1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery

Not Rated.
Trap Rock Restaurant & BreweryTrap Rock Restaurant & Brewery
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

50 Ratings
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 8.68%
Active Beers: 44
Beer Ratings: 148
Beer Avg: 3.79
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

279 Springfield Ave.
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, 07922
United States
phone: (908) 665-1755

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by RonfromJersey:
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%

The name is perfectly accurate. "Restaurant and brewery". Not brewpub. And in that order.

I caught my wife off guard with the suggestion that we go to a brewpub for our tenth anniversary dinner. But she went along.

Valet parking is merely the first sign that Trap Rock is not the stereotypical brewpub.

Entering, the brewing equipment is visible on the lower level. You procede up half a flight and enter into "the lounge" (server's term). Most of us might say "the bar". It's a relatively small bar, with stools, and tables across from it. It is also a very dark bar, somewhat a throwback to an earlier time. There is a large dining area to the left, and a separate dining room to the right. We were seated in the right room, which has a rustic decor while still evoking formality. My window seat overlooked the patio diners below. Rest rooms and a party room, with bar, are located upstairs.

The menu is a single very large card, food on one side, the beer and wine on the other. We were also given a separate smaller card with the day's specials. One thing which bothered me about the menu was that with each entree there was a suggested wine, but not a beer. The beer list did include general recommendations for food to pair with the beer, but it seemed a bit half-hearted to me.

This is upscale American cuisine. In other words, almost every listing included some element that I had no idea what it was. But we are adventurous. For appetizers we chose lobster spring rolls with dipping sauces, and a crabcake with came on a bed of what seemed to be stuffing with ham. For entrees I had beef tenderloin and my wife had scallops. We managed to squeeze in Creme brule for dessert. All of it was excellent.

The beers I tried were pleasing and to style: a very drinkable helles, a solid IPA, and an exceptionally impressive APA: Dave's Commitment Ale, which seemed appropriate for an anniversary dinner. I didn't have room for the stout I was planning on. I regret that I failed to inquire about cask ale.

Though it was a little slow in taking our first drink order, service was attentive, and my beer glass was not left empty too long.

This is not a cheap date. Dinner for two, even splitting appetizers and dessert can easily top $100. In terms of dinner, this is a special occassion place, from my perspective. We will probably be back, but it will be awhile.

One concern I have is for the brewery side of the business. I see a lot more wine and cocktails both in the longue and in the dining rooms than other brewpubs. And I don't imagine "regulars" like in other brewpubs who pop in a couple times a week for a brew or two, and a quick bite.

Original review: 05-03-2004

12-18-05 Update: I will add that while dinner might be a little costly (not unfairly, mind you), this week I stopped in for lunch and had a fine pulled pork sandwhich, a small mountain of fries, and about a pint and a half of one damn good porter/stout for $14 something plus tip.

RonfromJersey, Dec 19, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of muskiesman
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

muskiesman, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of Resuin
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Resuin, May 25, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%

Vibe: This is an upscale restaurant that also happens to have a brewery. The interior is a little rustic and feels like you are in a chalet in the country. Outdoor seating is also available.
Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature using a variety of glassware.
Service: There was a variety of wait staff that offered prompt service and were knowledgeable about the menu.
Selection: I counted nine different beers on-tap, which were available in pints and jumbo (23 oz.). Samplers were also available, as well as growler fills and kegs. One of the beers was on hand pump.
Food: The food is really what sets this place apart. We started off with House Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos, which were in miniature hard shell tacos on a bed of black bean salsa. We also tried the Fried Chicken and Cheddar Waffles and the Yellowfin Tuna. The appearance of each of the dishes was very fancy. Everything tasted excellent.

metter98, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of lknox511
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

lknox511, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of JG-90
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

JG-90, Nov 10, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

acurtis, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of Varkias41
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Varkias41, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of Gnarles
4.61/5  rDev +14.4%

recently went here for a buddies birthday and out of all the local brew pubs in the cnetral jersey area I think this is the nicest one. We tried their sampler and a couple of beers after and all were amazing. Excellent beer! Excellent service! Enough said!

Gnarles, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4.15/5  rDev +3%

I love this place. By far the best Brewpub in New Jersey that Ive been to. Yes the atmosphere is not your typical "brewpub" style and the food is upscale and pricy, but the beer is great. There are always about 8 beers on tap, ranging from Imperial India Pale Ales to Oatmeal Stouts to Raspberry Wheats. There are 4 flagship beers with 4 rotating sesonals and specialties. The food there is excellent but on the gourmet side. You wont find nachos and chicken wings. I highly recommend this place if you have the chance to get there. And remember, no hats allowed!

djrn2, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of rfgetz
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%

From the exterior, the place looks unassuming, but you are greated with a moderately upscale dining and drinking environment upon entry. Exposed wood and some masonry star in the decor, dimly light at night. Very euro feeling. Smallish bar, but a lot of table seating throughout. Warm and cozy.

