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January 26, 2010

Trap Rock Brewery & Restaurant, Berkeley Heights, NJ

Last weekend I visited the Trap Rock Brewery & Restaurant in Berkeley Heights, NJ. Here's how their website describes them:
Located in Berkeley Heights, NJ, Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery opened its doors in 1997 and combines seasonal craft brews with seasonal, American food. Our reputation was shaped early by an “Excellent” rating by the New York Times in October of 1997. Designed by Morris Nathanson, Trap Rock Restaurant offers a working microbrewery and a comfortable European ski lodge atmosphere. Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery was the first of six current and successful northern New Jersey restaurants run by Harvest Restaurants.
When I realized that they are the brewers behind the beers at Tabor Road Tavern (a new restaurant right down the street from where I grew up), I was disappointed, based on my one-time experience there. But thankfully, Trap Rock was a different story.

I decided to go with the sampler, which provided six 8oz pours of their brews. As I learned from our server, not every beer is made on site, as they have a somewhat limited capacity there. Some of it is contract brewed, although I failed to find out where. In the sampler was the Ghost Pony Helles Lager, Hathor Red, JP Pilsner, Folky Bob's Session Ale, Thorny Rye Pale Ale and Kestrel IPA.

None of the beers were A+s, but all of them were solid Bs. I'd be curious to see them try something a bit more adventurous, but I left wondering if beer was a bit more of a novelty to them. Not meant as an insult, but I just didn't get the feel that they were beer geeks.

All of their brewing is done in a relatively small room with glass windows. We came in on a Saturday so no actual brewing was going on. As a sidenote, the food was excellent. I would definitely go back if I was in the area, but I don't believe its worth a special trip.


  1. Nice honest review. We will have to stop in next time we are in NJ.

  2. Yeah, you might want to wait and check out one of 2 new brewpubs opening in NJ. one in Newark and I'm blanking on where the other one's gonna be.

  3. All the beer you taste at the restaurant is brewed on premise. However, they are part of a group of restaurants and the beer that goes to the other restaurants is contract brewed by Ramstein. They can't do the volume they would need to brew for all the restauraunts and sadly because of the beer laws they wouldn't be allowed to anyway!