Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

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Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Woolybear » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:26 pm

7-28-12/7-29-12 Let down in NJ, redeemed in Queens
Peter S., Mike S. (Woodzy), & Paul S. (Woolybear)

7-28-12
I haven’t had the time or the greatest passion for the NJ views and brews list though I had intended to get back to it at some point (started it more than two years ago). Well had some time for hiking with Mike and his brother wanted to get out so we picked him up in the Bronx and headed on over to upstate NJ. Not there first choice but everybody was up for a little adventure.
First stop was the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson NJ (these are actually the Passaic Falls). A very nice spot and we enjoyed the history and scenery (you have to look past the litter and garbage, the neglect, and the distressed local community). We had a nice walk exploring in and around the falls and some of the raceways.
Second stop was the Gas Light Brewery in South Orange. Got there a touch early so we got some mileage in walking around the touristy area of South Orange taking in some of the nice architecture (fire house, churches, ext…). As to Gas Light, the atmosphere was nice and looked like a nice place to spend some time after work with the nice darts set up and shuffle board table. We had a schedule (sort of) and were not hungry so we did not sample the food. We did do a sampler of all of their beer selection (two samplers actually, and they did not have an IPA on tap currently). On the whole our consensus was average to just below average. Many of the beers were a tiny bit sour (no this is not sour in the correct style this is just a lite sour taste across the board). There only good beer was the abbey ale but even that was a weak example of abbey ale.
Gas Light behind us we went over to what I believed (incorrectly) was going to be a winner, Trap Rock in Berkeley Heights. Trap Rock has a very posh atmosphere they try hard radiate class and exclusiveness. We found them to actually be very pretentious. The beer was once again average to below average with only the red ale being drinkable really. The food was very overpriced. If it had been served at a dive bar you would say ya its ok but for the image portrayed it was piss poor. I had what was probably the worst Cuban of my life so far. It was soggy, the pork was flavorless, and the entire thing tasted off. I could not even force myself to finish it. Hell I had the drink most of the IPA to cover the taste of the sandwich. The staff oozed bubbly positive joy which was incredibly fake and when asked how our meal was our response was “Okay”. They were so happy for us as if we had said it was the best meal of our lives. I’m sorry but they were not in touch with the costumers. None of us enjoyed our meal or our beer and we were glad to get out of there.
There was a county park just up the road about a half mile or so, Passaic River County Park. Feeling very dissatisfied and off after Trap Rock we quickly stopped here to get some mileage in and recover in the outdoors. Now this park is nothing at all special largely a local dog walkers/joggers haven but worked for us.
Feeling better now (a little) Mike decided we were going to north central PA for real German food and a boot of beer. Well if we were doing that then a stop at Krogh’s was going to be called for along the way. By the time we got to Sparta NJ the sky had opened up and NJ was getting nailed by some very sever thunderstorms. But back to Krogh’s, frankly just another disappointment. For starters this is a tourist trap, lake resort town than thinks a little to highly of itself (kind of like going to Lake George). Krogh’s atmosphere is of a Bavarian public house. This could work but then you need the food and beer to back it up. No dice, no German food on hand. The food we did have was ok not bad not great just middle of the road. The beer we had was once again average (anyone see a theme developing) but what made it worse was the beer being overpriced (NYC prices for coors level beer). The only redeeming characteristic of Sparta was great homemade ice cream that was had across the street on our way to the car.
Change of plans. The time logistics of driving to north central PA then back to the Bronx then back t o upstate NY were a bit much for Pete and I (though Mike the driver was all for it, Sorry Mike it was just to much for us). So back NE coastal NJ. Specifically we headed for JJ Bitting in Woodbridge NJ with a quick stop at REI in East Hanover so I could get a pair of Keen sandals for my 7 year old at half price.
We hadn’t been getting enough outdoor time up to this point so we parked a little over half a mile away from JJ Bitting’s and got some walking in up and down Woodbridge’s main drag (thankfully the rain had stopped). JJ Bitting is located in a old multistory train station. They did a good job with the conversion. The beer was once again just average though they did stand out as best in show. The experience of poor beer is always greatly softened by attractive, flirty, well endowed female staff and the low cut company shirts certainly did not hurt :wink: :D (I know this doesn’t work for everyone but after a long day of disappointment it was a nice change).
We had one last NJ stop left. The Pizzeria Uno that brews it own beer jut 10 minutes away from JJ Bitting’s in Metuchen. Once again the beers were average there was once anomaly though. Their seasonal beer was a double IPA and frankly it was a very good and smooth beer. I actually like the double IPA. So they get some points for being able to brew a different beer form the typical NJ crowed and for making a over hopped beer that even I could enjoy.
NJ beers done for he day we beat feet back to NYC. Since they day had been on the whole a letdown and Mike was set on great German food he took us over to Zum Stammtisch ( http://zumstammtisch.com/ ) in Queens (I’m told it the last great and authentic German restaurant in Queens, and probably the City). Mike and Pete thanks for taking me to this gem. This placed ROCKED. If anyone is in the area you HAVE TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D The setup an atmosphere is just like being in Bavaria but it has the food, the beer, and the staff to back it up (it was everything Krogh’s wasn’t). My schnitzel was spot on like the schnitzels of my childhood. Everyone food was great and you could tell everyone else in the place was loving there food too. Everyone having dinner radiate happiness and enjoyment I don’t think any of the laughing, chatting people having dinner at any of the other tables left while we were there. And the beer was good solid enjoyable German beer far better than anything we had all day. Mike and Pete got me a “boot” of lager. I hate to think what the total calorie count of a solid two liters of beer and a big plate of schnitzel is, not a place for people on weight watchers. And for the record I did finish all two liters (good beer should never go to waste).
On the whole it was an adventurous day. The brewpubs in north Jersey were a dud (so far the only good one has been Tun Tavern in Atlantic City). But we had a good time none the less. But the night ended in a world class venue with epic food, beer, and company.
At the end off all of this I am still one hike/walk short so that will be tomorrow. I am also 3 short of a NJ finish (4 for Mike) and thanks for Mike and Pete up to 50 growlers.

