Cloverleaf Tavern Spring is Here

I couldn’t resist going back to Cloverleaf to see what its spring beer selection would be like. Of course I went on a Thursday night and ordered a flight (You can read my previous post to learn more). I was really pleased with this ensemble; it may be one of my favorites I’ve every order here, which says a lot because I’ve ordered my share of flights here!

Cloverleaf new brew

New Brew Flight

1. River Horse Summer Blonde (4.5% alcohol): This American Blonde Ale pours a light, hazy golden color with a small white head. I picked up on wheat, fruit and citrus aromas in this brew. The flavor was dominated by wheat and lemon flavors, but not much else. Summer Blonde is easy to drink and definitely a nice beer to start off the spring with.

2. Dogfish Head Namaste (5% alcohol): A Belgian-style witbier that pours a light, cloudy pale yellow with a thin, bright white head. The aroma is predominantly citrus orange and lemon along with some spices. Namaste tastes similar to what it smells like; I can taste the lemon and orange and spice right away. I enjoyed its nice, refreshing finish. Overall, not a bad beer to drink on a warmer day, but not one of my favorites.

3. Dogfish Head Aprihop (7% alcohol): This American IPA, brewed with pilsner and crystal malts, has a copper color with a foamy white head. The beer smells of fruit-mainly apricots, hence the name- and hops. This beer has a traditional IPA hoppy flavor and just the right amount of sweetness from the apricots. With a high alcohol content, I expected a stronger flavor, but the slight apricot fruitiness balances Aprihop very well. I would have to say this is a great beer to try for someone adjusting to the flavor of IPAs.  This was my favorite beer in flight!

4. Breckenridge 72 Chocolate Stout (7.2% alcohol):  This Milk/Sweet Stout is very dark. It pours a dark brown, almost black color with a small, but long-lasting tan head. Dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee notes are evident immediately. The flavor consists of mild chocolate, roasted malts and vanilla. This is a nice creamy, smooth chocolate stout with a bittersweet finish. This was the last beer in the flight, so it was a bit warm by the time I got to it. I think it would have been much better if it was colder, but I still noticed all of its robust flavors.

captain lawrence kolsch

5. Captain Lawrence Kolsch (5% alcohol): Kölsch is an easy-drinking German style of beer. Captain Lawrence is light and refreshing. This beer has a clear golden color with a thin white head. As soon as I saw the server bringing this to my table, I knew it was going to be on the lighter side. I noticed a bit of fruitiness, maybe orange or grapefruit, in this brew’s aroma. As for flavor, I noticed the same citrus notes, but overall this beer had a mild flavor.

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Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant

Gaslight

Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant is a family-owned Brew-Pub in South Orange, NJ. I was a bit apprehensive about to Gaslight because a lot of the reviews I read were negative. comments said the owners were rude and unfriendly. I did NOT have this experience at Gaslight. The bartender was very friendly when I walked in and checked on my friend and I periodically. He also allowed me to sample a couple beers before I made my final selection. I was glad I ignored some of the reviews and checked it out.

Gaslight always has eight of its own brews on tap as well as several other craft brews that change with the season. I came here with the intention of eating, but the menu was really extensive-way too many options in my opinion. I did notice some interesting grub, but it didn’t seem worth the price. There were some appetizers for under $10, but besides that it was pricy. As for the beer, I tried two of Gaslight’s brews:

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1. Pinhead Pilsner (5% alcohol): This Czech-style pilsner is brewed with German Pilsner Malt. It has a golden/copper color and spicy aroma. I detected malt and floral notes immediately. Pinhead Pilsner has a crisp, bitter flavor with undertones of honey and malt. It has a lighter, less bitter flavor than Pilsner Urquell, but is not light. This beer has high drinkability. It won’t fill you up, but doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

2. Perfect Stout (5% alcohol): This Irish Dry stout reminded me of Guinness, but it had less head and wasn’t as smooth. It had a dark brown/black color. It had a roasted aroma along with hints of chocolate and caramel. It is brewed with American Roasted barley, so this was definitely represented in its smell. You do taste the flavors of the ingredients that you smell, but this beer tasted a bit watery. I wouldn’t say this is a bad beer, but it definitely isn’t the “perfect stout.”

