Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

A few weekends ago, Nick and I decided to kick aside cabin fever and venture out. While we would normally go stroll around the streets of Philadelphia, the piles of snow make it hard to get to our favorite spots and make finding parking a drag. So that meant we needed to head in a totally different direction: down the Shore. We'd been hearing rumors of breweries opening up along the Shore and discovered two: Dark City Brewing Company in Asbury Park and Little Dog Brewing Company in Neptune. These two breweries are both pretty small but have fun tasting rooms and some really decadent beers on tap.

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Dark City Brewing Company, 801 Second Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ

Hours: Thursday and Friday, 5-9pm // Saturday and Sunday 12-6pm

Dark City Brewing is the first craft brewery down in Asbury Park and it's been a long time coming. Asbury is an artsy and creative shore community with new, eclectic restaurants, galleries, and stores popping up every day. Asbury Park was actually a pretty desolate place for most of my childhood but has made a remarkable turn around in the last two decades. Dark City joins this tradition of innovation that's spurning new growth in the town and it's a great new addition. The brewery is several blocks removed from the ocean which will be ideal come summertime. The tasting room itself is a large open room with a wraparound bar and large plate glass windows give you a view of the street. Nick and I shared a flight since we wanted to have a quick sample of what Dark City has to offer.

What I like about this brewery is that they have several solid beer styles then they'll do variations, like a mango version or gluten-free. My favorite was their City Limits beer, an American pale ale, a style that I don't usually like because it can be watered down to appeal to the "traditional" beer drinking crowd (a.k.a. Miller Lite fans). However, Dark City did a good job of having a clean pale ale with a slightly fruity bite. We didn't stay long but our next visit is getting planned as we speak!

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Brews Down the Shore: Dark City Brewing and Little Dog Brewing

Little Dog Brewing Company, 141 Steiner Avenue, Neptune City

Hours: vary seasonally, check the website for tours and hours

I had no idea that there was a brewery just about a mile from where I like to sit with my toes in the sand in the summer time. Little Dog Brewing is located in Neptune City, several blocks from the ocean in Bradley Beach. It's on a tiny street two blocks over from route 71 and just a short walk from the Bradley Beach train station in a mostly residential area. Little Dog is super small; I did not have to take a tour to see the entire facility through a pair of open double doors. It is a small and mighty brewery with beers that stick to German style guidelines. The small space got pretty crowded pretty quickly but that's a good thing when you're talking local breweries.

I'm not a huge fan of traditional German style beers but Little Dog had some beers that will definitely have me back again. I liked their Altbier which was straight forward and not a fussy craft beer. While most beers in the area are trying crazy new things like throwing local coffee into the mix or dipping in fruit slices, Little Dog is refreshing in its commitment to good, classic beer styles.

If you're headed down the Shore now or in the summer, stop by Dark City and Little Dog to grab a pint!