by Kevin Trayner
“How is the beer,” asked owner Adam Rechnitz somewhat anxiously as he made his way through the crowds during Triumph Red Bank’s soft opening this past November, which included friends, family and others. Rechnitz was understandably a little nervous as he has been planning Triumph Red Bank in one shape or another, since the first Triumph opened in Princeton back in 1995.
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The new brewpub bears many similarities to the Princeton location – it is around 12,000 sq ft as well, with high ceilings and an industrial chic aesthetic, and sports a similar custom 10-bbl Newlands brewing system. Whereas, Princeton’s layout did not allow for any windows, the 1 Bridge Ave. location has lots of them, providing views of the downtown. The second floor provides a spectacular view of the Two Rivers Theater next door, which is owned by Rechnitz’s parents, Robert and Joan. Red Bank has two separate performance areas, and sports an outdoor patio area as well. Across the street, sits the Red Bank Galleria, a collection of shops built in a turn of the century warehouse.
Head brewer Matt Agpaoa, formerly of River Horse, is turning out respectable versions of Triumph’s German and British style staples – recent offerings included Bock, Helles, and Kellerbier, several IPAs, a Stout and Porter, with a Belgian or two thrown in for good measure. Triumph joins Birravino brewpub, which has been in Red Bank since the late ’90s when it was Basil T’s; and the recently opened Red Tank brewery. Both are about a 10-minute walk, north and south respectively.
Red Tank, on Monmouth St., down opened its doors this past October. Owner John Arcara and wife Lovina were initially interested in opening a restaurant, but friends in the industry discouraged them based on the long hours. Instead, they embraced the idea of being the first to open a brewery in their hometown of Red Bank. The brewery has around a half dozen beers on tap currently, and makes its own craft sodas as well. Recent offerings included a Kolsch, Amber, Saison and Vanilla Cream Ale. The brewery is a two-minute walk down Monmouth from the Count Basie Theater – good news for theater goers who like beer.