A nice selection of 8 beers available, from average to solid. As with most places, the standard line leans towards light and crowd pleasing, instead go towards the roating seasonals and special brews. Menu covers standard fried affair and burgers as well as more inspired cullinary creations. All was solid to fantastic. Service was spotty despite the comofrtable crowd.

All in all, the beers are average, save for a few seasonals, but the food was quite good. Well worth a revisit.

rfgetz, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of crenegar
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Stopped in yesterday and had 2 beers, the pils was nice, crisp and clean, more Bavarian than Czech. The Oatmeal Stout was also pretty good but certainly not as good as Krogh's up in Lake Mohawk. Since we were doing some bar hopping we didn't want to eat too much in one place so I ordered the spring roll app. This was pretty tasty and pretty expensive, $12.95 for two small rolls cut in half. Everytime I go back to this place I remember why I don't go there more often. There is nothing particularly wrong with it but the bang for the buck is just not there.

crenegar, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Really nice atmosphere; old oak bar and benches and stairs, etc. Small but spacious, multiple rooms and an upstairs if you wanted a private party. Plenty of light as well. The brewery area was nicely integrated as well, you can see the mash tuns, serving tanks, etc.

Food was awesome, got the Taco Trio (Mahi Mahi, Pulled pork and Chicken) with 2 different slaws to use as toppings. Mother/sister really enjoyed their butternut squash app, prime rib wrap and vege quesadillas.

Service was spot on. Waiters changed mid-meal but it was seamless and both were great.

Beers were the most disappointing part of the experience. Mother and sister split the sampler but I passed because it was 75% lagers/pilsners. Sampled their IPA which tasted like Celebration, the brown ale which was meek and watery and the bock which was surprisingly hoppy and yet malty and enjoyable; def the best beer I sampled. Still I wish these small brew pubs would push the envelope considering they can make whatever they want and if it's not good, it's just one batch and they can try again.

Overall it was a nice way to celebrate my belated birthday and I would definitely go again in the future if I knew there was something more "worth-while" on tap; but a nice experience overall.

claspada, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of DrStiffington
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%

I've been there twice now. Once we ate outside and once inside at night. I really enjoyed the food and brews both times I was there. I'd love to go back soon. Their beers are not out of this world, but are all very enjoyable. I got the sampler both times, which I tend to do at every brewpub I visit. Their food is probably better than the beer. They also have valet parking, which for me is a bit much when going to a place to eat in suburban New Jersey. Overall, one of my two favorite brewpubs in New Jersey.

DrStiffington, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of facundoCNB
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%

A nice quiet place but a little bit on the pricey side. Went there for a late lunch with my father and tried 2 samplers and a few pints of their seasonals. It was nice to be able to hear the person you're talking to for a change. Bartender was on point for the most part, food was decent (took it to go - veggie burger). Growlers are priced average - I think I need to go back and get the cherry stout. Samplers were $10 which isn't bad considering you get a good jist of what they are capable of..

facundoCNB, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of bogus564
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%

From notes from a recent visit.

I was there most recently on July 14, 2011, with a small gang of friends, the day before finding out that I had landed a new job.

You walk in the front door, and there is a nice sized bar right in front of you. Slightly to the right is the wait station, and the hiring standards are obvious; these young ladies are beautiful. It helped that one of the ladies was laser-locked on my friend, in that we got a table quickly.

The waiting was shared by two people, with varying degrees of beer knowledge. They come with a fairly standard boilerplate speech, but when challenged, either shine or fade. One waiter shone, the other faded. Most of us tried the beer sampler, which was okay. It's a good way to get value for your money, as you get six reasonable sized samples for somewhere around $10.

The food took longer to arrive than it should have, but their plot to have you drinking so that you don't mind the wait pays off handsomely. The customers are nice and buzzed, so there's less complaining. When the food eventually arrives, it's really good, not quite outstanding. The steaks are pretty damn good, as are the appetizers that precede.

The bathroom are located up the stairs, and remind one of a golf clubhouse. They are clean and well-maintained; kudos.

Overall, the beer is okay, the food is a bit pricey, but good enough that you don't mind, and even the valets hustle. If I lived clser, it would be my local haunt.

bogus564, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of ummswimmin
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

I am a fan of the entire Harvest Restaurant Group. They recruit excellent executive chefs for each of their establishments. There has been good coordination across their restaurants for some successful recipes.

