NJ Beer Co. Garden State Stout: The Cure for Snooki and The Situation

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). 

This is the REAL New Jersey, at least the part I live in.

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.

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Categories: Beer, review


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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19 Comments on “NJ Beer Co. Garden State Stout: The Cure for Snooki and The Situation”

  1. September 28, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    The Situation’s from Manalapan, NJ, but I do agree with your post! Love me the NJBeerCo! The Manalapan Situation/Marzen.

    • September 28, 2010 at 11:19 am #

      So much for my reseach skills. I read that he’s an Assistant Manager at a health club in Staten Island and assumed he lived there. Who commutes TO Staten Island?!

      I’m gonna leave the post as is, because I WANT him to be from Staten Island, Dammit!!

      And I love the Manalaplan Marzen idea as well as the Perth Amboy Porter!

  2. Rob Crozier
    September 28, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    This was my favorite of the 3 beers NJBC has to offer. I look forward to the 2 new ones they are planning on releasing in the future. I loved how there was plenty of flavor without the alcohol that usually comes along with the boldness.

    • September 28, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      It was a really neat beer, Rob. As you said, the balance between flavor and (forgive me everyone) drinkability was really refreshing. Big flavor without feeling like there’s a rock in your stomach – good stuff!

  3. September 28, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Great Post JIm! NJBC makes some awesome beers and needs as much support as we fellow Jersey’ans can muster. Keep make that fine nectar Matt!

    Looking forward to their winter seasonal!

    • September 28, 2010 at 11:14 am #

      This was my first of Matt’s beers (I don’t get out much) but I was really impressed with it and have heard good stuff about the others (each seems to have a nice subtle touch to it, the sign of a good brewer). I’m eager to explore the entire portfolio now that they are available at retail.

  4. Don
    September 28, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    OK Jim, that can’t be New Jersey in the photo…there are no buildings! Everyone knows that New Jersey is full of oil refineries and crooked trash companies. This sounds like a great brew bro. Maybe you could throw one in that box you will be sending me… 😉

    • September 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      Oh yeah, about the box…

      If it makes you feel better, you can pretend the lake in the photo is filled with toxic sludge.

      • Don
        September 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

        Why pretend, I’m sure you are right. How is Andrew’s third eye?

        • September 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

          His third eye is fine. It’s his green glow that keeps him up at night!

  5. September 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Hey, the beer sounds great. Athat part of New Jersey you live in looks lovely and less than inhabited. I didn’t know metrosexuals could survive in such elements, Jim. Who knew? ;^)

    • September 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      Yes, Chad, I’m a subspecies: The Wild Metrosexual. We drive Subarus, but they are turbocharged and have Satellite radio. We wear hiking boots, but they are made by Keen. Our rugged outerwear is produced by The North Face, and most importantly, we NEVER go into the woods – we drink beer and look at the pretty animals from our screened in back porches!!

      • Don
        September 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm #


  6. September 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    This was my favorite of the three too. Something I couldn’t help but thinking as I tried all of the NJBCo beers were how simple they were. The stout was nothing extreme or pretentious – just a really good tasting stout. Same held true for the Pale Ale and Belgian Abbey Single. Very good examples of the styles without all the fuss. I really like what they are doing so far. The stout is actually a regular feature in my fridge now!

    BTW Don, that IS a toxic sludge pond in the picture. I swam in it once and my unit permanently grew to an enormous size a few days later (not that I needed it – I’m just sayin’ it happened). Jersey is a crazy place.

    • September 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      I agree about the beers, Scott. Simple = good.

      As far as your unit goes, are you sure it wasn’t just that you saw boobies for the first time a few days after your swim? I hear they can make a fella get puffy in places. Can’t wait to find out one day for myself!

  7. September 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Ha! Me too!

  8. September 29, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Cheers, Jim! Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad to see you guys understand what we’re trying to do here and appreciate it. We’ll do our best to keep making the best beer we can!

    • September 29, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      I can’t wait to try your bigger stuff, Matt. I usually poo-poo more sessionable fare, but I like yours. I bet your more “imperial” offerings will be interesting.


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