The Beer Factory
113 N. Fairview St., Riverside, NJ 08075
Hours: Early to Late (not exactly sure)
This Independence Day, we headed up Rt. 130 to perform our diving duties in the former resort / former industrial / former everything town of Riverside, NJ. From the street, The Beer Factory looks like a blue barn belonging to the house next door. “Home of the 1-1/4 oz. Shot”, boasts the sign. But it wasn’t until we entered, and let our eyes adjust to the darkness, that we realized how deep we were about to dive.
All eyes turned to us. We were the youngest people in the bar by no less than 30 years, and the soberest by no less than 6 drinks. We took the long walk around the big rectangular bar and took the first available set of three stools, where we were greeted by an easy-going older barmaid. The regulars actually seemed to get a kick out of seeing someone new, and they soon turned back to their good-natured imbibery.
The bartender finished serving the guy at the end of the bar an O’doul’s, and everyone else in the bar whiskey or Rolling Rock, then brought over three ice-cold Yuenglings in frosted mugs – just what we needed for relief from the oppressive humidity.
We talked to our bartender a lot – she was probably grateful to see some new faces in there. She was also surprising well-traveled, and, less surprisingly, considering the lighting, absolutely fascinated by caves. We traded a handful of cave-related stories (not kidding): Lava caves in Iceland, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky (which reminds me of another great dive), and the caves in Zion National Park, UT. Seriously, we talked about caves for like 15 minutes.
Sitting there we scoped out the food situation. They definitely sold chips and pretzels, but beyond that it was sort of a mystery. Some patrons were ordering slices of pizza, which the bartender brought out one-at-a-time from the walk-in freezer and toasted in what appeared to be the single cooking device on the premises. Apparently they order pizza once a week and sell it until its all gone. To celebrate the 4th, they also had hot dogs and homemade brownies on the house! Not a bad deal at all!
Before we could order another round, the O’doul’s guy poured a third bottle into his glass since our arrival. We enjoyed another round of beer and conversation and just let the diveyness set it. The Beer Factory, “Home of the 1-1/4 oz. Shot”, as the sign boasts, has that unique divey character that really comes out when the main sources of light are the open doors. Even if it’s just for a round, do yourself a favor and experience the Beer Factory. The decor, the atmosphere, and the people tell a story that is best absorbed with a beer in hand.
Note: there is actually a lot of great divey stuff to check out inside The Beer Factory, but the phone containing most of the photos (and some of the prices and specials) got fried before I could upload them. Go check it out for yourself!
Food: ★★½ (based on free hot dogs and brownies)
This is one of the deepest dives in South Jersey. The Beer Factory helps Riverside live up to its reputation. The Yuengling is cold and the prices haven’t changed in a decade. The Beer Factory is genuine Americana, frozen in time.