Monday, March 02, 2009

Winter Beer Festival at High Street Grill in Mount Holly, NJ: 1/31/09

This goes back a few weeks, but hey at least it's still the same season! The weather was about as cold, maybe colder, as January's can get around here. I'm betting even that it was colder than in Anchorage, where Mr. Sixpack found himself for the annual barleywine festival in Alaska. The first (annual?) High Street Grill Winterfest took place on the last Saturday of January, during the annual Fire & Ice festival in downtown Mount Holly, NJ. Apparently, there were several events happening up and down the shut-down main street (that'd be High Street) during the day. An ice sculpture carving contest and a chili cook-off seemed appropriately perfect for the weather. But, spending most of our time in Mt. Holly at High Street Grill, we uh kind of missed the other events. I admittedly don't do much bar drinking in New Jersey. Unless it's at the Shore, I just don't have many friends or family who live in South Jersey. Plus, the number of quality beer bar destinations is not all that high. But, speaking of high, High Street Grill is certainly is one of the exceptions to the rule. (Iron Hill in Maple Shade, coming mid-2009, will be another quality beer bar/brew pub New Jersey.) I would be interested to know if any craft beer price (or beer in general) found at any given beer bar in New Jersey will tend to be higher than across the river in Pennsylvania. Until then, I won't discuss the prices that I encountered. But, I digress (is this a habit?) We were there to meet friends who live just a few miles away for an afternoon of outdoor beer festivities in January in New Jersey. For $20, participants got one hour to sample from approximately a dozen breweries who all brought two appropriately heavier seasonal beers. A printed menu of beers was available for guests to make notes. And Mark Haynie and Lew Bryson were on hand to sell and sign their recent "New Jersey Breweries" book. There were three of these one hour sessions. Anyone who complained about $20 for one hour couldn't complain about the atmosphere. Though cold, there was enough room under the tent to mingle and easily get a new beer sample when they wanted. Captain Lawrence was distributor-represented while Sly Fox, Tröegs, and Lagunitas sent their own familiar faces. Also represented was Stone, Boulder, River Horse, Smuttynose, and Founders. As expected, it was a good time with good beer. But, the hour quickly came to an end. Our plan was to grab lunch inside of High Street Grill to warm up before heading home. It seemed, though, to also be most everyone else's plan. We opted instead for a walk down the street and grabbed lunch at the Robin's Nest Restaurant (coincidentally, a chili cook-off winner this year). Not a bad option...only a bad option if I wanted a beer, which given the hour long ride home, I really did not. High Street Grill has been around for quite a few years now and has definitely embraced the craft brewing scene. They do occasional beer-related events and I'll be anxious to see what they have coming up next, maybe in warmer weather. Here's a quick video link to a last second add to this capsule. [Still Crazy After All These Beers]

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