Tuesday, June 22, 2010

JJ Bittings Brew Pub-An Oasis on the North Jersey Coast Line

I've taken the North Jersey Coast Line train from NYC to the Jersey Shore hundreds of times in my life and most of my train time is spent reading a book or listening to my iPod, occasionally peeking out the hazy windows to take a gander at the outside world flying by at 50 or 60 miles an hour.But, there is one point it the trip where I behave like a child hearing the distant jingle of the ice-cream truck, and that's when we pull up to the Woodbridge, NJ, stop and I can see J.J. Bitting's Brew Pub. My mouth waters like that kid waiting for his ice-cream fix.

Established in 1997, J.J. Bitting Brewing Company was the first brewery to operate in Woodbridge Township, NJ, since the repeal of prohibition in 1933. It resides in a spacious, one-hundred year old building that once housed the J.J. Bitting Coal and Feed Depot. These days, the fuel of choice is hand crafted beer, and James Moss is the Brew Master behind the tanks.

J.J. Bitting's hired Moss, who is originally from the West Coast, to spice up their beer menu, and spice it up he has with favorites such as Victoria's Golden Ale, a light ale featuring a blend of pale malt and unmalted wheat. It's lightly hopped and fermented slightly cooler than most ales for a crisp finish. It pairs well with food menu items like the Acapulco Gold Quesa Dillas or Seafood Fra Diavlo.

If you like your beer hop heavy and bold in flavor, you can't go wrong with the Barely Legal Barley Wine, which is packed with hops, yet balanced by the malt. You may want to slowly savor this barley wine, which weighs in at 10.0% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). It pairs well with the Stuffed Pork Roast with Pear Sauce or the One Pound Prime Rib.

Other beers of note include the Raspberry Wheat Ale, Avenel Amber, Garden State IPA, and X-Duff Beer, for the Simpson's fans.

Bitting's also has impressive buffalo wings, excellent burgers, and very tasty baked pizza. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3pm-7pm, featuring $2.50 pints and free food at the bar. Also ask about the Mug Club and Frequent Diner Specials. They also feature live music, Karaoke, and a Guitar Hero night.

Writing about all this is making me thirsty! I think I'll get off at the Woodbridge stop and raise a few pints.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What You're Missing (text, text,text...)

I've been living across the street from an old school that has been empty for about five years. Most mornings I would open my blinds and take a gander at the majestic old building that was erected in 1927. They recently started demolishing the building, and I have to say that it's a bittersweet experience.

Every morning around 8pm they warm up the big yellow wrecking machine as I put on a pot of coffee and get ready to sit at my window and watch old windows, desks, chairs and urinals tumble down in to the eagerly awaiting dumpsters. So far no one has been hurt in the process, but I did witness a close call. A very busy looking woman was walking in the street, texting-obviously oblivious to the awesome demolition project happening just feet away from her Blackberry. One of the workers yelled "Hey, you're too close! Cross to the other side of the street!" The woman looked up for a nanosecond, resumed texting and crossed the street-
without looking, of course.

This rather minor incident made me angry and sad at the same time. Besides the fact that she could have been killed, she didn't even take the time to stand back and witness, what in my opinion is a pretty awesome site. She couldn't stop texting for thirty seconds to at least pay attention to where the glass was flying?

And this my friends is the problem with our hyper-connected society. I've said it a million times and I'm sure many other pundits and bloggers have as well, but, my God, people, pay attention! While we are texting and calling and iConnecting, there are wonderful and horrible things happening in the world that we are missing because most of us refuse to live in the moment!

Put down your mobile device, for God's sakes, and see what you're missing!