This is Kevin McClarnon, Casey's husband. It has been decided that craft beer is my domain so I am here to share our hoppy story. The second brewery that Casey and I visited since moving to NJ is Cricket Hill Brewery based out of Fairfield, NJ. It is fairly close to where we live, and I randomly bought, and enjoyed their Hypnotic IPA giving us reason enough to kill a Saturday there.
The tour itself was pretty unremarkable, it seemed as though it is a typical microbrewery. Fun fact: brewery tours are required for tastings at breweries in NJ. The brewery was cool but nothing about it stood out in comparison to some of the other breweries and tours that we've been in on. One highlight was the presentation of the chemical equations that go into brewing. It was over both of our heads, but interesting nonetheless.
The tastings were ample and of a generous size. We sampled Cricket Hill's American Pale Ale, Colonel Blides ESB, East Coast Lager, Hopnotic IPA, and their Pumpkin Ale out of their year-round brews. The small batch brew on tap was their Sim-Notic Imperial IPA. The IPA and Imperial IPA were pretty good, not great, as was the East Coast Lager. The rest of their offerings were mediocre at best. I'm not a fan of pumpkin beers, so I'm biased, but I found their pumpkin ale to be disgusting. All in all we had a blast trying out new beers(who doesn't?), but were not overly impressed with Cricket Hill's offerings. We much preferred the atmosphere and staff at New Jersey Brewing Co., but were definitely pleased with the sizes of the tastings at Cricket Hill.
Bottom Line: If you are seeking to try a new, above average IPA, give Cricket Hill a shot. Just know that there are better ones out there, presumably closer to where you live.