I had some time to myself on Saturday -- Thomas was at a forensics tournament (3rd place), Nora was visiting Lancaster with friends, and Cathy was visiting her mom -- so I hopped in the car and headed to New Jersey. It's not a secret that I have not visited all the breweries in New Jersey Breweries: Mark and I split the visits. Before Saturday, I had nine to go. I decided Saturday morning that I might as well grab a few on a free day, and set an ambitious schedule of four; between the weather and personal matters, I got to two.
The weather? Sucked. Gray and rainy, not cold, but not warm either. I headed up Rt. 1, cruising through fairly heavy traffic, headed for New Brunswick. I'm embarrassed to admit that Harvest Moon was on my "Still to Visit" list; New Brunswick's so easy to get to. I was there in under an hour. Parking was a little tough; there was a Rutgers game that day. But someone pulled out of a free streetside space right smack-dab in front of me, so I grabbed it, and walked a block and a half to the place.
Harvest Moon's in a nicely worn older building, with a gleaming copper bar ("gleaming" because they were actually finishing up buffing it as I sat down, and it looked great (and didn't reek of polish, a big plus!)) and the brewery arrayed along the entry; the small silo was right over the entrance.
The man behind the bar set me right up with an Elmes' Mild Manor, a 5+% "mild." Too strong, obviously, but quite tasty, and very drinkable. He also poured me a taste of their new Belgian Wheat Wine. There were some solventy higher alcohol smells at first, but they blew off quickly with swirling, and the beer itself was definitely like nothing else I'd ever had: spicy, good body, not over-hopped (dry-hopped with Fuggles, I think he said), and not too sweet. Nice beer.
Onward! I walked back to the car in the rain, and told Minerva to take me to Pizzeria Uno. God, what crap weather, and construction, and jughandles...but I finally got there, the one Pizzeria Uno that's also a brewpub (remembered as I walked in that there had been rumors that the Poughkeepsie Uno had been slated for the conversion...which then fell through). Walked in, sat down, and got recognized by a reader. So we talked beer for a pleasant 45 minutes, while I got a Gust & Gale Porter (quite nice, chocolatey, no flaws, drink-el-ocity), a spinach/gorgonzola flatbread (also QN, with fresh tomatoes, reminded me of the pizza I had in Rome), and an Ike's IPA (quite clean, not overdone, but these days -- category creep, as I commented to the reader -- more a pale ale than an IPA).
The brick look of the place really took away the "chain place beside Rt. 1" image. I liked that part a lot...even though I was told I wasn't allowed to take this picture. Huh? "Policy", I was told. Well, okay, but...it's a public place! Look, if it's really an issue, Uno, just contact me, let me know, and I'll take it down. But I liked the place, and the beer, and the pizza. Don't ruin it by whining about the photo!
Anyway, I got back in the car and drove home (two brewpubs in 107 miles round trip, not bad), stopping to pick up a piece of liver for Penderyn: Saturday was his birthday. He loved it.