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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 04:29

TTB signs off on Little Dog Brewing in Neptune City

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A peek at the goings on at Little Dog Brewing: a key milestone is passed and preliminary work goes on in the building.

The Neptune City brewery got the green light from federal regulators last week. The sign-off by the federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau comes as Little Dog is in the early phase of a buildout in the Steiner Avenue site that was last home to a coin laundry many years ago.

Little Dog owner Gretchen Schmidhausler, best known in the Garden State craft beer industry as the former brewer at Basil T’s in Red Bank, took the building over last year and successfully navigated her plans through the local zoning rules, a mundane-sounding task but still a rather significant part of the process of making Little Dog a reality.

Brewing-equipmentMid-April finds Little Dog at the stage of doing interior demolition and with construction permits pending so the floors can be set with drains and finished for the subsequent installation of 4-barrel brewing system that Gretchen plans to brew on. (The system launched Dave Hofftmann’s Climax Brewing in Roselle Park in the mid-1990s. Gretchen bought it from Dave in 2012 as Little Dog Brewing started to take shape.)

Steiner-Front-AfterGretchen projects opening to the public sometime in June or early July, offering German-style ales and seasonals for quart growler fills from what will be the brewery’s small taproom, and retailing takeout beers in bomber bottles.

Little Dog Brewing is among a handful of breweries coming online that have opted to be in or near a downtown, in buildings fronted by sidewalks.

Factoring out restaurant-breweries, industrial parks are still the rule, rather than the exception, as far as where breweries tend to open up in New Jersey. But since the state regulations regarding tasting rooms were overhauled in 2012, potential sites promising sidewalk traffic are getting a few looks among breweries in the planning stage. The potential foot traffic is viewed as a way to help support the brewery-tour taprooms, especially among the smaller craft beer producers.

Little Dog will be six blocks from the beach and an easier walk to the Bradley Beach train station. In Belmar, Beach Haus Brewery is the process of converting half of the Freedman Bakery property into a 30-barrel downtown brewery that will be an easy stroll from the beach. Over in Mount Holly, Village Idiot Brewing set up shop along High Street, the main street through the Burlington County municipality's downtown.


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