 4. We ordered everything except the saison. We usually don't like saisons, but in hindsight, I now have a second regret - not trying the saison. The pours are definitely at market price and well worth the $5; $6 for the DIPA. So why not highlight some of the beers?
- The DIPA - this one is great; hop forward, not too bitter, and good enough to come home in a growler.
- Girl's Night Stout - created in collaboration with NJ's Girl's Pint Out, this oatmeal chocolate stout was chocolaty and smooth and hid the ABV really well. Would have loved a full pour of this!
- 150 and 101 IPA - This is where your palette will start making distinctions. The 101 showcases primarily the Centennial hop - which tends to be more floral than citrusy. The 150 hits more of the citrus notes. Both very good, but keep that in mind when trying to decide for a full pour. If it's a flight, get both.
- Wheat IPA - this was really good, surprisingly so. I'm not a huge fan of wheat IPA's but this one was definitely a summer drinker for me.
- Coffee Porter - didn't taste as thin as most porters at around the 6% mark. It definitely had a good nose on it too.
And we've come to the beer that I really loved, their newest release as of that day - the KAOS IPA. Only in the past year has New Jersey seen a rise in single IPA's that could hold well against some of the out of state IPA's and this one can surely be added to that list. This beer is perfectly bitter, blending West Coast and East Coast IPA's for an easy-drinking yet juicy, citrusy combination that I could have all afternoon - and I will because I took a growler home. That KAOS IPA will be put to good use, I assure you. If you're lucky enough to go while this is on tap, make sure to make it the centerpiece in your flight or just grab a pint.
Now comes the biggest kicker: To my surprise, Dave and Lisa informed me that Three 3's has only been open since January. The maturity and balance of some of these beers suggest a process that has taken time to evolve. Can the beers get better? Sure. It's a process that continually improves but the fact that something like the KAOS IPA exists this quickly into the brewery's infancy is an indicator of big things to come. I'm ecstatic for what Dave can bring to the table by Three 3's first anniversary.
Some of the beers will appeal to craft beer rookies (Swivel IPA, Pale Ale) and some to hop-heads (DIPA, 150). Some will appeal to those who like a darker beer like the Coffee Porter. Personally, the KAOS IPA is a great start to a brewery that is not even half a year into it's existence. I'm saddened by the fact that I did not get to try all of the beers, but in turn, this will be the catalyst that will make me come back. Personally, after talking to Dave about different IPA's out there in the world, I'd love to try the Vermont IPA at some point. I promise to try the saison next time, as well.
The place gets an A and so do the employees. The owners are top notch and if you're lucky enough to get a conversation in with Dave about beer in general, do so - it's a real treat. Hammonton has quite the gem of a brewery here that will only get better as time goes on. Whether it's 5 minutes away or even two hours away, it's worth the trip. Just do a better job than we did and make sure you don't arrive right before the place closes on a Sunday - you've been warned!