July 14, 2014

Man in search of beer in America: Part Three -- New Jersey

After Washington, DC, Trudy and I parted company; she flying to her brother Danny in Cleveland and I taking a bus north to Atlantic City, New Jersey.  I was going to meet my friend Delia who has a home on Long Beach Island in central New Jersey with her husband Dr. John Edoga, a surgeon and medical equipment developer.  Our friendship goes back almost 50 years.

The Atlantic City boardwalk.
I met Delia on the boardwalk, which for me was a nostalgic stroll back to Rockaway, New York, where my family spent our summers in the 1950s.

Blue Point's Toasted Lager.
We went to have lunch in the middle of all the casino-hotels.  The restaurant had a pretty weak list of craft beers and I think I chose the best -- Toasted Lager from the aforementioned Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue, New York.  My friend and drinking buddy Len (more of whom later) says it's one of his favorite beers.  I thought it was a perfectly refreshing beer for such a hot day, while Delia and I caught up on what was going on in our lives.

Toasted Lager gets its name from the "toastiness" of the six malts used in the brewing.  It was hard for me to pick out a toasted flavor, but I was impressed by the nice balance between hops and malt.  At 5.5% ABV, it was an easy beer to enjoy on a hot day, and went surprisingly well with our salads.           

Delia's house was well stocked with wine and booze, but alas, no beer around.  We spent the day talking like we always do and staying mellow in and out of the sun.

Delia and the old beer blogger on
Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
The next morning we took a long walk along the beautiful beach on the eastern side of the island, drinking . . . coffee.

Before I continued north by bus, we had lunch in a lovely restaurant along the island's one main road.  They had some interesting craft beers on tap, which were described by the friendly waiter.

I chose the Route 113 IPA from the Sly Fox Brewing Company in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  I found out later that the name is derived from the bitterness units (IBUs) which are an outrageous 113!

But as soon as I took my first sip, I was sure that something was wrong.  The IBUs weren't even 30 -- and this was not an IPA, certainly not one with 7% alcohol and advertised as "big, flavorful, bold and spicy."

Route 113 IPA -- NOT!
I called over the waiter and told him (without sounding like a beer snob, I hope) that there must have been a mistake; perhaps this was drawn from the wrong tap.  He assured me it wasn't and that I could go up to the bar and see for myself.  Delia told the waiter, "You don't want to argue with him.  He writes a beer blog."  That felt good.

Of course I went up to the bar.  The tender gave me a taste from the Sly Fox tap and it was the same.

"Nope," I said.  "They must have mixed up the kegs.  This is not an IPA."

I asked the bartender to let me have a taste of the one-tap-over Torpedo IPA (7.2% ABV, 65 IBUs) from Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California.

"Now that's an IPA," I told him.  "Have a sip and you'll see the difference."

"Yeah.  You're right," he said.  That felt good too.

After we finished eating, Delia got me over to the New York City bus one-and-a-half minutes before it left.  You could say we either planned it perfectly, or got lost and were just lucky.  Either way, I was soon on the road to my final destination -- the Big Apple, New York City.

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