I hope you all got a chance to attend the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival and enjoy all the sights and sounds of this great event. It gets bigger and better every year.
I got a chance to shmooze with some great brewers and reps and found out a few new things coming to New Jersey.
Hunterdon Distributing of Phillipsburg, one of the Pennsylvania's leading craft beer distributors, will be bringing in bottled product from several breweries to enhance the sales of their tap beers:
Neshaminy Creek Brewing from Croydon, Pa., has been in the state since last summer but will now begin to sell its bottled products here next month. You will be able to find its Tribute Tripel, County Line IPA and Leon Imperial Stout on your favorite retailer's shelf.
The Tripel is a 9.3 percent golden Belgian-style made with coriander and orange peel and a good dose of Hallertau and Saaz hops, which yields a nice citrusy, spicy brew that's easy to drink. The County Line IPA is 6.6 percent, assertively hopped with Chinook, Warrior, Simcoe and Zythos hops, giving it a citrus-grapefruit palate but malty enough to take the edge off.
Now, the Leon Imperial Stout really sounds interesting. It is brewed with 45 pounds of marshmallow fluff, 30 pounds of crumbled graham crackers and 16 pounds of bittersweet chocolate. Sound familiar? Can you say s'mores? Well, you taste it and tell me. At 11.6 percent and 80 IBUs, it is certainly not kids' stuff. Hats off to Head Brewer Jeremy Myers, Assistant Brewer Rob Jahn and Production Manager Steve Capelli for a job well done. Look for them next month and get a taste of Bucks County's first production brewery.
They also will be distributing Old Forge Brewing of Danville, Pa., in 16-ounce cans soon. Celestial Blonde, Overbite IPA, T-Rail Pale Ale and Endless Sun Ale will be in the coolers and on the shelves of the best beer stores in N.J.
Jumping on the bandwagon, Terrapin Beer Co. from Georgia will be releasing a 12-pack of Recreation Ale in cans soon.
Local distributor Harrison Beverage has a few things on its newly released list. I spoke to Jack Moyse from Starr Hill, Charlottesville, Va., and he gave me a sample of the brewery's Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout, a thoroughly enjoyable drink made with lactose sugar and a blend of Red Rooster Coffee from Floyd, Va. The palate is of sweet chocolate, caramel and coffee. Who says beer isn't for breakfast?
Recently released was Victory's White Monkey, its Belgian Golden Ale aged in oak chardonnay barrels. Wow - lots of oak and vanilla flavors. Supply is limited so get yours now.
Congratulations to Tuckahoe Brewing for being chosen the Best N.J. Beer at the A.C. Beer and Music Fest. Their New Brighton Espresso Stout is an outstanding example of the style and is readily available throughout the area.
Kim Roegiers, craft manager at Harrison, advised me the brewery has contracted Prism Brewing from North Wales, Pa., to sell in the Garden State and should be on the shelves soon. Look for the likes of Bitto Honey, Partea and Felony IPA.
Unibroue's Quelque Chose, a tart cherry brew, may be making another appearance since its demise several years ago. One of my favorite beers, I hope they decide to return it to production. However, they have started brewing an Ephemere Cherry, which will be available soon. It will be a great addition to the tart fruit line of beers. The 17th anniversary Grande Reserve also is in distribution right now and available at all local outlets.
New N.J. brewery Bolero Snort won the People's Choice Award and this was their first beerfest. Congrats and I'm sure we'll see lots more of them in the future.
Local brewer Ben Battiata of Turtlestone Brewing in Vineland gave me a taste of his Wee Heavy aged on oak chips and vanilla beans for two months. What an array of flavors - sweet, oaky and warming to the palate. Distribution of this will be limited. One of the best places to taste the brewery's beers is the Old Oar House in Millville.
Look for all these new beers at your local liquor stores, such as Circle Liquor in Somers Point, Passion Vines in Egg Harbor Township and Somers Point, Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Township, White Horse Liquor in Absecon and Gourmet in Galloway. Some will probably appear on draft and bottle lists in local restaurants and beer bars.
I can't say enough about how the A.C. area has picked up on the craft beers. The events here are phenomenal and classy. Thank you to all those who produce them and support them. I am proud to say that A.C. is becoming a beer destination. Cheers!
Mark Haynie is a craft-beer expert who lives in Somers Point and travels extensively to find new beers. He is a contributor to the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and is the co-author of the book New Jersey Breweries with Lew Bryson. His column runs every other week.