Haddonfield’s first microbrewery fully opens its doors to the public next week. In the meantime, VIP supporters will get a sneak peek through Saturday.
By Matt Skoufalos | December 13, 2017
What do you do when you’ve got a 60-seat nanobrewery and a VIP waitlist that’s 400 people long?
For starters, you stagger your opening dates.
“Everyone is much more anxious for us to open than I anticipated,” said Bob Hochgertel, co-owner of King’s Road Brewing Company.
Some are more anxious than the brewery can accommodate.
Since its five founders announced their intention to pour beer in Haddonfield’s historic Gibbs tavern earlier this year, public interest has been high.
But in the days leading up to the grand opening, Hochgertel has taken to working in the space with the lights off and the door locked to keep from refusing hopeful patrons.
“The other day, I had 20 or 30 people over a two-hour window that were carrying takeout from one of the local restaurants,” he recalled. “They wanted to come in here and eat their takeout and have a beer, which is exactly what we want them to do. We just couldn’t serve them yet.”
In response, King’s Road is already considering expanding its hours—which at first will be limited to weekend evenings, mostly—to include lunch.
In the new year, Hochgertel said King’s Road will ramp up to a Tuesday through Saturday schedule.
To start, however, the brewery will hold seven invitation-only openings ahead of its official first day: Friday, December 22, when things kick off with a 6:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting.
Hochgertel believes the business is already finding its place in the broader Haddonfield consciousness, but promised collaborations with nonprofit groups, local restaurants, and generally “working very hard to really become an inherent part of the fabric of the community.
“Everyone has been incredibly supportive,” he said.
Joining Haddonfield native Matt Revier in handling the brewing duties at the small operation is Philadelphia resident Connor Pensiero, who said the priority is “trying to make good beer first.
“We’re both just looking for good, clean, classic styles,” Pensiero said.
When the first pints are poured Wednesday, King’s Road will debut with six beers on tap: two IPA’s, a golden ale, a red ale, a pale ale, and a porter.
At 7.0-percent ABV, the No End IPA boasts a hoppy flavor common to many New England-style India Pale Ales.
The 6.2-percent Blazing Rag IPA is named for the tavern that once occupied the spot where Kress Liquors sits on the edge of the Haddonfield-Cherry Hill border.
King’s Gold is an easy-drinking, 5.25-percent ABV golden ale; the 5.12-percent ABV REVolution Red Ale takes its name from the first three letters of brewer Revier’s last name.
The 6.04-percent Persistent One pale ale is the first beer Revier and Pensiero brewed, and the 4.5-percent ABV Potter Street Porter has notes of malt and chocolate. It’s also possible King’s Road could have its Saddlertown Oatmeal Stout ready for the grand opening, too.
Pensiero knows that for as varied a selection as the brewery is capable of producing, its limited footprint means he and Revier “have got to be real particular” about their processes and efficiencies.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” he said.
“Matt has a lot of great experience. He knows his way around a brewhouse and he knows his way around packaging.
“He understands what makes a good beer.”
If the two can help King’s Road find its footing in an expanding local craft beer scene where local breweries like Tonewood, Devil’s Creek, Eclipse, Lunacy, and the planned Red White and Brew are making their bones, Pensiero foresees a bright future for the business.
“There’s a lot of good beer around here,” he said.
“I’d like to see [King’s Road] become a destination; somewhere people want to get to.
“Haddonfield’s already that for this area,” Pensiero said. “I want people to be like, ‘We’ve got to get to King’s Road.’”
- Bolstered by Expansion, Jersey Craft Brewing Primes for Growth, Seeks to Shed Regs (February 7, 2017)
- King’s Road Comes to Kings Highway: Haddonfield Nanobrewery Clears Zoning Board (February 22, 2017)
- Haddonfield Homecoming for King’s Road Brewer Matt Revier (August 13, 2017)
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