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New Jersey & New York City beer

On a recent trip to New Brunswick, in the state of New Jersey, and a day spent in New York City (NYC) I decided to see what the neighbouring areas to Pennsylvania had on offer craft beer wise.

World of Beer

World of Beer
World of Beer

This is a chain of bars that have a diverse selection of both bottles and draft beer available. Four years ago I had visited their location in Savannah (Georgia) and was suitably impressed so finding another one in New Brunswick could not be passed up.

The highlights were an American Amber called ONE by 902 Brewing Co in nearby Hoboken and a Harvest Ale matured in Sherry Casks (2014 – 11.5% ABV) from J.W. Lees in the Manchester area of England. At $8.50 a bottle the latter was a bargain given 2 days later I saw it for $11.99 in a beer store!

Harvest Moon Brewery & Cafe

Harvest Moon beer list
Harvest Moon beer list

Staying in New Brunswick we also visited Harvest Moon Brewery where we had a fantastic Burrito. On the beer side, hop domination seemed to be the general theme from the taster flight (ratings out of 5.0 stars):

  • Moonlight Kolschbier (3.7%) – low ABV for style with too much hop bitterness – 1.5
  • Belgian Wit (3.6%) – clove aroma, coriander competing with hop bitterness in the flavor, low ABV for style and lack of sweetness – 2.0
  • Elmes’ Mild Manor (4.8%) – roasty aroma and spicy flavor though a bit smokey – 2.5
  • Prickly Pear sour (5.6%) – tart & prickly pear cactus fruitiness throughout – 3.5
  • El Dorado Pale Ale (5.1%) – orange aroma & flavor, abv a bit low for the style – 3.0
  • New Zealand triple (9.2%) – tangy grapefruit aroma & flavor from the Nelson Sauvin hops that completely overrides any Belgian characteristics of this style – 1.0
  • OQ Coffee Milk Porter (7.0%) – fresh espresso aroma and sweet coffee flavor with good mouth-feel – 4.0*
  • Vanilla & Spice Imperial Stout (9.6%) – balanced spice aroma and nutmeg dominated flavor – 3.5
  • Monkey Shine Weizen Bock – medicinal hops and burnt caramel with out-of-style hoppiness – 2.5

* denotes our favorites from the above flight of beers.

Paulaner NYC

Paulaner NYC sampler flight
Paulaner NYC sampler flight

After being in New Jersey we went for a day in Manhattan to see what NYC had to offer beer wise. Our first stop was Paulaner NYC, a German Brewery and Restaurant, south-east of Union Square.

It is a long time since I have had good quality German beer on draft in the USA as most of it is either pasteurised or has sat on a ship for weeks coming across the Atlantic and tastes nothing like what you can get in Germany.

This experience I would have to say was fantastic with top quality beers on tap. We had a sampler flight to accompany our bratwurst:

  • Munich Dark (4.9%) – lots of caramel and under carbonated – 2.5
  • Munich Pale Ale (6.1%) – passion fruit and earthy aroma & flavor, only brewed at this location for the local market – 2.5
  • Munich Lager (4.9%) – lemon aroma & lemon/fresh citrus flavor and a slight haze – 4.0*
  • Hefeweizen (5.3%) – some banana & plenty of clove with high carbonation – 4.0*
  • Salvator Double Bock (8.1%) – balanced caramel & maltiness with high carbonation and some alcohol warmth – 3.5

* denotes our favorites from the above flight of beers.

Belgian Beer Cafe

Belgian Beer Cafe flight
Belgian Beer Cafe flight

After passing through Union Square we were heading up 5th Avenue and stumbled across the Belgian Beer Cafe who had a good, yet pricey, range of Belgian beers on tap and in the bottle. We took a sampler flight of the following:

  • Gulden Draak (10.5%) – slight caramel with some alcohol and faint sherry aroma. Toffee, malty & alcohol warming flavor that gave way to medicinal and plum after warming up – 4.0
  • Delirium Tremens (8.5%) – faint banana and clove aroma with some fruitiness. This was similar in the flavor but with some spiciness – 4.0
  • Gnomegang (7.5%) – from Ommegang Brewing in up-state New York but part-owned by Moortgat Brewing in Belgium. Brewed with La Chouffe yeast giving a banana aroma and accompanying hop flavor – 3.5
  • Leffe Bruin/Brune (6.5%) – roasty aroma and sweet dark caramel flavor – 4.0

There was little to choose between these beers quality wise.

Heartland Brewery and Rotisserie

Heartland Brewery sampler flight
Heartland Brewery sampler flight

The Heartland Brewery in both southern Manhattan (Seaport) and Union Square were both closed so our expectations were low as we headed towards their location beneath the Empire State Building.

The Heartland Brewery and Rotisserie location was busy at street level with a huge space downstairs. Food prices seemed expensive but the beer selection was diverse and reasonable at $17.95 for 8 beers in a flight given the location (numbered 1-6 anticlockwise with 7 & 8 right & left respectively in the center):

  1. Indian River Light (3.9%) – this light Pale Ale tasted almost lager-like with a yeasty and light grapefruit aroma & flavor – 2.5
  2. Cornhusker Lager (5.0%) – this American Lager was malty, corn & lager yeast aroma & flavor with a bitter finish – 2.5
  3. Harvest Wheat Beer (5.0%) – this Witbier had subtle banana and clove but mainly spicy in the flavor – 3.5*
  4. Red Rooster Ale (5.75%) – this beer seemed mid-way between an Irish Red Ale and a Scottish Heavy with plenty of caramel & toffee notes – 3.0
  5. Indiana Pale Ale (6.0%) – featuring hops grown in up-state New York it was dominantly grassy – 3.0
  6. Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout (6.0%) – roasty & coffee aroma and flavor with a creamy dark cocoa finish – 3.0
  7. Empire Premium Beer (5.5%) – this Czech Lager was malty with some hop bitterness – 3.0
  8. Smiling Pumpkin Ale (5.5%) – nutmeg aroma & flavor followed by ginger, lightly spiced with a good mouth-feel for the ABV – 3.5*

* denotes our favorites from the above flight of beers.


Perhaps we are a bit spoiled living in Pennsylvania with a plethora of breweries across the state. New York City and New Jersey do not seem so fortunate but if you are in the area then there are places to be found with our highlights being Paulaner NYC and Heartland Brewery.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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