Beers a plenty at the Mohawk House

Offering a rotating selection of 50 premium draft beers

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  • Susann Nicosia of Andover (left) and Rachael Decker of Wantage drawing beer from one of Mohawk House’s 50 taps.

  • The plumbing in the basement of the Mohawk House connecting the kegs of beer to the bar located above.

  • Some of the 50 beer taps in the Mohawk House

  • When they change the beers, they change the handles. Some of over 500 tap handles in the basement of the Mohawk House.

So many beers and so little time is the dilemma that beer drinkers face at the Mohawk House in Sparta.

With 50 beers on tap owner Steve Scro has a flavor for everyone, but fans of a particular brew will have to move fast.

“We can put a smaller keg on today and by tonight it will be gone,” said Scro. “I want somebody to walk in and they are not sure what is going to be here.”

Scro describes the Mohawk House as a “draft house.” Many of the beers are brewed locally, from as close as Butler with others coming from Pennsylvania and New York.

“New Jersey is becoming more and more popular for local brews,” said Scro. “Years ago there were not so many local breweries in New Jersey. But they are popping up, and they are quality brewers. What I buy are called the rare or small batch brews. Many of them are strictly on draft.”

His customers, like a changing variety, so he usually buys sixtel sized kegs. A sixtel is one sixth of a full keg, 5 gallons or 661 ounces.

"A lot of the limited batch brews are mainly sixtels. I like that because I do one and dones, where I will put something on and two days later it is gone,” said Scro.

The high turnover rate offers a new variety of brews almost every day.

“Every week I do between 15 and 20 kegs that I am moving around,” Scro said. With all the practice the staff can tap 20 kegs in 30 minutes.

Scro dedicates a part of his busy day studying beer. He is drawn to the story behind a brew, particularly the people crafting the brew.

“I love knowing about the people behind the brews. I think that is the most interesting thing to really, really read the stories behind the brewers, the work that is behind it, and the true love and appreciation for craft beer.”

Keeping seasonal, the Mohawk House offers 18 pumpkin draft brews and 10 Oktoberfest beers, which are German-inspired.

"They are easy drinking, usually they are 4 to 5% alcohol," Scro said. "They are a festive beer, the kind of beer you would enjoy at a party. The rest of my beers are Indian Pale Ale and some darker beers. In the fall weather people tend to migrate toward the darker beers or the stouts.”

Providing an easy way to sample his latest offerings, Scro has beer paddles — which is four, 8-ounce glasses that the customer can have filled with any of the 50 brews.

“A lot of people buy multiple paddles with eight or 12 beers,” Scro said.

The Mohawk House is not just about beer.

“We also offer beers that we pair up with the food we serve," he said. "We change our menu like we change our beers. Every two or three weeks our menu is constantly changing and evolving.”

If a beer drinker prefers to drink a draft beer at home Scro is happy to oblige.

“We also do growlers,” said Scro. A growler is a reusable 64 ounce bottle. “They are called Mohawk moonshine growlers. On Sundays we have half-price growler days. They are standing in line for growler fills.”

Customers can bring their own growler sized container or buy one from Scro.

With 50 premium draft beers Scro has no shortage of customers.

“Sparta and Sussex County, New Jersey people really enjoy the finer beers," Scro said. “They call us a hot spot for cold ones.”

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