April 1, 2020

Popular Triumph Brewing Company/ Brewpub Marks 25th Anniversary as Princeton Mainstay

BEST BREW: “We are the first licensed brewpub — an on-site brewery and restaurant — in New Jersey. We brew the beer right here, and have 250 different styles.” Eric Nutt, left, director of corporate sales, and Ray Villano, general manager of Triumph Brewing Company, look forward to celebrating the brewpub’s 25th anniversary with all their customers as soon as circumstances allow.

By Jean Stratton

These are unusual times, and nowhere is that more visible than in Princeton’s downtown, with the myriad of businesses that are temporarily closed or otherwise affected by the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

Triumph Brewing Company, the longtime Princeton favorite brewpub, is marking its 25th anniversary this year, and although celebration plans have been placed on hold, it is still open for takeout and bottled beer purchases.

“We can’t wait to get back to normal — with our customers, and also to see all the people on the street again,” says director of corporate sales Eric Nutt. “In the meantime, however, we do offer takeout, and also, we are delivering food to HomeFront and the Trenton Soup Kitchen. In addition, our Red Bank and New Hope locations are delivering to food banks in their areas.

“We have always been community-oriented, and we support local organizations and charities.”

Relaxed Atmosphere

Triumph Brewing Company’s history dates to 1995, when it was opened by certified master brewer Adam Rechnitz at its current 138 Nassau Street location.

It quickly became a favorite for a range of customers — from serious beer connoisseurs to people who simply enjoyed good food and a glass of beer or wine (there is a full bar) in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

At the time, there were no brewpubs in New Jersey, notes Eric Nutt. “Brewpubs didn’t really exist in the East then; they were mostly in Seattle and Portland.”

In fact, in order to open, Adam Rechnitz and his partners had to take on the New Jersey Legislature and spearhead a drive to legalize brewpubs, which were then illegal in the state. The partners were persistent, and the bill was passed in 1994.

The building itself is intriguing, with a unique history. Over the years, it has been home to a silent movie theater, a hardware store, a bowling alley, and a number of restaurants.

“We can seat 250, and accommodate even more for private parties, receptions, and events. We have two private party rooms upstairs, and several semi-private rooms,” points out Nutt. “We have a broad demographic — male, female, early 20s to 70-plus, married, families, and lots of tourists. We also always have a special children’s menu.

“We really have lots of events, including private parties of all kinds, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions — we’ve had 200 weddings and even wedding ceremonies. Corporate functions and Princeton University events are a big part of the business. In addition, we have many regular individual customers from all over, who enjoy coming often.”

Sunday Brunch

“We also recently started having Sunday brunch with live jazz,” he adds, “and we look forward to continuing that when we can reopen.”

Customers especially enjoy the fact that they can eat and drink in an upstairs or downstairs setting that affords a front row view of the three-tiered stainless steel brewery, a unique dining experience.

Triumph produces 250 styles of beer, with seven different choices on tap any given day. It takes two to four weeks to brew beer, depending on whether it is ale or lager.

“There is something for every taste,” reports general manager Ray Villano. “Amber ale is very popular and also Honey Wheat. We have Irish Dry Stout, a tribute to the dry stouts of Dublin, and also Irish Mild ale. Not everyone realizes that we actually make our beer right here, which makes it so fresh.”

Also available are Beer Flights, which include a selection of four tap beers, served in 5-ounce glasses. In addition, Growlers, beer-to-go, in 64-ounce or 32-ounce bottles are offered for customers to purchase.

Favorite For Everyone

Once open again, Triumph will offer a full lunch and dinner menu, including appetizers, salads, soup, sandwiches, and entrees. Everything from beer-battered fish and chips to grilled cheese sandwiches, and special grass-fed beef burgers to brie-en-croute, root vegetables empanadas, and harvest panzanella, among many other choices, will be on the menu.

Fresh ingredients and sustainability are important to Triumph’s operations, says Nutt. “We support local farms, and we source local in the kitchen whenever possible. We believe in sustainability, farm to table. And beer is sustainable. Our spent grain is picked up by local farmers and used as feed.

“I especially enjoy this business because every day is different,” he adds. “There is always something new and always interesting, and I enjoy working with people.”

“Princeton is an excellent location for Triumph, he points out. “Princeton is a unique town in that it attracts visitors from all over the world. Our different beer styles seem to align with many international tastes.”

Both Eric Nutt and Ray Villano look forward to re-opening Triumph as soon as possible. “We want to be serving our customers again. We can’t wait to see them all again!”

And the feeling is mutual. Triumph’s customers are sure to be back as soon as they can — to sample the different beers, to enjoy lunch and dinner, and to celebrate the 25th anniversary in style.

In the meantime, takeout for food and beer is available seven days, noon to 6 p.m. for curbside pickup.

For more information, call (609) 924-7855. And visit the website: www.triumphbrewery.com for menu options.