Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cold Irons Bound

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant has just announced that after five years at their West Chester, PA location, Head Brewer Chris LaPierre is heading to New Jersey to open the company's first Garden State location in Maple Shade, with Larry Horwitz taking over in West Chester. This will be the eighth Iron Hill location overall, with the others spread out over Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania.

Look for the Maple Shade location to open it's doors in mid-July. If you've never been to an Iron Hill, do yourself a favor and find time in your schedule to visit one. I've been to the Wilmington, DE and Media, PA locations on several occasions and cannot say enough good things about them. The beers are always spot on and the food is quite good as well. The staff is also well versed in the styles and selections on hand, which is a pleasant change of pace from the many bars and brewpubs that simply throw their bartenders into the fire without proper beer education. While I would certainly like to see a location open even closer to me still (I think a location in a place like Red Bank, NJ would do a ton of business), I am happy that my journey to pick up some growlers of Pig Iron Porter just got a little shorter.

Speaking of both Iron Hill and beer-to-go, it just recently dawned on me that New Jersey has some very outdated liquor laws that may throw a wrench into the Maple Shade location being able to sell their bottled products to go. I initially did not think they'd be able to even sell the bottles for consumption on site, but after an email exchange with Iron Hill Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson, he confirmed that they do not foresee an issue filling and selling 750mL bottles for sale on site (and I would have to agree as after I received his reply I did recall that the Tun Tavern in Atlantic City has sold their anniversary beer in 750mL bottles on site in the past), but the laws only allow for beer-to-go to be sold in refillable containers and they are still trying to understand if the 750mL bottles would classify as such. Personally (and unfortunately) I have a feeling that is going to be a battle that they will not likely win, at least in the short term.