Beer Meister’s August Thoughts – Tommy Brennan


Hot enough for ya? This time around I want to delve into the “Sour Craze” that is sweeping the nation. First and foremost, I’m going to throw this out there, I’m not a huge fan of sours. I’m sure eventually my palate will change with each sour I try just as it did getting used to IPAs.  So let’s take a moment with our good friend Wikipedia for the breakdown and we’ll all learn something.

While any type of beer may be soured, most follow traditional or standardized guidelines.

American Wild Ale
Main article: American Wild Ale
Beers brewed in America utilizing yeast and bacteria strains instead of or in addition to standard brewers yeasts tend to fall under the catch-all term American wild ale. These microflora may be cultured or acquired spontaneously, and the beer may be fermented in a number of different types of brewing vessels. American wild ales tend not to have a specific parameters or guidelines stylistically, but instead simply refer to the use of unusual yeasts.

Berliner Weisse
Main article: Berliner Weisse
At one time the most popular alcoholic beverage in Berlin, this is a somewhat weaker (usually around 3% abv) beer made sour by use of Lactobacillus bacteria. This type of beer is usually served with flavored syrups to balance the tart flavor.[7]

Flanders Red Ale
Main article: Flanders Red Ale
Descendent from English porters of the 17th century, Flanders red ales are first fermented with usual brewers yeast, then placed in to oak barrels to age and mature. Usually, the mature beer is blended with younger beer to adjust the taste for consistency. The name comes from the usual color of these ales.

Main article: Gose
Gose (pronounced “go-suh”) is a top-fermenting beer that originated in Goslar, Germany. This style is characterized by the use of coriander and salt and is made sour by inoculating the wort with lactic acid bacteria before primary alcoholic fermentation.

Main article: Lambic
Lambic beer is spontaneously fermented beer made in the Pajottenland region of Belgium and Brussels. Wort is left to cool overnight in the koelschip where it is exposed to the open air during the winter and spring, and then placed into barrels to ferment and mature. Most lambics are blends of several season’s batches, such as gueuze, or are secondarily fermented with fruits, such as Kriek and Framboise. As such, pure unblended lambic is quite rare, and few bottled examples exists.

Oud Bruin
Main article: Oud Bruin
Originating from the Flemish region of Belgium, oud bruins are differentiated from the Flanders red ale in that they are darker in color and not aged on wood. As such this style tends to use cultured yeasts to impart its sour notes.”

Now me personally, when it comes to stomaching these mouth puckering monsters I tend to lean towards Lambics. They’re just tart enough and the fruit really comes through giving it a refreshing taste. We haven’t really toyed with the idea of adding syrups to a Berliner Weisse, but that could be something we try in the very near future as I’m already hoarding kegs for our Summer of Sours event coming up this month… I know, that was a shameless plug, but for me to get some really rocking sours in, I figured I should sit down and try to wrap my head around them and each of their personalities. So why not share that with you? So, my beer drinking friends, love ‘em or hate ‘em, Sours have been around for quite some time and I don’t think they’re going away anytime soon. So pull up a stool, and get ready to pucker up. Be sure to check out our beer list online for when these sours hit the lines.

Until then, cheers to great beer.


From the Chef’s Head August Edition – Joe Donlan


Here at The Old Bay we embrace summertime traditions. We had our annual Red, White and Brews BBQ fest in July and are gearing up for Shellfish festival in August.  That being said, and me being the Chef here, I have had shellfish on my mind. Since we are a Cajun/Creole restaurant you would think that it is a no brainer and we are going to a traditional Louisiana Boil and call it day. The problem with that is that I went to culinary school in New England and lived around for Boston for a few years. When it comes to a Shellfish Festival nothing beats a good old traditional New England Clam Bake. There in lies my dilemma. Do I stick with the traditional Louisiana Boil or do I do a New England Bake. Some of you are probably thinking what’s the difference? Let me tell you:

New England Clam Bake/Boil
In New England, a clam bake is traditionally done on a beach. A pit is dug in the sand and lined with stones. A fire is built on top of the stones from driftwood. Once the fire dies down, seafood is placed on the stones and covered with seaweed and a canvas tarp. The residual heat from the stones along with steam from the moisture of the seaweed combines to cook the food. While lobster is often featured at clam bakes, some authors suggest that in practice, lobster will not be fully cooked by the time the stones have lost most of their heat.

An alternative to the labor-intensive bake is the New England Clam Boil. Like other regions, corn, potatoes, and sausage are popular additions. Recipes from the region suggest that little or no seasonings are added. Beer is often used as the boiling liquid.

