Nationwide, craft beer is having a Moment, and none too soon. While the dark days of having very little choice in draft beer are long behind us (yes, there was a time when a prior generation had a choice between various watery pilsners and a couple of imports, and that was it), there’s been an explosion in craft beer of late, with new concoctions cropping up constantly.
Of course, one of the dirty secrets is that most craft beers are actually owned by the big outfits, and all that micro-brew posing is just advertising. Doesn’t mean the beer is bad, but it does mean that if you want a truly local brew, you have to work a little harder.
Unless you live in Hoboken, which now sports not one by two 100% local breweries—and Jersey City has one more not too far away.
902 & Hoboken Brewing
Hoboken’s been enjoying the labors of 902 Brewing for a while now. The company, started in an apartment located at 902 Washington Street, raised almost $40,000 in 2014 to launch their brewing efforts. As a scrappy startup launched by three guys with more passion for beer than experience with state regulatory laws, it took a bit of a learning curve to get the business going. But going it is, and you can find 902 brews on tap not only all over Hoboken, but all over the northeastern part of New Jersey and some select shore areas. Our fave? The Heaven, Hell or Hoboken IPA.
Now 902 has some competition, as Hoboken Brewing is gearing up to launch their first two beers, Bodi Blonde Coconut Ale and Cityside IPA. The precise timing of Hoboken Brewing’s launch isn’t exact right now, as the company has gone through the same growing pains and struggles that slowed down 902 (it’s like New Jersey doesn’t want small craft breweries to succeed or something) but they say they already have their distribution in place and so you should start seeing their beers in and outside of town soon enough.
Over in Jersey City, Departed Soles launched in 2015 and currently has a full menu of craft beer on offer. More importantly, they have a big roomy tasting room and are happy to host tours or have people come in and check out their brews, and they can also rent the place to your for an event. Departed Soles differentiates themselves also by offering gluten-free beers that consistently get great reviews.
So, we’re living in a bit of a Golden Age for Hoboken beer—which is appropriate, as supposedly one of the very first breweries in America was located in Hoboken in the 17th century. Next time you’re at one of the increasing number of gastropubs and craft beer cathedrals in Hoboken (we’re partial to The Shepherd and the Knucklehead or Taphaus), scan the menu looking for the Hoboken beers and give some a try—we’re certain you won’t be disappointed.