Carl Craft

Carl Craft

Carl Craft

Some Jersey Shore restaurants are doing a great job of curating beer lists from local and regional breweries making them places to find great craft beer on tap.

The craft beer scene is exploding; everyone knows that. These days when I go out to eat, I have two decisions to make: What am I hungry for? And, what am I thirsty for? Usually that means, “craft beer on tap”.

That’s right, I’m part of a growing number of people who consider what craft beers are on tap at a specific location as I decide where I’m going to have lunch or dinner. Call us, “Crafties” or “Beerheads”.

So, with the help of some of my Beerhead buddies, I put together a list of places in Monmouth County that have great beer lists to go along with their kitchen offerings.  Coming soon, the Beerhead list for Ocean County. 

Before the list hits, here are the qualities that make a place qualify for a Beerhead:

  • Yes, there’s got to be multiple beers on tap; but the beer offered has to be a mix of styles.  They all can’t be heavy double IPA’s.  I want a mix of sours, ales, lagers, IPA’s, and stouts.  Possibly more.
  • The mix of beer on tap should definitely include local craft beers.  Local breweries should be featured because – beyond it being the “right thing to do” – beer should be consumed young.  Less time spent rumbling highways from far away, the better.
  • Regional craft breweries should be represented too.  For us that means PA, NY, Vermont and beyond.
  • Last but not least:  knowledge. The person behind the bar should have a decent handle on what each beverage brings to the glass.

With all that in mind, here’s a list of restaurants in Monmouth County that I think have a good handle on all these ideas ending up with good choices for people looking for good craft beer on tap.

  • Maloney's In Matawan

    Once Donnie the Beer Guy sailed off into the sunset, the Maloney’s crew stepped up to the table for our Morning Rat Race beer tastings.  And man, does Maloney’s have a great selection.  At any given time they have over 120 beers on tap.  Local, regional, national and international.  They even dabble in ciders on tap!  Plus the kitchen absolutely knows what end is up.

    If you can’t find a beer on tap that you like at Maloney’s, you should probably stick to water and wine.

  • Asbury Festhalle

    Here’s a fun fact that just might win your heart (because it won mine).  The Asbury Festhalle crew stopped by The Rat a few years ago – dunno might have been a dozen years, they all melt together after a while – to do a quickie beer and food tasting on the morning of the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patricks Day Parade.  But this beer and food tasting was unlike any other:  It was a beer and Girl Scout Cookie beer tasting.

    Yeah, so that was pretty cool.  What isn’t cool is the fact that this great spot is currently closed for renovation and repairs as a result of a freak rain event in the Fall of 2023.  They plan to reopen sometime in early of 2024.

    I credit this place with the popularity of the giant soft-pretzel.  Before they brought that back, no one really had that on the menu.  Their beer list is quite decent too.  You get a good amount of German influence (duh); but you get local and regional oat soda too.

  • Jamian's in Red Bank

    Jamian’s doesn’t have a ton of taps.  And they don’t really “market” themselves as a Beerhead joint (one peek at their Insta and you’d never know they have a decent tap selection).  But the fact that they have a Lawson’s beverage on tap makes them a destination and an immediate indication that someone knows what the heck they’re doing.  Lawson’s Finest Liquids is a literal “sip of sunshine” or so goes the name.

    Jamian's Taps 1

    Taps as of 6.8.23

    Jamian's Taps 2

    Jamian’s Taps as of 6.8.23 (2)

  • B2 Bistro and Bar, Red Bank

    B2 in Red Bank has a well thought out rotating craft beer selection.  And you’re not gonna be surviving in Red Bank calling yourself a, “Bistro” and have a faulty dining experience.

    Fun fact:  they offer growlers to go.  This tends to be something that only a Beerhead would appreciate.  If the place thinks their beers are such an exclusive thing that you’d want to bring some home in a bottle, it’s probably a sign they have a good list.

  • Woody's In Farmingdale

    Woody’s Roadside is a pretty well known place; the vibe is a joint you can bring the whole family to.  But hiding behind the roadside pub bar is a beer list that is pretty versatile and flexible.  This list is all about the tap; but I’ll add an honorable mention to Woody’s craft beer available in cans.

    Plus, an insider tip:  The fish taco’s are absolutely smashing and the wings here ain’t too shabby!

  • Asbury Ale House

    While Asbury Ale House doesn’t have the magnitude of taps that, say, Maloney’s in Matawan (see above) has… they have a good mix of offerings on tap.  Local and regional choices with a total of 30 choices from breweries located here in the Garden State.

    They claim to have the “largest local beer list in New Jersey”.  And a fun tip about Asbury Ale House is that if you order the beer that kicks the keg, you get a free t-shirt.


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    A post shared by ASBURY ALE HOUSE (@asburyalehouse)

  • Aroogah's In Howell

    Honestly:  I was pleasantly surprised by this chain’s local beer offerings.  Most chain restaurants carry only the big, national beer brands.  And, yes, those are well represented at Aroogah’s on Rt. 9 in Howell.  But the craft beer vibe was strong here.  Theirs was a list that was more regional than specifically local, but for a chain to have a tap system this extensive is impressive.

    I went there based on the recommendation on their Chicken Wings; yeah, I’m a wing-head too.  I was impressed with the wings too.  The Lakewood area is a dead zone for craft beer on tap, except for Icarus Brewing of course, and this place is just north of the Lakewood/Howell border on Route 9 North.

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