Louisiana Boil
A boil is usually done in a large pot (60 to 80 quarts) fitted with a strainer and heated by propane. However, some traditionalists see no need for a strainer and make use of a net or a wire mesh scoop. Seasonings include crab boil packets, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt, lemons, and bay leaf. Ears of corn, new potatoes, onions, and heads of garlic are usually included in shrimp and crawfish boils. Some people will add smoked sausage links and/or mushrooms. When cooking crawfish there is a debate over whether or not the crawfish must first be purged by covering them with clear water and a generous amount of salt for a few minutes. Advocates argue that this forces the crawfish to rid their bodies of impurities. Others argue that it does not work and is an unnecessary step. A “Boil Master” is in charge of making sure the ingredients go into the pot in the proper sequence and controls the timing of the steps. There is no right or wrong when seasoning a crawfish boil and many experienced boilers simply go by feel although there are some guidelines to follow and a great deal of opinions on how a boiled crawfish should be seasoned.]Many recipes call for a short boil followed by a period of soaking with the heat turned off. The contents of the pot are removed, drained, and then dumped onto a newspaper covered table. Sometimes, crawfish may be dumped into the traditional watercraft in which crawfishermen have historically used to traverse the bayous and swamps; a pirogue. Bottles of hot sauce, lemons and melted butter are usually available, along with cocktail sauce at a shrimp boil. Some families like to use Italian salad dressing or ketchup, or a mixture of both.

Now that you know the difference the question is, what I am going to do? Will I stay traditional and serve a Louisiana Boil or will I buck tradition and go with The New England Boil? If you want to know the answer, all you have to do is come visit me at the restaurant starting August 5, 2015. That is when we start our annual Shellfish Festival at The Old Bay.  See you soon!


August’s Featured Cocktail: Pimm’s Cup – Ryan Loughran


As August approaches New Jersey, we’re all looking for a refreshing cocktail. A lot of people go to the liquor store and pick up ingredients to make a sangria or purchase a bottle of vodka and some mixers. I encourage you to go in the New Orleans direction and impress everyone at the party!

There may not be a better hangover drink in the world than a Pimm’s Cup. If you’re ever in the French Quarter in New Orleans there’s a magical place called the Napoleon House. The bartenders at the Napoleon House have mastered the art of the Pimm’s cup. It’s professionally made and refreshing enough to bounce you right back after a long night of drinking. It’s something everyone should live to experience!


  • Pimm’s #1
  • Lemonade
  • Lemon soda
  • 2 cucumbers peeled and sliced
  • A bunch of strawberries

Pimm’s Cup Instructions:
In a highball glass or pint glass filled with ice add:

  • Pimm’s: 1.5 oz
  • Lemonade : 2 oz
  • 7 Up: 2 oz
  • Sliced cucumbers and strawberries
  • Top off glass with club and stir or roll drink into a different glass to mix

Feel free to triple the recipe and add all the ingredients to a pitcher or glass drink dispenser for a party or group. I also recommend marinating the mixture with the fruit overnight as it adds an extra refreshing element.

old bay swamp water

July’s Featured Cocktail: The Swamp Water – Ryan Loughran


Recently I’ve received a number of emails in regards to the Old Bay’s Swamp Water cocktail. The Swamp Water is the our take on the French quarter and Bourbon St. favorite known as the Hand Grenade. If you’re ever in the French quarter take a walk down to the Tropical Isle. It’s on the corner of Bourbon St. and Toulouse St. We make them a little different here, but we’ve mastered our recipe in order to pack the same explosive punch!

Ingredients: Midori (melon liqueur),  Southern Comfort, Bourbon, Bacardi 151, Sour Mix, Club Soda, Ice and a Smile :)

The Swamp Water:

First fill a mason jar or glass with ice and add:

  • Midori: 2 oz.
  • Southern Comfort: 1 oz.
  • Bourbon: 1 oz.
  • Bacardi 151: 1/2 oz.
  • Sour mix: 1 oz.
  • Top your glass off with club soda and stir you drink or roll it into another glass to mix

Feel free to triple the recipe and make pitcher’s of it for your summer bbq’s! it’s important to note that our swamp water is strong, sweet and sure to bite you back!

bbq ribs

From the Chef’s Head July Edition – Joe Donlan


Rub on ribs

Here at The Old Bay we are the midst of our annual Red, White and Brews BBQ Festival. This got me to thinking about all of the different types of BBQ out there. Let me start off by saying, BBQ is NOT grilling some chicken and covering it in your favorite store bought BBQ sauce. BBQ is a type of preparation as well as a sauce. The one thing that is a must is smoke. If you want true BBQ, the meat needs to be smoked. Preferably at a low temperature and cooked slowly. Nothing is better than tearing into a great piece of smoked meat and seeing that pink ring that has penetrated the meat. That ring is actually the smoke ring. The deeper the ring goes into your meat the more smoke flavor you will have.

