We like to drink beer. It is what we do.
We cover tons of South Jersey Beer stuff and we get to try a bunch of beer so we decided to talk about some of our faves from 2018. When I was building this site I made a decision that we would not be rating beer on this site, and we still are not doing that. What this list represents if some of our favorites that we tasted in 2018 and are listed in no particular order. So please, before you troll us, understand that we drank a ton of great South Jersey beer last year but we wanted to recognize a few here that stood out for us. So here is the list and some notes from Vic, Tom, and myself about each one!
Pinelands Brewing Company Evan John Porter
Vic: An oldie but a goodie, this was one of the first beers served at the Little Egg Harbor brewery and it remains consistently delicious . Dark beer with creamy head, the bitterness of the malt is offset by the whole vanilla beans pods they use. Smooth, easy drinking porter!
Icarus Brewing Kalashnikoffee
Vic: A beautiful dark, rich Russian Imperial Stout is a coffee variant of the extremely popular Kalishnikov series. This 14.5% ABV strikes such a nice balance of flavors that it is not boozy at all. Coffee and pecan hit you up front, and it has a delicious creamy mouthfeel. Icarus calls it “Breakfast in a Can” and we aren’t going to argue!
Spellbound Brewing Brut IPA
Vic: My first Brut and it was sublime! The skies opened, angels sang…it was magical! Champagne like in appearance and carbonation, Spellbound dry hops it with Nelson Sauvin which gives it a fruity, grapelike quality. They also use Hallertau hops,popular in many German style beers. Nice dry finish, not much bitterness. Excellent job and unique twist on this relatively new style!
7 Mile Brewery Barrel-Aged Trippel 7
Tom: What happens when you put a Trippel Belgian in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrel for about 120 days? You wind up with one of my favorite beers 2018. That’s exactly what 7 Mile Owner Pete Beyda was hoping for with his Barrel-Aged Trippel 7. Unlike a lot of barrel-aged beers, Trippel 7 does not have a strong boozy aroma or taste, but more caramel and raisin sweetness. Make no mistake, it still packs a punch at 12.5% ABV. Pete affectionately calls it a “finishing beer”, because once you start drinking it you’re finished doing anything for the rest of the day!
Atco Brewing Mr. McOat Pants
Tom: The guys at Atco rolled out this juicy NEDIPA at The Glassboro Beer Festival, and it was love at first sip. This was their first crack at the NEDIPA haze craze, and I told them they could write the recipe in pen. Although it is smooth and delicious it’s a big boy beer coming in at 8.5%. In the hazy NE style craze this beer stood out for me in 2018
Slack Tide Brewing Company Avalon Amber
Tom: Although 2018 wasn’t the first time this beer was brewed it has always been one of my favorites. My opinion was confirmed when it took home the Bronze Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in September. It’s also special to me because it was the batch I helped brew when I did my “A Day With The Brewer” article which actually turned into 2 days I had so much fun. It’s great to know I had a small part in brewing an award winning beer.
Tonewood DDH Fuego
Tom: Tonewood has earned a reputation for making great beers, and this one is no different. They got this one in under the wire by releasing it on December 31st. They took their already great Fuego, and Double Dry Hopped it with an incredible 10lbs per barrel of Galaxy, Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops to make this Hop Head dream brew. These guys are always pushing for the next best thing, so it comes as no surprise this beer made the list.
Tuckahoe Brewing Company Arc of Visibility
John: 2018 was a big year for Tuckahoe and they released a few beers that I really enjoyed, but Arc of Visibility was at the top of my list. First of all, this can features impressive artwork by local artist Mike Bell who has done many of the great pieces of artwork that Tuckahoe is using for their packaging. But we know that the beer is why we are here. This 6.5% ABV IPA brewed with a unique mix of Vic Secret, Hallertau Blanc, And Mosaic Hops and comes in at only 22 IBU’s to make this one of the smoothest drinking IPA’s I tasted this year
Ludlam Island Brewery Thunder Jacket
John: The first thing I think of when I think of Thunder Jacket is a picture of Brewer Joe, then Assistant Brewer Brad, and Owner Billy dressed in Cow suits (See Pic HERE) and sitting on lawn furniture in a promo pic for the beer. Let’s just say it lived up to its hype. This Dessert Beer, an Imperial Milk Stout, made with Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Malt, Roasted Barley, and Lactose then finished with Madagascar Vanilla Beans, is full of big flavor and proved to everyone that you could make a delicious beer float! Perfectly pairs with desserts, but also great to drink all by itself
Eight & Sand Beer Company Bad Hombre
John: This 2017 Great American Beer Festival Silver Medalist in the Chili Beer Category continues to amaze me with its balance and how its flavor profile changes as it warms up. To top that off, Burke threw a bunch in Tequila Barrels this year and, once again, it was terrific. The way Brewer Burke balances the Cinnamon, Peppers, Vanilla, and Coffee keeps me coming back for more
Kelly Green Brewing Company Pecher American Wild Ale
John: Kelly Green has been one of the leaders in Saison development in South Jersey and this ale fermented and aged in oak barrels then fermented again on whole peaches was funky, sour, and delicious. The peach flavor was subtle, not overpowering the beer, adding to the complexity of the ale. Looking forward to the 2019 incarnation
Glasstown Brewing Company The Big Breakfast
John: When I first started visiting local breweries this was immediately one that made me see just how good local craft can be. This Maple Coffee Porter is always a welcome sight when found on tap, and now you can find it in cans. Perfectly balanced, with hints of maple syrup, coffee, and roasted malt, it will always be one of the beers that started me on this craft beer journey.