|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...
Summit & Maplewood, NJ
570 Springfield Ave.
Summit, NJ 07901
Some of you might notice that I visited Summit one other time but that was before the
Hat Tavern opened. Summit itself is easily reached by train from many locations. To the west
is the Gladstone Branch. To the north is the Morristown line, up to Denville. And to the east
the line goes all the way into Hoboken. However if you do take the train be prepared for a
walk of about 2/3 of a mile to the Hat. Don't worry it will be worth it.
The Hat is located in the Grand Summit Hotel, a state landmark for nearly 150 years. It's in
the spot once occupied by the hotel's well know but stogy Hunt Club. If you enter from the
front of the building bear left and head down a short staircase. You'll find yourself in a
modern, sophisticated but approachable looking pub featuring polished stamped concrete
floors, slick tavern tables, a long, straight dining bar with several flat screen TV’s.
The bar has 14 taps with two being wasted on non-craft offerings (one on Bud the other on
Blue Moon). The other taps are solid; I enjoyed a fresh Kane Head High Galaxy Dry Hopped
IPA, a Left Hand Saw Tooth ESB Nitro, and a very crisp Victory Golden Monkey. The food
is very good as a Tapas menu is featured along with more traditional pub grub. I went with the
veggie burger and enjoyed it with my final drink of the night, Otter Creek Copper Ale.
The Hat has many promotions and features a Happy Hour from 4-7 PM on Monday-Friday.
Right now it's not a destination stop for serious beer folks since they don't seem to change
beer too often and they essentially lose two taps with non-craft brew but if you are in the
area it's worth a visit. And yes, the fill growlers too.
I give the Hat Tavern 3 1/2 engines!
St. James Gate
53 Broadway, Maplewood, NJ
Maplewood is a New Jersey Transit stop along the Morris and Essex (formerly Erie Lackawanna) rail
line. There is only one railroad station in Maplewood and is located at the heart of its shopping and
business district. That means you're only a few blocks walk to St. James Pub.
As expected from the name this is an Irish bar with a wonderful fireplace anchoring the dining area.
The barstools were imported from Ireland, and the floor is made of wood from Guinness Brewery
kegs in St. James Gate, Dublin. There's brawny wooden tables and a well worn but warm antique bar.
So it's got atmosphere and a menu that features such items as Irish Breakfast, Fish and Chips,
Bangers n' Mash and many more. But this is Rails to Ales so it's all about the beer and other than
great fresh Guinness served in the correct glass and poured properly the other taps are nothing that
will ignite the soul of a true craft beer hunter with Harp, Smithwick's, Magener's Irish Cider Bass
Ale, LongTrail, Red Hook, East Coast Lager, McSorley's Ale, Hop Fish, Stella Artois, Hoegarrden,
Boddington's, and Bud Light. Still, I'm one hunter who after a pint of Guinness was happy to move
away from beer and enjoy a couple of drinks from the pub's excellent selection of Irish Whiskeys
For the overall experience and a perfectly poured pint of Guinness (which is getting harder and
harder to find) I give St.James Gate 2 1/2 engines. Wait, let's go another 1/2 engine for the Irish
Whiskey and the chance to feel like every day is St. Patrick's Day.
I hereby bestow on St. James Gate the rating of three 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 Rails 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 ....
The Auld Shebeen, Whippany 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