I have been wanting to visit the Cricket Hill brewery for a couple years now. I know spring brews will be in season soon, so I wanted to stop by for the last of the winter beers. Cricket Hill brewery tours are open to the public every Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. I paid $3 for four samples of beer, but I had option of trading in my “beer card” for a single pint of a beer of my choice. I also paid $1 for the live band that was playing right in the brewery! Many patrons bring their own growlers to fill up for home as well. Prices vary depending on which beer you get.
5 beers I sampled:
1. Jersey Devil Red Ale (8.2% alcohol): This is one of Cricket Hill’s seasonal beers, so I had to try this before they ran out! This was a little heavy on the first sip, but I developed a taste for it. It has a dark amber color, caramel flavor, very hoppy and a slightly sweet aftertaste.
2. Hopnotic India Pale Ale (5.2% alcohol): I wish I would have had this beer before the Red Ale-my taste buds felt tainted. I’m not a huge fan of IPA’s but I enjoyed this English style pale ale. It has a golden color and tasted much smoother than the Red Ale. It has a fruity aroma and hoppy taste-hence the name.
3. East Coast Lager (4.0% alcohol)
: I was really excited to try this American pale lager because it is one of my favorite styles of beer. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed when it tasted like Yuengling
on my first sip. It has a golden color and is flavorful, but was so much lighter than the previous two beers I tried I could not give it a fair critique. It is a good beer, but it didn’t match up well with Cricket Hill’s darker varieties. I would recommend this beer in the warmer months.
4. American Ale (5% alcohol): I have a love-hate relationship with ales. I loves some of them and hate others. I was surprised with Cricket Hill’s American Ale, though. I actually really enjoyed it because it was smooth yet refreshing. It has a light amber color and a slightly bitter aftertaste, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Visitors to Cricket Hill can purchase additional pints of beer for $3. They also sell 22oz. bottles of special seasonal brews. The “bartender” convinced me to buy a bottle for $12.
5. Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter (9.0% alcohol): There were only 200 cases of this special brew made. It is aged for three months in oak barrels! It has a very dark, almost black color. When you drink it there are undertones of bourbon, coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Despite the high alcoholic content, this beer is surprisingly smooth. Don’t let this beer’s dark color scare you off-well worth the 12 bucks!