Readington Brewery and Hop Farm

The Readington Brewery & Hop Farm recently opened in the borough of Readington in Hunterdon County. It’s rare to have a new brewery open in this area. We looked at the tap list before making the trip but did not have high hopes that we would enjoy the ales. Our misgivings were confirmed.

I rate the Kombucha inspired ale a 0.1/5, the lowest rating you can give a beer on Untappd. Up until now, my lowest-rated beer was a Corona.

I enjoyed my Bermuda seafood chowder and grilled cheese, but Bhanva disliked her hummus wrap

Readington,Hunterdon County,Readington Brewery and Hop Farm
Readington Brewery and Hop Farm | 19 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8
Readington,Hunterdon County,Readington Brewery and Hop Farm
Readington Brewery and Hop Farm | 19 December, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T3 | XF27mmF2.8

Jersey Cyclone Brewing

It was our first time to Jersey Cyclone, which has been open for just under nine months.

Name: Jersey Cyclone Brewing
Location: Somerset, Somerset County, New Jersey
Beer to try: Imperial Storm Cloud and Red Skies At Night
Notes: Taproom provides flights and growler. Visitors can stop by for tastings and tours on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m., where they can try beers such as the Eye of the Storm, A Quarter Of Kolsch, Snowtober Vanilla Coffee Porter and Franklin Double IPA.

It was our first time to Jersey Cyclone, which has been open for just under nine months. Having become accustomed to small breweries with small taprooms, spaces barely more significant than a two-car garage, when we walked in, we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the space. We walked past the tables and high chairs and sat at the bar but then remembered we needed to take a tour of the brewery. It's the law in New Jersey.

Sep 1, 2019, Jersey Cyclone Brewing, Someerset — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

This was not my first brewery tour, but I always have questions. The staff was friendly and patiently answered my questions about the brewing process, who the owners were and why they started brewing beer and why the name Jersey Cyclone.

Close friends, Jan Chwiedosiuk and Brian Teel, started home brewing their own beer about eight years ago. It was also around the time Hurricane Irene came through New Jersey and brought devastation to Chwiedosiuk's family business and disturbed Teel's attempt to sit his CPA exam.

For those who don't know, New Jersey gets cyclones; not a lot but at least one or two each year. We also get hurricanes, which technically, are a form of water cyclone. The names of the ales are a tribute to the whacky weather we get here in New Jersey.

Back at the tasting room, a 2,500 square-foot space which can easily accommodate about 80 people, we ordered two flights of four, one for Bhavna and one for me. We completed our first flight while conversing with a man at the bar. I love how the beer culture is so inviting.

Sep 1, 2019, Jersey Cyclone Brewing, Someerset — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I enjoyed the Red Skies At Night, a Saison brewed with hibiscus, ginger and lemon peel. It smelled great.

Sep 1, 2019, Jersey Cyclone Brewing, Someerset — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

I ordered the second flight of four to complete my tasting of the eight beers on the tap list, including the Imperial Storm Cloud, which the brewery describes as:

Hot and hazy summer days bring dark clouds and strong storms just like our Imperial Storm Cloud. Once again, we used a large portion of flaked oats and wheat in the mash to provide a rich mouth feel. Subtle caramel malts were added to provide balance and sweetness to the massive dry hop additions. We selected a delicious blend of Idaho 7, Amarillo and Australian Ella hop to provide bold tropical and citrus forward flavors of Mango, Tangerine and Passion Fruit.

We both enjoyed Storm Clouds, and I like the Red Skies at Night, so we took home a growler of each.

Sep 1, 2019, Jersey Cyclone Brewing, Someerset — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Grove Roots Brewing Co.

Bhavna and I search for the nearest craft brewery when we travel. If we can, we prefer to visit the local craft ale breweries, meet the brewer if possible, and try out a flight of beers. Winter Haven does not have a lot of breweries, but from our experience, Grove Roots Brewing in downtown Winter Haven is an excellent choice.

Name: Grove Roots Brewing Co.
Location: Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida
Beer to try: Tropical Dilemma, a 4.4% crisp, refreshing sour with strawberry.
Notes: Huge tasting room provides flights, pints, growler fills and cans, and individual release bottles to go. Bocce ball and corn hole in the yard. Kid and dog-friendly.

We ordered a flight, a mixture of sours and IPAs, and sat at the large bar in the spacious taproom. Behind us, some kids were playing with their chocolate labrador retriever. Outside, under their parent’s watchful eye, some more kids were playing corn hole and splashing about in the bocce ball court, which was filled with water from the early morning rain.

My brother called just as I completed my flight. HE HESITATED when I told him where we were and invited him to join us. He had never been to a brewery and was under the impression it was like a sports bar. He was concerned that the kids would be unwelcome. But Grove Roots Brewing is across the street from one of his favourite breakfast restaurants, Egg Haven. He arrived, perused the menu; my niece and nephew ordered ice cream and soda pop while my sister-in-law relaxed. We went outside to capture some family photos a few hours later before heading off to Circle B Bar Preserve.

Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk County, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO640), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1250), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO2000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO1250), © Khürt L. Williams
Tropical Dilemma by Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO2500), © Khürt L. Williams
9 P.M. Kicker, Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.017 sec at f/5.6, ISO8000), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co., Winter Haven, Polk Coumty, Florida —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO640), © Khürt L. Williams
Grove Roots Brewing Co. —FujiFilm X100F @ (23 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams