New Jersey is hot right now, and for all the wrong reasons. It started several years ago with the Sopranos, which had redeeming editorial value even though it showed New Jersey as a hot bed of mob activity. Allegedly. As they say in these parts, the Mafia doesn’t exist. Got it?
But recently things have taken a turn for the worse, as a bunch of cable shows have popped up that paint the Garden State with a spray-tan soaked brush. There’s Jerseylicious, Jersey Couture, The Real Housewives of NJ, and the biggie, Jersey Shore.
But those Housewives are anything but Real, and those low level lifeforms from the Jersey Shore aren’t even from New Jersey. Snooki’s from New York State, and the Situation is from Staten Island (a place people from NJ proudly look down upon, BTW).
But folks from the Garden State know the real deal. The northern part of the state is a woodland paradise, with some of the best hiking and biking trails you’ll find anywhere. New Jersey residents are amongst the smartest in the country, and mostly we don’t go around in wife beaters punching girls in the face.
Simply put, New Jersey, like many places, is a state with lots of nuances, regardless of how pop culture tries to portray it.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I first tried NJ Beer Co‘s Garden State Stout, a brew as subtle and nuanced as the state that’s on the label.
The Garden State Stout is a 6.6% ABV ale brewed with chocolate and raisins. And while this stout has big character, its reasonable ABV and crisp mouthfeel keep you feeling light on your toes. It’s really nicely made.
The Garden State Stout pours an inky brown with a cappuccino head that quickly disappears. The nose is big and roasty, and you can pick out hints of cocoa and the sweetness of dark dried fruits.
The chocolate and dried fruit greet your palate on the first sip, and are joined by an oaky goodness provided by the roasted malt and a touch of hops on the back end.
Compared to the Imperial stouts I typically drink, this beer is almost delicate, with a lighter mouthfeel and a pleasantly balanced taste. I could easily drink this stuff all night long without getting too dizzy or blowing out my palate. Or punching Snooki in the bar. I think it will quickly become my new go-to “session” stout.
If you’re from out of state, the words “subtle” and “balanced” and “laid back” might not seem like they belong in New Jersey, but I’d say don’t believe what you see on TV. Instead, seek out NJ Beer Co’s Garden State Stout or another one of their offerings to get a true taste of what the Garden State is all about.