The Triumph Brewing Company has been crafting clean, classic beer styles since 1995 at their flagship location in Princeton, NJ. They began expansion in 2003 by adding a location in New Hope, Pennsylvania, followed by one in Old City, Philadelphia in 2007. Back in college, Triumph Princeton was the first brewpub that I frequented on the regular and helped hone my craft beer taste-buds. So, when I found myself just across the river from New Hope in Lambertville, NJ this past weekend, I couldn’t pass up a chance to visit this classic Tri-State brewpub.
We popped into Triumph just off the main drag in New Hope on a blistering, 20º winter day for an early lunch. From first impressions the pub looked impeccable. The bi-level space was full of clean lines and six spotless, stainless-steel conical fermenters rested above our heads… always a good sign. Beyond their well-crafted brews and menu of excellent salads, sandwiches and entrees, the space also contained a few additional niceties such as two free pool tables, outdoor seating and a live band space. On this particular afternoon, the pub offered six beers on tap, all brewed on the premises. As a testament to their classic brewing style, there were no fancy names here as my sampler arrived with Heffeweizen, Munich Dunkel, Pilsner, Coffee and Cream Stout, Bengal Golden IPA, and Belgian Dubbel.
While all of the beers poured bright, clean, and held an excellent mouthfeel, the standout choice for me was the Bengal Golden IPA. At 6% alcohol, this easy drinking IPA poured a hazy tangerine color with some tacky lacing that stuck like marshmallow to sides of the glass. The nose brought forth scents of orange, light caramel and even a bit of wet sock and the taste was laden with flavors of orange and pine. The orange flavors here were a nice change from the usual citrus fruits in an IPA (grapefruit, lemon, etc.) and were very welcoming. I could drink this beer again and again.
Also notable was the Munich Dunkel, the malted up cousin of a pilsner beer. While I am not usually a pilsner (or any lager) drinker, the wheat malt and burnt caramel flavors here mellowed out the hints of lime peel and chalk characteristic of most pilsner beers. At a slightly lighter 5.2% alcohol, this beer reminds me of a classic Oktoberfest offering and is a good accompaniment for any session with friends.
The most unique beer on their menu – for Triumph standards – was the Coffee and Cream Stout. A milk stout variation, this brew gets an added creaminess from unfermentable lactose sugars added to the brew. With a bit of a thicker mouthfeel than the other five, the stout came packed with lots of roasted, coffee, and vanilla flavors similar to a Keegan’s Joe-Mama’s Milk. I’ve never been one for milk stouts and, to me, there seemed to be a bit of competition amongst the flavors in the palate. As a testament to the precision of this brew however, it did have a near identical aroma to the cup of coffee we ordered with lunch.
The rest of the offerings, while impeccably brewed, were a bit less notable. The Heffeweizen was pretty straight forward as was the Pilsner and the Belgian Dubbel (which was a bit like an Ommegang Abbey Ale). These were super clean examples of their respective styles and very well balanced, but lacked some of the subtle notes that the others beers offered.
We paired these brews with a mid-day feast which included a monster Brewhouse Burger (onion ring, ipa barbecue, apple wood bacon, cheddar, pepper jack, pickle, sweet potato fries), a grilled cheese and apple sandwich, Fuji Apple Salad (arugula, blue cheese, toasted almond, sherry vinaigrette), butternut squash soup and pumpkin chai gelato. All of these were made with the same care as the brews and I’m confident that anything on their menu would go down as easy as our beers did which, conveniently, are also available in growler fill.