By SUSAN ERICSON
Beer enthusiasts have some serious decisions to make at Molly Maguire’s Gastropub in Rumson.
“Twenty-one choices on tap, plus bottled beers from all over, if you’re not really a tap person,” says Kathy Maguire, who owns the East River Road establishment with her husband, Mike. “We also have a gluten-free beer.”
Thursday nights at the former Murray MacGregor’s, now beginning its fourth year under the Maguire flag, have become particularly interesting to beer lovers: a different craft beer is tapped each week. And as an added incentive, the first two dozen customers can bring home a beer glass bearing the brand of the featured suds. Empty, of course.
Last week’s offering was the Sabbath Black IPA from Starr Hill out of Charlottesville, Virginia.
A chalk board hanging on a wall near the bar displays not only the names of the beers on tap, but the percentage of alcohol content in the craft beer. Some pack quite a kick. The Sabbath Black that we tasted has 7.2 percent alcohol by volume, as opposed to a more typical 4 percent. The deep malty, chocolate flavor with the hoppy citrus undertones made for a tasty brew.
“It’s not as hoppy as I thought it would be, and a little creamy,” bartender, John Mayer said.
Bartending locally for almost 18 years, Mayer is as animated as he is knowledgeable about beer and the area.
“I know everybody. They come in and I know what they want, ” Mayer said as he poured a beer for a patron who had just walked in the door, even before greetings were exchanged.
“This is just catching on,” Kathy Maguire said of the Thursday craft beer promotion. “We’ll be doing this through the end of the year, at least,” she added.
The lineup for the next few weeks starts with Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, described by Beer Advocate as a saison/farmhouse-ale style beer, on Thursday, followed by Firestone-Walker Union Jack IPA the following week and a Blue Mountain Brewery on October 30.
Not sitting on their laurels, the Maguires are also in the process of installing a beer engine.
“You get a warmer-than-normal pour, with a thicker head, that’s really malty, with less CO2 ,” Mayer said. The first brewery up for the new beer engine will be Carton’s, of Atlantic Highlands, Maguire added.
The Maguires also sell a seasonal brew named for each of their five kids. “We are up to our youngest now, named Maverick,” said Kathy. “We call it Maverick’s Rockit Fuel.”
Since the seasonals have already used all five kid’s names, we had to ask: where they go from here?
“Then we move on to the dogs,” she said.