A Welcome Addition to the
                    New Jersey Beer Scene
                   
       
 Iron Hill in Maple Shade is state’s newest brew pub.


By JOHN HOLL

For BeerNexus.com



When it opens this week the Iron Hill Brewery will be the first brewpub in
the state to open in the last decade.  With a sprawling space on Rt. 41 in
Maple Shade, Iron Hill not only brings new life to the whole New Jersey
beer scene, but also fills a void in South Jersey.

For years, those who appreciate well-made craft beer and good food, but
live in the Southern part of the state, had to rely on Philadelphia’s beer
scene or make the trek to Atlantic City’s Tun Tavern.

Kevin Finn, the president and operating partner of Iron Hill, said the
brewery spent the last five or so years searching for a New Jersey
location. The brewery is a chain that already operates seven other
locations throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania.

While the Maple Shade location does have a bit of a chain restaurant
vibe, it mercifully does not have a sports-bar feel with only a few
television sets in the bar area.  The décor, done in warm tones with
wood and wrought iron accents, will likely give the restaurant a more
comfortable feeling over time.

The brewer, Chris Lapierre, plans on keeping five regular house beers
on tap at all times. Four other taps behind the bar will go to special or
seasonal brews, with at least one dedicated to a Belgium style brew.

Separating themselves from the brewpub pack in the state, Iron Hill only
serves the beer they make. As such Lapierre has created beers that will
appeal to, not alienate customers who would otherwise reach for a
commercially brewed beer, like Coors.

The light lager has the perfect hops and malt flavor and is immensely
drinkable.  Everything else from their Red Lager to the Pig Iron Porter
are near-perfect representations of the styles. The true standout during
a recent visit, however, was the India Black Ale.

Iron Hill is using its newest location to test out some new beer
technology with the unveiling of its growler machine. Growlers are ½
gallon beer jugs that can be purchased to take home the restaurant’s
brew.  The machine, which is a more efficient way of bottling beer than
the standard tube from the taps way that is still popular with some
brewpubs, will ensure that the beer will stay fresher in a customer’s
refrigerator, longer.

As for the menu, Iron Hill has the standard brewpub fare from pizza to
salads. Prices range from $9.50 to $14.50 for sandwiches and burgers to
$13 to $18 for entrees.  There is even a “healthy option” category on the
menu.

In all, Iron Hill is a welcomed addition to the New Jersey beer scene and
while it can be a hike for those in North Jersey, it is certainly worth a visit.





John Holl writes about the craft beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached at johnholl@gmail.com .


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John  Holl
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