|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...
Boonton and Metuchen, NJ
301 Boonton Ave
Boonton, NJ 07005
Cheap liquor, tasty bar pies, $6 pitchers, $2.50 bottles, shuffleboard, ice cold taps, and a
serious drinking crowd are not attributes of most places I visit to review for BeerNexus but
Johnnie's came highly recommended from "Beer Babe Kay" (who really knows her stuff ) so
off I went to Boonton,NJ. It was all she said and more as in more fun than I've had in a long
time. It puts a capital "D" in the term dive bar, and that's meant with the utmost respect. Oh,
you want to know about the craft beer? Yes there's a tap or two from Sam Adams and usually
another craft suspect but the fun is in letting your beer snob hair down and return to those
thrilling days of yesterday when macro beers dominated your drinking habits. Those brews
like Bud and Coors and Miller and Rolling Rock and the rest are all here. At Johnnies they
magically seem to actually have some flavor. And if you order a bottle, please do not use a
glass; it would ruin the ambiance. Seriously, this is not a good craft beer place but a great
neighborhood bar that reminds us of why we went to pubs in the first place. If you're tired
of those upscale bars' 12 ounce pours for $8 and your constant search of rare one-offs then
give Johnnies a try. It will never become a regular stop for a craft beer drinker but you
will return every once in a while and always leave with a smile.
For beer only their rating would be 2 engines but I'm adding s 1/2 engine for the welcoming
dive bar atmosphere and another half for keeping the neighbor bar tradition alive.
I rate Johnnies Tavern 3 out of 5 engines
Haileys Harp and Pub
400 Main Street,
Metuchen NJ, 08840
This establishment is an Irish pub with a warm local feel. It's located on Metuchen's Main
Street which according to locals usually make parking a chore but not impossible. The place is
larger than the exterior would suggest and features an ample number of TV screens around a
decent sized bar. The atmosphere was friendly and fun which is what you'd expect from a
good Irish bar.. Now for the reason I was there - beer. In that area Hailey's does fairly well.
Of their 20 taps 5 or 6 are not worth considering for any beer hunter unless you're on a quest
for Bud Light and its ilk. A majority of the offerings however are quite solid indeed, with
things like Ballantine IPA, Slum Brew Yankee Swap, Moa St. Joseph's Tripel, Shipyard Monkey
Fist IPA, and Ithaca Embrr Rye Porter. A couple of regulars said that the place is constantly
rotating their lineup. And it seems the place has happily reached beyond the usual craft
suspects when bringing something new in. My bartender was reasonably knowledgeable and I
heard him make several appropriate recommendations to other customers. I didn't eat there
but people seemed pleased with their food and I liked seeing there were at least some
vegetarian items on the menu. All in all I had a pleasant experience and enjoyed some
excellent beers. It's nice to see that a good Irish pub does more than pour excellent Guinness.
I give Hailey's 4 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