Regardless, I would visit Gaslight again. They have several other beers that I would like to try in the future.

Gary’s Wine and Marketplace

Finding craft beers at your local liquor store is not always an easy feat. I have several liquor stores within a few miles of my home, but I feel like they all have the same generic beers. I heard about Gary’s Wine and Marketplace and its beer selection last year. I finally stopped in and realized what I have been missing! I visited the one in Madison, NJ. The staff was really helpful. Several people asked me if I needed help while I was there and one of the employees even suggested a beer based on others that I liked. The beer selection here was AMAZING! The store is predominantly stocked with wine, but there were two aisles and a giant cooler in the back. They offer beers from across the nation, Europe and Japan. Also, they offer sampler six-packs of Gary’s picks-of-the-month. I was really excited to see many of the brands I became familiar with on my trip to Colorado. I spent over an hour perusing the beers and another 30 minutes making my final decision.

I purchased these beers:

Rogue 3x choc. stout

1. Rogue Double Chocolate Stout (8-9% alcohol): Not sure what exactly what the ABV on this one is, but I know it either 8% or 9%. I bought one pint of this delicious beer! The first thing I noticed when pouring this beer is it’s black color. Normally, when people say a beer is black, it is dark, but still translucent. Not this American Double Chocolate Imperial Stout! Usually this is something that scares me off, but I took a sip anyway. This brew has a small dark caramel head. Double Chocolate Stout smells like chocolate milk, mild vanilla and slight roasted malts along with coffee at the end. It tastes creamy with notes of roasted malt, sweet cocoa and coffee. This beer had a dominant flavor at first, but finished with a light flavor. I actually enjoyed this because stouts have a strong aftertaste sometimes. Also, minor alcohol traces in the flavor, nothing too drastic considering 8.0% ABV.

2. Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz (5.2% alcohol): To be honest, the first thing that attracted me to this beer was the packaging and the fact that it is a pilsner lager. I know that is not the best way to choose beer, but I was intrigued enough to purchase a six-pack. This seasonal brew has a light golden color. This beer is on the lighter side. It has a mild grainy/grassy aroma. It is brewed with two types of hops and two types of malt! It is a bit sweet at first, but you can taste a little bit of bitterness from the hops at the end. Eurotrash Pilz is highly drinkable any time of the year. It is available beginning in January.

Eurotrash Pilz

I wish could have bought more, but my refrigerator was full. I will definitely be back!

Tiff’s Casual Grill and Bar

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Tiff’s Casual Grill and Bar  in Morris Plains, NJ recently revamped its draft beer selection. Tiff’s now offers 24 draft beers! I have been to the other Tiff’s restaurants in Parsippany and Wayne, but this one is my favorite. Everyone is super nice. I usually stop in on Tuesday nights because the bartender is really helpful. She always helps me choose the right beer and lets me sample beers before I purchase them. The food is also really good! Tiffs is known for its ribs. But, the menu has plenty of other great meals. Also, if you stop in after 10 p.m., appetizers are half price. Plus, Tiffs has trivia nights and other fun activities if you want to hang out for awhile.

Tiffs

Beers I Sampled:

1. Rogue Dead Guy Ale (6.5% alcohol): This German Maibock really surprised me. A lot of the Rogue beers I have tried in the past had really strong, robust flavors. This beer was really flavorful but light at the same time. Rogue Dead Guy Ale has an amber color and had a rich toasted caramel smell along with floral and fruit notes. The primary flavors in this brew are caramel mixed with honey and malt. The sweetness is offset by a nice bitterness. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely like to try more beers in this style.

2. River Horse Double Wit (8% alcohol): This Belgian style spring seasonal has a cloudy, golden color. It has spicy, citrus and wheat aroma. River Horse Double Wit is a bit sweeter than other witbiers, or wheat beers, but the citrus and spices help to balance out the overall flavor. Also, the malt is noticeable. I think this beer has an interesting flavor profile and is definitely a beer you consider this spring.