Sunday, July 03, 2016

Quick LBI Report and Ship Bottom Brewery Coming Soon to Bay Village (LBI)

This has been our first extended trip to Long Beach Island, NJ (LBI) this summer and despite chilly ocean temps (60 degrees yesterday and 67 today) and a breezy day which chased us from the beach after a few hours today the visit has been great.

After spending yesterday on the beach and grilling out for dinner we awoke this morning to Ryan inquiring exactly what time we'd be leaving to get our first taste of Crust & Crumb cream donuts of the summer. Regular readers might be aware that I'm not much of a "sweets guy", though I do like the occasional tiarmisu and homemade bread pudding.

But for me it's not really summer until I have a cup of Lobster Bisque at Howard's Restaurant (check!) and a cream donut (or several) from Crust & Crumb. With everybody still lounging about after a long and well-deserved sleep and the first breakfast of Fruit Loops keeping nine-year-old Ryan at bay (I know, nine years... I've failed as a parent), we waited until our nephew was headed out, borrowed my father-in-law's car and headed down to Bay Village.

Surprisingly, while the back roads were packed with bike riders/runners and the main drag was clogged with cars we quickly found a parking spot at Bay Village and hustled our way into Crust & Crumb. Expecting a line out the door we were pleasantly surprised we were able to squeeze into the small establishment and had a few minutes before ordering so I could snap a picture of the Naragansett "Crush It Like Quint" retro can poster and send it to my similarly obsessed buds.

After securing a dozen donuts (hey, we're here for a few days) and an elephant ear we made a quick pit stop at the closest beer store to see what I could find in the way of craft brew. Unfortunately, on the island you're sort of at the mercy of the few stores that carry beer so you have to be willing to pry open that wallet and fork it over. But even I'm not willing to pay $19 for a six pack of Green Flash West Coast IPA although I was somewhat shocked that Ballast Point Big Eye (my favorite beer of the moment) was a mere $2.50 more than I'm used to paying at home.

Luckily, I spied a slightly familiar looking can at a more palatable $12.99 and decided to grab the Spellbound Brewing IPA. I haven't had this since my wife's uncle brought some down for our annual Xmas Eve Party and Unofficial Craft Brew Fest, but I recalled the can nonetheless. Crisp and hoppy with pine and citrus notes it's a nice example of the craft brewing that's at work all over the country, even in such surprising locations as South Jersey.

And speaking of brewing, after a quick stop to fish off the dock and walk around Bay Village we were happy to discover that Ship Bottom Brewery is opening a tap room right next to and above Spice It Up. While they're only selling merchandise at the moment we had a chance to pop in, take a look at the still under construction brewing tanks and chat with Rick the tap room manager. He says that they're waiting for licensing and that they plan to open later this month. Brews are currently available at a few local spots such as Tuckers and The Plantation but their lineup includes Beach Patrol Hefeweizen, a blueberry wheat ale (Blueberry Bikini Bottom), The Shack IPA (which pays homage to an LBI landmark), an IPA collaboration that shares its name with local eatery The Chicken or The Egg, and an awesome sounding west coast style double IPA that promises to pack a 10.4% ABV punch (Double Overhead).

The south end of Long Beach Island has long been in need of a place where you can pop in while shopping or after a day at the beach and have a quick, delicious local beer or three. I'll be dropping in to Ship Bottom Brewery as soon as humanly possible and will be shore, er, sure to report back then. – Dan Taylor

No comments: