We are running out of breweries to sample in our immediate vicinity, and so on a recent Monday afternoon, Patrick and I decided to venture a little further from home. This visit found us heading to Ocean View to sample the beers of the Ludlam Island Brewery. As with many such operations, this one is located in a warehouse like structure in an industrial park. It's a bit off the beaten path, but easy enough to locate with the help of Google Maps. Upon entering we found ourselves in a small but homey environment, with rich wood paneling and fun touches like a taxidermy deer head. The self-guided tour, which is required before drinking in all New Jersey breweries, was well put-together as well, and smelled pretty good as a result of the coffee being produced in the space next door.
As usual when we visit a brewery for the first time, we each ordered a flight of 4 beers. I ordered the Lamplight IPA, East Koast Kolsch, Foundation Rye Pale Ale, and Reuben Gose. Patrick ordered largely the same with the one difference being his selection of the Harry's Coffee Pale instead of the IPA.
I found the Lamplight to be a decent beer. I am not a huge fan of IPA's in general but still found this one pretty drinkable and less tart than some others I've tried. It seemed like a good introduction to that variety of beer, and mild enough that it could be just the thing to bring me around to enjoying them more in general. The East Koast Kolsch was also pretty good, if not exactly overly exciting. It was a smooth, easy-to-drink beer that doesn't really stand out, but is unlikely to offend anyone either. The Foundation Rye Pale Ale was another one that while decent, was also rather unremarkable. It was refreshing and easy-to-drink, but unlikely to be remembered. Patrick found the Harry's Coffee Pale also surprisingly unremarkable.
The most notable of those we tried was the Reuben Gose. Patrick found it very intriguing and fairly quickly finished his off. I, on the otherhand, thought it a bit too weird and off-putting. It is described as having rye bread & caraway flavors and as being "funky", and those are pretty apt descriptors. The rye flavor in particular comes through at the beginning of each sip, but as you taste it more the inexplicable and "funky" part takes over. I can honestly say that I have no words to describe whatever the secondary flavor in the beer is, as I have never tasted anything like it before, and I have no interest in ever tasting it again.
It was a nicely appointed facility with a comfortable and friendly atmosphere, unfortunately most beers don't really do anything to stand out, and the one that does does so in the worst way possible (though admittedly Patrick wasn't as much against the Gose as I was). If you're in the area it might be worth a trip, but I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to check it out.