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Top 16 Places to Drink Beer in New Jersey

Top 16 Places to Drink Beer in New Jersey

There once was a bumper sticker that read, “New Jersey and you – perfect together!” That line still holds true today. New Jersey is a state with a smorgasbord of points of interest for people of all ages. New Jersey’s famed highlights include the boardwalks of Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights, Lucy The Elephant in Margate, the casinos of Atlantic City, Salt Water Taffy, the legend of the Jersey Devil, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, and Sandy Hook, home to Gunnison Beach – the largest clothing-optional beach in the northeastern United States. Let it be known that in the Garden State, craft beer has rapidly grown in popularity. Like the foam rising, New Jersey’s craft breweries have become prime destinations. Fact: New Jersey is a highly sophisticated state, with a Garden-ful of choices to appreciate.

Courtyard at The Alementary Brewing Co.

The Alementary Brewing Co.
In 2014, married couple Blake Crawford and Michael Roosevelt decided they were driving too far to get good beer. Blake is a chemical engineer with an obsession with fermentation. Michael is a molecular biologist who tolerates Blake’s obsession with fermentation. Two years later, they opened The Alementary in Hackensack, New Jersey, with the goal of achieving the highest levels of brewing and service excellence. Notable beers include Hackensack Lager, an award-winning ode to their hometown; A-Game, a citrus-forward NE IPA; and Mr. Stevens, the original Session Porter. Since then, The Alementary has created multiple award-winning beers, expanded distribution across New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and has become north Jersey’s most diverse and vibrant destination brewery.

Entrance to Beach Haus Brewery

Beach Haus Brewery
The Beach Haus Brewery is a 22,000-sq. foot production brewery that also has a taproom that can accommodate up to 300 visitors at once (something seen during peak summer seasons) located in the heart of the Jersey Shore in Belmar, New Jersey. Their taproom features an open-air deck in which brewery-goers can enjoy their beers while taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Belmar. Beach Haus regularly features 16+ beers on tap that span many different styles, from very approachable light lagers and crisp pilsners, an assortment of IPAs including New England-style, milkshake IPAs and English standard, stouts, porters, sour ales, a radler and more. Most Friday nights, Beach Haus features special ‘in-Haus’ brewery releases under its Test Dept.™ label. These beers may be one-off specialties, variants of existing beers/styles, or just fun ideas the brewers want to share with its fans.

Fermentation tanks at Bolero Snort Brewery

Bolero Snort Brewery
After brewing their recipes at over a dozen other breweries in the area over nearly seven years, Bolero Snort built and opened their own production facility in Carlstadt, New Jersey, right in the heart of the Meadowlands. This new facility certainly isn't a run-of-the-mill neighborhood brewery. Standing tall at nearly 16,000 square feet, Bolero Snort is more of a mega-facility. Complete with a 30-barrel American-made brewhouse, an in-house counter pressure American-made canning line, Bolero Snort is one of the most technologically advanced breweries in the region. They pulled out all of the stops, operating their own in-house QA/QC laboratory. Furthermore, they have a sprawling production space and a two-story tasting room for the public to see what they're all about. Bolero Snort uses its array of brewing toys to produce some of the most unique beers on the market. Known mostly for their OVB Orange Cream Pop IPA, Bolero is now able to spread its wings (or, um... horns?) and now has a full spectrum of beers includes amber lagers, pilsners, IPAs, fruited kettle sours, stouts, and so much more.

Jar glassware for Bradley Brew Project

Bradley Brew Project
Bradley Brew Project is located in the quaint Jersey Shore town of Bradley Beach. The brewery is just six blocks away from the ocean. If the wind hits right, one can smell the beer! Shore-goers who travel to Bradley Beach by train often ride their bikes to the brewery and hitch up to the bike racks in front. Bradley Brew Project features a thirty-person beer garden in the back for outside seating. Bradley Brew Project’s goal is to foster consistency through its flagship beers while providing new customer experiences by changing its available products regularly. Each time visitors walk through the door, they have a choice of enjoying a favorite Bradley Brew Project brew or try a new beer further expanding their beer experience and knowledge. Bradley Brew Project’s open and free-flowing tasting room allows visitors to interact with members of the local community and enjoy their time on Bradley Beach.

