I went on a food/beerventure the other day with area food legend John Cohl. (@j_cohl) and our final and most fabulous stop was Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade, NJ. I’ve been to a few Iron Hills over the years, but it’s almost always been after a meal, so it was a huge treat to go and relax and eat and drink….and eat and drink I did. I decided to start with a flight, as I do whenever possible and I also decided to try some stuff that isn’t normally on my radar.
My favorite of the flight was the Cerberus (9.5% ABV 51 IBU). I think partly because of the orange peel and pomegranate and partly because of the high but smooth ABV. I also love this beer as a concept, it is a collaboration between the Head Chef Scot Seher, Head Brewer Josh Ervine and General Manager Scott Hill, hence the name Cerberus. For those of you who didn’t pay attention in high school, that’s the three headed dog of mythology . This beer is a great expression of how well this place works together from the beer to the food to the service. I also really enjoyed the Belgian Pale Ale (5.4% ABV 30 IBU). It has a bit of a citrus and light hop flavor. The Ore House IPA (6.5% ABV 55 IBU) is a house beer that’s available regularly and that’s great because it’s a good steady drinker, full of citrus and pine and not too much bitterness. The Peter Dunkelage (4.5% ABV) was the one I took a chance on because I’m trying to not drink the same thing over and over again. I didn’t love it, but it’s not because it’s not a good beer, it’s because I don’t like the style of beer. Malty just isn’t my thing.
Then we got some bonus beers! On the left is the Russian Imperial Stout on Nitro. On the right is the Cask Conditioned Russian Imperial Stout. You could have filled up all of my glasses with those two and I’d have been a very happy girl.
Then I got totally crazy and ordered a whole beer. It’s a Rising Sun (7.3% ABV 41 IBU) and you’ll have to pardon the finger prints, but I was eating some of the most ridiculously delicious wings and it gets messy. I don’t know why I’ve been out of the Sorachi Ace hops game my whole beer life, but this beer is so freaking good. It’s citrusy and hoppy & a wee bit spicy.
And then there’s the food. This stuff is beer food. No, it’s not burgers and pizza, though you can get that, too, it is fantastic food that goes great with beer. There is literally something for everyone, appetizers, shared plates, little salads, big salads, pizza, sandwiches, entrees, gluten allergy friendly…woah,the list goes on.
The shrimp and grits was a special. Anyone that knows me knows that I can eat grits 3 meals a day, you just have to change the mix in. The fact that these grits had bacon wrapped shrimp on them was enough. But that it was cooked with beer and other yumminess was really just the icing. It was so good, I could have had this as my entire meal.
The chipotle chicken wings were smokey, spicy and delicious. I love that they were nekkid..no breading to get in the way and they were just the perfect amount of sauce and side veggies and delicious dipping sauce.
I ate so much fat and drank so much beer on our adventure that I decided on a salad. I asked our server what he suggested and it was the Chicken Fajita salad. Never mind that it’s loaded with stuff and not exactly healthy, but it had lettuce and stuff so I felt ok about it. It was so good that even though I was completely stuffed, I did not leave one bit and it was not called a BIG SALAD for nothing. The thinly sliced jalapenos and the fresh avocado were probably my favorite part.
My foodie friend picked the Beef Stroganoff. I’ve had that dish a hundred times…out of a box, from the authentic restaurant down the road and on my Mother’s dining room table so I didn’t even think to look at the description. When the server asked how he wanted it cooked I did a double take. I’ve never had the dish where the meat was cooked to order. That’s because I never had it at Iron Hill. I didn’t have this there when it was freshly prepared, but I had the leftovers and it was so good then, I can’t imagine how fantastic it was when it was right out of the kitchen.
Another thing I didn’t order but ate later was the focaccia. I put it in my toaster oven and it was still good. So so good, with chunks of salt and herbs. I actually had to text John the next day and tell him how good it was.
I know this has been longer than most of my quickie reviews, but this experience needed it. If you get an opportunity to go to Iron Hill Brewery, you need to go. If you can make it to the one in Maple Shade, you absolutely have to go.
Thanks John for the play date 🙂