In Search Of "Jersey Beverages"
Updated: Mar 24
Well, it's been a year since the Pandemic shutdown and everyone is getting a bit itchy and edgy. I've been calling these occasional meltdowns a "pandemic crazy moment". They come and go depending on your day, and what you would like to be doing. I had one on Sunday, but as always, I turned lemons into lemonade!
The day began with my husband and I venturing out to work on the yard and our gardens, so we needed to do some plant and tree shopping. We decided to go west today for a change of scenery. I have the "travel bug" and need to keep moving and exploring, so here we went on our weekly adventure!
We made two stops at beautiful NJ garden centers, but they were either closed or closed early due to this pandemic. With a bit of frustration, I suggested we go for beverages. It was only 3 pm which is usually a bit early for me except for an event, but, we are still deep into this pandemic, so, there are all new rules!
Our first stop AFTER the two closed stops was Screaming Hill Brewery (www.screaminhill.com). My kids have been here and loved it, but it was also closed. Google help! Find me SOMETHING nearby that is open haha! And reliable Google did just that! My husband likes beer and me wine, so we decided to be fair about this new adventure, and find both a winery and brewery. Something went right today as Working Dog Winery (www.workingdogwinerynj.com) and Old Heights Brewing Company (www.oldheightsbrewingcompnay.com) are 2.7 miles apart! Two huge smiles prevailed, and off we went!
First stop, Working Dog Winery which is "nestled in the rolling hills of Mercer County". As per their label, "Working Dog Winery was founded in 2001 to create high quality wines that celebrate the Garden State." We had our pup Meia in the car this entire ride, so she was also excited for her new adventure. She was very welcomed at this winery as they are dog friendly. We pulled up 15 minutes later to a parking lot of cars, people, a band, and lots of wine! Yay! We found "normal"!
The staff at this winery were so accommodating and friendly. They welcomed all of us, brought us two chairs and an ice bucket for our bottle of Chardonnay, and the sipping started! Meia had met a new friend too, so this beautiful sunny spring day was looking up. As a note, due to the pandemic, only bottles are being sold, so if you don't bring your own glasses, you must purchase them when purchasing wine. We bought the small glasses which were only $2.00 each (Reminder: we had to head to the brewery next per our "deal"), but you can also buy the larger glasses for $3.50 each. My preference has always been Chardonnay, so we purchased the 2019 Chardonnay, a full-bodied wine which was very tasty!
Although sitting among the vineyard and in the yard with a patio and tables was perfect today, I'm also looking forward to sipping inside on our next visit. The beautiful interior was rustic with open windows looking out onto the vineyard. It was a gorgeous day, so I think everyone was sitting outside to enjoy some Vitamin D with their wine!
Time to go! I always keep my end of the bargain, so off to Hightstown down the road to the brewery. I'm not a beer drinker per se, but I will try one here and there, and today was the day, again, because we are in a pandemic. Also, we have this fun family thing we do between my husband and my son-in-law, Tyler, where they continually introduce each other to some really cool beers. And this was the place to add to their sampling collection!
Bob bought a 4 pack of "Fingers Crossed", a red IPA at 7.6% for their "home gifting", as we sipped "Ruggy's Hill", a New England style India Pale Ale with talus, citra and sabro at 7.5%. Yum! Who knew that I liked beer??? We went back to purchase another 4-pack as we both loved this beer and we knew Tyler would too, but they just sold the last one! Let me tell you, this is a HOPPING place! (haha pun intended).
After taking many pictures as I do, one of the staff came up to me and I introduced myself telling him about this article I was writing. He gave me a tour and introduced me to some other beers. Although the outdoor deck was open with firepits, the inside was opening very shortly. They have an upstairs loft, a merch shop and rustic tables with open windows. Again, our type of place!
So today turned into a "lemonade" day! It was fun exploring and sipping on just another "Pandemic Sunday" or as I always say, "Sunday FUNday"! See you there!