Let’s get into the different styles that I was talking about earlier. The four main styles of BBQ are Carolina, Memphis, Kansas City and Texas. You can also check out the chart at the end for more information about BBQ in all regions of the United States.

Carolina Style
We will start with Carolina BBQ. What makes it Carolina style BBQ, like every BBQ the meat is prepared with a dry “rub” and smoked? Carolina Style BBQ sauce is mainly a mustard based sauce with some vinegar and sometimes some ketchup.

Memphis Style
Like many southern varieties of barbecue, Memphis-style barbecue is mostly made using pork, usually ribs and shoulders, though many restaurants will still serve beef and chicken. Memphis-style barbecue is slow cooked in a pit and ribs can be prepared either “dry” or “wet”. “Dry” ribs are covered with a dry rub consisting of salt and various spices before cooking, and are normally eaten without sauce. “Wet” ribs are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking.

Kansas City Style
Kansas City-style barbecue refers to the specific style of slowly smoked meat over a variety of woods and then covered with a thick tomato and molasses based sauce.

Texas Style
Depending on where you are from in Texas, the style of BBQ that you would call “Texas BBQ” differs. You have the Eastern Texas Style that is Ketchup based with Chili and Worcestershire Sauce or you have the North Texas Style that is sweet with Honey and Brown Sugar or you have Central Texas Style that contains vinegar. In my opinion, Central Texas Style is the best. The sauce is an amalgamation of all of the styles and just works the best for me. Again though that is just my opinion.

In all honesty, I like to use a Memphis style rub with a Central Texas Style of BBQ. I don’t like to cover any BBQ in sauce but I do like to have a bit on the side to dip into. By doing this you get all of the great smoked flavors of the meat with just a hint of that vinegar bite from that delicious sauce. In all of my years of cooking, I think that I have finally nailed down a recipe for BBQ that I love. I would love to share it with you all, but I am not going to that. I will on the other hand share with you the recipe for the Memphis Style Rub that we use here at The Old Bay. I encourage everyone to come and try some of our great BBQ items while we have them. This festival only happens once and year, so don’t miss out.


  • 1.5 Cups Paprika
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • .25 Cup Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Dry Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder

Yield: 18 oz., 1.5 oz. per slab or .75 oz. per order

Click to enlarge


Beer ready to drink for the Fourth of July holiday

Beer Meister’s July Thoughts – Tommy Brennan


As we come up to yet another Holiday Weekend I was thinking about the Holiday itself. Hot dogs, burgers, ribs, corn on the cob, fireworks, and who could forget a heaping dose of freedom! So, I was planning on writing about another local brewery but I decided to shed my shackles of what I’m supposed to write, and write about freedom. The freedom to drink really good beer!

As the Holiday weekend closes in I think of all the parties and partying that will be going on, and I want to talk about the average American Drinker. Sure we all know those friends who are happy pounding Miller Lites and what have you. So I got to thinking about craft beer in general, and I came up with this adage. “Craft beer has really crafted the American Beer Drinker”.

Now, whatever level of beer snob you may be, you have to agree with me, that the good folks who enjoy craft beer, tend to do it a little bit more responsibly than most. We look for lacing, and notes of pine, or chocolate, or coffee, or any of those other nuances that we love to pick apart in conversation. The American Craft Beer Drinker isn’t chugging 10% ABV stouts at a beer pong tournament, or doing keg stands off of a triple IPA that can only be found in five states.

We enjoy the beer for enjoying beer. Weather you’re an IPA person, a Sour person, or a Stout person, we can all agree that it’s not about getting hammered. It’s more of a social exercise surrounding yourself with good friends and good beer.

So sure, who am I to fault the Miller and Bud drinkers of the great ol’ U.S. of A? It’s their choice and it’s their freedom, so for everyone enjoying their favorite beverage this weekend, I wish you a happy and above all else safe Fourth of July.

I’m sure while I’m sitting on the beach (if I don’t get caught), or on my patio I’ll be crushing some Founders All Day IPAs, or maybe some Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin. Sure I know it’s a little pricey, and I could get me a sleeve of some crappy cans; but this is America so let freedom ring.

Let me know what awesome Craft Beer you had over the weekend in the comments below.

Cheers to great Beers!


Beer Meister’s Thoughts – Tommy Brennan


Old Bay Bolero BeerWelcome to my first entry in what I’m hoping will be an informative journey through all things beer. We’ll have a few laughs, and maybe learn something all at the same time. Now most of you know there is a growing amount of local breweries here in the Garden State, and I’m sure you could rattle off at least five of them off the top of your head; and eventually I’ll put the spotlight on all of them at some point.

The year was 2013 and Bob Olson was just kicking off his brand new company, Bolero Snort. Along with co-founder and head brewer Andrew Maiorana they had one goal in mind, “No B.S., just raging good beer”.  Hand crafted ales and lagers with their own twist and personality on each one. Scott Wells joined the team in 2014 just as the brewery was opening and signed on as their Sales and Event Manager. You may have also met Scott at our Pig Roast, he’s a fast talker, and master meatsman.

The summer months are upon us, and I could go on and on about hop bombed beer and high ABV’s and beers of that nature; but for me, the summer means awesome sessionable (yes, that’s a word I will be using often) ales. Slow and steady always wins the race, so I won’t be downing some odd minute IPAs that are pushing the ABV’s to 11, I’m going to stick with solid beer that won’t ruin my evening, or even worse, the next day.

That’s another reason I picked Bolero Snort for my first entry, these guys make beer for the American working beer drinker, because that’s who they are, and that’s who they care about. With their core beers “Ragin’ Bull”, an American Amber that comes in at 5% ABV with prominent biscuit and caramel flavors with just a hint of chocolate and spice. “Blackhorn” is an American Black Lager that comes in at 6.5%ABV, and when you’re going black you’re getting all those wonderful flavors of chocolate and coffee from the malts. My personal favorite is their “Long Hop IPA”, a West Coast style ale that doesn’t cripple you with hints of melon and tropical fruit and only comes in at a very crushable 4.2% ABV.

So what’s next for us here at The Old Bay and Bolero Snort?  “El Matador” Their “Long Hop IPA” brewed with cilantro, limes, and jalapenos; will be gracing our beer taps this weekend. You get a little heat on the nose which blends great with the tropical flavors of the hops. Only coming in at a very low 4.2% ABV, this one is great to sip all day long.

I spent a lot of quality time with these guys during AC Beer and Music Fest and was there when their “TaBull Saison” won the prize for best new wheat beer. Trust me when I say that, that beer deserved it. I was crushing them all weekend. So come on down and try Bolero Snort’s newest offering here at The Old Bay. No B.S. just raging good beer.

Next month I’ll focus on another Jersey Brewery, who will it be? Until then, let the good beers flow.

The Old Bay's Crawfish Étouffée

From the Chef’s Head – Joe Donlan


Some people wonder what is going on inside the mind of a chef. Trust me you don’t want to hear it. The best way to describe it is to imagine if you will, a three ring circus with all of the acts happening at the same time, BUT there is no ringmaster. That is the mind of a working chef. I am going to give you a little glimpse into my mind. Now would be a good time to get some peanuts.

I am going to begin this journey with a brief history lesson. I am by no means going to try and say that I am great writer. I know a thing or two about a thing or two and I know that writing is not a thing that I know. I am going to leave the brief history to a professional.

“The word Cajun originates from the term les Acadians, used to describe French colonists who settled in the Acadia region of Canada, consisting of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. With the British conquest of Acadia in the early 1700s, the Acadians were forcibly removed from their homes in what become known as “Le Grand Dérangement,” or the Great Upheaval. Many Acadians eventually settled in the swampy region of Louisiana, today known as Acadiana.

The Acadians were an extremely resourceful people who took full advantage of the flatlands, bayous, and wild game of South Louisiana and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico to create a truly unique local cuisine. While many Acadiana residents today have German, French, or Italian roots, among others, their way of life is strongly influenced by the Cajun culture

Without access to modern-day luxuries like refrigerators, the Cajuns learned to make use of every part of a slaughtered animal. When a pig is butchered, the event is called aboucherie. Boudin, a type of Cajun sausage which consists of pork meat, rice, and seasoning stuffed into a casing, also commonly contains pig liver for a little extra flavor. Tasso and Andouille are two other Cajun pork products that use salts and smoke as preservatives. Cajun food is famous for being well seasoned, which is sometimes misunderstood as spicy. Seasoning is one of the most important parts of Cajun cooking, and that comes from much more than a heavy helping of cayenne pepper. Most dishes begin with a medley of vegetables based on the French mirepoix. “The holy trinity of Cajun cuisine” utilizes onion, celery, and bell pepper (rather than carrots) to provide a flavor base for many dishes. Garlic is never far away from any stove, either. Paprika, thyme, filé (ground sassafras leaves), parsley, and green onions are also very common ingredients in Cajun kitchens.”
Ducote, J. (2014, October 3). Cajun vs. Creole: What’s The Difference? Retrieved May 26, 2015.

You may be asking yourself, did I read that right? Are the people that identify as Cajun really from Canada. The answer is simple, No! They are descended from settlers that are from Canada. I don’t think that there is 300+ year old living in the Bayous of Louisiana. I could be wrong.

One of the classic Cajun recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation is Étouffée. The literal translation of Étouffée is “smothered”. That is exactly what it does. Étouffée can be made with any shellfish, though the most popular version of the dish is made with crawfish. A sauce is made from a brown roux, seasoned, and simmered with the seafood. Cajun Étouffée is made with dark or brown roux. It takes anywhere from 30-40 minutes to get to the perfect color and nutty flavor that makes this dish shine.  If you take the time and put in a little effort, this is a dish that is sure to impress anybody that you cook it for. Better yet, let us make it for you.

Crawfish Étouffée Recipe


  • All purpose Flour – 2 cups
  • Butter – 3 cups
  • Blk Pepper ½ teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper ½ teaspoon
  • White Pepper ½ teaspoon
  • Granulated garlic ½ tsp
  • Granulated onion ½ tsp
  • Spanish Onion 2 cups
  • Green bell pepper 1 cup diced
  • Celery 1 cup diced
  • Parsley ¼ cup diced
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ qts shrimp stock
  • 1 pound Crawfish Tail meat (add at the end)


  • In a pot on medium high heat melt the butter until the edges start to turn tan. Then add the flour and stir constantly.
  • Cook the roux until it is a medium brown color and smells a bit nutty.
  • Add the diced vegetables and spices and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add the Shrimp stock and stir constantly until sauce begins to boil.
  • Once the Étouffée begins to boil reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • In a separate pan heat the crawfish tail meat and add to the sauce and stir.
  • Serve Étouffée over Rice and Enjoy!

There you have it folks. A bit of history mixed with some food. Honestly though, you can learn a lot about the history of this country through the food of this country.


The Old Bay's Crawfish Étouffée


Impress Your Friends with our Steward of the Spirits Libation Drink Recipe! – Ryan Loughran


THE OLD BAY DARK AND STORMYTake a piece of The Old Bay home with you! Try out Steward of the Spirits Libation! You can do it all and impress your friends for under $25.

What you need:

  1. A bottle of Cruzan Black Strap Rum
  2. A six pack of Goslings Ginger Beer
  3. 4 limes



  • In a glass squeeze the juice out of about half of a lime
  • Fill the glass half full with Goslings Ginger Beer
  • Add crushed ice up to ¾ of the glass. (Crushed or blended ice works best)
  • Lastly float Cruzan Black Strap Rum to fill the glass
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and maybe even some candied ginger if your really going for it!

This recipe works for pitchers too! Cheers!


Our Oktoberfest Bash Starts NOW!


It’s that time of year again when the beer taps start switching over to Oktoberfest brews. As the weather becomes cooler, these amber ales and lagers start appearing in frosted mugs, including right here at the Old Bay for our annual Oktoberfest celebration! But where did this autumn tradition come from? Read on and learn the history of Oktoberfest beers.

Did you know that Oktoberfest beers stem from royalty? These beers originated as part of the celebration of Oktoberfest, an 18-day festival that originally celebrated the marriage between the German Prince Ludwig and his bride in 1810. The carnival grew and became a celebration of Bavarian agriculture, marked by horse races and parades.

In the past 200 years, the festival of Oktoberfest has continued to evolve. It has become a celebration of these seasonal Oktoberfest beers and traditional German foods. Oftentimes, the celebration begins with the ceremonial tapping of the first Oktoberfest keg. The flavor of Oktoberfest brews is marked by its distinctly hoppy yet sweet flavor.  A floral aroma is also characteristic of these beers, as well as a minimal head when poured. Oktoberfest beers also tend to have a higher alcohol content than traditional ales and lagers. The alcohol content ranges from 5.8% to 6.3% and a higher sugar content than other brews.  Oktoberfest beers have become an autumn staple for beer buffs around the world and are seen as one of the indicators of the changing of the seasons.

We’ll be celebrating this beer and food starting october 6, and culminating on October 12.

If you’re looking for a great restaurant in New Jersey where you can enjoy a frosted mug of Oktoberfest, look no further than the Old Bay! For more information and announcements from the Old Bay, “Like” us on Facebook!

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