I’d heard about this local brewery thing, but I’d never experienced it before. Tall tales about friends picking up growlers on their way home from work, or keeping tabs on a local breweries new releases and trying them out. There’s all this talk about ‘local’ beer and community, but I’d only truly seen it from afar.
Brix City Brewing Company is the first brewery and tasting room to open in my county; Bergen County, NJ. It’s located in Little Ferry which is roughly on my way home from work, so it didn’t take me long to get over there and check out them out.
Like many breweries, it’s tucked away down side roads, but Brix City is a little less warehouse looking than your typical place. I like the hop bine motif they have going on all over. The place is decently spacious if not quite large. The bar is right in front of you as you walk in, with a long wall to the side that people signed. It then opens up into the actual brewery, where you can see all the tanks and hoses and various other brewing gadgets.
They started with eight taps, which is impressive in my mind. Eight's a solid offering, and to have them all available for launch takes some planning. Nothing super complicated, and a little something for everyone.
I’d had the porter previously at a local bar, and I thought it was a flawless and tasty porter though not something I’d say stood out from the pack. That impressed me; the beer was quality right off the bat and if they’re dedicated to making good beer good things are ahead.
I saw similar things at the brewery; an introspective note and a desire to get better. While I was at the bar alone, brewery owner Joe Delcalzo came over to chat. He was asking about my Tired Hands growler and we got to talking about beer in general. It might surprise you to know that he said he likes to brew beers he likes to drink. I don’t mean to poke too much fun, but I have yet to hear a brewer claim any other motivation for what they brew. The closest I’ve come is hearing that a distributor suggested to a brewer that they should add a specific style to their portfolio.
I had the KTK, their double IPA, and found it quite enjoyable. It had a bit of juiciness that you find in Tired Hands brews and really stand out in a good IPA. This was, as Joe mentioned, probably the Amarillo hops. Batch two of this was already brewing, and is said to touch up the bitterness a bit: a tweak in the right direction in my opinion.
I also had the black IPA, named Chuck Bowman, while I was there. I love Black IPAs, and this one was my favorite of the Brix City beers I tried. The bitterness was a hop-bitterness and not an astringent coffee/roast bitterness, but you could taste the rich cocoa flavors of the darker malts. This too could probably do with a touch more bitterness for the style, but that’s really to taste and I enjoyed it quite well the way it was.
I like the layout of the brewery; Open space, picnic tables, and a view right into the brewery. I've had nearly a dozen of their beers now and have found much to my liking. They've just started bottling, so keep an eye out for these guys and you won’t be disappointed.
Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd and ooccasionally at Brix City's tasting room after work on Fridays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.