By Erin Delmore
“Here it’s pretty darn close,” said Screamin’ Hill Brewery Co-Owner Brett Bullock.
You’ve heard of farm to table but here’s farm to glass — New Jersey’s first brewery of its kind.
“We’re really excited about the pumpkin, it was one of the most popular beers from testings, and we use our own pumpkins from the field,” said Co-Owner Ryan Cole.
A year and a half ago, Ryan Cole, childhood friend Brett Bullock and Brett’s brother-in-law Patrick Jones cooked up the idea to turn their home-brewing hobby into a business.
“After you get a few really good batches, you know you start getting those big ideas, you know, one of those ‘if we win the lottery let’s open a brewery,'” said Patrick Jones.
Bullock was born and raised on this hundred-acre farm in Monmouth County. The family’s been here for six generations.
“My great-grandfather used to pull the horse and carriage through to load grain,” he said.
They converted the old barn into a taproom thanks to Brett’s parents, the farms’ owners.
“My wife and I built that house in 1975 after we got married and then in the early 80s we moved back up into the farmhouse and my brother bought that. He doesn’t work on the farm. And then the other house behind the brewery my brother built in the early 80s and he farms with me now. The two of us farm together with Brett,” said Bullock Farm Owner Marty Bullock.
When asked if this was the house he grew up in, pointing to another house on the property, Marty said, “Yes. My dad never lived anywhere but in that house and my granddad. I lived there for eight years. That’s the only other place I’ve lived besides here.”
So many years later family is still at the core of the business.
“It is a lot of fun. Our wives have helped a ton. They’re here pouring and cleaning and doing everything else with us on Fridays and Saturdays — it’s been a lot of fun,” said Brett.
Today, Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher and legislators toasted the brewery, which is in its second month of business.
“To be able to know that it’s going to do so much for the economy, it’s going to help our farmers, get other family members to come back to the farm and work on the farm and to experience just great beers and brews,” said Fisher.
They sampled American Wheat, Chocolate Cinnamon Porter, and Habanero Ale that were brewed with hops from the farm. They’re grown alongside tomatoes, soybeans and Christmas trees. As the seasons change, so will the tap list.
It’s a hard day’s work, but not such a bad way to spend the dog days of summer.