Medford's Main Street Is Experiencing a Craft Beer Boom

by Erica Bauwens on May 18, 2016 in Beer

South Jersey and Main Street living go hand-in-hand — it’s a quick, city-esque escape when you can’t get over the bridge. But New Jersey liquor licenses are notoriously overpriced, leading many small Main Street-style businesses to skip the license and stay dry.

Thanks to new, more lenient laws in the state, however, breweries and even distilleries are now able to set up shop without shelling out hundreds of thousands on a liquor license. And one street in particular is seizing the opportunity with two breweries popping up just blocks from each other,and a distillery hopefully in the works.

Medford in Burlington County will soon be home to two craft breweries along their Main Street drag. The first comes by way of Lower Forge Brewery, owned and operated by Princeton firefighter Sean Galie. Galie, a Medford native, has been building up his brewery for a while, but it will officially open on May 19.

Lower Forge has held several pop-up openings, sampling their Healthy, Wealthy and Weizen German wheat beer and their Weizenheimer wheat with mango, pineapple and watermelon. They will also be debuting a black IPA called Vertically Challenged and a peanut butter stout — P.B.S. — as a nitro pour for their opening.

Their signature beer (named after Galie’s two kids) is an American Pale Ale called Mischief & Mayhem, made with locally sourced honey. Galie, along with his co-brewer and mother Pola Galie, will also be aging beers in bourbon barrels purchased from Heaven’s Hill Distillery in Kentucky.

As of now, Nale House has had several pop-up events, tapping their Nitro Stout, ale and more while also offering growlers, but owner and brewer Eric Leiner was unable to confirm an anticipated opening date at the time. Nale House’s Coffee Milk Stout is made using coffee from the local Harvest Coffee Roastery, paying homage to the area.

It probably doesn’t hurt both breweries’ causes that they are sandwiched between South Jersey Homebrew Supply, a well known home brewery store. If all goes well, even more is slated to come, as Galie hopes to turn Lower Forge into the state’s first craft brewery and distillery.

“New Jersey has not had a brewery/distillery since Prohibition and we've learned a lot about the next steps even as the ABC issued us our brewery license,” says Galie. “In the near future, we're going to start the next steps of the licensing process for the distillery but expect it to take a year or so until it comes to fruition.” He says he hopes to start distilling in late 2017 or early 2018.

Galie’s goal is to bring people back to Medford’s Main Street, and with a full lineup of beers to tour, that doesn’t seem like a hard goal to reach.

“Hopefully, we can help spark something new on Main Street and attract visitors to ourselves and all the cool neighboring shops.”

Photo via Lower Forge 
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