August's New Jersey and PA Brewery Tours
It seems like every other day a new brewery is popping up in New Jersey or Pennsylvania thanks to people's recent obsession with craft beers. It's amazing to hear of so many different people pursuing their passion in this field and getting to have a taste of it too! I decided one Saturday that it was time to venture out and explore all the new breweries that were popping up in our backyard and got down to business creating a "brewery crawl" at some small and new craft beer spots in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Our first stop happened to be only 20 miles south of our apartment and just three months old. Third State Brewing is located in Burlington, NJ in their historic downtown section. As Nick and I drove around looking for a parking spot, we were excited to see some revitalization going on in the area. Burlington City has a not-so-great reputation but it does not lack when it comes to charm and history. It's also ideally located on the Delaware River with the Burlington Bristol bridge connecting it to PA and the New Jersey transit River Line connecting it to points north and south in New Jersey.
Though I know beer is not for everyone, I think a brewery is just what the city of Burlington needs, especially a high quality one like Third State. We happened to stroll in shortly after opening and were the only ones in there. We met one of the owners, Jay, and two other employees who were so kind and excited to have us there.
Because it's a new to us spot, we went with the sampler to start. All I have to say is TRY THEM ALL. Every single beer was flavorful and smooth, especially Jay's Porter which I happily tipped back even though I have hated every other porter I've ever tried. I can't believe our good fortune to have a brewery like this just 25 minutes from our front door. Stop one was a huge success and then we were off to stop two, just over the bridge in PA.
Our second stop was over the bridge in Croydon, PA which, for any Philly people who might be reading this, is only about 30 minutes from Center City. And it's well worth the trip to Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company.
Okay, I'm going to be a weird person right now and talk about brand but seriously, Neshaminy Creek is on point with their brand. The brewery itself is located in a warehouse on a small dead end street in the little lower Bucks County town. But when you go inside its Neshaminy Creek's world dominated by kitschy cartoons and fun. The space is half brewery and bottling line and half chill tasting room. The tasting room part has pool tables, old school arcade games, and air hockey with long tables and benches to hang at. The room is dominated by a huge cartoon mural with a space to project Philly sports games.
Of course the beers themselves are not too shabby and my favorite had to be their seasonal saison, Logic and Reason. Neshaminy Creek is the kind of place you grab a group and go to hang out and catch up for an hour or a few. Oh and did I mention they even have a food truck pull up on Saturdays? Neshaminy Creek could have been our only stop for the day and I would have been satisfied but there were two more breweries to check out.
Do you want to feel like you've got the inside scoop on an amazing secret? Then you have to get acquainted with Broken Goblet Brewing in Bristol. Just a few minutes drive from Neshaminy Creek Brewing, this tiny brewery is tucked back in an unassuming office park.
Broken Goblet may not have the wow factor of Neshaminy Creek or the charm of Third State but the brews don't lie; this is a great place. I am officially in love with their pineapple wheat but Nick and I argued about who got to finish each and every little sampler we shared. You can tell with every sip that this is a small operation run by people who love their beer. Also they have a stage for bands and open mic so it's worth heading over at night to see what's up. Who knew that just over the bridge from NJ, tucked away in Bucks County are two awesome breweries?!
For our final stop of the day Nick and I went a little crazy. We have heard of and sampled some of Free Will Brewing Company's beers in our area for a few years now. Since we were already exploring the craft brew scene, we decided why not head up to Perkasie?!
Without exploring the area more, I have to say that Perkasie doesn't have much beyond neighborhoods and small businesses so it's not naturally a destination but perfect for a brewery. Free Will has its own fairly large space on a main drag and it was still bustling when we reached it late in the day. It certainly helped that the Eat-A-Pita truck was parked right out front! I loved that Free Will has picnic tables outside so we could enjoy the nice weather.
Free Will has a good balance of traditional beers like their solid Community Kolsch along side some experimental ones. My only complaint would be the way they run the taproom since we had to stand in this serving line and there was only one guy running all the taps. Maybe it would have been different had we been earlier but we were there when we were there and it was a tad bit annoying. That being said, our sample glasses were BIG for samples so I guess standing in a "serving pen" was worth it.
Some people say that the craft brewery market is becoming oversaturated. I say it probably is but I don't mind. It's fascinating and exciting to see how different people interpret the same medium and it's extra tasty to travel in a small area and find really good drinks. It gives a whole new meaning to shop local. So if you happen to be in Burlington County or Bucks County, you must make a day out of visiting the craft breweries!