Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quaffing's Easier Than Parking

Why is it that some of the best beer places are in towns with the greatest parking challenges?

Like Pilsener Haus in Hoboken, The Office in Morristown, World of Beer and Harvest Moon in New Brunswick and Triumph in Princeton. 

I mean, Hoboken, Morristown and New Brunswick are like, you know, real cities. But Princeton is a college town, and it should be deserted in summer, no?


I attended the morning session of Coach Chris Ayres' excellent Princeton Wrestling Camp, then hopped astride my iron horse to meet the coach for libation and victual at Triumph Brewpub, right on Nassau St. Chris and I go back a decade, and when he was assisting at Lehigh camps, we'd frequent the Tally-Ho Tavern at night, affectionately known by the locals as "The Ho."

Coach Chris Ayres
There were never any parking problems there, and the beer list was pretty good. But Triumph in Princeton makes its own beer--it was just the second brewpub in NJ--and its beers are pretty darned good, too. That includes their locations in New Hope and Old City, Philadelphia. Moreover, it will soon include Red Bank.

Even on two wheels, finding a parking place was a major challenge, and after three trips around the block, hoping that I'd catch some Princetonian getting into their car in front of the pub, I finally gave up. Some parking meters on the back streets only allow 30-minute parking, so what good is that when there are beers to sample?

Scrappy Sara
Instead, I went around the back of the pub and found Kopp's Bicycle Shop, which has its own parking lot. The proprietors were nice enough to allow my two wheels to join their collection of bikes while I ate lunch, and I raised my first pint to their hospitality. That pint was a delightful saison of 5.9% ABV that was chock full of flavor and big on refreshment. Coach Chris, normally a hophead, agreed and Sara poured us two.

I got a chance to chat with new brewer Brendan Anderson who took over in May for good old boy Tom Stephenson, the horticulturist-turned-brewer, whose recipes put Triumph on the map. I'll have a more in-depth chat with Brendan in an upcoming blog. Anderson oversees the brewing operation in all three locations. But as he was busy making Coach Chris's favorite Bengal Gold IPA, he didn't have much time to spare today.

Brewer Brendan Anderson
That left the afternoon open to catch up with Chris (who wisely used his bicycle as transport), to talk wrestling, talk beer, talk family, etc. Chris may even try his hand at the Brewer's Apprentice in Freehold. I told him to mention my name if he went...then be prepared to run like hell.

So I scored a free parking space, had some great beer, some excellent food, great company and good conversation. In all, a pretty good afternoon.

Except for the parking.

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