Beer. Apparently I have missed out on this particular joy for the majority of my adult life. Which is too bad, because it turns out, it pairs perfectly with some of my favorite flavors in food. And more importantly, it’s yet another thing husband Gary and I can enjoy together, because it also turns out he’s a big craft beer fan.
Enter Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery. A sister restaurant to one of my long-time favorites, Huntley Taverne, I became aware of it during research for restaurant options in the area featuring a full bar. And that was just the beginning.
photo by daniel krieger
Trap Rock is a working craft microbrewery, with eight to ten offerings rotated through the taps. They focus on American comfort food in a European ski lodge setting, making it the perfect pairing for my favorite stouts in both flavor palette and atmosphere.
It works on multiple levels. I’ve recommended Trap Rock to friends looking to host a family-friendly celebratory dinner for a crowd, stopped by for lunch with my own children, and cozied up with my husband on date night. The range of menu options will please any palate, and the strong wine list and focus on the art of the cocktail will make all the adults happy.
photo by daniel krieger
On the beer menu, my favorites have been Nefarious, a strong and slightly sweet Belgian Strong Ale, the Polar Vortex, a chocolate and malt Porter, and the Envious Stout, which sadly has been out of rotation lately [bring it back!]. My husband of the more varied beer drinking palette likes the Ghost Pony, a Munich style lager, and Professor Bob’s Brown Ale, a hand pump, less carbonated Ale served a little warmer. You can see the range of this microbrewery from our choices alone. And don’t worry, there are always plenty of options for you hop-loving IPA fans.
photo by martin knize via unsplash
The food is all distinctly beer-friendly. Some of our favorites? We always start with the homemade potato chips in blue cheese sauce. They are so. delicious. and pair with just about everything, as tested by Gary during a recent beer flight. The tuna tartare was a surprise hit, as was the arugula and heirloom carrot salad with pomegranate seeds, pickled onions and spiced yogurt. Not the standouts you would expect at an American comfort food-focused establishment, each speaks to the versatile menu and chef.
photo by pawel kadysz via pexels
The baja swordfish tacos with lime-drenched pico de gallo and crunchy cabbage were a surprise favorite at this comfort food haven. The brussels sprouts caramelized with crispy bacon make these vegetables irresistible for kids of all ages. My personal favorite is the ricotta gnudi with roasted butternut squash in a brown butter, parmesan and sage sauce; it makes a delicious pairing with the Envious Stout. For those craving true comfort, the chicken and waffles in maple sausage gravy pairs perfectly with the Nefarious. You’ll need to Uber home, but it’s worth it.
photo by Daniel Krieger
Dessert doesn’t fall short here. The cookie skillet sundae is every bit as deliriously decadent as it sounds, and perfect for a family share. Again this menu is full of surprises — two items that didn’t bounce off the menu were amazing in the mouth. The brown sugar chess pie and the apple pie deconstructed “donut” were hits, ending the meal paired perfectly with our favorite beers.
Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery
279 Springfield Avenue ⋅ Berkeley Heights ⋅ (908) 665-1755 ⋅ website