New Jersey is becoming increasingly known as a hub for great breweries. The state that was, not all that long ago, primarily seen as a destination for beach-goers is on the fast track to becoming a hot spot for those who affectionately identify themselves as “hop heads,” craft beer enthusiasts and more. Whereas out-of-state breweries from the likes of Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Delaware once ruled, it’s time to celebrate the best hometown brewmasters.

Enter, Brew Jersey; this Best of NJ original series is dedicated to showcasing the Garden State’s best brews, whether they be breweries or brewmasters. If you’re a New Jersey resident with an eye for signature drinks, or just beginning to take an interest in the art of brewing beer, this is the series for you!

Featured New Jersey Breweries

Demented Brewing Company

When Thomas Zubar lost his job at a software company, he didn’t drown his sorrows with a few pints of beer. Instead, he decided to make the beer himself. The Bayonne native was knee-deep in a computer science career as a software engineer when he discovered home brewing. Out of unfortunate career events, Demented Brewing Company was born, an idea that had been in the back of Zubar’s head for awhile…

Czig Meister Brewing Company

When Matt Czigler told his parents that he was forgoing a potential career in medicine for the beer brewing arts, you can understand that they were surprised. “They paid for my undergraduate education so my dad was like ‘Noooooooooo. I thought you were going to med school, now you’re going to be a glorified janitor?'” If there was a doctorate for beer, Czigler would qualify. He took his education in chemistry and rejiggered it…


Brix City Brewing

High school best friends Joe Delcalzo and Peter Reuther didn’t have dreams of that one-in-a-million, get-rich-quick idea. They just didn’t want to answer to anyone. Little did these Hasbrouck Heights High School graduates know that the path to being their own bosses relied on water, hops, grain and yeast. Today, Brix City Brewing is one of a handful of northeast New Jersey craft breweries reshaping the beer landscape….


Spellbound Brewing

When friends get together over a beer or four, conversation tends to go into wild tangents from fantasy football and politics to kids and big picture ideas. For childhood friends Mike Oliver and John Companick, and their homebrewing buddy Scott Reading, they talked about owning and running a brewery. Two years later, Spellbound Brewing planted themselves in Mt. Holly, when the craft beer boom was taking shape in New Jersey…


Twin Elephant Brewing Company

The craft movement takes many shapes and forms. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, you might just have started an indie rock band or worked on the next great American novel. Today, starting your own business is a much more viable option. The craft beer movement is no different than starting your own artistic Instagram, creating a single-origin coffee roaster or designing your own line of speciality stationary…


Screamin’ Hill Brewery

Here’s a fall Saturday afternoon excursion that will make you rethink NJ and its craft beer scene: First, get off on Rt. 195, Exit 11. Then, follow your GPS through backroads of farmland and horse pastures, past small colonial homes alongside a picturesque lake. Your final destination? A hidden gem of an area. While it’s only a seven-minute drive from the highways, it seems like a world away from the nearby outlet malls…


Magnify Brewing Co.

When most college students graduate, they have short-term ambitions of getting an entry-level job, paying down their student loan debts and jump-starting their careers. For Eric Ruta, all he could think about was starting his own brewing business. “If you’re going to do something for a long time, you might as well love it,” he said. At 24-years-old, the Ridgewood native is the youngest brewery owner in the state…


Departed Soles Brewing Co.

It’s not every day that you hear unsolicited praise for your product. But that happened for Brian Kulbacki, the 30-year old founder, brewmaster and all-around everything guy of the award-winning Departed Soles Brewing Company in Jersey City, when he stopped into Hoboken’s Cork City for a quick beer. There’s one thing that really sets Departed Soles apart: It’s the the only New Jersey craft brewer creating gluten-free beer…


The Story Behind Carton Brewing

At the beginning of this decade, New Jersey’s craft beer scene was almost non-existent, with a handful of breweries scattered throughout the state. The major players came from popular out-of-state names like Delaware’s Dogfish Head, Pennsylvania’s Victory or Brooklyn Brewery. That’s when Augie Carton saw a void. Today, Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands is one of the most respected craft breweries in the state…


Forgotten Boardwalk

Before shopping malls changed the landscape of New Jersey, the state was a beachfront resort destination for the well to-do. Down the road from one of America’s first malls, Cherry Hill Mall (founded in 1961), is Forgotten Boardwalk, one of the state’s most popular craft breweries. The two-year-old brewery uses the iconography of 1910-20s Atlantic City and Asbury Park to inspire their flavorful and hoppy beers…


Kane Brewing

While starting a brewery can take two to three years of planning and executing, for Michael Kane of Kane Brewing, it was a decade in the making. One of the most respected craft brewers in the state, Kane has gained a reputation for its varied styles, a constant rotation of beer and its signature beer, Head High IPA. The five-year-old Ocean Township brewery is poised to become one of the largest in the state…


Cape May Brewing Company

It’s arguably considered the must-visit destination for regional hop heads and craft beer aficionados looking for a unique experience. But it takes some planning to get there: Cape May Brewing Company is approximately a two-and-half-hour drive from Jersey City, an hour and half from Philadelphia and an hour from Atlantic City. But those who make the pilgrimage to the five-year-old brewery will be glad they did…


River Horse Brewing Company

We are living in a gilded age when it comes to craft beer in New Jersey, with 60+ breweries and more than a dozen brewpubs in the state. Go back a decade, and independent brewing wasn’t even on the radar.But it was for businessmen Chris Walsh and Glenn Bernabeo, who took over River Horse Brewing Company in 2007. Back then, they were one of five craft brewers in the state…