We hear you, New Jersey — Pennsylvania isn’t the only state with a bunch of craft breweries worth a day trip. The Garden State is packed with top-shelf suds, too.
New Jersey is home to about 127 craft breweries that collectively produced more than 171,000 barrels of beer in 2019, according to the Brewers Association. And they can be found all over the state, whether you’re heading up to North Jersey, or going down the Shore. Just remember to practice social distancing and wear your mask — we are in a pandemic, after all.
So, with that in mind, we put together a list of a dozen great craft breweries to visit in Jersey, whether they’re offering outdoor seating, delivery for residents, or beers to go. Pennsylvanians, however, should note that bringing alcohol back into the commonwealth across state lines is generally frowned upon — so maybe only get some takeout if you’re staying in the state.
Plus, a note to those who may be unfamiliar: New Jersey breweries cannot sell food in their establishments. But many allow or encourage you to bring food from outside restaurants, or even have it delivered — so long as you clean up after yourself.
We’ve found a dozen worth a visit; and we’ve put them in order from closest to furthest from Philly.
Pro-tip: If you want to hit a few breweries, there is no shortage of ones nearby to Devil’s Creek — including Tonewood Brewing, Lunacy Brewing, Red White and Brew Beer Co., and King’s Road Brewing Co., all within about a 10-minute drive.
Pro-tip: Adventure Aquarium is on the way to the brewery from Philly.
This Mount Holly brewery has seating in two outdoor areas, where you can sip on one (or more) of at least 16 beers on tap, reservations not required (open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday). For curbside pickup, you can order cans, bottles, growlers, and kegs ahead online.
Referend Bier Blendery
This 2019 Inquirer Brewvitational winner makes some of the best spontaneously fermented sour beers around. The tasting room is currently closed, but you can still order its excellent beer ahead for curbside pickup (pickup hours are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)
Pro-tip: Looking for Jersey wines, too? Hopewell Valley Vineyards is open for business — including wine, pizza, and live music — just four miles up the road.
Troon only offers to-go beers on can release days for new brews, which you can find on their Instagram page. But their beers are available on draft at the on-site Brick Farm Tavern, which also does takeout and outdoor dining (reservations suggested).
📍130 Hopewell Rocky Hill Rd., Hopewell, ↔️ 44 miles from Center City, 🌐 troonbrewing.com
Situated at the Millville Airport, this brewery has more than a dozen beers on tap, which you can also drink in its outdoor seating area. But if you want your beer to-go, there are also many varieties of four-pack cans available.
Regarded as one of Jersey’s best breweries, Kane is offering beer delivery to Monmouth County daily, and other areas in the state on a rotating basis. To pick up cans on site (no growlers), just head to the brewery for to-go pickup — no need to order ahead (open daily noon to 5 p.m.).
Pinelands Brewing Co.
Water from the Kirkwood-Cohansy Aquifer goes into all the brews at Pineland, 10 of which are currently on tap for drinking in their quaint outdoor seating area (5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday). But if you want to grab your beer and jet, their cans, bottles, growlers, and kegs can be ordered ahead for pickup.
Pro-tip: Not every trip to Jersey needs to revolve around the Shore. Instead, check out Bass River State Forest — about 15 minutes away — for camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
The folks at Carton deliver their killer IPAs, lagers, sours, and stouts to N.J. residents throughout the week (see Instagram for details). But if you want to make the trip to the Atlantic Highlands, takeout is available.
Pro-tip: Get out into nature with a trip to Hartshorne Woods Park, which offers nearly 800 acres of scenic views, hiking and biking trails, and World War II-era military bunkers, all about 10 minutes from the brewery.
Sure, you can find some Cape May Brewing beers in stores around the region, but why not take a trip down the Shore to the source? Grab a few beers at the brewery’s outdoor beer garden, where 20 beers are on tap, or place an order online for pickup or delivery if you’re in Cape May, Atlantic, or Cumberland County.
Pro-tip: A seaside journey is the obvious choice for this Shore brewery, which is just minutes from several popular area beaches (Cape May Beach, for example, is just seven miles away).
Cans and growlers are available for pickup or delivery to Jersey residents from this brewery, which often takes inspiration from its owners’ West African and Caribbean roots. But if you want to drink on-site, there are up to 20 beers on tap available to try in the brewery’s beer garden.
Pro-tip: If you’re looking for a little wildlife along with your beer trip, check out the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo — located just 20 minutes from the brewery.
Brix City has a taproom and an outdoor beer garden for a dozen draft pours and crowlers and cans to go. If you’re a N.J. resident, you can call the brewery to place an order for home delivery (Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Essex, Union, and Morris Counties only).
Pro-tip: Want a day at the races? The nearby Meadowlands Racetrack features live horse racing.
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