At the end of a dark stone corridor, the entranceway to Triumph Brewing Company, emerges a tri- level dining hall on par with the most posh stops in the Manhattan bar scene. Yet, Triumph has been nestled in the quaint college town of Princeton, New Jersey for 17 years, where it mixes home brews with locally grown dining options to produce a truly unique dining experience.
Behind the bar, encased in glass, stands a three-story microbrewery that keeps 3 flagship beers and 4 seasonal brews on tap at all times. The bar is split between two levels, a lower that offers booth seating while the upper echelon seats patrons in an intimate brick alcove. The third level loft provides a dining experience with an eagle eye view of the entire bar.
During the day, Triumph offers a quiet retreat for a lunch break, with the light chatter broken only by shouts of ecstasy from a collection of soccer hooligans watching the day’s game. But the night crowd can range anywhere from a collection of college students to tie-clad businessmen.
“We have a great clientele, the proximity to the university is really great,” said Lauren Haggerty, a waitress and bartender at the Princeton location.
Triumph is also an outlet for the culture of Princeton, hosting art galleries for local artists and serving as a playing venue for live music every weekend.
“Last Friday [a band] literally brought in fifty people and there was a giant mosh pit up in the front area,” recounted Haggerty.
But beyond the upscale décor and artistic outreach, Triumph succeeds in a more important mission. The localpub is a fully sustainable brewing operation with an emphasis on staying local. No grain is wasted in the brewing process, with spent grain returning to a local farmer where it is used as cattle feed.
Triumph’s menu is predominantly comprised of locally grown foods as well. The Triumph Burger is made from Pineland Farms grass-fed beef while their seafood options are either caught in the wild or organically farmed.
“We source local organic food from all local farms here in the Princeton and Mercer County area,” said Eric Nutt, Sales & Marketing Manager for Triumph, who was kind enough to show me around. “It’s important for us here at Triumph to be as local and sustainable as possible.”
While Triumph’s mission of sustainability is great, their food is even better. My recent visit to the Princeton brewery was highlighted with a lunch that began with a hearty order of chicken wings coated in house-made buffalo sauce. A round of Triumph burgers were on tap for the main course for me and my friends. The juicy barroom delicacies were cooked to perfection with an original sauce that perfectly complimented the burger while also serving as an excellent condiment for the fries.
No visit to Triumph is complete without sampling some home brewed potent potables though. My friends and I sampled three brews. There was a Honey Blonde with a clean malt flavor accented with local wildflower honey. We also tried the Zythos IPA, which was a batch of their Bengal gold made with a single hop variety, namely Zythos. Finally, the Triumph’s Framboise, which was a strong ale made from raspberries in a Belgian tradition. It was a sweet elixir with a subtle tartness.
Even with its modern zest, Triumph stays true to it’s bar-room roots with it’s monthly ritual of tapping a traditional wooden barrel at the bar on the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm, an experience you cannot pass up.
Triumph hosts parties and banquets of all sizes as well as walk-ins and reservations for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. From their home brewed beers and delicious meals, to their emphasis on the local farming community, Triumph Brewing Company is an essential stop to any visit to Princeton, New Hope, or Philadelphia.