There are a plethora of great local bars for fans of craft beer in South Jersey. Ironically, if you want to check out some of the best, you don’t have to travel far…heck, you can hit all in one day! Why? Three of them line the same street: Haddon Avenue in Westmont, NJ. Another is only a few blocks away.
“There’s a reason I live a few just off Haddon Avenue,” says Matt Geiser, sales representative for Long Trial Brewing Company. “I never have to find a designated driver when I want to go out for some great beer.”
Haddon Avenue is home to the Pour House, the Irish Mile and the Keg & Kitchen. Each of these bars provides a different atmosphere; each provides similar strong tap lists.
The Pour House, as I wrote earlier in the semester is among my favorites. The trick is getting there early; the place is no secret. Not only is the craft list extensive but so too is the food. Their menu’s are online here.
As an American of Irish decent (I’m a Fitz, not a Mick!) it’s embarrassing to admit I only discovered the Irish Mile in recent weeks. My cousin Dan and I stopped in for a visit and were pleasantly surprised. They have a happy hour special with Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden for just 3 bucks! That blows away the bar I was at the night before, where I paid 2.50 for a Bud Light.
There was a curious lack of potatoes on their menu however…puzzling for an “Irish” bar.
I have not visited the Keg & Kitchen; that will change shortly. The tap list is mind-boggling. Mind bottling? Not too many places around here with Ithaca Flower Power on tap.
I suppose it’s not too significant but another bonus I notice: their menu tells you where each beer is from…answering one of the most popular questions asked by people trying craft beer. If I had a nickel…
The Tap Room is another must-visit for local craft beer fans. Where do I begin? Last week I enjoyed 3 Troegs Mad Elfs from the tap for…wait for it… just 5 bucks a piece! Yea. 5 bucks. Mad Elf is pretty hard to find, and almost impossible to get for such a low price.
They too have a strong tap list and pretty good food. But, for me, what really sets the Tap Room apart is the atmosphere. In the summer, there is a large open patio with two outdoor bars, plenty of tv’s and usually, a young, calm crowd.
In the winter, the scene moves inside where you can enjoy some good local bands next to the fire. As a bit of a pyro, the fireplace there makes the Tap Room a winner in my book…especially if you’re looking for some date night ambiance…dinner by the fire? A no-brainer.
Last, but not least, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant makes the cut for top tier watering holes in the area. It’s a bit further away from the others but Iron Hill is certainly worth the drive.
“If we’re talking top craft bars in the area Iron Hill has to be on the list,” says home brewer Stewart Ricker. “In fact, it’s been too long since I’ve been there.”
Located in Maple Shade, Iron Hill serves their own, freshly made house beers: A pale lager, an amber lager, a Belgian, a porter and a wheat beer. Yet they have an excellent bottle list too, including some beers they brewed in conjunction with other popular brewing companies. Dark Humor, for example, is a sour chocolate porter they made with Ithaca Brewing Company.
As Jay Rose explained earlier this semester, the craft scene here in South Jersey is booming because of our location. These 5 local bars exhibit the benefits of living so close to Philadelphia and New York—brewing companies know there a market for their product here in our backyard. Let’s get out and start taking advantage of our good fortune.