Aging the beer deep in the mountain

Krogh's buries Russian stout for celebration

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  • Four barrels of Russian Imperial Stout hiberating in the Sterling Mine

  • Two of the four casks that will age for a year beneath the mountain

  • Aging gives the stout the full-bodied taste it is famous for

By Laurie Gordon

— If you live in Sparta, and most likely, if you live anywhere in Sussex County, you know about a great place with a cozy atmosphere, eclectic brews and delicious food called Krogh's Restaurant and Brew Pub in White Deer Plaza. But did you know that Krogh's not only brews beer but buries it as well?

On Monday, Krogh's, in preparation for the celebration of its 20th anniversary next year, brewed a batch of Russian Imperial Stout, casked it in four wooden bourbon barrels, hauled it to Ogdensburg and tucked the stout away in the Sterling Mine, to condition it for one year, mimicking a very old style of brewing and aging beer prior to the invention of electricity.

Bob Fuchs purchased Krogh’s Restaurant & Tap Room in 1981, so the bar and grill was already in operation. Indeed, the building has been serving the public since 1922, and has a very interesting history.

“In 1999 the name was changed to 'Krogh’s Restaurant & Brew Pub,'” Fuchs said, “This was when we opened the brewery opened, in 1999, hence our 20th year anniversary will be February 2019. Krogh’s received the 13th brewing license issued in the state of New Jersey and there are now over 100. We were the pioneers.”

Of the special anniversary brew, Fuchs said, “[On Monday], we stored the Russian Imperial Stout at the Sterling Mine to begin this historic anniversary and celebration. The Russian Imperial Stout will be released in February 2019."

Fuchs said a Russian Imperial Stout must age to achieve its full- bodied taste.

"It is an awesome beer,” he said, “Come on down and have glass next February.”

Fuchs said that the addition of the brewery has certainly helped business grow.

“We have grown in our brewing techniques as we constantly change our styles of beer and continue to create what our valued guests desire,” he said. “In the restaurant we update and modernize our food menu twice per year and our guests always appreciate that.”

Fuchs said his proudest business accomplishment with Krogh's was, “Booking my all time favorite band numerous times. They are named the Strawbs, from England. To put it in context, if I had had the choice to book either the Strawbs, Beatles or Rolling Stones, I’d choose the Strawbs. This was a difficult question to answer and one you probably never expected but there were many, many other significant accomplishments but you only allowed me one.”

Krogh's added outdoor dining in 2008, and guests have loved it. The outdoor area features some incredible wood carvings and a view of bucolic Lake Mohawk.

Fuchs said, “ I only wish we had more room. We get a '5-dog bone' review on 'Bringfido.' They rate restaurants in New Jersey according to how friendly they are with dogs and everyone gives us a '5 dog bone,' review and that is all due to our outside dining.”

Although Krogh's serves full dinners, Fuchs said their most popular items are their famous chicken wings and nachos along with a complete variety of fresh ground meat regular and gourmet hamburgers. Krogh's most popular handcrafted beer is their “Alpine Glow Red Ale.”

Every Thanksgiving, thousands flock to the thoroughfare in front of Krogh's for the Annual Krogh's Turkey Trot 5K.

“We started sponsoring the 1st annual Turkey Trot, 'the tradition before the tradition,' in 2006,” Fuchs said, “And this event creates immeasurable 'good will' in the community and certainly increases our customer base.”

Celebrating an anniversary with a special brew is something Krogh's did for their 15th anniversary. Since it was so successful, Fuchs decided to do it again.

Fuchs said his list of dedicated employees is too numerous to mention, but he is grateful for each and every one of them.

“We have over 20 employees that have worked at Krogh’s for over 20 years and many of them over 30 years,” he said. “A special thank to Carl David Cooper, our chef and brewer who has been one of many responsible for our long term success in both areas of our business.”

Tune in next year when the beer is unveiled for a genuine, and very unique treat.

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