Monday, June 30, 2008

In the glass

We're making a conscious effort to drink Jersey-made beers for a while, not exclusively, since good beer is good beer, and we have an ample supply from around the tristate region and a number of imports.

But Jersey's the home team, and we're trying to support the state's brewers by thinking local and drinking local. So with that in mind, here's what's in the glass this week:

Tim’s Peculiar Porter, from the Ship Inn.

We grabbed a to-go box of the Brit-style porter (think church, not odd, as in Old Peculiar with this beer's name). We liked this beer from the ’07 NJ craft brewers festival on the battleship in Camden, and were a bit forlorn when the Ship skipped this year's event (we hear there was a death in the owners’ family, so that may be the reason they passed on it).

When business took us in the Ship's part of the state over the weekend, we made a point to stop by and get some take-home beer after a quick lunch there in Milford (grilled chicken sarny … the Ship is British motif from bow to stern; a sarny’s a sandwhich. We had Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick stuck in our head afterward “… queuing for sarnies at the office canteen.”)

Some buying advice on the beer box:

• Don’t plan on same-day consumption if you have to travel far to get home or wherever. The drive can shake it up quite a lot, and it degasses, making that inner plastic bladder swell up like a soccer ball. (If that happens, just leave it in the fridge for a few days. The beer will be fine waiting and will reabsorb the CO2 that was released into the ullage.)

• Do try to keep the beer cold for the trip home. So yeah, a cooler is a smart idea, again especially if the ride is long. Warm beer degasses more than cold. But remember, the outer carton is cardboard – and under pressure from the inner bladder – so make plans to keep that dry somehow if you’re using a bag of ice. (Cover it entirely in a few layers of plastic or something.)

• Discard the box when done, hang on to your white plastic tap for when you …

• … Get another. The Ship makes good ales. Plus the beer box is a pretty cool idea, and at 5 quarts (their smallest size), it’s more than a traditional, half-gallon screw-top growler, and actually takes up less space in your fridge.

Also in our glass …

Hoffmann Hefeweizen, from Climax Brewing.

We ran into Dave Hoffmann at the annual mug club dinner at Basil T’s (Toms River) last week (June 27). Dave, who has a side gig as brewer there, was kind enough to provide a sample of this year’s rendition of his hefe, produced at his home base in Roselle Park.

If you’re familiar with Dave’s Union County operation, then you know his German-style brews are his eponymous beers. His IPAs, brown ales and EBS go under the Climax banner.

Calendar item:
Lew Bryson and Mark Haynie roll out their New Jersey Breweries book on Sunday, July 27th with a brunch affair at the Grey Lodge in Philly. Yeah, the Jersey beer book is getting christened in Pennsylvania, as if Jersey doesn't have enough of an inferiority complex as it is.

But Lew says he and Mark have three Jersey dates planned for the book, and scheduling can pose some issues. Hence the Grey Lodge, which has hosted Lew's book debuts twice in the past.

And, besides, the Grey Lodge is everyone’s all-American when it comes to supporting craft brewers, including ones from the Garden State.

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