|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...
Here we go off the tracks again. Get a designated driver and go for it!
Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill & Brewery
61 US-1 South
Metuchen, New Jersey
Yes, it really is a Pizza Uno that makes beer. From what I understand there are only two in the
country that do, the other being in Chicago. If you've been to one Pizzeria Uno, then you kow
what this one looks like - wood floors, bricks walls, wood tables and booths, pictures of old
time Chicago, and, making this one special, a big wooden rectangular bar. Overall, the
atmosphere is relaxing and comfortable with large screen TVs at each end of the bar. Food is
standard pizza fare but tasty and enjoyable. But you're thinking, tell us about the beer. Okay.
They have 5 usual suspects always on tap, which I had in a sampler: Bootlegger Blond -
balanced, clean kolsch-like, Station House Red Ale - easy drinking but not distinctive,
32 Inning Ale - a fair pilsener, Ike's IPA - a very nice, hop dominated IPA, Gust-N-Gale
Porter - well made brew with an emphasis on black malt. There also usually have one or two
seasonals on tap. I had the Scotch Ale and it was excellent. And therein lies the problem.
The basic lineup never changes and the seasonals sell out quickly. If you're like me and enjoy
having a ever changing variety of beers you can find this frustrating. Something tells me it's a
corporate decision made by people who really don't understand craft beer people and who
don't appreciate what an excellent brewer they have. So from me to them - unleash your
brewer, give him 4 taps to constantly make new beers and then watch how you become a craft
beer lovers mainstay instead of just a nice place to visit. As for their rating, I'm giving them
an extra 1/2 engine for hosting the only area real ale festival which they do twice a year.
I rate them 4 1/2 out of 5 engines.
Egan & Son's
118 Walnut St
Montclair, New Jersey
Upon entering this place you're first thought is that if the beer selection is only half has good
as the place is beautiful with it's museum-quality artwork and high-concept styling you're in
for a treat. Sadly, your not as the beer here is pseudo craft at best. They have brewery
equipment being displayed behind glass on the second floor, but it's only there for show. They
have several "house beers" which are contract brewed and generally weak despite they
stylistic names. They do have 20 taps but the selection was unimpressive; the best being
Sierra Nevada Pale and Brooklyn Lager. The bar's mainstays seem to be Bud Light, Corona
Light, Heineken Light and Amstel Light. I think I see a trend. The bartenders don't really
know much about beer which seems appropriate given the tap offerings. To be fair, the bottle
selection is decent though everything is served at extremely frigid temperatures. I didn't eat
there since the beer was such a disappointment however in speaking to several people eating
at the bar they uniformly liked their Irish inspired dishes. The worst thing about this place is
beer potential gone unfulfilled and their pretense about being a true beer bar.
I give them 1 1/2 engines
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
124 E Kings Highway
Maple Shade, New Jersey
This is part of the Iron Hill chain which is know for producing some excellent beers including many
GABF medal winners. The Maple Shade one, as it's sister establishments off a good amount of
seasonals and even some one-offs. On my visit there were 5 house brews plus 6 seasonals, a nitro
and a cask. Impressive. I enjoyed their Digression - a Belgian IPA brewed with a classic Belgian
yeast strain, dark and light candi sugars and Amarillo and Chinook hops. The always available
Ironbound Ale proved to be a solid session beer at 5.1%. The stout on nitro was smooth and creamy
making for a special treat. As good as this place is it's still not total beer heaven since they do
produce things like their Light Lager (Bud has more taste) and Raspberry Wheat (not even in the
league of the watery variety from Sam Adams.) The menu ranged from burgers to prime ribs all, to
my mind, overpriced. Still, quality of the food was good, a touch above typical bar fare.
The beers too can be a bit pricey so try to hit happy hour. Overall a solid place for beer.
Normally I would rate this place 3 1/2 engines but because they feature a cask
and nitro they get a bouns of a half an engine.
I rate them four 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. And of course if you
go off the rails like I often do but sure to have a designated driver!
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
|Read more Rails to the Ales
Hop on board and join Arty at ....
Hat Tavern & St. James Gate
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
Places to Buy Beer in NJ
listing of all
Rails to Ales