By Kurt Epps—The PubScout
Steve Scro is a driven man. He's driven to making his Mohawk House one of the premier food and beer destinations in the state, if not the tri-state area. And, judging by the lines of cars waiting to be valet-serviced before his special Lagunitas Night, much of the tri-state area was there.
Speaking of drives, Scro's Mohawk House, located in Sparta, NJ was more than an hour's drive for The PubScout, up 287 and Rt. 80 during rush hour. But it's one I make without complaint or reservation, because I know what's waiting for me when I get there: great beer, exceptional food, wonderful service and a mountain house atmosphere that just says, "Welcome to the family."
And to his already burgeoning family of beers, Scro added seven from Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA) last night. That Lagunitas was in the house this night made the drive even more acceptable. If you've ever had a Hairy Eyeball, you know what I'm talking about. On this night, though, the Eyeball was nowhere to be seen, but the blind hophead needn't have feared. After getting a neck pass from the affable Trevor, standing mountain-like in the door, he could just follow his nose to the bar where Maggie and her girls would gladly pour three IPA's—including one imperial/double called Farmhouse Hop Stoopid. The hophead could also revel in Lagunitas IPA (6.2%), A Little Sumpin' Sumpin'(7.5%), Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale (9.75%), my favorite Lucky 13.Alt(8.9%), a Pils (6.1%) and a Pale ale, New Dogtown with the lowest ABV in the mix at 5.3%.
Scro is also driven to do everything the "right" way, and that's why the crowds were out the door last night. When they did get in, they were served plattered foods, no doubt designed by the creative Chef Sabo, that were just as unusual and delicious as the beer. Spiced Pork belly Tacos were first, followed by a very tasty Liverwurst Baguette. A most unusual—and unusually good—Date Wrapped in Bacon Stuffed with Peanut Butter came next, and on its heels was a fit-in-your-palm Sweet Potato Danish. A delightful Tumbleweed Cheddar with a Fig on a Chocolate Oat Cracker was offered, and the last dish was called Turkey Bacon, Goat Cheese and "Goslowski" Sauce. I don't know who Goslowski is—or was—but he makes a good sauce.
While I schmoozed among the beer nuts, both neophyte and cognoscenti, the missus sat at the bar and enjoyed an "awesome Crab Cake, one of the best I've ever had." We befriended a mother-daughter couple named Anne (mom) and Peggy (daughter). I have often said that beer brings good people together (the subtitle of this blog says it, too), and Anne and Peggy proved it true. Anne, an old-fashioned, charming Irish gal from Vevay, IN (with a leprechaun's twinkle in her eye) was a delight in conversation, and she didn't look a day over 50. Her doting, statuesque daughter Peggy was cut from the same cloth. Meeting folks like that is perhaps the greatest benefit of beer events like this—after the beer, of course.
Because most of us were there "after the beer." But I noticed something unusual. The place was packed to the gills between 6 PM and 7:30, when, after my third Lucky 13, I saw that the bar suddenly had seats available. It was as though all the "Lagunitas People" had been transported. Which they had been, to the "backyard" of the sprawling Mohawk House near the bocce courts, enjoying the cool, fresh mountain air, a beautiful night, each other's company, and, naturally, the beer.
In all, a great night at the Mohawk House.
When's the next one? Whenever you can get there.
Don't forget to check out the pics to the right.
©Kurt Epps 2011 All rights reserved