Road Trip from PA to NJ
My wife and I will be driving to Metuchen, NJ (near woodbridge) in Mid Oct. for a wedding. Leaving from Pgh, our options are the Turnpike or I80. The turnpike goes through some good brewery areas, but also costs at least $15 each way in tolls. I80 would only add about 20 minutes to the trip, but would be free.
My conflict is that I'd like to stop for a real quick tour/tasting of a brewery between here and there. We would be passing through on a Saturday early afternoon.
Is there anywhere worth checking out on I80?
Also, as the wife is in the wedding, I will have a few hours to kill in the town of Metuchen on a Sunday early afternoon. Anyone know of any good bars in the area?
Troegs is a good choice for a tour/ tasting. It's a lot closer to the Turnpike than I80. Not my favorite over all, but they have some good beers. I toured the old brewery. The new one may be open by now, but I'm not sure. The new one is much more impressive.
Victory stopped doing tours, but if you like their beers enough, they have a cool restaurant/ tasting area. Usually have some one-offs and brewpub specials there.
If you take a little detour off the turnpike in the philadelphia area you could stop at Yards. The tasting room has a view of the brewery. Last time I was there the owner, Tom Kehoe, was at the bar and talked to us for a bit. We didn't take the tour. If you go try a "George Jefferson" (A half and half of Geo. Washington Porter and Thos. Jefferson Tavern Ale)
Some I have less experience with...
http://www.slyfoxbeer.com/ (Not too far off the turnpike)
http://www.stoudtsbeer.com/ (1.5 Miles from the turnpike, per their site)
http://www.abcbrew.com/ (Close to Troegs... had lunch there and a few tasty beers)
http://weyerbacher.com/visitors-center/ (Probably the most out of the way 80 or Tpk to 476- tpk northeast extension to 78)
I've had beers from all of these places and would rank them 1. Yards, 2. Victory, 3. Weyerbacher, 4. Troegs (maybe a tie for 3), 5. Sly Fox, 6. Appalachian, 7. Stoudts. (Rankings are very loose, and subject to change... all seriously good beers)
Brooklyn Brewery is about 40 min. from Metuchen. Other than that I don't know anything about bars/ breweries in that area.
Thanks for the reply. I will have to look into slyfox, stoudts, abcbrew, and weyerbacher and see if we can't work one of them them into our trip pending their hours. We went to Yards this past spring and it was cool. None of the beers blew me away, but I loved how informal the tour was.
That's also part of the reason i'm leaning towards the breweries that I mentioned instead of victory/troeggs. I like the smaller, less structured tours.
I did find a restaurant/brewery near where we're staying - Harvest Moon (i think). Ever been there?
Harvest moon is 2 miles from my house. They have had brewer turnover over the years so my experience is hit or miss. Great food though.
I lived about 30 steps from Harvest Moon when I was at Rutgers, and I think that from a food+beer standpoint, it is the best you will find in a NJ brewpub. I've probably been there about 2 dozen times, and I have never been dissapointed.
There is also a little cajun themed restaurant in New Brunswick that is kind of adjacent to Harvest Moon (across from the Stress Factory) called The Old Bay - the food is really nothing to brag about, but they usually put together an excellent tap list of commercial offerings.
As far as a true brewery tour, I think you are kind of out of luck on the Jersey side. Flying Fish is a good traditional tour, but I think it is too far south (Cherry Hill, NJ). Ramstein (Hight Point Wheat Beer Co) is close to Rt. 80 (Butler, NJ) but they only do an open house once a month, so odds are you will miss it.
There are a couple more brew pub options that you can pass en route. The Ship Inn is literally a stone's throw from PA, and not far from Rt 78. Great place for English Cask Beer, and I think it is one of the smallest Peter Austin systems ever built.
And I am surprised that Bobby didn't mention it, but JJ Bitting is really close to Metuchen, maybe even closer than Harvest Moon. They just changed brewers, but have been pretty consistent in the past.
If anything sounds interesting, njbeer.org has links to the places I mentioned.
Have a good trip.
Other option if passing through Philadelphia on a Saturday afternoon is Philadelphia Brewing Company, it's 1.5-2mi north of Yards (up Frankford ave).
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