|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 Jefferson, NJ
108 Boonton Ave
Boonton, NJ 07005
When I walked into Sharky’s just a few yards off the main street of Boonton, I was more than a bit
worried since I saw signs touting $1.50 drafts and $2.50 “select imports”. I like a bargain as much as
the next guy but those prices usually mean bad beer from top to bottom. I was to be surprised
however. It's a neighborhood bar with a nicely appointed interior with many TV’s all showing sports.
There's a friendly looking bar behind which is a blackboard listed 25 or so taps with a decent selection
of the usual suspects of craft beer. I ordered their three best beers (in my opinion) - Ruckus Hoptimus
Prime, Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut Down, and Keegan Ales Mother's Milk . There were a
few more good offerings but nothing truly special for the serious beer geek. My bartender was
competent and friendly. She also gladly offered samples to taste and poured enough liquid for a fair
evaluation something not done often enough at beer bars. The menu looked good; I opted for two
snacks (pretzels and poppers) both of which were well above average. Prices were fair with the most
expensive pint being $6.50. And it’s kid friendly as I noticed some video games and a photo booth. All
in all, you will feel comfortable here and be able to enjoy some solid craft brews. In my book you can't
go wrong with a visit to Sharky's. Now if only they would have a few great beers. Oh well.
I rate Sharky's West 4 out of 5 engines
75 State Route 15 S
Jefferson, NJ 07885
Some might remember this place as the New Orleans Steak House, well, it's now totally redone into a
quite attractive sports bar/ gastro-pub. The decor is eye catching with a wonderful mix of seating
options from quieter areas, spots to watch a sports game on TV, and of course a bar area. Ouch -
speaking of which all the bar stools are just that - seats without a back of any sort. Note to
management - even a cushioned bleacher set is uncomfortable. Anyway, onto the beer. They have
24 taps; all craft and all good with a general price of around $7. I went with a Founders Mango
Magnifico followed by a Captain Lawrence Palate Shifter Imperial IPA. I finished with a bottle that was
slightly out of date which reminded me to always check before having the bartender open it. I didn't eat
but the menu had some interesting items but seemed priced on the high side. Overall this is a beautiful
place with a very good beer list that will impress most except the beer hunter looking
for a special gem. Based on beer and decor this place would get 4 1/2 engines however I'm deducting
a 1/2 engine for the sore back I had because of the bar stools and the outdated bottle.
I rate Taphouse 15 four 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