|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...
This is a first for me - I'm going to visit a few places suggest by my readers
that' I've never been to before or even heard of. It should be interesting.
I've got a designated driver since the places are all "off the rails".
South Side Grill
2-6 Main St
South Bound Brook, NJ
If you expect to walk into a typical non chain local sports bar and grill you won't be
disappointed. You will however be disappointed if you quickly look at some of the beers
on tap and see they are the likes of Bud Light , Coors Light , Miller Light , PBR, and a few
more similar suspects. Ah, but when you look again you'll see at least a dozen taps
boasting top quality craft brews including a few somewhat hard to find items like
Southampton Burton IPA, Hebrew Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA, Flying Dog Belgian
Devil, and Left Hand Stranger. That got me to relax as I realized this trip into the
unknown was going to be well worth it. I ordered the Burton IPA first, follwed by the
Lenny's RIPA, then the Flying Dog, and ending with a Hofbrau Maibock. The beer was
fresh while the service friendly and professional. I didn't eat this time but certainly intend
to do so on my next non-working visit since the menu looked good and fairly priced. The
only thing holding them back is the waste of far too many takes on macro swill.
Still, there's enough here from quality beer to good staff to make me recommend it to you.
I rate them 4 out of 5 engines.
109 Rt 206
Byram, New Jersey
No sports bar here, this is a "gastropub". The reader who recommended this place touted the
great food which always get me to worry. If they are mainly a restaurant how much would
they really care about good beer. The answer is they do care though this is not a destination
stop for a serious beer geek. Their craft beer list includes the usual suspects such as Kane
Overhead, Troegs Pils, and Long Trial Ale but it also quietly boasts of some special items such
as Corsendonk Tempelier and Brasserie Du Bocq Blanche de Namur. Impressive.
By the way, I had the house made veggie burger and it was excellent!
It's all a bit pricey which fits with it's NYC "hip" feel (which really isn't a problem since the
service is very good and the overall vibe is still welcoming). Sadly, I'm forced to lower their
rating by 1/4 engine since they proudly proclaim that "PBR is Salt's House Draft". Sorry, but
you can't be a serious beer place and still say that. Oops, is my beer snobbery showing?
I give them a total of 3 and 3/4 engines
Brix Tapas Grill
371 S Franklin Ave
Belleville, New Jersey
The nicely appointed and well kept restaurant/bar is located inside a strip mall. A look at the menu
found many Italian items that seemed fairly priced and according to several people I talked to, quite
good. But I'm here for the beer and that doesn't rate with the rest of the establishment. Their ten
taps make a passing nod to the craft beer revolution and that's about it. My guess is people go for
the food anyway and not the Bud, Bud Light, Shock Top, or Stella on tap. There were 4 decent drafts
but none better than Ithaca Apricot Wheat or Southamptin Double White which should tell you
something. As for the bottle list, well, it's best left unsaid. What I can say is that cocktail list
looked interesting. Sorry guys, everyone there was very polite and friendly but when it comes
to beer you can do much, much, more. I'd be glad to be your consultant - no charge.
I rate them one and 1/2 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
For the complete listing of all
Rails to Ales