|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
Woodbridge is located along the North Jersey Coast Line of NJ Transit. This line runs from
Seacaucus Junction through Newark Penn Station and south all the way to Bay Head. Check
the NJ Transit website to schedule your trip.
Town Liquor and Bar
If you exit the station onto Pearl Street, you will see at the corner of Pearl and North
James Street a bar with a cocktail glass sign. This was the Town Liquor and Bar. Now it is
empty, with a sign reading for sale or lease....201-763-6305. Includes restaurant and retail
space. This would be a great place to open a 20 tap (or more) craft brew bar. This town needs
a bar with good craft beers !!
Town Liquor FOR SALE...........
Rugs and Riffy's
If you walk to the other side of the tracks and to the left you will find Nielson Street.
At the corner of Nielson Street and Rahway Ave is a place called Rugs and Riffy's. Cathchy
name. Anyway, on looking at the place with its Coors, Carona and Bud Light signage you
probably would just keep walking. But it turns out to be a pretty nice, big and friendly sports
Not the best beer selection though. On tap was Guiness Stout, Sam Adams Lager,Sam
Adams Winter Lager, Yeungling Lager, Blue Moon, Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, oh and no to
be left out Coors Light. If you like sports, you might want hang out for a few. If you like good
beer, you may not. Nice place, but I wouldn't make a special trip.
I rate this place One Engine...
If you head back to the train station and turn left you will arrive at Main Street. Now if you
cross Main Street where the train bridge does you will see JJ Bittings Pub and Brewery. My
advice to you is to go in and drink a few good beers. But if you like adventure and risk taking,
walk to the right instead of crossing the street. A few blocks up you will find the Main Tavern.
I was really feeling adventurous, and saw it as my duty to research every bar in walking
distance to the train. When I opened the door I thought, holy crap this place must be closed or
something! Through the darkness I saw movement and heard the noise of curious customers. I
decided to walk in and sit down quickly before someone shouted RAID!!! and the whole place
ran me down on the way out the door.
Luckily I was wearing my dirty jeans and hooded sweatshirt so I fit right in. Not knowing
what to do I ordered a pint of St Bernardus ABT 12.........Ok just kidding. Looking around the
place I figured the Budweiser had to be fresh, and so believe it or not I oredered a pint. Now I
had to act like I love the stuff. I saw the guy across the bar had the technique down. Cough two
times. Pick up the pint and let it sway back and forth so you spill some. As you drink it,let
some dribble back out of your mouth. Then wipe your mouth with your sleeve, as you slam the
pint glass down on the bar to allow some more to spill out the top.
I think you call it simulated drinking. This guy got rid of about ten ounces while only really
drinking an ounce or two. What a genius! I wonder if that's Vince Capano ? He may have
wander in here innocently just like me. After drinking a pint of bud while watching the dirty
dozen in this dark yet eerily cozy tavern, I decided to leave before sunset just in case there
was some reason they sit in the dark all day. Come to think of it, it may be a good place to
drop off the wife and kids sometime.................
I have to award Main Tavern, my second ever ZERO engines rating.
J.J. Bittings Brewing Co.
33 Main Street Woodbridge NJ
At last there really is a reason to take the train to Woodbridge and drink a few good beers.
J.J. Bittings has been operating since 1997 and is located on Main Street. If you cross
the road where the train bridge does you can't miss it. There is a metallic sculpture of a train
engine in front of the main entrance. And in the bar and dining room is a miniature train that
circles the interior of the building. On the wall in the bar area is a train schedule for NJ Transit
North Jersey Coast Line. It is Rails to the Ales so I have to point out railroad related stuff.
Now for the beers..
Avenel Amber- (Named after the town one stop north on the line.) James the brewer
uses American grains and Oregon hops in this medium hopped and malty brew. Not bad for an
amber. Victoria's Golden Ale- This is just like it sounds, light in body, color and hops. I won't
say good for the ladies because I know a lot of ladies who like Old Rasputin and Oak aged
Backwoods Bastard. How about I say for those who like beer that has less taste-less
filling................less taste-less filling
Raspberry Wheat- An American version of a Belgian, so they say. A little on the light
side, with no sourness in the body to compensate for the raspberry fruitiness and no hoppiness
at all to speak of. At only 4.5 % alcohol it doesn't add up to what I expect of a Belgian style
ale. Woodbridge Winter Warmer- Now this is a tasty brew !! Full flavored slightly fruity,
malty with a nutmeg-cinnamon-vanilla spiciness. This really hit the spot, I'm having another.
Black Jack Stout- Creamy and smooth from oats, and unfiltered for a roasty explosion of
espresso inspired bitterness this is one helluva stout. I've got time for another. Hopgarden
Pale Ale-A little amber in color for a pale ale, this one has a hefty dose of centennial and high
alpha columbus hops make this more like an IPA. Very fresh and tasty...Guess what I have
time for one more and this time the one more is from a cask !!
Cask Hopgarden Pale- Lighter in carbonation, and a little more of the hop flavors come
out in the cask version of the ale.
J.J. Bittings offers a brewer for the day program, where for a fee you will actually help to
brew a beer for the brewery. It includes lunch, learning and libation (beer sampling). Sounds
like a fun day, Contact the brewery for information. I think I'm gonna try this program.
Service was excellent and friendly. There is a good sized wallet friendly menu and
happy hour 3-7 weekdays with food and beer specials. I love brew pubs because the beer is as
fresh as can be. Never on a truck, in a warehouse on another truck and then on a storeroom
floor before arriving at a bar to be stored again until tapped. Overall JJ Bittings is a nice
place to drink beer.
I rate J.J. Bittings four engines,
Here's some good info on planning your 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
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 !!!!!!
Rails to Ales........and beyond ////////////////////////////////
by Arty Hannemann
Five engines= the very best
Four engines= excellent
Two engines= fair
One engine= bad news
Zero engines=stay away