|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
OFF THE TRACKS
The Ship Inn
61 Bridge St Milford NJ
In 1987 some friends and I saw an advertisement for The Ship Inn in Milford NJ . The beer
selection was something like this. Youngs Old Nick barleywine, Young's Special London Ale,
Young's Ram Rod Ale, Double Diamond, McEwans, Guinness, Harp, Bass Ale and Ace Pear
Cider. Back then that was a great line-up worthy of the trip out to the Delaware River.
They also had a Muggers Club where you needed to drink the bottle and draft list in order to
earn your mug. It was a very extensive bottle list with many rare to find British brews. Every
year there is a "Muggerd Ball "to celebrate with other Muggers.
After buying a kayak I became a sort of irregular-regular of The Ship during spring, summer
and fall. If you like to kayak you could stop on the Pennsylvania side right after the bridge,
lock up your kayak and cross the bridge to Jersey. The Ship is right down Bridge St on the left
hand side just before the bridge over the creek.
On January 3, 1995 The Ship Inn became New Jersey's first modern day brewpub. This was
great luck for me because the beer was good. I had never had cask conditioned ale before, and
it was pretty cool that a bar I loved to go to was making it.
Enough of my history with The Ship Inn and lets move up to todays tap line-up. I was happy
to find three ales on the hand-pump. First is the Best Bitter, a staple of The Ship this beer is a
nicely hopped version of the style.
Second on cask is the Dark Charger, a darker brownish ale also nicely hopped. The third on
cask was my favorite, the Triple IPA at 7.75 % abv. This is what a real British IPA should
taste like, not like one on CO2! Due to cost it is only served in 1/2 pint.
On CO2 they have their Golden Wheat Light, which in this case means light in color, not light
on taste or calories. This is not like a Weissbeer so don't be confused. Ask for a taste and you
will be pleasantly surprised. This is a full flavored easy drinking ale, which is great after being
in the sun on the river all day.
Also on CO2 is their very tasty Chocolate Porter. What can I say about this one other than
Delicious ! They also have Youngs Double Chocolate Stout so try a comparison. From time to
time TheShip Inn makes an Oatmeal Stout that is also great.
Alright now, I saw on the board next to the Farmhouse Ale that it is only 3% abv and expected
it to be a watery mild ale. Boy was I wrong. It had a lot of roasty maltiness in the body with a
light hoppiness. I could drink it all day and at 3 % I could drink it all night as well.
Missing in the line-up this time was the ESB which is one of my favorites from The Ship. I'm
sure it will be back on tap soon.
The Muggers Club is still in full swing, but with a different line-up of beers than in the past.
The bottle list is smaller than it used to be but there are still many good choices. Happy Hour
Mon-Fri 4:30-6:30 is a great deal with discounts on salads, appetizers and of course, discounts
on beer. You'll find great beer, great service and friendly local regulars in a great atmosphere.
The menu is extensive with many traditional British foods as well as excellent seafood, meat
dishes vegetarian and vegan choices. Oh yeah, since it a British style pub, all pints British
pints---20 ounces!! Sweet!
If Milford still had a train station (the tracks are still there), it would be an easy walk to The
With all it has to offer I rate The Ship Inn at a high 5 engines (or 5 kayak paddles).
395 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell NJ
Kevin (The Tap Room) Torpey and I traveled to Caldwell via NJ transit bus service. Not as
fun as a train, but we got there. We had to walk a few long blocks from the corner of
Bloomfield Ave and Clinton Road but we both could use the exercise. .
Cloverleaf Tavern has a long, rich history as a place of distinguished beer consumption. When
you are there you can see pictures of the place from the early 1900's and probably stuff from
earlier I'm not sure. A long look at distinguished beer drinkers through the ages. I was proud
to be keeping up the tradition.
At first I was going to sit by the taps, but decided at the last minute to sit to the right of them.
It was a lucky decision. A customer ordered a Palm ale, and when the bartender pulled the
handle beer went flying to the right and hit me square in the face. The bartender quickly
apologized and offered me a free pint ! Had I sat to the left it would have been Kevin who was
the lucky winner of a free pint. Fate.
I decided my free pint would be a Southern Tier 2x IPA, and a great pint it was if I say so
myself. I drank this wondering if I would be lucky and get beer shot at me again for another
free pint, but the bartender quickly solved the problem tap and Palm was back on tap.
Next I had a Southampton Keller Pils which wasn't a bad beer but after a hoppy 2x IPA it
seemed very light. Many of the taps were seasonal summer brews. Not my favorite style but
there still were some good ones in the line-up.
Brooklyn Summer, Sam Adams Summer, Blue Point Blueberry, Lake Placid CJ's Honey Rye,
Harpoon Raspberry UFO, Leinenkugels Summer, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, Flying Fish
Summer, Palm, Magic Hat #9, Hoegaarden, Dogfish Head 90, Climax Cream Ale,
Boddingtons, Sam Adams Lager, Guinness, Smithwicks, Bass Ale, Stella Artois, Blue Moon,
and Yeungling Lager are all also on tap.
Some of the good bottles were La Rulles Triple, Founders Cerise, St Bernardus Witbier, and
The winner of the night was Mikeller Single Hopped Kent Golding. What a great nose of hops,
and a hoppy taste through and through. We also tried the Single Hopped Warrior that had
more of a bittering hop effect rather than a flowery hop. It was good but we went back to the
East Kent Golding. Watch out though, the Mikeller cost around $9 a pop.
The food was good and the service was great. It is a great atmosphere for drinking a few
beers, and there were plenty of good beers to make the trip worthwhile. I want to return in the
fall for some fest beers, and again in the winter for the holiday ales.
I rate the Coverleaf Tavern at 3 bus tires out of 4.
ATTENTION ALL RAILS TO ALES FANS
On July 18th we are going as a unorganized group to the Ginger Man Bar in NYC.
All are welcome. Meet beer lovers just like you and me, enjoy some great beers, and have fun.
We are leaving from Summit NJ on Sunday 7/18 on the 12:49 train to Penn Station. You can meet us
at the Summit Train Station or hop on the same train at your station. Or just go to the Ginger Man
around 2 PM. We will return on the 6:11 to Summit but you can do whatever you want of course.
You must be over 21 to join us.
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