This week’s recommendation comes from one of my longest supporters on Patreon: my Dad (hey, you have to start somewhere, right?). He manages a coffee shop on Main Street in Newark with a pastor from a church which meets in an industrial park. In that same industrial park are a couple of microbreweries, one of which is the subject of this week’s article (the other is called Autumn Arch, and I intend to go there too).
Midnight Oil Brewing Company has been making quite a stir among the local craft beer crowd; offering delicious brews with artful names like “Serenity” and “Your Mom” (and upstaging Evil Genius for a moment with that one). I’ve seen Serenity (which reminds me of #9) sell out faster than most other rotating beers at the restaurants where I work, and Your Mom is a fruity play on their more modest Blonde Ale, “Neutrino”—itself a delightfully mild (yet in no way bland) Blonde that’d pair well with any meal you desire.
In truth, both of my parents recommended Midnight Oil. They have date nights at brew pubs (starting with Argilla), and have since branched out to things further from their home. This is worth noting, because my Mother doesn’t like beer as a general rule. Don’t worry; there are beers she’s enjoyed (“I Love Lamp” by Evil Genius, for one), but they’re usually beers that taste like things other than beer. I’m not sure if she’d have liked anything on tap the night Morgan and I went. Still, she enjoys going for a couple drinks with my dad to sit at one of the hi-top tables on a Friday evening, because beer isn’t the only alcohol available. My Mother prefers red wine, so her options are decidedly a bit limited, but since she likes the things they have (which all come from one winery) and enjoys the ambience, Midnight Oil’s taproom is a yes—from a non-beer drinker.
Morgan and I certainly enjoyed our time sitting at Midnight Oil’s bar, not to mention our beers. Samples were free, and we were encouraged to try beers before buying pints. We were there far from peak hours, so bored bartenders could be a factor there, but some places don’t do free samples at all. The fact that Midnight Oil does sends a positive message about their relationship with us—the consumer. There’s a dart board (not sure if they have darts behind the bar) and a Galaga machine, there’s a bookshelf of board games and a glass chess set, and two pieces of a fluffy sectional sit facing a TV a touch more personal than the ones behind the bar. One of those TV’s was showing the original Jumanji with sound when we came in. It’s a relaxing place to hang out alone or in a group—or anything in between.
As much as this sounds like a cop out, we recommend all the beers we tried. The Irish Style Stout (named “Reilly”) is the closest thing I’ve had this side of The Pond to Guinness in Ireland. It’s roasty and complex, with coffee and chocolate notes. I only had a sample, but it felt like I could drink half a pint before even taking a breath. Morgan enjoyed her (10 oz. at 8% ABV) glass of “Paradox,” but her sample of “Impulse” was much more her speed. Paradox is referred to as a “Belgian IPA,” representing characteristics of Belgium’s more lambic beers while also bringing forth a strong, hoppy IPA flavor right at the front (the lambic flavors are usually at the end anyway). It’s a beer that’s not for everyone, but lovers of either of those styles owe this Paradox a taste at the very least. My glass of “Solar Flashlight” (a cherry Berliner Weisse at 4.7%) was a Sour, plain and simple. The pinkish hue made me smile as it poured from the spout, and my first sip of sour cherry excellence confirmed that this, like Morgan’s Paradox, was a beer to be savored. Enjoy it, and you’ll remember it fondly; these are not beers to be downed.
Midnight Oil Brewing Company is making quite a name for themselves, with an impressive spread of well-made offerings. Just during our visit, we tasted finely crafted IPA’s, Stouts, and Sours, and I know from experience they make a mean Blonde. Their taproom is a charming, relaxing place to hang out, and the variety of beers available means you’ll not run out of things to try in a hurry. I subscribed to their Untappd page so that I’ll know when their taps change; I can’t wait to go back.
Until then, hit up a local microbrew you haven’t yet and tell me about it in the comments below! Also, you can follow me on Facebook for my impressions on future beers or support me on Patreon for behind the scenes action.