7-29-12
While out for a kids free early seafood dinner my wife (Laura) and I stopped at “The Crossing” in Colonie (NY just off of wolf road). We put a couple of nice miles in on their various foot paths. I needed the extra mileage to round out yesterdays V&B’s but really we would have gone for the walk anyway.
PA - 4/30
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Woolybear » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:41 pm

PA - 4/30
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby redshorts47 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:48 pm

I love Das Boot! Nice Job!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuDtACzKGRs&sns=em

Got to check that German place out in Queens for my heritage! Thanks for letting us know about it
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Tom » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:01 pm

Freaky #1 - We just talked about the Uno's brewpub today! :eek:

Freaky #2 - Paul liked a Double IPA! :eek: :eek:

:twisted:
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Woolybear » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:03 am

redshorts47 wrote:Got to check that German place out in Queens for my heritage! Thanks for letting us know about it


This one is all Mike. Queens is his childhood stomping ground. But you should make a pilgrimage it really is worth it. More so if you've had a disappointing beer day.
According to Mike and his brother the German restaurant we were going to go to in PA is pretty much just as good so that will be a necessary stop when working on PA.
PA - 4/30
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Woolybear » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:19 am

This is the place in PA that Mike also recommends.
http://www.thealpineonline.com/
PA - 4/30
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby redshorts47 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:47 pm

Thanks. Will jot those down. Definitely need to go to the one in Queens for sure
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby Woolybear » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:49 am

And since in all of this we are discussing your heritage and good german beer and fare, have you been to http://www.germanamericanclubofalbany.com/ :?:
PA - 4/30
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Re: Let down in NJ, Redeemed in Queens

Postby redshorts47 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:05 pm

That's really cool! Never even heard of it before. I guess they're right when they say they are Albany's best kept secret. Would be great to go check out. Thanks again for the info! :D
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