Who can say they got to drink beer on a battleship? Alcohol is typically forbidden by regulation and order aboard all US Navy vessels, but luckily, the Battleship New Jersey is a special case. On July 24, 2021 the Battleship once again hosted the NJ Brewers Association Battleship Beer Festival.

As we crossed the gangway, we received a nice introduction to the ship’s history of the ship, and pointed along our way for our self-guided tours.

The Battleship New Jersey (“BB62”) was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and launched in 1942, on the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. When she was finally done serving her country in 1999, she was brought back to Philadelphia to be restored, opened and established as a floating educational museum, the only one of it’s kind at the time.

USS New Jersey is an Iowa-class battleship, the largest of the gun-armed ships that ruled the seas for nearly three centuries. The Iowa-class were the last class of American battleships built, the last battleships in service in the entire world. They were not only the largest, longest, and fastest of all battleships.

What further sets the USS New Jersey apart from others is that it is the most intact of any American battleship. Most of the ship is still in its original condition from 1943, with certain areas showcasing the upgraded weaponry and electronics from 1982. The ship’s hull, main guns, and most of the superstructure look the same as they did when the New Jersey served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, and even in the Cold War.

The New Jersey rendered more active service than any other Iowa-class ship. She fought in World War II, was the first battleship reactivated for the Korean War, the only battleship to serve in the Vietnam War, the first battleship reactivated to end the Cold War, and the last place you’d expect to find annual beer festivals, proms, and events of all kinds.

Once finished with the self-guided tour, guests settled in for unlimited samples of beer exclusively from New Jersey breweries alongside some rocking live music and a cafe with some quick bites and sandwiches.

During the VIP when the crowd was thinner, I definitely felt a bit more comfortable. However, when the event hit it’s peak during general admission, there were moments when the crowd was too thick to look through, leading me to live a bit more on the periphery during the event, wearing a mask when I went in for samples.

If you do have some anxiety issues between COVID and life in general, it is definitely a good idea to splurge for the VIP whenever possible to get in there early and find what you like first, so that you can leave early if you have to. This was just before the delta spikes at well, so I do feel a lot of these people would be masking up if you asked them to head back there this weekend.

Apart from that, it was awesome to be back out at a beer festival. And the team at the New Jersey Brewers Association put on a great event, full of smiling faces all around. It was great to be out there with other craft beer fans, and back talking to brewers and reps. I never tire of beer festivals.

The Beer

Quite a lot of spectacular beer, as always. New Jersey Brewers’ Association festivals do not ever disappoint. Of course the Double Nickel Brewing Co. fanboy in me wants to mention their “Leisure Police” Mango Milkshake IPA, but I always mention them, so pretend you didn’t see that (but seriously, go try some).

Berries & BananasNew Jersey Beer Company

Strawberry-Banana Sour

I normally don’t reach for a sour to quench my thirst, but this can definitely scratch that itch. This beer is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Just an absolute lovely cold drink on the hot deck of a decades-old battleship. I really didn’t think I would like this one as much as I did.

“Our heavily fruited strawberry and banana sour is sure to bring you back to simpler times of poolside smoothies, sunshine and good vibes. Loaded with real strawberry and banana and soured with our special blend, this one is sure to keep your thirst quenched!“

New Jersey Beer Company

Above Ground PoolHackensack Brewing Company

Wit Beer with Orange Zest & Coriander

Easy drinking Belgian Witbier packed with orange zest, coriander, and dry-hopped with Amarillo. The hops are clearly evident in the aroma, bursting with notes of orange citrus with a light wheat in the back. Wonderful balance between the fruit and the spice, light-bodied and crisp. I was trying to drink outside of my comfort zone, and very happy that I tried this one.

How Hazy this AxeAxe & Arrow Brewing Company

Hazy IPA

First time having a beer with Sultana hops and I am certainly not disappointed. Fruity, ripe pineapple notes, bright citrus, and a subtle hint of pine, smooth and rich from the addition of the oats. If this DIPA is the one they hang their hat on, I’m sure we’ll be seeing them around for some time. I look forward to trying everything else they have to offer.

Our original DIPA, The Axe, with a New England twist. We added some Sultana hops to the original Citra and Mosaic combination, added a ton of oats and used a New England yeast.

Axe & Arrow

Honorary Mentions

Andrij Harasewych
Editor at The Craft Beer Diaries. Devoted husband and father. Excessively geeky. Comic books, video games, and craft beer are my vices. Favorite beer style easily the IPA. Growing love for the DIPA, specifically.
Andrij Harasewych
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