Exterior view of Brix City Brewing

Brix City Brewing
Brix City, in Little Ferry, New Jersey, was founded in 2010. Co-founder Pete Reuther had served in the Army for four years, two of which were spent in Germany where he began to appreciate the many different styles of beer. Upon his honorable discharge, he was unsure of what he was going to do with his life. At the same time, fellow co-founder Joe Delcalzo was attending college as an accounting major while working part-time. Pete and Joe have been friends since high school. Shortly later, they purchased their first homebrewing kit. Brix City Brewing is built on friendship and a passion for full-flavored beers. While being known for New England style IPAs, they produce a wide variety of beers; from sours, to pilsners to stouts and everything in between.

Antique firetruck in front of Bucket Brigade Brewery

Bucket Brigade Brewery
Bucket Brigade Brewery, in Cape May Court House, New Jersey, was founded in 2016 by two brothers: Kurt and Karl Hughes, firemen with a passion for craft beer. Prior to 2016, they were homebrewers who wanted to take their experience to the next level. The brothers are identical twins who have been volunteer and career firemen with a combined 50 years of public service. Bucket Brigade’s taproom pays tribute to the past businesses of Cape May County. The brothers obtained pieces from those businesses and incorporated them into the taproom to create an environment that is not only warm and inviting but shares a piece of the city’s past. Bucket Brigade Brewery has been founded on the very same principles as those who wear the shield with the utmost pride and attention. Whether craft beer enthusiasts, service personnel, history buffs, or just enjoying getting together with friends, the Bucket Brigade Brewery’s doors are open to all folks from all walks of life.

Taproom at Carton Brewing

Carton Brewing
At Carton Brewing, tucked away in the shore community of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, guests are invited to play with the notion of unifying cuisine and beer. Also, visitors explore how flavors from both sides complement and interact with one another. Many of the beers available on any given day in the Carton tasting room are of culinary inspiration. Using modern techniques of both cuisine and brewing to explore an array of food flavors, the team at Carton works to find a commonality in various flavors inherent to beer with foods such as a five-spice roast duck or even a pastrami-on-rye sandwich. Carton makes it all possible by utilizing the finest water on the planet from the Atlantic Highlands aquifer as the base for each recipe. After soaking up rays and waves at Sandy Hook, beach-goers known to visit Carton Brewing for a stimulating palate experience like no other.

Taproom at Cape May Brewing Co.

Cape May Brewing Co.
Cape May Brewing Company was established in 2011 with three guys making one beer in a 1,500-sq. foot space. Presently, they’ve got over 32,000 square feet of space at the Cape May Airport. Further, they have a vast array of flagship, seasonal, and small-batch brews under their umbrella, distributed throughout all of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Their original space is now dedicated to experimental brewing with a separate, industrial brewing facility across the street, boasting an interactive, self-guided tour, designed by a local artist in a style reminiscent of the Wildwood boardwalk of old, with guided tours on a regular schedule. CMBC’s tasting room has 23 taps. There, visitors get a flight of four beers with a souvenir glass, and take them out into the Beer Garden to enjoy. They can walk through the gift shop and The Brewtique for great deals on comfy swag, as well as beer-to-go in six-packs, cases, growlers, or kegs.

Bar taps at Czig Meister Brewing Co.

