When you step into the Oakflower taproom, Dani's is likely the first face you'll see. With an uncanny knack for making everyone feel comfortable and welcome, and with more patience than anyone has the right to possess (due to living with AJ), there was no better person to manage the taproom. While the decor was all put together collectively, the overall taproom and service experience is her doing. Read on to get to know more about Dani!
What's your craft beer style of choice?
Well, I would have said that it’s hard to choose, but a good friend of ours from Iceland, Snorri, gave me the best answer to this question a few years ago: my style of choice is whatever is in my glass! I enjoy a hazy IPA, a lager, a porter; basically, if it’s cold and not a super sour, I’m happy.
How did you get into the world of craft beer?
I'll put this one on AJ! Before meeting him, I had dipped my toes into craft beer, drinking my fair share of River Horse Blonde. Then I met AJ. On our first trip together, we stopped at Treehouse in Massachusetts – it was “on our way," according to AJ. (In actuality, it was about an hour and a half out of our way, but it was young love, so I was down for the detour.) When we pulled into the parking lot, he informed me that I would be ordering a four pack of Green and a four pack of Julius. And this is the first time I learned the term “beer mule.”
While shuffling around a trunk full of cans from various stops along our road trip, people were quick to strike up a conversation about them. They were excited to see different styles from the widespread world of craft beer, and their excitement was contagious. Finally, we got in the car and I had my first taste of a hazy IPA. I was hooked! Julius aka “yellow” was delicious! I wanted to drink it all the time. And thankfully I was now part of a community that could make that happen.
What inspired the styling of the taproom?
Leigh and Colin had a vision that we all fell in love with and worked together to bring to life. We wanted to create something a bit different – something within the fabric of a community as opposed to the outskirts. Something quirky and homey, but with those industrial touches too. It's a vibe I think a lot of coffeehouses and traditional breweries in Europe perfect – an inviting, unobtrusive spot to meet up with friends, try some new beers, and enjoy the moment you're in. One of my favorite spots actually is the bar at the front window, which overlooks the Millington Train Station. It's just the perfect spot to watch the comings and goings, while sinking into a good beer with good company.
What makes your spot unique?
We all feel really strongly about bringing out Oakflower's identity within our space and the ways we use it. We've built nooks into the corners and changed up seating styles across the taproom so there's always a new spot to find. We work with neighboring farms to bring fresh flowers into our taproom and seasonal ingredients into our beers. We're eager to find fun ways to bring our proximity to NJ Transit into the mix and amazing grounds like the Great Swamp. Our spot is as unique as Long Hill itself, and each of our craft beer journeys that have led us to this point of opening our own doors.
What will the tap list look like?
Like most breweries these days, our tap list will be ever changing and evolving, but we all agree we want to have a good focus on a few core beers or at least core beer styles that people can feel confident in finding each time they come by. I know it's not always cool to have "core beers" these days, but we've all had times when we find our favorite beer from our favorite brewery, and then have to sit around wondering when that beer will come back around. Rest assured we'll rotate through fun IPAs fairly frequently, but we will also always have some saison and lager or Kolsch on tap.