|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 to...
Off the tracks—
The Shepherd and the Knucklehead Pub
529 Belmont Avenue
Haledon, New Jersey, 07508
I heard about this place from my BeerNexus colleague Vince Capano who raved about its
60 craft beer taps, excellent food, and great service. Whenever I get a recommendation the
first thing I always do is check to see where is the nearest train station, after all, this is Rails
to Ales. A bit of study however showed that the best way for me to get there was by car - so
off the rails I went accompanied by Arnie Lands and "Mr. Tap Room", Kevin Torpey.
The Shepherd and the Knucklehead has been completely redone from a 14 tap neighborhood
bar to a 60, yes, that's 60, craft beer destination stop. The old Shep was a touch small and
bland but the totally new interior, exterior, and restaurant make this place as good looking as
any pub in NJ. Even the bar itself has been redone and plans are in the making to even have
an elevated outdoor dinning area.
The beer list is unmatched for the area. I was specifically impressed with the fact that they
had two nitro stout options when I was there. The beer was fresh and the lines were clean.
They know how to handle craft beer and take pride in serving it properly. The bartenders
were especially knowledgeable especially Joe who hands down was one of the most personable
bartenders I've met this year doing Rails to Ales. You'll understand the apple didn't fall far
from the tree when you meet his dad Chris, who is also the owner. In fact the entire staff was
polite, friendly, beer savvy, and efficient. You can't ask for much more than that.
My beers were all very interesting. I had a Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Ginger Wheat which
was most refreshing and full of, what else, ginger, a North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout,
on nitro of course, that was rich with coffee and chocolate notes, a Smuttynose Finest Kind
IPA a crisp and balanced brew, and a Dogfish Black & Blue which is a Belgian-style golden
ale fermented with blackberries and blueberries. It's made with real berries and the fruit
comes through in the flavor. My final beer was a Defiant Porter which started off with a
strong roasted coffee and cocoa notes and had a nice malty yet sweet finish
Arnie had more than his share making up for the fact that Kevin was our designated driver.
His 2 top favorites of the day were the Anderson Valley Summer Solstice , a copper colored
ale that was malty, very mildly hopped, and lightly sweet, and the Firestone Walker Union
Jack IPA that had loads of citrus and pineapple notes balanced by and a malt profile.
The Shepherd and the Knucklehead Pub is near William Paterson University. It was a fairly
long drive from my home base here in Warren NJ but one that I'll be making again since I had
such a good time. Oh, the bar is named after a book written by the owner! It's available at the
pub and on Amazon.com. When Chris is there he's happy to autograph it too!
I rate the Shepherd & the Knucklehead at 5 out of 5 engines!
Hope you get a chance to stop in at my new restaurant in the Bradley Gardens section
of Bridgewater NJ. Bring your own great beer and enjoy my great food!
Neil's All American Grill,
85 Old York Road Bridgewater NJ. 908-300-8658.
Chicken Specialties, Sloppy Joes, Subs, Falafels, Burgers
Cheesesteaks, Salads, Vegetarian Menu, Italian Specialties and
All kinds of crazy stuff. BYOB !
Stop in if you are in the area and mention you read my column!
Here's some good info on planning your own Railes To Ales 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 drinking time.
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 !!!!
Five engines= the very best
Four engines= excellent
Two engines= fair
One engine= bad news
Zero engines=stay away
For Off The Rails it's
Barely Sacks instead of Engines
|Read more Rails to the Ales
Hop on board and join Arty at ....
Jersey City, NJ
Red Bank, New Brunswick, Long Valley, NJ
The Ginger Man, NYC
Rattle 'N' Hum / Copper Mine
Somerset Hills, NJ
Pearl River, NY
South Orange, NJ
Morristown - Land of Many Taverns
Off The Rails--A Few Days In Pennsylvania
Off The Rails - The Ship Inn & Cloverleaf Tavern
Pony Bar, New York City
Berkeley Heights, NJ
Jack's Goal Line Stand
Manville, NJ - Northside
Off The Rails - Delicious Heights, Bedminister, NJ
Blind Tiger, New York City
The Office, Bridgewater, NJ
Northside - Revisited