Welcome to the NJIB Craft Beer Corner, where we will be celebrating the local craft beer scene in the best up-and-coming state to be drinking craft beer right now.
For the uninitiated, the hallmark of craft beer is innovation – a craft beer brewery must be small; a craft beer brewery must be independent; and a craft beer brewery must brew real beer using real ingredients in a traditional style (meaning a foundation that uses malts, hops, and yeast).
If you haven’t noticed, there are at least forty-one (41!) different existing or up-and-coming craft breweries and brewpubs in the Garden State.
This is all thanks to a NJ Bill to boost microbreweries that was signed into law and passed Sept 2012, which:
• Permitted brewpubs to produce 10,000 barrels a year;
• Allowed brewpubs to distribute their product to liquor stores and restaurants through the wholesale distribution system;
• Increased the current cap on the number of brewpubs a company may open in New Jersey to ten;
• Permitted brewpubs to offer samples of their product on site as well as off site;
• Permitted microbreweries to sell brewed beer at its location for consumption on premises as part of a brewery tour and sell a limited amount for off-site consumption; and
• Allowed microbreweries to offer samples of their product both on and off the premises.
For the local craft beer drinkers out there, this law was a very good thing. By making it easier for small start-up breweries to get a foothold in the state, the law directly stimulated the craft beer scene, and the level of local competition, forcing local breweries to innovate and strive to make bigger and better beers. As proof, I was just at the national Extreme Beer Festival in Boston, MA last weekend – an event where attendees had the opportunity to sample more than 317 different beers – and I could not be more proud of the buzz surrounding home grown beers like Carton Brewing’s Regular Coffee and Kane Brewing’s Sea Change.
Here, at the NJIB Craft Beer Corner, we will be looking to review the many local beer options, keep you informed on the great up and coming craft beer releases, and point you in the right direction so you never have to miss any of the great beer events that are occurring literally every week.
It’s a great time to be a beer drinker, and New Jersey is a great place to be doing it. I recommend that you get out there and grab yourself a pour.