I was there in a large group tonight. They treated us well and I always had a drink on hand (one sign of good service).

Some of the servers had a good understanding of the beer selection.

The food is very good, as usual. They trend toward the high end, and you get charged for it. I had their ribs, spring rolls, and two beers. It came to about $55 with tip.

I recommend that you try out Trap Rock.

ummswimmin, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of mrgrinch
4/5  rDev -0.7%

I love that there is a place like this near me.

They food is good. They try to make it a little more special than your average food. Their fried chicken is great. Their angus burger is also good.

The beer is also good. I enjoy the Pilsner and the Hathor Red which are among their standards. I can say that the different brews are not always consistent, but I don't mind that at all.

Charlie the Brewer gets very creative sometimes and usually has at least one unusual variety on the beer menu. He has been known to use lavendar to produce beer with a bubblegum flavor.

I often try the special varieties.

The service is very good. The staff are all friendly and helpful.

I can say that I met a friend for a beer after work, and the manager and barman occupied all of our time and we barely got to have our own conversation.

mrgrinch, May 15, 2011
Photo of Bierman9
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%

Stopped by here on 10SEP10, before heading to the Greenwood Lake Airshow.

Looks like a ski lodge from the outside! Into the parking lot, and enter on the side to the rear. Once in, the bar is ahead a bit, with tables set off to the right and also the rear left. More tables are beyond the bar to the far and rear left. The bar is ahead, and is L-shaped and going back to the rear left. The place is a bit dark, with beamed ceilings and dark wood around. At the bar, "Mel" made me feel at home, and helped me with the bier/food menus. There were 7 biers on tap, though the hoped-for Oktoberfest was not amongst them. It had kicked but would soon be on again, I was told. I opted for an IPA, followed by a stout. Hungry, I threw in an order for some pulled pork. It hit the bar in 5 minutes, no lie! And it was damn tasty! Fries were good, though not too plentiful. Anyhow, the IPA and stout were satisfying, and the meal was top-shelf. The place does seem to strive to be upscale, with the staff all bedecked in black pant, white shirts and ties. Anyhow, the meal and bier hit the spot!

Prosit!

4.13
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 - $$$

203

Bierman9, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of Seanibus
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

What a lovely little place. It isn't too much to look at from the outside, but inside it is charming and cozy, with a welcoming bar and a big stone fireplace. It looks like an Adirondacks hunting lodge without being kitschy. The service is extremely friendly and crisp, with waiters and food runners working as a seamless team. The food is delicious - elegant without being pretentious or overcomplicated - and not unreasonably expensive. The one criticism I have is they seem to have a heavy hand with the spice in some dishes. The beer is excellent - I am particularly fond of the Ghost Pony lager, which is complex and flavorful, and the Kestrel IPA, which is delicious despite being relatively unsubtle. The six-beer sampler is quite generous at $11 and comes in an attractive wheel-like frame. This is a place I would make a special trip to visit.

Seanibus, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of bob3701
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%

In general the place was nice although maybe a bit on the dark side with the lighting. The beers were also very tasty however I got the feeling beer is only secondary there. Really thought the staff were a bit snooty and lacked any beer knowledge. We waited long periods between beers and at least twice our orders were wrong. However I thought their sampler was one of the best presentations I've seen. My son found nothing on the menu to his liking and ordered only hand made potato chips. I ordered the fish and chips and although the fish was very good it was only one piece and the 'chips' were 4 very tiny sweet potatoes, all mine for $20.

bob3701, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of 86sportster883
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%

The Trap Rock is an upscale restaurant/pub that is rustic but handsomely done in wood and stone. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining in a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. Jazz plays prominently at the bar where most other patrons sipped Grey Goose martinis rather than beer, and the service is professional, attentive and knowledgeable of the beer styles on tap.

I chose to sit at the bar and ordered a sampler of beers ($8.50) and a Trap Burger ($13.95) which came with fries and a small helping of coleslaw. The burger & fries were very good. The beers in the sampler included:

Ghost Pony Helles Lager (4.6% abv) - Munich-style lagers are not a favorite of mine, but this one has a pleasant noble hop nose and a lingering finish.

JP Pilsner (5.5% abv) - described as a cross between German and Czech-style Pilsners, this is a distinctly flavorful beer.

Melibock (6.0% abv) - a creamy smooth Bavarian wheat with spicy aroma and finish.

Octoberfest (5.6% abv) - a full bodied malty brew with a surprisingly clean finish that went well with my fries.

