Sunday, January 27, 2008


Atlantic City’s Tun Tavern celebrates a decade this year, chalking up some longevity as a topflight spot for fresh beer (and good food) at the Jersey shore.

The Tun marked the milestone with a brewmaster’s 10th anniversary dinner last week that paired its brews with some great food (the wild boar bacon wrapped langostinos were excellent; ditto for the crab and asparagus crêpes). The brewpub has also released a commemorative, whiskey barrel-aged grand cru. (It’s 20 bucks for VIP club members, 25 for non.)

In a place where casinos boast fine dining to go with the tumbling dice, there’s a bit of a blindspot on the beer side in the day-to-day of Atlantic City.

Sure, the classics are available. But with Guinness so commonplace now, places like the Irish Pub and The Trinity (just off the boardwalk at St. James Place and in the Quarter at Tropicana; and in the Pier off Caesar’s, respectively) seem so 1990s and shopworn.

That’s why if you’re a beer fan, the Tun and Firewaters bar (at the Tropicana) are the islands on the island, so to speak.

Speaking of Firewaters, they’re the only establishment in the shore area that has Victory Brewing’s newly released Baltic Thunder on tap, and will feature the imperial porter at a party from 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31st. (Hors d’oeuvres of pepperoni and cheese will also be available.)

But back to the Tun for a moment.

If you’re a regular, you may have noticed some of the tweaks to the beer menu that brewer Tim Kelly has slipped in during the eight or nine months he’s been the Tun’s brewmaster. The brown ale is now a Belgian-style brown that’s worth the trek. Meanwhile, the Leatherneck stout tastes silkier, smoother, and has come down in alcohol content to that of nice session beer. (Tim’s also pouring a coffee and cream stout. It’s not quite Mackeson’s XXX, but it’s worth trying a pint.)

Coming soon is Tim’s doublebock. It’s still lagering right now, and if you made it to the anniversary dinner you got a preview of that malty brew. It’s still a little young, but by March it ought to be on target.

Spring is coming.