Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Taproom at the Somerset Hills Hotel

Today I had the great honor to join, J, J, and R for lunch at the Taproom inside the Somerset Hills Hotel in Warren NJ.

This place is really convenient to I-78 in northern NJ and once you get off exit 33 you can be there in a few minutes.

This place has typical lunch-time hotel/casual restaurant fare but is atypical in its choice of beers.

11 taps and 50 bottles--check out the current Christmassy tap list:

Our waiter informed me that the draught list changes often as the head guy here loves beer.

I started with the 35th Annual Anchor Steam Christmas Ale which was spicy, fragrant and delicious coming in at a light 5.5% ABV. According to Anchor, they have a different recipe and label each year. The labels are evocative of new life as you can see by the Christmas tree on the tap handle that's decorated with the 2009 version of the label artwork. These releases are a meant to be a celebration of new life.

After that, I wanted to try something a bit warmer: The Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Winter Solstice was as good if not better that the Anchor--it reminded me a bit of Bell's HopSlam at the start but without the strong hop finish. This is a warming 6.9% ABV that would be great to find and bring to a holiday party. IMHO: I think you will enjoy this one.

I peeked into the taproom on the way out and it looks good but I'll need a return visit to check the bar and gantry. It does have a nice tin ceiling--certainly not original but in keeping with the taproom style.

There is almost nothing as good as friends and beer this time of year. Don't ya think?

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