|Baker Street Brewery's founder and head brewer Art Hannemann takes you
on a journey to find the ales. Catch the train for Arty's ride to the New Jersey
suburbs in search of, what else, great beer!
It's going to be a fun trip as Arty reviews and rates a new stop each month
as he takes the rails to the ales.....and beyond!
Take The Rails to The Ales
Join Arty for a special trip as he goes
Off the rails............
The Tap Room at Somerset Hills Hotel
200 Liberty Corner Road Warren New Jersey
If you take Route 78 to exit 33 for Martinsville/Bernardsville and turn towards Bernardsville
you will see the Somerset Hills Hotel on your right. Be sure to put this place on your list of
places to enjoy a great beer experience !!
We in the beer world know of great authorities on beer such as the late and great Beer Hunter
Michael Jackson. He toured the world to bring us to unique breweries in far off places. His
knowledge inspired many of us to become Beer Hunters on our own.
In those days we had to travel far to find places that had any good beer at all. There was
Brewskis on 7th Street in the village who had the full Anchor line-up and nothing else but
peanuts. What a great place that was. Liberty Ale, Anchor Porter, Anchor Wheat (not the
summer ale),Anchor Steam and my personal favorite Old Foghorn were all on tap in one place.
Out west in Milford NJ was The Ship Inn (now a brew pub), who carried Young's Special
London Ale, Ramrod Ale, Old Nick Barleywine and Chocolate Stout, Double Diamond Ale,
McEwans, McAndrews, Fullers and a great bottle selection as well. What a great place to visit
Then there was The Old Bay Restaurant in New Brunswick where another beer legend, Chris
Demetri, had a great line-up of beers. In fact with a lot of work and pleading with Fullers
Brewery he was actually able to get a cask of ESB to put on one of the only cask beer engines
around these parts. This was such a rare treat that we actually met the staff of Brewskis who
travelled all the way from the village to try a pint on that memorable night.
Those were the good old days when these great pioneers convinced us to embrace these craft
beers and real ales rather than settle for the local swill.
When you visit The Tap Room at The Somerset Hills Hotel you will meet another great beer
personality who has continued in the tradition and spirit of Michael Jackson and Chris
Demetri. His name is Kevin Torpey, and what a great modern day Beer Hunter he is!
Kevin works very hard to find the rarest beers from around the world and bring them to The
Tap Room for your drinking pleasure. He keeps on top of the latest brewery releases and
rotates them into his lineup one by one.
A prime example was the day he tapped Life and Limb, a collaboration between Sierra
Nevada and Dogfish Head. About 60 or more people showed up for the event. Without any
instruction everyone seemed to feel it proper to wait until each person there had a full glass in
hand to raise them up for a group CHEERS !! Kevin seemed a little embarassed as the group
broke out in a round of applause thanking him for bringing this very rare beer to tap for them.
A few weeks later the same scene repeated itself when he tapped another rare keg of Limb
And Life. A milder recipe of the same collaboration between Sierra and Dogfish Head.
In December he had a month long event called Winter Wonderland when he poured nothing
but rare Christmas, Holiday and Winter beers from around the world. Ten Christmas ales all
on tap at once and when the keg kicked you couldn't wait to see what was going on next. I
spent almost the whole month at the Tap Room.
A recent rarity was the Weyerbacher ale called India. What a special treat that was. Just the
other night was an event for the tapping of Flying Fish Exit 16. A big appreciative crowd was
on hand to try a pint on draft as it is only available in bottles at most places.
The regular bartending staff here are not only beautiful (like Kevin's version of Charlie's
Angels), they are knowledgeable about the type of beer they are serving that day as well as
what glass to properly serve it in.
I know I usually write about taking the train to Hunt for good Beers, but at the Tap Room the
hunting has already been done for you. This bar is my favorite in New Jersey and if elected as
you governor I will be sure to build a rail line from Bernardsville to Bound Brook with a
station called the Tap Room Station as a stop in the middle of the line.
Be sure to visit on Trappist Tuesdays for specials on Trappist ales, and to check BeerNexus
for the most current lineup of taps. You can sign up for an e-mailed Tap Room Newsletter
while you are there so you won't miss out on Kevin's next special event.
Oh yeah, they also have a great bottle list as well as another list entitled Kevin's Secret Bottle
Stash. The secret bottle stash is just as rare and interesting as the tap selection.
The bar menu and restaraunt serve great food at reasonable prices. You can also visit their
website or if you are on facebook make the Tap Room a friend.
So be sure to visit the Tap Room and meet Kevin Torpey who, as I said earlier continues the
tradition and passion for really great beer set forth by pioneers like Michael Jackson and
Chris Demetri .
As you can tell I give the Tap Room my highest rating of 5 engines (even if it is Off the Rails) !
Next Stop on the rails is Pearl River NY--Arny Lands wants to come along
so look for my article next month. I always have a great time and
funny story when Arny tags along.
This month I went "OFF the Rails" but just in case you try some of my other trips here's some
good info on planning your trip. First step go to www.njtransit.com web site. Then click on train
schedules. Next click on "use our map to plan your trip." Now select your train station on the
map. And next select your destination on the map. A new page appears and you want to select
weekday, holiday or weekend accordingly. A new page appears with your schedule of
departing times and length of travel time. Print this up and then go to the bottom of the
schedule and it will say click here for return schedule--click away. Now print this page up as
well and you have all the info you need to plan your trip. Remember to allow walking and
Gotta catch my train back-- see you at my next stop!
Remember to leave the car at home and......Take The Rails To The Ales !!!!!!
Rails to Ales........and beyond ////////////////////////////////
by Arty Hannemann
Five engines= the very best
Four engines= excellent
Two engines= fair
One engine= bad news
Zero engines=stay away