Czig Meister Brewing Co.
Czig Meister is located in Hackettstown, which is 40 miles from bustling New York City. The Czigler family’s passion for beer and the brewing process started when Matthew Czigler began to homebrew as a hobby. Family and friends would always look forward to Matt, who is now the brewery's brewmaster, bringing a variety of delicious beers to every get-together. After all the positive feedback, Matt decided on a career change into brewing, which the whole family supported. The commitment to excellence in brewing is forged by the family motto of “Master Your Craft.” The year-round and seasonal beers are brewed to traditional old-world classic standards. The theme of Czig Meister Brewing is old world crafts. Their year-round beers are named after these old-world crafts. Their flagship beer is The Shipright, an IPA with tremendous hop aroma and flavor -- with just enough of a malt backbone to keep this beer easy drinking. The hops do all the work.

Glass of beer at Departed Soles Brewing Co.

Departed Soles Brewing Co.
Departed Soles became the first modern microbrewery in Jersey City to do 100 percent of its own production since Prohibition when it opened its doors in June of 2015. While Departed Soles crafts a whole host of gluten-containing specialties, it is proudly the only brewery in the state that brews options with 100% gluten-free ingredients with dedicated gluten-free equipment. The tasting room is accessible via mass transit, just a few short blocks from the Grove Street PATH station and welcomes guests to bring in their canine friends on quieter days!

Poured glass of beer at Fort Nonsense Brewing Co.

Fort Nonsense Brewing Co.
Drinking Fort Nonsense beer is like drinking with family. Named for a Revolutionary War landmark in Morris County, the Denville-based 5-bbl nanobrewery, which is owned and operated by three brothers, strives to provide a relaxed, community center vibe where all are welcome to sit, drink and communicate. Visitors can bring food in, play board games, read a book, attend trivia night or a yoga class – there's something for every type of craft beer drinker to do in their tasting room... in addition to actually drinking beer, of course! Fort Nonsense aims to be an educational environment where people can learn more about craft beer and the brewing process through tours and samples. Visitors are encouraged to stop by and try flagship beers like their Benedict Amber Traitor Ale or In Full Effect Hazy IPA or a seasonal Belgian or sour.

Beer sampler at Ghost Hawk Brewing Co.

Ghost Hawk Brewing Co.
Ghost Hawk in Clifton, New Jersey is a relatively new hotspot located just ten miles from Manhattan. As Passaic County’s first craft brewery, Ghost Hawk maintains strong connections with the local community, organizing charity events and generously donating to causes that support public well-being. From the thoughtfully hand-crafted ales and lagers created by 30-year veteran brewer, Chris Sheehan, to the energetic and eclectic atmosphere of the taproom, Ghost Hawk Brewing Company offers an unforgettable experience for its patrons. Situated across the road from the legendary Rutt’s Hut, and next door to Silk City Distillers, visitors couldn’t ask for a better night out.

Pint tray at Jersey Girl Brewing Co.

Jersey Girl Brewing Co.
Jersey Girl Brewing Co. was established in 2014 by friends Charles Aaron and Mike Bigger who both have a great love for craft beer. Their love of beer opened their eyes to the rich beer culture in New Jersey. Changes in New Jersey law made the idea of starting a microbrewery in New Jersey attractive. Their inspiration comes from the true essence of a Jersey Girl. Jersey Girl beer is complex, deep, layered, bitter, sweet, subtle and sophisticated. They chose to build the brewery in their hometown of Mount Olive, New Jersey to brew the beers that they love and want to drink. It became a place where they could invite their friends to sample and drink along with them.

Glass of beer on bench at Last Wave Brewing Co.

Last Wave Brewing Co.
Last Wave calls the iconic shore community of Point Pleasant Beach home. A Main Street brewery at its core, shore-goers find their beers on tap and in stores across most of New Jersey. The brewery’s laid-back taproom vibe features couches, picnic tables, and high tops allowing visitors to post up before the place really starts to buzz in the evening. Locals and visitors mingle along with their four-legged friends while trying some of the 19 beers on tap. Known for crushable IPAs, inviting dark beers and fruited kettle sours, the team at Last Wave takes pride in offering a diverse range of brews year-round for casual beer drinkers and experienced aficionados alike. The A-Frame IPA and Right Coast Coconut Porter are among their most popular flagship beers.

