Finally made it over to Cricket Hill for a visit, and I was really impressed. First off, they have a ton of space including a back outdoor area, a large room with some tables, and a smaller room with the bar. Lots of friendly people throughout including the regulars / locals / visitors, the guy working the bar and the brewer. Between the small batches (6), Reserve (1), Regular line-up (4), and the seasonals (2), there were a lot of beers to choose from. Unlimited (?) free samples, and pints for reasonable prices. Good prices for the growler fills as well. Iím not generally a huge fan of their standard line-up, but I liked the majority of the small batch offerings, and I was happy to get to try those. Definitely a good place to hang out for a few beers.
Nice little NJ brewery. More geared towards those just transitioning to craft beer. They sometimes have some of their small batch stuff available which tends to be better than most of their regular offerings. They started barrel aging and their barleywine came out well. Worth a stop if you are in the area.
Great little brewery in north Jersey...definitely worth a visit. Especially fun during their open house on Friday nights. Rick Reed is a nice guy and all the staff are fun and approachable. Although I admired what Rick did when he first opened...make crossover beers for those either new to micros or hesitant to come over to the "dark side"...I was not a fan of his initial more mild styles...donít get me wrong...they were and are good beers and obviously Rick knew what he was doing as the Cricket Hill brand grew...but I like stronger and bolder beers. The really good news is that for several years now Cricket Hill has been making much bigger beers and they just keep getting better at it.
After o ne attempt at making it here with a few co-workers I finally made it this past Friday night. Trust me, any of you intrepid hunters out there who may think you are great with a map in the dark. Try doing that in New Jersey. Get there early so you donít have to walk far since it is in a business complex. If you complain that you just cant get close to the heart of the brewery after coming here there is something fundamentally wrong with you. Free samples and very economial growler refils are just a smidgen of the hospitality you will recieve at this comfortable hometown feeling brewery. The Paymasterís Porter was on draft and flowing freely. The passionate rant of a Go Cricket Hill and the general state of things speech makes you smile and be thankful that in this day and there are still folks that have a passion for what they do. We were able to smoke cigars and talk with all of the knowlegeable brewing staff like we were old buddies. One of most enjoyable times I have had at a brewery. Get there!
When you come to Cricket Hill, you meet the owner and the employees that actually brew the beer. No tour guides here, and Rick and crew are nice guys. Youíre allowed to roam around to see how things work, how their beers are made, taste whatever you want, ask questions, etc. Always free beer mags and plenty of munchies out for the taking. In the warmer weather, thereíll often be GIANT $2 hot dogs or a cookout in the parking lot. Catering more towards session than snob, this is a great brewery making great, well made, quality beers. Stop by and support the little guy...buy a case, shirt, or pint glass!
This place is small, the selection isnít big but they are new and not many different styles of brew have been released yet. I cant rate many categories here, due to the fact that i was there when they were closed with a share holder related to Rick let us in. I could tell Rick is a nice guy, as he left a message for us welcoming us to his brewery, and left cups out for, and just the fact he allowed us there during off hours. worth a visit, and will be even more worthy as they continue to produce more styles of brews.
If you are from the Northern NJ area and into craft beer, you must go to Cricket on either a thursday (bottling night) or friday, open house. While their beers tend to be more session oriented, Rick is a great host and Iíve never had a bad time there and have met a handful of enthusiasts. Additionally, youíll be able to try their Colonel Blideís bitter, which is not sold in bottles and is only availabe at a handful of bars in the metro area...also their best beer in my opinion. If you go on friday, make sure to buy a case or bring in your growler.