Searching out beers is a fun thing to do and I am scouting out the best beer bars in the area. As I find them, I will report them to you.
The Iron Room is now open at the AC Bottle Company on Albany Ave. It is a most beautiful venue with an exotic tapas menu and eight taps of craft beer and four wines. A recent visit yielded some fine beers pouring on the handles: Beach Haus Pils, Port City Optimal Wit, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Great Lakes Pale Ale, Yards IPA, Stone Arrogant Bastard and Jack's Cider. But I believe the piece de resistance is the 200-plus bottles of whiskey to enjoy a dram from: American whiskies, Canadian whiskies, Irish whiskies, Japanese whiskies and scotches of all kinds. This will be the place to enjoy a nice evening of food and libations of all types. They open at 5 p.m. daily. Check the website ACBottleCompany.com for more details.
For those who roam out of the AC area, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant has opened up their second location in N.J. at 13107 Town Center Blvd, Voorhees. If you are familiar with IH, you know that they are a real class act that puts out only the best food and house-made beer anywhere. For those not familiar, you should be. There are 10 locations in the tri-state area(NJ, DE, & PA) and they have the best kids menu of any restaurant I've seen. Its sister location is in Maple Shade. Visit ironhillbrewery.com for more info.
Stopped in at Passion Vines in Somers Point just to see what was on the taps and they were looking pretty good. Local Kane Brewing had two taps: Cloud Cover and Overhead IPA. There was also Allagash White, Port City Optimal Wit, Stone IPA, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and Brooklyn Oktoberfest. A great lineup.
Coming up on Aug. 22, is a baseball-themed dinner at Atlantic City Country Club with five stations of foods from ballparks around the US and paired with beers from NJ Beer Co. First up is from Yankee Stadium; you will enjoy a Watermelon Salad and a Potato Knish accompanied by 1787 Abbey Single Ale . From Petco Park in San Diego, you will be served wok-charred shrimp tacos paired with Hudson Pale Ale. From Minute Maid Park in Houston, you will be treated to braised BBQ beef brisket served with LBIPA. Next at bat is from Dodger Stadium in LA, Miller Park in Milwaukee and Fenway Park in Boston, a triple play of ball park hot dog, bratwurst and sausage and peppers with the 1787 Abbey Single . Last but not least, double dutch chocolate brownie with hot fudge, whipped cream, cherries and hot nuts paired with Garden State Stout will take you into extra innings. Live entertainment will also be presented on the patio with Mike Fairhurst on guitar. All of this for $49 per person. Call 609-236-4415 for reservations. Come out and enjoy an evening at the "ballpark".
The Oktoberfest beers should be coming out now also, so look for them at your local stores and bars. Gesundheit!
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.