Whether it’s a hot summer day in July and you’re craving a sessionable, dry-hopped pale ale, or it’s the dead of winter with the coastline blanketed in three feet of snow resulting in the necessity for a rich, dark malty stout, the Jersey Shore breweries scene is exploding with talent and innovation. It’s an extensive list, but each brewery offers something unique, while also sharing their story by crafting a variety of styles that speak to their identities.
You’ll recognize a few of these brewing namesakes from your own samplings at either local bars and restaurants or you’ve already paid them a visit at the brewery. However, take a look and notice a few new microbreweries popping onto the map, which we can’t wait to follow in the new year and see their growth. All we need to do now is narrow down what Jersey Shore breweries we want to visit first!
We’ve worked with Cape May Brewery for over two years on Jersey Shore InMotion. In 2011, the three founders opened their microbrewery in a vacant warehouse at Cape May Airport and it became the first brewery of Cape May County. Decorated with a vibrant flow chart explaining the brew process from the start of malted grains to the barrel, the tasting room is both spacious and inviting. They’ve won national award recognition for a handful of beers, including the Mop Water 5-Spiced Ale, brewed with baking spices and vanilla beans, and the Devil’s Reach, a complex Belgian golden ale that truly resonates with their motto, “Small Town, Big Brews.” Open daily for tours and tastings, Cape May Brewing Company is doing the Jersey Shore proud by representing our state’s craft brewery scene with knowledge and passion. It has been a real pleasure working with them since 2014! 1288 Hornet Road, Cape May (609)849-9933 http://capemaybrewery.com/home
With a desire to bring unique flavors of craft beer to the Atlantic Highlands community, Augie Carton and his cousin Chris, formed Carton Brewing. They opened here because of its proximity to their six generations of family in Middletown. In the summer, Boat Beer is an easy-drinking refreshing, session ale that goes down pretty smoothly, we warn you! Now that the first snowstorm has occurred, we crave the Epitome, an Imperial Black Ale that the brewers say was created “to embrace the teenage metalhead in each of us and get discordant with a seriously hoppy, high gravity, black ale.” Only closed Monday and Tuesday for tastings, try to sneak in early because the space fills up fast! 6E. Washington Avenue, Atlantic Highlands (732)654-2337 http://cartonbrewing.com
Calling themselves a “Brewtique,” Belford Brewing Company has a façade that’s reminiscent of an intimate antique cottage. Mike and Kevin are two brothers who were originally in talks of opening their own restaurant, but instead opted for a hobby they had shared: brewing beer! With a tasting room featuring a wide array of their brews on tap, the “Core Five” is their vision of highlighting five progressive house staples from a light witbier to a brown ale and then a stout. Lobster Pot, a nut brown ale, is a local favorite, and definitely stop in for a sample of a seasonal new brew each week! 84 Leonardville Road, Belford (732)769-7168 http://www.belfordbrewing.com/
A name anyone with New Jersey roots can appreciate, Jughandle Brewing Co. was concocted by three really great friends that brought three different strengths to the brewery: one being a scientist, another an artist, and naturally as integral, a strategist! They brew a mix of more familiar common styles like their IPA and Hefeweizen to more obscure brews like the crisp refreshing Kolshch, the Rye IPA and the potent Baltic Porter! In an unassuming strip mall, Jughandle is anything but nondescript and locals couldn’t agree more. 4057 Asbury Avenue, Tinton Falls 07753 (732)898-2220 http://www.jughandlebrewing.com
Think unfiltered and hop-centric for one of the most quintessential New Jersey craft breweries tucked away in an industrial complex in Ocean. Kane Brewing Company, founded by Michael Kane, intertwines his love of small beach and coastal communities with his beers by naming most of his brews after nautical surf, American-style and smaller sized themed phrases. Head High is one of their top staples, a take on an American-style IPA that’s everyone should be required to sample. The brewery is open for tastings Thursday-Sunday, and if thats not enough, Kane is now canning, bottling, and allowing the general public to bring home smaller-sized kegs too. Check out their online swag store to support this incredible local brewery! 1750 Bloomsbury Avenue, Ocean (732)922-8600 http://www.kanebrewing.com