Beer selection in cans for Slack Tide Brewing Co.

Slack Tide Brewing Co.
First and foremost, at Slack Tide – it’s all about the beer. Located in Cape May Court House, their philosophy is having a diverse portfolio of flagship and seasonal beers, each that is true to style and well-constructed. Slack Tide Brewing spends much time and attention making sure that each batch of beer not only tastes great but looks and tastes the same each time consumed. As a result, they have seen the demand for their beer increase each year since opening in 2015. They have grown from a 27-gallon brewing system and a 6-barrel cellar to a 10-barrel system and a 120-barrel cellar. Slack Tide has also won multiple regional and national awards for their beer (in fact, at least one each year since they have opened) including a 2018 GABF Bronze for their Avalon Amber Ale. Secondly, Slack Tide has become a destination brewery for craft beer drinkers and an important local community hub where there is a beer for every taste, a knowledgeable, friendly staff and a comfortable atmosphere where friends can sit back, relax and enjoy their visit.

Patron at bar at Wet Ticket Brewing

Wet Ticket Brewing
“Wet Ticket,” refers to the individuals who ran for office during the 1930s with the intent to repeal prohibition. Established in 2013, Wet Ticket’s Mission is not only to create great beers, but to make the brewery itself a destination for all those seeking to celebrate, learn about, and become a part of the craft beer movement. Owned by Tim Pewitt and Al Povalski, Wet Ticket Brewing calls Rahway, New Jersey home. Tim is the brewmaster and he brews all of Wet Ticket’s delicious beers on-site. Wet Ticket features a beautiful tasting room where visitors can enjoy their beer on a daily basis. According to Wet Ticket, the best part of brewing is “taking a different fork in the road.”

In the tourism industry, New Jersey has blossomed significantly. With regards to enjoying craft beer, New Jersey undoubtedly boasts an impressive reputation. From north to south, New Jersey’s craft breweries demonstrate unique beer recipes and brewing techniques. Such recipes and techniques lend themselves to the local flavors, which visitors have an appreciation for. Whether taking in the flavors of the New Jersey Shore and the state’s notable regions, there is never a craft beer flavor that does not complement them. Beach- and boardwalk-goers, fishermen, casino players and thrill seekers alike look for that satisfying refreshment of local craft beer to “cap” off their experience. New Jersey is rightfully nicknamed the Garden State, though perhaps it should be known as the “Biergarten State.” Genuinely, New Jersey is the home of where fresh ingredients grow, just as gently as the beer pours.


Neans's picture
There are many NJ breweries that are vastly superior to some of those listed here. Where is Kane, Icarus and Conclave? This list seems random.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi Neans, This list is the opinion of the author that wrote it. In terms of breweries listed, there were many worthy candidates we could have included, but there is the matter of space and readability, so we limited it to the ones within. Thanks for reading!
Nevin Werron's picture
Double Nickel, Eclipse, Tonewood and Eight & Sand are also excellent breweries. They are in South Jersey.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Thanks for the suggestions, Nevin Werron!
belovela10's picture
No Magnify?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi belovela10, This list is the opinion of the author that wrote it. In terms of breweries listed, there were many worthy candidates we could have included, but there is the matter of space and readability, so we limited it to the ones within. Thanks for reading!
Krill_Sucks's picture
There are over 100 breweries in NJ now. Looks like the author went down the parkway and only stopped at three in south jerz. Some solid picks on the list but missing a few top notch ones. Cape May and Beach Haus don’t even rank as decent beer of what’s available in NJ. CAPE MAY BREWING is a tourist trap! Go to slack tide, Ludlum Island, MudHen and Gusto if you’re in the cape May area.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi Krill_Sucks, Cape May has a bevy of high-scoring beers in our Official Review, so our judges don't quite agree with you. Certainly, we could've added more breweries, but there had to be a limit somewhere. Either way, thanks for reading! Cheers,

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