Come in from the heat and cool down with Dark City Brewing Company’s craft beers. Asbury Park’s first brewery opened January 8, 2016, after an extensive buildout of its 2nd Avenue space, outfitted with all custom-fabricated equipment. What used to be half-woodshop and half-thrift store is now a seven-barrel brew house with three 15-barrel fermenters, a milling room, and a tasting room.
Says founder and owner Kevin Sharpe, “We try to make eccentric beers that are twists on different standard styles of beer. We also try to use local ingredients whenever possible, like right now we have a beer on tap that was exclusively brewed with fresh hops grown in Colts Neck at the Fir Farm, and we always have a coffee beer on tap using coffee from the Asbury Park Roastery, which is right now a coffee IPA for spring and summer time that is really lemony and bright and delicious.”
DCBC offers American-style and Belgian-style ales with an American spin, so you’ll find a Belgian IPA and a Belgian pale ale, and we can expect that the additional warehouse space is going to facilitate some tasty expansions. Speaking of tastings, it is required that every visitor take a tour, which is usually led by Sharpe, before you get to sample the wares. “I don’t get many days off,” he says, laughing. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun. It doesn’t really feel like work.”
He adds, “I always make sure I ask people where they come from. We’ve had people come from Vermont, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and a lot from New York, and then you get a lot of New Jersey folks who travel pretty far in Jersey to come visit us.” Sharpe previously worked in digital marketing, advertising, and web design. “That experience has given Dark City Brewing a pretty awesome brand and brand voice, and a really, really incredible following on Facebook, Instagram, and our mailing list,” says Sharpe. “And all those people, they’re very interested in what we’re up to, and we try to keep it fresh and interesting as far as what we’re producing and what we’re saying online. People seem to be digging it so far.”
Enter the tasting room… Enjoy a four-beer sampling flight comprising any of the on-tap offerings. We could describe them, but not better than Dark City’s website. Four-ounce individual samples and pints are also available, and if you especially like something, take home cans or even a 32- or 64-oz. growler (basically a jug) to keep the night going. Merchandise, including glassware and shirts, is also available.
Further supporting others in their creative endeavors, which is truly what DCBC is, the brewery displays a mural by a local artist that changes every six months and screen prints that rotate out monthly. “I have a lot of friends who work in art galleries or are artists themselves, so I put them on the wall and give them recognition,” says Sharpe.
801 2nd Ave., Asbury Park
Open four days a week to the public: Thurs-Fri: 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 12 p.m.-8 p.m.
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