While 902 Brewing Company is awaiting state approval to open a planned tap room in Hoboken, they’ll soon be pouring their beers at another local brewer’s facility that just celebrated a milestone of their own.
Part of Hudson County’s burgeoning craft beer scene that includes Departed Soles, New Jersey Beer Company and Castle Point Brewery, 902 Brewing Company is named for the Washington Street building where then-roommates Colby Janisch and Tucker Littleton began experimenting with beer recipes. The pair later brought Andrew Brown and Don Vogt on board for marketing and accounting respectively, forming an equal partnership LLC in 2012.
902 then started hitting the competition circuit hard, participating in Hoboken’s Homebrew and Chill Cook-off and Pennsylvania’s War of the Worts, among others. After the brewery won the 2012 Brooklyn Wort Finals with their “Black Dynomite” IPA, they knew they were on to something.
A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for equipment followed in 2013 and a storage facility in Union City was secured in 2014. After a lot of paperwork and the acquisition of a distributor’s license, 902 then started “contract” brewing at Climax Brewing in Roselle N.J., which led to their 22-oz bottles of beer popping up in local stores last year.
But about two months ago, 902 quietly moved their brewing operations to North Bergen-based New Jersey Beer Company’s facility, which is larger and can brew around 20 barrels at a time. Company co-founder Colby Janisch says that 902 will now be shifting their beers towards bottled six-packs instead of the 22-oz variety, but the bigger bottles will still be used for novelty or special batches in the future. The company is also working on a “Double Parked” Double IPA, which should be out by Labor Day.
Janisch also told Jersey Digs that an application for the brewery’s upcoming Hoboken tap room has been submitted to the state and is awaiting approval. After that happens and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for the facility, the beer should start flowing. The company hopes to have the location up and running within six to nine months.
The future tap room will utilize a model similar to Brooklyn Brewery, with most of 902’s brewing taking place at New Jersey Beer Company’s facility, but pilot batches being brewed in the new tap room. Janisch says support from the community has been “awesome” and customers are regularly asking him about the tap room. “We couldn’t have asked for better,” he says.
In the meantime, 902’s concoctions will start flowing at New Jersey Beer Company’s tap room starting next week. Thirsty fans can stop by for a few pints, to fill a growler or to purchase merchandise. 902 will also be appearing at several events around the Garden State this summer, including the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival on June 11th, the Somerville Craft Beer Festival and the Brew at the Zoo in West Orange, N.J. on June 25th.
To sample 902 more locally, stop by New Jersey Beer Company at 4201 Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen, just six blocks from the light rail station. The brewery, which just celebrated their sixth anniversary, is open for tasting hours Wednesday to Friday from 5-9 pm and on Saturdays from 1-6 pm.