The borough of Pitman, New Jersey, is small and could be very much so considered off the grid. Ever since moving up to the Glassboro area, I discovered the town due to a need for guitar strings in which I found an overpriced music shop. Since then, I’ve been exploring the little town. I’ve seen that it has a lot to offer, from food, craft stores, even now, to beer. Historically a dry town, Pitman still has no bars or liquor stores. To my surprise, from talking to some locals, the history doesn’t just stop there. In 1871, land was chosen to be set aside for a Methodist summer camp and the New Jersey Conference Camp Meeting Association was officially chartered and given authority over the land grant in 1872. The land became know as Pitman Grove which had an auditorium located on a central meeting ground with twelve roads originated from the central area designed as spokes on a wheel, each road representing one of the disciples of Jesus. The camp was somewhat set up like a boardwalk on the Alcyon lake and people came from all over to retreat in the popular destination. Eventually attracting visitors to stay past the summer, people began to build cottages along the roads and Pitman eventually became its own town.
So, que the historically dry town. You’re probably wondering how there is a brewery? New Jersey passed a law that gives more freedoms to small breweries such as, permitting microbreweries to sell beer brewed at the licensed location for consumption on premises as part of a brewery tour, allowing microbreweries to sell a limited amount of beer for off-site consumption, and allowing microbreweries to offer samples of their product both on and off the premises, as currently permitted by the state’s wineries. Since a brewery is not a bar or liquor store, it gained approval from Pitman and Progress began.
I decided to stop by Kelly Green Brewing Company in Pitman where I was pleasantly surprised by the rustic, bustling nano-brewery. First, I started off my time in the brewery by ordering a flight of some of their beers to whet my palate. Naturally, being an IPA fan, the beers in my flight were the Off Broadway IPA, Udder One IPA, The Informant IPA, and To The Pain IPA. Offering more than just IPA’s, you’re sure to be pleased from their The Teets Milk Stout to their Engrain Coffee Porter which is a local collaboration Endgrain Coffee Bar. You can either choose to sample your beers at the bar or move to a wooden barrel for use a table, which I found rad and a great aesthetic booster. In the back of the brewery, by the restrooms, you can see into a window which showcases the equipment and room that the beer is brewed in, another cool feature of Kelly Green.
Bruce Coller, a local of Pitman for fifteen years says, “I love it. I’m able to walk 90 yards from my house after a long day and enjoy fresh local beer”. Coller says his favorite beer is #99, A full-bodied brown ale that is smooth and malty with subtle hints of chocolate. As he sat and enjoyed his beer he was ecstatic and pointing to the bartender said, “no one at the bar waits for a beer when Mike is here”.
Coincidently, the man Coller pointed to was one of the three owners Mike Tacconelli. He spoke of his love for beer and how his partnership with his best friends allowed Kelly Green to become a reality. Tacconelli said, “One of the biggest things about being a bartender is about being able to eavesdrop on about 10 different conversations and being able to constantly engage with customers”. Tacconelli went on to discuss his early days bartending in Philadelphia and the greatest bartender he had ever known, a man named Leo. “The best part about Leo is if you asked him to make you a frilly cocktail, he’d say ok and then walk into the back. He’d wait a little bit and then walk right back out and smack a beer onto the bar in front of the customer and say that’s what you’re getting! People were shocked and just walked away drinking their beer”, said Tacconelli.
There is no time to be shy when you step into Kelly Green. Pitman, already being a small town, is filled with a tight-knit group of people, and they get thirsty too. The brewery was a really great environment to see a town come together at the end of the day to enjoy a beer. If you’re looking for a small, homey feeling spot to enjoy a beer, then Kelly Green hits the marks. Locals of Pitman are not the only ones who frequent this brewery, but students from local Rowan University do as well. In the words of Rowan University student, Nicholas Zampelle, 23, “ I can’t believe I didn’t find this spot sooner”.
Next week Kelly Green is set to release a new beer called John “Quad” Van Damme that will bolster an ABV over 10%. You may need an Uber ride for this beer! So, stop in and say hi to Tacconelli or anyone else for that matter and strike up a friendly conversation. Who knows what you might learn!