We know, we know, this is definitely more of a Jersey Shore locale, but we couldn’t help but feature Asbury Park’s first craft brewery! Embracing the nickname of this City by the Sea and celebrating their 1st year anniversary in January, Dark City Brewing Company identifies its brewing culture as creative and eclectic. The tasting flight is a great way to sample their wide array of brews, where you can taste a mix of flagship brews and seasonal offerings. City Limits is a staple fall/winter pale ale with a pleasantly hoppy flavor, but the Populous is an exciting smoked porter brewed with locally roasted coffee from Asbury Park Roastery. To continue their local community support, Dark City also features locally made art on their walls, with tours and pours Thursday through Sunday. 801 Second Avenue, Asbury Park (732)455-3792 http://www.darkcitybrewing.com
“Live Loud” is the motto for this musician-owned brewery by the sea. Opened by Jeff Plate who had bought the rights to the name “Asbury Park Brewery” over a decade ago, he waited patiently for the craft brewery scene to make its way into the Jersey shore. Their goal is to create seasonal and sessionable beers with high quality ingredients in traditional brew styles. The XPA, Extra Pale Ale is brewed west coast style with a balanced amount of hop flavor. Don’t blink when driving to find this spot! It’s tucked away in an unassuming building off Main Street! 810 Sewall Avenue, Asbury Park (732)455-5571 http://www.asburyparkbrewery.com
Originally founded in a small garage 9 years ago, Beach Haus Brewery combines the founders’ love of brewing beer with growing up along the Jersey Shore. Brian and Merk create multiple styles that can cater to anyone’s beer preferences. Don’t feel pressured to sample all the brews in one day, as Beach Haus is one of the few breweries open every day with more modified hours for the winter season. The vibe is beachy and playful, just like their flagship beer, Classic American Pilsner, available year round and incredibly crisp and refreshing. It’s a BYOF (bring your own food, that is!) and plenty spacious to hang with friends sampling over ten different Beach Haus brews. 801 Main Street, Belmar (732)202-7782 http://www.beachhausbeer.com/
All you need is decades of brewing experience, a few medals from the Great American Beer Festival, and a little dog mascot for inspiration to start your own brewery. Gretchen Schmidhausler made her dream come true with a little help from a Kickstarter campaign to create Little Dog Brewing Company in Neptune. Focusing on German-style ales and a few seasonal offerings all in small batch quantities, Little Dog is open Friday-Sunday for tours and tastings. Gesundheit!, is a favorite of ours, a classic amber style that’s nor too light nor too heavy. You can sample or bring a bottle home too. Feel good about supporting this “Little Dog” amongst larger breweries in the area! 141 Steiner Avenue, Neptune City (732)361-3555 http://www.littledogbrewing.com
Lakewood’s first microbrewery opened….a few days ago! Jason Goldstein named his beer venture Icarus Brewing because of his continuous ambition and constant striving for something greater, like the Greek mythological figure. Passionate about handcrafting each recipe, whether it’s a hoppy IPA or a Rye Saison, the most important thing to Jason is having a sense of balance with each beer. Flavor, taste, and alcohol should all be in unity, and we truly look forward to visiting this new newcomer to the Jersey shore brewery scene. Let us know when you get a chance to visit! 1790 Swarthmore Avenue, Lakewood http://www.icarusbrewing.com
We know we’re in for a treat when a local restaurant has an in-house Brewmaster crafting six seasonally rotating brews on draft! Artisan’s Restaurant and Brewery is a brewpub in Toms River open daily for lunch and dinner, but also brews in house and features their own beer club memberships. A few classics like the Artisan’s Irish Red Ale and Jersey Shore IPA are commonly on tap, but taste their limited offerings like the 15th Anniversary Kolsch that is sessionable and is a refreshing golden ale. Not in the mood to commit to a full pint? Fortunately like other traditional breweries you can order a sampler flight and bring home a growler too. Bottoms up! 1171 Hooper Avenue, Toms River (732)244-7566 http://www.artisanstomsriver.com
