No Two Jersey Girls Are Alike: Charles Aaron of Jersey Girl Brewing

August 4, 2017

 

For many years I’ve been a fan of the local food scene in my area.  Whether it’s been the new coffee shop down the street or that new Italian family restaurant, I always try to stop in and introduce myself. For the last two years I have covered the Jersey City Brew Fest for a local beer distributor.  It was at this event that I had my first Jersey Girl beer.

 

I was really impressed with their beer and the co-owner Charles Aaron.  He invited me out to the brewery to get a firsthand look. 

 

Bvster:

 

How did you get into brewing beer? 

 

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

Mike and I have a definitive love for craft beer and we realized back in early 2014 that we wanted to get into the craft beer industry.  I had an opportunity to change my career and I got together with Mike, who I have known for 14 years at that point. One night I asked him, “Are you really interested in opening up a brewery?”  He said, "Yes if we could do something together that would be great so let's try to make that happen." 

 

I took on the brewery full time while Mike still worked his regular job.  He's a partner at an insurance company.  This was also when Governor Christie had just changed legislation to allow beer sales in the brewery sample rooms.  This was changing the whole industry and over the last couple of years you could see how many breweries have popped up.   

 

 Bvster:

 

Do you have a beer mentor, someone who showed you the ropes?

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

Mike had been a home brewer for a number of years before he started a family.  Mike knows quite a bit about beer.  When Mike and I started we made a point to go out and visit local breweries that were up and running at the time.  There were not as many as there are now so it was kind of an easy process; Cricket Hill, Ramstein, Angry Erik just to name a few locals.  We even went to Forgotten Boardwalk, and Carton.  We found that at every brewery we went to, there was an openness and a willingness to talk about the beer process. We ended up getting advice from all the places we visited.  To answer the question, not necessarily one mentor but many different opinions and voices that helped us. 

 

Also, I think that Cricket Hill being so close allowed me to go over there a couple of times and watch how they brewed and see firsthand their bottling process.  The office I worked out of at the time was only about two miles away from where they're located.  I spent a lot of time in the environment and it really kind of helped me understand what the day to day operations would look like. 

 

Bvster:

 

How is your brewery connected to your local area?  

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

Before we opened we launched our Facebook page and our social media platform.  Jersey Girl as a brand picked up many social media followers.  I think we're up to about 11,000 followers on Facebook and probably around 3,500 on Instagram.  It allows us to reach a larger statewide audience through social media at the local level.  For more important things we do a lot of work with local first responder agencies.  Our first event that we did was with the local police department where they had a steak dinner.  Last year we worked with Bud Lake Fire and Rescue to sponsor a carnival with them. We provided beer and they handled the beer tent at the carnival.  That was really near and dear to us to help them out. There are a lot of volunteers in this town so we try to do something at the local level to help them. We want to be part of our local community because Mike and I live here and that is most important to us. 

 

 

Bvster:

 

Do you have a favorite style of beer to brew or drink? 

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

I'm a big fan of lagers and Mike is a big fan of IPAs.   I was never a big fan of IPAs, but Mike has helped me to understand how there are a wide variety.  They didn't really feature the hop as much as it featured the bittering. That was a trend for quite a while.  I think what I've been exposed to more lately are things like Swish from Bissel Brothers which is just an absolutely delicious IPA.  It is easy to drink and features a lot of complimentary hops.  Another delicious IPA is Tasty Jams Citra Mosaic from Brix City

 

 

 

Bvster:

 

How many beers do you have currently on tap in your tasting room? 

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing): 

 

We have nine beers on tap right now. We are trying to finalize our new West Coast style IPA and then that would make ten. We have everything across the bar from light to dark and a couple of IPAs. We definitely want to make sure that we have enough on tap for people to explore. We have a Hefeweizen, a Mo Pils which is our new pilsner, a Sun Kissed Citra IPA, a Rake Braker IPA, and we have what we call our Abbey Dubbel Trouble.  We also have a triple Belgian called King Gambrinus,  a Russian Imperial, Brown Ale and a Elder Lemon Weizen. 

 

 

Bvster:

 

What is your best-selling beer right now? 

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

Rake Breaker by far is our number one selling beer. 

 

 

Bvster:

 

Besides coming to the brewery, where else can someone find your beers? 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

We were self-distributing when we first opened and we decided that if we're going to reach more people we would have to bring in a distributor. We now have three distributors that carry and cover our beer to 11 counties in New Jersey.  That’s as far as we want to go right now until we add more tanks. You can find our beers in retailers such as Buy Rite, Shoprite and Joe Canels as well as bars and restaurants.

 

 

Bvster:

 

Okay you don't have to tell me your age, but what was the first beer you ever drank? 

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

That's a good question.  I'm from Louisiana originally and my grandfather lived in Texas and we used to go visit him when I was a kid. I remember it was a Miller and my grandfather used to let me have just a little bit out of the neck of the bottle.  Don't tell my mom any of this stuff!   

 

 

Bvster:

 

Where did the name Jersey Girl Brewing come from? 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

Mike and I were working on names for the brewery for months.  I called him up one night and I said I got a name for you, let’s call it “Jersey Girl Brewing Company.” I told him to sleep on it and we'll talk about it tomorrow.  I have grown up and lived in New Jersey now for quite a while.  The one thing you need to know about New Jersey is that no two Jersey girls are alike no matter where you go.  North, south, east or west, shore girls, city girls - they're all different and it's fantastic.  It's what makes New Jersey unique. Craft beer is different everywhere you go.  I said well doesn’t Jersey Girl then represent the diversity of our beers?  We're proud to be from New Jersey, we chose Jersey Girl to represent homage to our Jersey Girls. 

 

 

Bvster:

 

If space aliens came down and abducted you forever, what one beer style would you need to take with you?  

 

Charles Aaron (Jersey Girl Brewing):

 

I love lagers and barrel aged Bourbons.  I would take one of my own beers, our MO Pils pilsner.  But if aliens are coming down to abduct me then I might as well share it with them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jersey Girl Brewing Company

Address: 426 Sand Shore Road, Hackettstown, NJ

Hours: Thurs-Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat 1pm-9pm, Sun 1pm-6pm

 

 

What's on the best things to eat with beer? Pizza of course. Check out our previous article about Pizza Masters, a Jersey City Heights classic pizza joint. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jersey City NJ

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