Located adjacent to the most prestigious Institution for higher learning in New Jersey, Princeton University, Triumph Brewing Company produces a fine line of first class beers in downtown Princeton, New Jersey. Without the help of two red and gold flags located in front of the entranceway, one would have a difficult time locating this little brewing gem.
The appearance and ambiance of this brewpub is what I believe sets it apart from others. My first impression upon opening the door and panning around the building is that it has the look and feel of an old gutted out Philadelphia style Row Home. One is surrounded on either side by two stories of brick and, dotted throughout the brewpub, several large painted murals of hop cones, mash tuns and the like. Most every seat in the brewpub has an unobstructed view of the glass encased brewhouse and there is an awesome ímile longí bar running the length of the brewhouse.
On our last pilgrimage to Triumph we were treated to some fascinating new brews. First up was the Abbey Trippel, which was the first Belgian Style beer I have ever sampled from Triumph. This beer has a lovely sunset orange color with a spicy, sugary, peppery flavor. Triumph Abbey Trippel rings the bell at 8% abv.
Next up was the Coffee and Cream Stout which had the color of dark roasted coffee and a lovely caramel colored head that stayed with you right to the bottom of the pint glass. This stout exerted very little hop character and reminded me more of a cappuccino.
Finally there was the Honeymoon Braggot. Hands down this honey mead was my wifeís favorite of the eveningís line up. Very pale yellow in color but with the aroma and flavor of a fine Gewurztraminer.
Other wonderful selections that I have sampled in recent memory include the Bengal Gold (an IPA brewed originally to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Princeton University), Gothic Ale (Gruit Style ale), Oatmeal Stout, Jolie Blond (a hopless ale brewed with lots of peppery spices), and a Rauchbier which brewer Tom Stevenson created to celebrate the reopening of the brewpub after a kitchen fire shut things down in early 2001 (a rather appropriate choice, donít you think?).
However, what I believe drives the popularity of Triumph is the cuisine, the cornerstone to any successful brewpub. For this particular evening we chose to start with a very flavorful Gnocchi alla Romana followed by Campanalle Bolognese with a dollop of herb ricotta cheese and Shellfish Campanalle in a Vin Santo wine and vegetable broth. We finished up with Fried Strawberries with a warmed chocolate sauce dip.
Live music features Jazz on Wednesdays and a Myriad of Bands on weekends. Plans are in the works for two new locations, New Hope, Pennsylvania ans Red Bank, New Jersey. The next time you find yourself driving through the Garden State be sure to hit Triumph Brewing Company. Itís well worth the diversion!