|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
"Scene From An Imaginary Western
The Stirling Hotel--The Tavern On Main"
Stirling is a section of Long Hill Township and is located along NJ Transits Gladstone Branch
west of Summit, between Gillete and Millington. When you leave the station you want to walk
to the left down Main Avenue and cross Railroad Street. If you take a good look at the front
of the building and use your imagination, it looks like a tornado could have picked this building
up in the old west and put it down safely right on Main Avenue without a scratch. You can
imagine some horses tied up out front drinking water and maybe some tumbleweed blowing
down the street. When you walk through the front door and turn left you will see the big moose
sticking out from the wall. There are a few old rifles and a sword decorating the walls behind
the bar, and a wagon wheel chandelier above the ten tap handles. If you look around the place
you can imagine gunslinging cowboys breaking out in a bar fight, whiskey bottles cracked over
the head, chairs flying left and right.
Okay that's enough imagination lets go back to the tap handles under the wagon wheel.
After all this is an article for beer enthusiasts, and this is a great place to go for a beer or two
(or three, remember we left the car at home and took the train so we can have a little more fun
this time out!!). Always on the left is the Guinness tap, and this place pours the perfect pint (22
oz that is). They take pride in how they serve it, and correctly let it settle before filling it to the
top. To the right of that are the Smithwicks and Miller Lite taps for those with a lighter taste
for beer. Stop there--These are the only taps that stay the same all year, the other seven
represent seven different styles of beer that constantly
change brewery when kicked.
First one is Troegs Sunshine Pils. Pilsner and crystal malts give this a crisp taste
accentuated by saaz,mittlefrueh and hallertauer hops. Refreshingly delicious at 5.35 ABV.
Next to the right is Dogfish Theobroma. Brewed with Aztec cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, honey,
chilies and anatto this was a rare treat. Moving on, next was Blue Point Rastafarrye.A toasty,
roasty ale with a cool rasta taphandle. Weihenstephan Weiss is next in line. These guys were
growing hops in the year 768 AD, and in 1040 AD were granted the right to brew beer in
Bavaria. Wow that's amazing. Then from Left Hand brewery in Longmont Colorado the light
and refreshing Ju Ju Ginger hopped with centennial, US golding and sterling hops and gently
balanced with a crisp ginger flavor(mmm tasty). Then we find the famous Corsendonk Abbey
Pale,a great belgian that needs no description. And last, but not really last, and certainly not
least, the great Stone IPA. At 6.9 abv and hopped with columbus, chinook and centennial hops,
this stands out as one of my favorites of the style.
Now you may ask why it was last but not really last . The answer is easy. If you walk to the
back and to the right of the restrooms you will find a doorway that leads to an outdoor bar with
five more taps to choose from!! Unfortunately one is a repeat, Miller Lite, so they can serve
the outdoor tables without having to run inside too many times. That leaves us four. First in
line Brooklyn Lager. A Vienna style lager that is dry hopped and tasty. Brooklyn lager uses
hallertauer, mittlefrueh, vanguard, andcascade hops and at 5.2 abv is a good session beer.
Next up, Dales Pale ale from Oskar Blues Brewing. You may recognize the beer can on tha
tap handle. At 6.5 abv it is heartily hopped and one of my favorite pale ales. If you ask me it's
closer to an IPA than some IPAs are. Victory Prima Pils is next, and this is another
great Pennsylvania pils. Very tasy indeed !
Our last beer to choose from comes from Vermonts Long Trail Brewery-Belgian White. This
is a refreshing wit styled beer and at 4.7 abv you can enjoy a few. The outdoor bar remains
open into the fall, until old man winter comes and closes it down . Drop in for some
Octoberfests and Autumn Harvest Ales befor winter arrives. I'm sure this place will
have some great ones in their line up.
In bottles they offer Duvel, Corsendonk Pale and Brown, Chimay Red, Sam Smith: Pale,
Taddy Porter, and Oatmeal Stout, Anchor Steam, Anderson Valley Amber, Northcoast Red
Seal and Rogue Dead Guy. Featured bottles are the Blue Point Summer Ale
and Flying Fish Exit 11.
Being a vegetarian I was glad to see six different salads, four homemade veggie burgers,
grilled portabello sandwich, macaroni and cheese, cavatelli and broccoli, eggplant parm and an
excellent bar pie (a meal in itself) on the menu. However Stirling Hotel is best known for it's
Burgers, Steaks and Seafood dishes.
You can check out their menu at www.thestirlinghotel.com.
They are closed on mondays, and if monday is a holiday they are usually closed on sunday
that weekend. Call themat 908-647-6919 to be sure. They are located at 227 Main Ave about
1/10 of a mile downhill from the train station. The staff is great and service is top notch. A
wonderful atmosphere, and fun beer crowd. Definately worth the trip.
I rate this wonderful tavern five out of five engines, and since they have an outside bar I
think they deserve a caboose as well !!! I'm sure I'll be back a few times to see what new
beers are on tap. Maybe I'll see you there.
Remember to leave the car at home and......Take The Rails To The Ales !!!!!!!
|Arty's Stirling Hotel Rating:
Five engines= the very best
Four engines= excellent
Two engines= fair
One engine= bad news
|Click on links for more stops on
the Rails to Ales:
Morristown - Land of Taverns