A renaissance beer story, an ode to a historic medieval castle, and a bond between father and daughter brought the Rinn Duin Brewing Company to where it stands with locals today. Homebrewing on most weekends, Chip and Jacqui both lost their jobs within weeks of one another, so they partnered up and began their 6,500 square foot brewery together. Sandpiper, one of their flagship beers, can convert anyone on the fence about brown ales, and the Pota Caifé is a great local go-to when one craves an Irish dry stout with a hint of coffee too. 1540 Rt-37 W, Unit B-5, Toms River (732)569-3261 http://www.rinnduinbrewing.com/index.html
A nano-brewery that creates beers “As Pure As The Pines,” the Pinelands Brewing Company prides themselves in using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. One of the most important ingredients in beer is water, which Jason Chapman sources from an aquifer that’s part of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. They are only closed only on Wednesday’s, so you can make the trek to Little Egg Harbor any other day of the week for a delicious Pinelands brew. 140 South 7th Avenue, Little Egg Harbor (609)296-6169 https://www.pinelandsbrewing.com
Quality, community, and education are the top goals of Backward Flag Brewing Co. A veteran-owned brewery in Forked River, the three owners are passionate about sharing their beers with both the beer novice and master taster alike! Flights, pints, growler fills, and tours are available Friday through Sunday, and there are annual membership packages! Partial to the Forked River Mountain Stout with notes of vanilla and cocoa, the owners often mention they appreciate the feedback on their recipes that they continue to brew and adapt with each batch. 699 Challenger Way, Forked River (609)994-0422 http://www.backwardflagbrewing.com/
Flying under the radar since the summer of 1995, Ship Bottom Brewery is a small batch brewing facility on Long Beach Island that’s been in high demand for years! Rob Zarko had been creating beers in the garage of his Pennsylvania home, 40 barrels a year and 13 different styles and counting. With its vibrant colored labeling all inspired by life on the island, we crave the Barnacle Bottom Stout this time of year, full flavored and chocolaty. Now open Thursday-Sunday for tours and tastings in Bay Village, tickets are available on their site too! 830 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven (609)225-9348 http://shipbottombrewery.com
After four years of building out their own brewhouse in Galloway, Garden State Beer Company is a large, beautiful space with six rotating beers and plenty of board games too! Between three owners, a scientist, computer engineer, and retired military officer, their passion for homebrewing is apparent in their featured brews on tap. They focus on well-balanced beers with hopes of convincing the reluctant beer drinker that there’s a style for everyone: Cream of the Crop cream ale drinks crisp and clean, and Nucky’s Empirial IPA is definitely for the strong beer lover with a nectar-rich malt backbone. In addition to private rooms for events, they have Paint and Pint nights all through the month! 247 E. White Horse Pike, Galloway (609)232-2337 http://www.gardenstatebeerco.com/
Named for the barrier island in southern New Jersey, off the beaten path is Ludlam Island Brewery: a combination of beer lovers, passion, and big dreams. Open daily for tastings, the friendly atmosphere makes it easy to stop here a few times a week and chat with the owners about their delicious brews. Harry’s Coffee Pale Ale is a local favorite that utilizes Harry and Beans Organic Coffee Roasters next door with a blend of Honduran coffee and rye-based pale ale. A great spot to stop on the way to and from the beach, and picking up a growler or two is an awesome way to support this local brewery! 9 Stoney Court, Unit 3, Ocean View (609)263-6969 http://ludlamisland.com/
Celebrating their one-year anniversary in a week, Slack Tide Brewing Company was founded by two brothers who had grown up in the Cape May County area. Winning a Critic’s Choice Award by Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine last fall, Jason and Tadhg have a simple approach to their brews: invest in the freshest ingredients and promote local components whenever possible. Flagship staples include their 5 Fathom Pale Ale, Bell Buoy Blonde Ale, and the Angry Osprey IPA, which are all loved year round by locals. We’re excited to see how this brewery continues to grow and develop more unique offerings in the southern Jersey Shore region! 1072 Route 83, Unit 3, Clermont (609)478-2343 http://www.slacktidebrewingco.com
We hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of all that is happening with Jersey Shore breweries and how these locally owned businesses are changing the beer lover’s landscape for Jersey Shore locals and visitors alike!