|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 and beyond 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 more!
|Take The Rails to The Ales to...
Montville, Rockaway, and Jersey City
381 Main Bar & Grill
381 Main St
Little Falls, NJ
This place is easy to miss despite being a stand alone building. The bar is long and fairly
narrow with surfing/fish decorations. It was clean and well kept with great lighting. It's a good
place to watch sports since it has several large screen TVs perfectly placed behind the bar for
easy viewing no matter where you might be sitting. But forget all that, you want to know about
the beer. I counted a dozen taps with a decent variety of very solid craft. I had a pint of
Carton SS2014, a Bolero Snort Fall Pasture, and a Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra along with
one of their Beer Camp Series. As I said, a decent variety and very solid lineup. The beer
was fresh but as in most places served too cold. The food was well above average bar fare. I
enjoyed some pierogies and pizza which went well with the beer. Or is it the other way
around? If you're in the area it's well worth stopping in however this is not yet a destination
stop for a serious beer hunter. Normally I would give 381 Main a 3 1/2 star rating but I'm
adding a well deserved extra half star for an intangible - it had a warm, welcoming feel to it.
Credit for that has to go to the bartender and some of the friendly customers who I enjoyed
talking beer with. And that must mean management cares about their customers!
I rate 381 Main 4 out of 5 engines.
Ricalton's Villiage Tavern
19 Valley St
South Orange, NJ
This establishment has an rather snooty restaurant and bar upstairs that only makes a token
gesture towards craft beer. However downstairs they have an attractive second bar (the
Snug) which is far more to my liking. It has a pseudo Irish decor and smallish bar that pours
an acceptable lineup of craft. I had a very fresh NJ Hudson Pale Ale, an Anderson Valley
Boont Amber, a Founders All Day IPA, and finished with a Guinness. Why Guinness? Well,
I've always thought that having it is a good way to see if the establishment actually cares
about beer. This placed passed the test. My Guinness was correctly poured, served in the
right glass, and was fresh. I didn't eat there and after checking the menu I'm glad I didn't. In
a word, pricey. The friendly bartender and the pub's manager seemed to know beer,
something you see less and less of these days. If ownership gave these two control of the
Snug, it just might become a player in the craft beer bar game. Right now however they're
not. Overall it has a solid but limited lineup of craft beer served in a nicely decorated place
with very good service. The word potential comes to mind. I'll be back to see what happens.
I give Ricalton's Snug 2 1/2 out of 5 engines.
Hope you get a chance to stop in at my new location
The Northside Lounge
100 Brooks Blvd, Manville, NJ 08835
A great menu and some of the finest craft beer anywhere!
Stop in if you are in the area and look for me in the kitchen or behind the taps
and please 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