If you are over the age of 21, chances are you have walked into a liquor store looking to buy beer. First thing you may notice before you even walk through the door is that you are bombarded by the marketing of larger companies. Sales, signage, and “swag” for beers such as Coors and Budweiser dominate the shelves. While crowd favorites, any number of alternatives can be found in the craft beers that inject diversity into the selection. One of these craft brewers, whom I had the privilege of meeting, is Brian Boak of BOAKS Beer in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.
Brian got his start in 1999 from a home brewing kit that could be purchased in many retail stores. This led to honing his skill, winning awards, and turning the beer he was enjoying into something others could enjoy too. Fortunately, with the production assistance of High Point Brewery in Butler and New Jersey Beer Company in North Bergen, BOAKS Beer was able to make this a reality.
There are three main beers consistently brewed by BOAKS and they are Monster Mash, Two Blind Monks, and Double BW. These have become the staples of BOAKS Beer, but there are others that have been sold for a limited time in the past. Everything brewed sells very quickly and this leaves them to be cherished and enjoyed so that means no chugging! Brian was nice enough to let me try a Monster Mash from 2008, which held up very well, and a recent Double BW. When asked which of his beers was his personal favorite, he gave the logical answer that it is dependent on the time and place. “I wouldn’t finish mowing a lawn and have a Monster Mash,” he said of the strongest and heaviest of the three.
The best places to earn the chance to meet Brian or sample the beer at the very least are the many events in which BOAKS Beer participates. One of the more recent places the kegs were brought was Atlantic City where they won the Atlantic City Brewfest “People’s Choice Award.” Brian, his family, and fellow craft brewers make these festivals the success that they are.
BOAKS Beer is a hidden gem that you may be able to discover at a local bar or liquor store. Special thanks to Brian Boak for taking the time to meet with me and allow me to learn about his company.