Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainy Day in Jersey

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.

18 comments:

Matt said...

As a recent Rutgers alum, I've spent entirely too much time at Harvest Moon. Great beer, very solid food and excellent staff and management.

I love that copper bar as well, especially on a cold winter night with the bar area largely illuminated by candle light.

brooke said...

Another Rutgers alum here. Glad you made it to Harvest Moon. Now I ask a favor of you Lew : )

I will be in the Fort Washington area tomorrow. Rather than sit in rush hour traffic to get back home to Jersey...any suggestions on where I can enjoy a good beer?

Tom Murin said...

Uno's is only about 10 minutes from J.J. Bittings - you could have had a nice trifecta!

Lew Bryson said...

Brooke,

Sorry I didn't get to you sooner; I went up to NYC yesterday for WhiskyFest (tonight), and I'm just seeing this; hope I can help you out. There's not really anything right in FT. Washington, but there's a lot that's pretty close. Iron Hill N. Wales is five minutes up 309; the Drafting Room (Spring House) is even closer; the General Lafayette Inn and Earth Bread + Brewery are within ten minutes to your south, and GG Brewers is right there in Glenside (haven't been there in over a year, but hell, they're still open, right?).

Tom: Bittings is right there, true, but I done been there already! This was a "voyage of discovery," or a ticking trip.

Steven said...

"The weather? Sucked. Gray and rainy"

Isn't that perfect brew-pub discovery weather? Why do you think they're so abundant in the Pac Northwest? ;-)

Lew Bryson said...

Nah, it's perfect "find a good brewpub and hole up in it all day" weather! Me, I like going brewpub hunting in beautiful weather...or light snow. Oh, hell, yeah, it's all good.

steve no n said...

Ahh, a double-play of 2 of my most-visited locals.
Matt's been doing good things at the Moon for a few years now. Even the lightest offering is done to a Kölsch-style rather than the ubiquitous "blonde". He does a nice job with lagers, too...when they let him take up the tank space for conditioning.

And Uno's is my Sunday-football-ticket-happy-hour-all-through-gametime regular visit for the early game. Discount beers, discount food and the Scotch Ale is on now!

Loren said...

Shame you didn't run into Mike Sella @ UNOs but I assume you've met before? Great guy and a great brewer. Did you not try the 32 Inning Ale? Billed as an ale but it's SO clean and hoppy it's damn near a Czech Pils. And the IPA is a blend of English hops with Simcoes...but yeah...mild, but good. Shame more UNOs didn't brew on site. It'd make up for the craptastic pizza they mostly serve.

brooke said...

Thanks Lew! My husband and I went to Iron Hill in North Wales. I enjoyed the Czech Dark, while he sipped the ESB on nitro. We had a nice evening. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I actually made the trip from NoVA to PA saturday. It was sunny here but as soon as I got north of Baltimore I hit the mists. I went to Sly Fox in Royersford to pick up a reserved sixtel of the magnificent, award winning Rauch. Outside of Bamberg it is the best I have had. (Lyle's and Mark Thompson's Pro Am winner is also VERY good.) I had intended on hitting a few other places but the late start and a mandatory return home time precluded that. It has been awhile since I last visited Harvest Moon but on the occasiona I have been there I have enjoyed it and I think I still have an empty growler or two from there. Down the hill and around the corner there used to be a decent restaurant that had a good beer selection. I can't recall the name right now. But both places made New Brunswick worth stopping while in NJ.

Chuck Triplett

steve no n said...

Hey Chuck,

That restaurant is Old Bay. They have "peaks and valleys" over time AFA beer selection. But there's not much else in NB, though the Court Tavern still usually has a couple of decent taps.

Lew Bryson said...

The Old Bay was, at one time, one of the top beer bars in the East under the late Chris Demetri. Those were their glory days. As Steve sez, it's kind of uneven now, but still worth a stop, and if I'd had time (and it was a nicer day) I probably would have dropped by.

Mitch Mitchell said...

Rainy day, dream away. Let the sun take a holiday.

ryan said...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/13/alcohol.tax.deaths/index.html have you seen this? i wonder what will happen when the plcb sees this... besides the dollar signs that will light up there eyes.

Lew Bryson said...

Kinda off-topic, Ryan, but yeah, the story's been all over the 'Net today. I don't expect this to change anything in Pennsylvania, just like they didn't get any higher tax in Wisconsin. We drink beer here.

Joshua said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with this post at all, but I saw "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" last night and in one scene a friend brings a case of Yards to a party.

It seemed really random such a small brewery would have a placement in the film, but very cool.

Lew Bryson said...

Love Stout, right? I saw a still of that somewhere.

Joshua said...

Yeah, it was. It was pretty subtle, but if one's familiar with Yards, you'd notice right away.

Pretty cool.