November 25, 2018
For almost two years I had been seeing beer friends (mainly on Instagram) post photos of product from Magnify Brewing Company, and my curiosity had been sufficiently piqued, as most people said great things about the beer offerings from this small brewery in the northern reaches of Essex County.
And although their Fairfield, NJ location was only an hour or so away from me, it seemed that every time I fancied a ride down there either something came up or I couldn’t find a friend to go with me. But on the weekend after Thanksgiving, I made a commitment to get in the car and make the 56 minute drive to this gem of a brewery, and I would be more than pleased for having made the solo effort.
Getting to Fairfield from the Lower Hudson Valley was easy, as it was virtually all interstate or state highway. But upon arrival at 1275 Bloomfield Avenue, I was thoroughly convinced that my iPhone had navigated me to the wrong place. Only after cautiously making my way past a variety of industrial buildings and seeing one with Magnify’s name and logo on it was my mind put at ease. Victory!
Upon first stepping through the front door, the place strikes you as small yet roomy. The ceilings are high, and with the late-November sun shining through the front windows, the place took on an interesting glow. Now having arrived, the first task was to get situated and greet my server, whose name was Dale. “This is my first time visiting”, I said. “What should I try first?” With no hesitation at all, Dale suggested the Most Important Meal, which is a double IPA infused with coffee from Toca Coffee Company of Pompton Plains. Besides the coffee, the complex flavor profile also includes oats and lactose sugar. Every swallow presented a somewhat different flavor experience, which was brilliant. I learned that this was available in cans, so this one would surely be in my takeout order.
Before finishing the first beer, I took a few minutes to stage a good photo for my Instagram. I usually photograph my beer with one of my many toy dragons and other mini-creatures. But this time, instead of bringing just one of them along, I brought them all. This made for a sort of “family photo”, if you will, on the main section of the bar. Oddly, no one seemed to think that this activity of mine was in the least bit weird.
Anyway, my next choice on the menu was a DDH DIPA called Hop Gravy, which uses Mosaic, Nelson, Ella and Simcoe hops. With four different hops in the mix, it was clear to see why head brewer Erich Carrle calls this “gravy”, as with each sip, the hops just keep on coming ! I would have loved to take this one home too, but alas it was not available in cans, and I was hesitant to do a whole growler fill. Maybe next time.
While I was working on the Hop Gravy, I wheeled around from the bar to see my friend Heather, who is better known in the Beerstagram world as @craftbarr. She was there with her boyfriend Ryan, and like me, it was their first visit to Magnify. I had just seen her two days prior at Seven Lakes Station in Sloatsburg, and had no idea I would see her again so soon. Cool !
Also, at one point during my visit, the brewery staff were doing a mash out, which filled the tasting room with the most delightful smell of malt that you could imagine. For a less inspired beer drinker, I’m sure the aroma could have been perceived as sensory overload. But to my olfactories, this was a slice of heaven.
My last beer for the afternoon was a coffee porter called It’s Dam Cool, which was infused with cardamom, an herb that is commonly used in bloody marys, and which carries a wide variety of health benefits. It made me wonder “Can you drink yourself healthy with It’s Dam Cool?” Maybe one day I’ll find out.
Before calling it a day, I gathered my takeout product, which included two 4-packs of the Most Important Meal, and 1/2 liter bottle of Point of Divergence, a sensational bourbon and red wine-barrel aged imperial stout.
After saying my goodbyes to Heather and Ryan, and my friendly bar staff (who I shared ‘Grateful Dead’ talk with for much of the afternoon), I made my way home with my stash. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and look forward to my next visit, hopefully with friends.
“Veni. Vidi. Bibi.”