For the packaging breweries, I like River Horse and Flying Fish. High Point (Rammstein) and Climax have some great beers, but it seems like I keep getting old bottles/growlers. (Plus some of the good High Point stuff is draft-only, which limits things, as there aren't many craft beer bars in or near Somerville.)
For breweries, Flying Fish is probably the best of a mediocre lot.
For brewpubs, I have yet to see a bar/restaurant that brews better beer than Trap Rock. The food is pricey if you sit down for the full meal, so get the pub food menu and sample every beer they've got.
Just want to make you all aware and ask for your support of a revision to a current NJ law involving brewing. There are two bills pending (Senate Bill 2040 & Assembly Bill 3063) which seek to ammend the current statute pertaining to certain alcoholic beverage manufacturing licenses. If passed the new law would establish farm brewery and winery-brewery beverage licenses and permit farm wineries to produce hard cider.
In short a farm-brewery would have to grow at least one of the ingredients used in making its beer and would allow for sampling and selling of the beer for consumption off premises. Basically the way wineries operate.
The passage of this bill will promote agri-tourism throughout the state and open up new areas of enterprise for local farmers, not to mention new, regionalized, craft brewing movements.
Please e-mail your local legislative representatives and ask that they support this proposed ammendement.
I have not been to any of the breweries in NJ but went to a really cool brewery in Pittsburgh. It is called "Church Brew" It is in an old church. I love it cause I brew and make stained glass. I know it is not in NJ, but close enough for a trip.
Was privileged to be with my wife,son,daughter-in-law, and little Aedan Bennett, my 4 month old granddaughter on Saturday for my birthday. I was treated to dinner at Iron Hill.
Didn't even know it existed, being from northwest Jersey. The beer was outstanding. Can't wait to go back.
If you are ever in Sparta,NJ check out Krogh's in the Lake Mohawk section of town.