New Jersey’s New Nanos

New Jersey’s New Nanos

Owners of Kings Road Brewing (grand opening on Dec. 22) toast with the first batch of beer made at the brewery – a Pale Ale. From left, Pete Gagliardi, Vicki Cummins, Jeff Farrell Bob Hochgertel and Chris Thomas.

By Kevin Trayner

kevinctrayner@gmail.com

It looks like Kings Road will be the next to join NJs growing ranks of nanos (nanobreweries), and the first for Haddonfield, a traditionally dry town. The storefront brewery plans to have soft openings in December, with a grand opening on Dec. 22, said co-owner Bob Hochgertel. The brewery will actually open on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday for merchandise only, not beer sales – as the brewery wants to have enough inventory when it does open for beer sales.

Hochgertel is one of five owners in the 3-bbl brewery, along with Jeff Farrell, Vicki Cummins, Pete Gagliardi and Chris Thomas. The group met through a monthly beer tasting class “Art of Beer” at the Markeim Art Center in Haddonfield. As a lark one evening the group started to talk about how nice it would be to have a brewery in the traditionally dry Haddonfield. One of the class members was a lawyer and looked into the legality of it, and thought it could be done, and the next thing they knew they were off to meet with the mayor, according to Hochgertel. “The town has been just fantastic in supporting this,” he said. The group made a compelling argument that their nano business model was more like the retail coffee shops in town, where an artisanal product is being processed and brewed on the premises, and drunk there or carried out, rather than a manufacturing business. The township agreed and designated them as a retail business. The brewery will open with seven or eight taps, eventually growing to 12 taps, with two additional taps for root beer and water. Kings Road is probably the only 3-bbl brewery in the state that has two professional brewers, Mack Revier (Stoudts and Valley Forge) and Connor Pensiero (Neshaminy Creek), although both are only working part time there.

Two new breweries opened recently in Cape May and Atlantic County. Bucket Brigade is a nano in Cape May Court House, founded by identical twins, Carl and Kurt Hughes. The brewery name pays tribute to firefighters and emergency personnel, as the brothers were both firefighters for several decades. Taps include the usual suspects – IPA, Stout, Wheat beer, Pale Ale, Blonde and Amber, and a Black Ale. Vinyl Brewing joins Tomfoolery and Three 3s as Hammonton’s third brewery. The brewery features half a dozen taps. Recent offerings included several IPAs, including a Lactose IPA, and a Porter made with local honey.

The Bradley Brew Project, a nano in planning for Bradley Beach, broke ground on construction for its storefront brewery on Main Street. The husband and wife duo, Mike Ziolkowski, and Chelsey De Marino-Ziolkowski are planning eight taps for the brewery. The exact beers are tbd, but the brewery posts the test batches and concepts on the website: www.bradleybrew.com. Recent posts included Unicorn Girls (house pale ale made with oats, wheat and lactose), and Cleaning, Doing Laundry or Making Beer, a 4% stout made with nine grains.

Common Sense’s beer tenders pose for a brief moment on the brewery’s opening day this past Labor Day weekend. Bordentown craft beer drinkers enthusiastically drained the brewery’s inventory.

Burlington County, home to Spellbound, Village Idiot, Iron Hill, Brotherton, and Third State saw two new breweries open in September. Common Sense opened as Bordentown’s fist craft brewery this past Labor Day weekend to several hundred craft beer lovers. About an hour after opening, the line stretched out the door for the brewery’s eight taps, including Cream Ale, Saison, Raspberry Saison, Blonde, Blueberry Blonde, Porter, IPA, and DIPA. Marc Selover, homebrewer for more than a decade, had been searching for a main street location for his brewery – eventually finding a multi-use building that had been an antique store, clothing store, and karate dojo in its previous lives. The brewery takes its name from Thomas Paine’s most famous work – the Common Sense pamphlet, a famous propaganda piece that helped inspire the American Revolution. Paine owned a house in town (which he never actually lived in), but did reside for nearly 10 years in a house on Farnsworth Ave overlooking the river, down the road from the brewery’s current location. The brewery is a family affair with dad Marc and son Eric doing the brewing, and their spouses serving in the tasting room. Opening weekend demand severely taxed the capabilities of the brewery’s 3-bbl system, causing the brewery to close the next weekend to begin replenishing their inventory. A good problem to have for the brewery, but thirsty residents may need to wait a few weeks to get their craft beer fix.

Zed’s Beer, Marlton’s first brewery, opened a week later. The brewery takes its name from owner Geoff Bado’s grandfather, who (as family lore has it) worked as a miner in Chop, Hungary, brewing beer for his fellow workers during his down time. (A picture of Zed is front and center in the brewery.) The focus is on sessionable beers with moderate bittering. On the website, Bado claims he will not brew a beer higher than 42 IBU, although a few beers, such as the IPA are well over that. The eight opening taps include the standards – Pale Ale, Blonde, Cream Ale, Stout, IPA, with some interesting additions – a Peach Ale made with local peaches, a Berliner Weiss/Pale Ale hybrid, Beermosa (an orange flavored Pale Ale) and a Mild – but no lagers yet. The brewery is open Thursday through Sunday.

Chuck Garrity, owner of the recently opened Death of the Fox in Clarksboro makes a claim that probably no other brewery owner in the state can: “We open at 7am.” That’s because Death of the Fox is both coffeehouse and brewhouse. But just to be clear, Garrity does not actually serve beer until around noon. Coffee is provided primarily by local roaster Crescent Moon, and other fair trade companies, and customers can order an espresso, cold brew, latte, or other concoction, just as they would in a coffee shop, although there is no food of course. The business is split about 80/20 between beer and coffee, as the former has a better profit margin. “We do see a lot of people drinking both beer and coffee later in the day,” he added. As the owner of Crescent Moon is a homebrewer, you can expect to see a lot of coffee-beer collaborations – although Garrity is quick to point out that only one or two of the eight taps feature coffee-enhanced beers. Recent offerings included a Coffee Pale Ale (whole beans added in the secondary), Mosiac Pale Ale, New England IPA, Black IPA, Oktoberfest, and ESB. Death of the Fox takes its unique name from local history – one of the first hunting clubs in the nation, the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club, was established nearby in 1766. The brewery will put its 10-bbl system to work in the coming months as it expands from eight taps to 20, he said.