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ON TAP: A selection of beers awaits
tasters at the Beach
Inset: John Merklin
adds ingredients to
a batch of beer.
[CRAFT BREWING] BY KRISTEN FISCHER
Haus of Beer
SINCE ITS START, Beach Haus Brewery
has had Jersey Shore ownership, Jersey
Shore attitude and a flagship brew—
Beach Haus Classic American Pilsner—
with a crisp taste intended as a Jersey
Shore refresher. This summer it can
boast the long-awaited missing piece: a
Jersey Shore microbrewery and taproom
six blocks from the beach in Belmar.
Launched in 2007 by Jersey guys
John Merklin and Brian Ciriaco, Beach
Haus had been producing its beers
under contract with a brewery in upstate
New York. The new Belmar brewery
at 801 Main Street—the former site of
Freedman’s Bakery—opened in May.
“We knew we wanted to be in a
prominent Jersey Shore town,” says
Merklin, a native of nearby Brick.
Now the brewers are poised to play a
prominent role in the town’s burgeoning
food-and-beverage scene. “We want this
to be a destination,” adds Merklin.
The brewery has the capacity to turn
out about 30,000 barrels of beer a year.
Visitors tour two floors of the spacious brewery before winding up in the
second-floor taproom, which includes
an open-air balcony.
The industrial-chic taproom—
available for private parties—features tables,
benches and bar wood reclaimed from
Freedman’s. In addition to keeping the
bakery’s original floors, the brewers
have concocted Herb’s Rye—a wheat
beer that pays tribute to bakery founder
Herb Freedman. His iconic bakery sign
was donated to the town. “We wanted
to be the best we could be for the town,”
Numerous beers were on tap during
an early-spring visit. Merklin promises
more offerings in the future, including
limited-time brews. Pints, ranging from
$5.50 to $6.50, along with $7 flights, are
the main attraction. A retail counter
sells growlers, T-shirts, hats, glasses and
other merchandise with the increasingly familiar Beach Haus logo.
The taproom does not serve food,
but patrons will be able to order from
Benny’s Fattoria, a new restaurant in
an adjoining second-floor space to be
launched by New Jersey native Biagio
“Benny” Schiano, who runs Mossuto’s
Market in Wall (review, page 104).
Benny’s will feature beer-friendly fare
such as sausage, bratwurst, kielbasa
and pretzels, along with pizza, pasta
dishes, sandwiches and salads. ;