Kestrel IPA (7.0% abv) - Accurately described as a West Coast-style IPA, it has an oily, piney, hop finish that would appeal to any hop head.

Araby's Export Stout (6.8% abv)- Big roasted coffee notes and an interesting balance between malt sweetness and black patent bitterness.

Also on tap: An English-style session beer and a "super-hoppy" pale ale. I was impressed with most all the beers in my sampler as they were true to style and very drinkable.

The Trap Rock is a bit of a hike from where I live, but I will certainly make plans to stop in again next time I'm passing through the area.

86sportster883, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of magnj
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%

a - Valet parking. We ate outside, nothing real fancy. We walked through the inside on our way out to the back patio, again nothing real fancy. Nice but some review made it out to be real high end NY style dining.

q - Food and drink were all good quality. Every single dish and drink came out solid, well cooked, well brewed.

s - Though I read otherwise the service was good. 20's male waiter was friendly and helpful. There was a second waiter which was kind of confusing, who was not so good with the English but got our order right anyway. Attentive and didn't rush but I did notice one table go quite a while without a waiter getting to them so plan to spend some time there. The owner came by a few times to check on everyone which was really nice.

s - Good menu, not big but everything was interesting. Hard to choose because it all sounded good, a good selection of specials helped too. 8 beers available in many style for beer geeks and common folk alike.

f - Food was tasty, I had the Grouper special and my girlfriend had the chicken breast. My portion was too small. A small piece of fish and the vegetable side was half a dozen green beans chopped up in the sauce. It was very good but a scoop of mashed potatoes would have helped. We also did the Fondue for desert which was excellent.

Value - Good food but they are trying too hard to be upscale. My meal should have been more like 21 than 26, salads were 12. Beer sampler was well priced, fresh mint mojito 10. Expect to spend at least 50 a person.

I liked the place but would only go back for a nice dinner, not for the beer, which was solid but nothing to write home about. You can't even go a grab a burger, they don't have one on the menu.

magnj, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%

Along with The Ship Inn in Milford, NJ, I believe that this is the other crown jewel of the NJ brewpub scene. The funny thing is that they cannot be any more different.

Trap Rock caters to more high-end clientele, and you get a hint of this if you visit in the latter half of the week, as you are greeted by valet parking...the only brewpub in the state to offer this service, to the best of my memory. While the inside of the building is beautiful, you do continue to run into hints of haughty culture...which admittedly is not my kind of scene. However, when you sit down at the bar and order a beer sampler, the nuisance of all of the surrounding yuppies will quickly fade away.

In short, the beer is outstanding, particularly all of the various wheat beers (A+), the Virgil's Old Ale (A+), the Emily Rose ESB (A), the Smoked Mammal Porter (A-), the Marcus Brown Ale (B+), the Oatmeal Stout (B+), and the Maibock (B+). Furthermore, they will usually have one of these stellar beers on cask as well. The cuisine is that of a four-star restaurant, while the service is friendly, if not helpful. I only wish that the ownership group, which also owns several upscale north/central NJ restaurants (e.g. Huntley Taverne, Roots Steakhouse, Tabor Road Tavern, etc), would also supply the other restaurants with some of the aforementioned standout beers, and not, strangely enough, two of their only average beers...the Ghost Pony Lager (C-) and Hawthorne Red Ale (C+).

donniecuffs, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of Loki
4.03/5  rDev 0%

Beautiful place with a unique brewpub, white linen restaurant combo quality. One half of the place seemed very dark, with little natural light getting in, while the other dinning area had great natural light streaming in. The bar looked and felt a little more laid back than the rest of the place, but still felt a little more uptight than a normal brewpub.

The quality of the beers on tap were good, but nothing special. I ordered the IPA and my friends ordered the sampler and tried one of everything they had. I wasn't impressed with any of them, but I didn't find any flaws or anything wrong with them either. Good beers, simply not inspiring.

The service was great and very attentive. Quick, knowledgeable, and friendly. Can't ask for much more than that.

Selection was good. I think they had eight beers on tap to choose from.

The food was very good. My lamb was a little overcooked, but it was still very tasty.

I almost ranked the value at $$$$ and if I could have done a 1/2 I would have ranked it at 3 1/2 $s. The bill with tip for three people was $320. Now we all had an appetizer, a dinner entree, a dessert, coffee, and an after dinner drink. And one member of the party was drinking champagne, so it quickly got out of hand.

Good place and it would be a great place for a business dinner.

Loki, May 05, 2009
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery in Berkeley Heights, NJ
90 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.