Fellow #BrewYorker Matt Steinberg, owner and founder of the New Jersey Beer Company, is finally releasing the fruits of his year-and-a-half long labor of beer-love to the public. A few select events and very lucky bars throughout NY and NJ have gotten their hands on casks of Matt’s brews. Needless to say, I was extremely jealous of the fortunate few who got to sample the very first sips of this highly-anticipated brew.
So when Matt slipped me a Tweet saying a bar less than a mile from my house had got their hot little hands on a gravity cask of his 1787 Abbey Single Ale, I was counting the minutes to 5 o’clock to sprint downtown and add my name to that exclusive list.
NJ Beer Co’s Abbey Single is a shining example of the best of the craft beer movement. You can taste the care and thoughtful crafting Matt put into this beer – from the subtle smell of clove, spice and yeast on the nose, through to the tad bit of hops you almost have to search for to find at the end.
The nose is very subtle, with only hints of what I mention above. About a finger of light, white head sat on top of it. The first sip starts out sweet on the front of the tongue, just before the clove and spice from the yeast take over. They linger for a little while, then giving way to that slight hops bitterness just before the finish. This beer finishes as clean as the nose, with a little spice on the aftertaste.
Overall, this beer is amazingly refreshing and dangerously sessionable. I had it on an 80 degree afternoon, and could see myself enjoying it long into the night. The cask conditioning really made this beer, and Matt’s decision to make the beer this way really shows his knowledge and love of brewing. He’s definitely got the craft brew spirit flowing in his veins and from his taps.
While this beer isn’t the Applebees of beer, it should appeal to a lot of non-craft beer drinkers with it’s refreshing flavor and great drinkability. I’m looking forward to trying more of Matt’s offerings.