Home Culture A Trip to Readington Brewery + Hop Farm in Neshanic Station, NJ

A Trip to Readington Brewery + Hop Farm in Neshanic Station, NJ

by Diana Cooper
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Readington Brewery + Hop Farm is the only hop farm brewery in New Jersey and is located in Neshanic Station — just under an hour away from Montclair. The dozen types of beers served here are all handcrafted in-house and served only at the brewery. Having been open for two-and-a-half years, Readington has become the go-to hangout spot for many locals and has piqued the interest of outsiders who have heard about the establishment’s live music, festivals, and other exciting events (think goat races!). Read on to learn more about Readington Brewery + Hop Farm in Neshanic Station, New Jersey.

readington brewery exterior

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

The Ivy at Chatham

Year-Round Brewery

Readington Brewery was founded by Dan Aron and Braun Kiess, two men who have been business partners for 20 years. The owners purchased the 25 acres of farm, without knowing what they were going to build on the property. However, after brainstorming ideas, Dan and Braun ultimately decided on making it a brewery — one that was planned in a way that customers could see everything being grown.

“You could walk around the fields, you could smell it, you could taste it, and then you could see it being made. So that whole field to glass was really the idea,” Braun, who has an entrepreneurial background in tech startups and finance, told The Montclair Girl.

readington brewery beer variety

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

The founders had experience brewing together as far back as the late 1990s, but when it came to operating Readington Brewery, they hired brewmaster Warren Wilson and assistant brewmaster Dave Cinquina. It all starts in the hop farms where one of the main ingredients of beer is grown — apart from the water, yeast, and barley (also grown on the farm). Located to the left of the brewery, there are hundreds of hops that are harvested from May to August. The hops (seven varieties) are wrapped around individual telephone poles and sprout from the ground up.

Read More: Must-Visit Rooftop + Outdoor Bars in the Montclair Area

At the end of August/beginning of September, Readington Brewery hosts its annual Hop Harvest Weekend. Braun explained, “We cut down the ropes and we kind of throw them over the fence. We have some music playing. We give everybody a little bucket. If you pick a bucket of hops, you get a free beer. And that day we’ll usually brew our Black Betty, which is a black IPA, and that beer uses all our own hops.”

readington brewery hop farms

The brewing of the assorted beers occurs all year round, normally two to three times per week. Inside the property, a variety of tanks can be seen, including fermentation tanks, brite tanks, and hot liquor tanks. The 10 barrel brewing system makes 20 kegs at a time and altogether, the process can take 10 hours a day. “We’re brewing while we’re open, and brew days are nice. It’s kind of a nice smell in there. And they’re fun days. We have a fun time,” Braun said.

 


 

Food + Drinks

All the beers on the menu are made and sold at the brewery. Some of the beers include Jager Lager (Czech-style pilsner), Day Dreamer (Belgian-style Witbier), Patriot (American IPA), Readington (Cream Ale) and Churchill (ESB). In addition to the beer, there is a birch beer, which has zero alcohol, and a hard seltzer made with lemon, lime, and hard kombucha. The sizes served for each are five ounces, 16 ounces, and 20 ounces. Flights are available as well to taste a variety of flavors. There are also canned beer bottles available to take home, but are not distributed elsewhere.

readington brewery interior

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

“We’re looking to brew a beer to the style based on the country it came from. You’ll see on the menu there’s the flags of the country because beer styles will vary by country too. So it should be a certain color, it should have a certain carbonation, it should have certain flavors and things like that. We’re very much always trying to beat the style. We use our own ingredients whenever we can,” Braun explained.

readington brewery playground firepit

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

Apart from the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, there are various snack options, such as butter and buffalo cheddar popcorn, pretzels from The Hangover Pretzel Company, and nuts from Bear Food. Since it’s a pet-friendly farm (there’s even a regular who brings his pet pig!), the team also sells snacks for dogs.

ama pizza delivery readington brewery

^ Food delivery from AMA Pizza + Gelato

Food can be brought in from outside or customers can get food delivered from nearby restaurants. Some local favorites include AMA Pizza + Gelato (Hillsborough), La Strada Cafe (Neshanic Station), Trattoria Uno (Branchburg), and Vinnie’s Pizza + Pasta (Branchburg). Aside from these locations, there are several food trucks that park on the property and serve customers at scheduled times. These include Endless Empanadas, Holy Que Smokehouse, Local Harvest Pizza, Marley’s Wings, Q Crew BBQ, and Things Señor Tacos.

Bigger + Better

Business at Readington Brewery has been successful, especially since food trucks tend to sell out before the end of the day. “I mean, we were very blessed. We were super busy from the day we opened. The day we opened there was a line out the door, down the sidewalk,” Braun told MG, reflecting on Black Friday of 2021.

A busy day at the farm can have nearly a thousand people throughout the day. There’s a reason why so many customers want a taste of this particular brewery. “I think our beer is the best, obviously, in our environment. We’re pretty much, I think, heads above everybody else now. There’s some great breweries in New Jersey. I think we offer a really nice mix, though, of great beer and a great atmosphere,” Braun shared.

readington brewery goats

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

Readington Brewery is home to five friendly goats that live in a separate fenced-in area and bring entertainment to the kids. The little ones can also play in the backyard playground as parents sit outside on the outdoor patio. At night time, there are a few wooded fire pits that can be lit up for a relaxing evening.

See More: Your Guide to Breweries + Outdoor Beer Gardens in Hudson County

There is no shortage of entertainment on the 25-acre farm. Customers can check out the events schedule to view the upcoming bands performing, animal adoption events, and festivals, such as the IPA Festival in August, Oktoberfest (featuring goat racing, stein holding competitions, German food, German attire contests), and the 1st Annual Beer Mile in November. Braun added, “We have MaiFest, which celebrates the planning. Oktoberfest celebrates the harvest. We have our annual Hops n Rods Classic Car Show. Then we do an IPA Fest, we do a LagerFest. For next year, we’re going to light up a Food Truck Festival and get 20 food trucks out in the field.”

readington brewery owners

^ Owner Braun Kiess (left) with a regular Photo Credit: Courtesy of Readington Brewery

Readington Brewery is located at 937 US Highway 202 South in Neshanic Station, New Jersey, and is open Sunday through Tuesday from 12PM to 8PM and Wednesday through Saturday from 12PM to 10PM. For more information, visit the website.

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