Ah, beer. Who doesn’t love cracking open a cold one at the end of a long day? A frosty glass of suds is great for Saturday afternoon get-togethers. The clink of pint glasses can always be heard on Sundays between two friends debating the merits of their favorite football teams. But what’s in those pint glasses is just as important as who you drink your beer with.
Luckily for Garden State beer aficionados, New Jersey has a burgeoning craft beer scene that’s churning out quality suds — and NJ Beer Co. is leading the charge in North Bergen. Brendan O’Neil, Head Brewer of NJ Beer Co., sat down with Joanna Gagis on Life & Living with Joanna Gagis to discuss New Jersey’s beer scene — and to show off his company’s signature brews.
O’Neil’s love of beer started when he was a kid — by making the suds, not drinking them. “I started brewing as a child with my dad in the basement,” he says. “I picked it back up when I got to college.” But those early days gave him a solid foundation for a career in beer, O’Neil says, helping him learn the basics of brewing.
After working in a few different industries, O’Neil says he connected with a friend, Matt Steinberg, who planned to open a brewery, and by May 2010, they got the first beer out the door of New Jersey Beer Co.
But what makes a really good beer? “It takes consistency and it takes great ingredients. And it helps if the water is good, which North Jersey is really good for,” O’Neil says, adding that North Jersey’s water has the right minerals and pH for beer.
And what good beer it is! From easy-drinking Belgian-style brews to American pale ales to the acclaimed Garden State Stout (made with chocolate and raisins!), NJ Beer Company offers a beer for every palate.
For more on NJ Beer Company — including a guide to their signature beers — click below to watch Life & Living with Joanna Gagis.
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Hero (Top) Feature Image: Facebook/NJ Beer Co.