As the Delaware River starts to widen as it gets near Trenton, so does the history that surrounds the towns on its banks. Maybe you took a field trip to Trenton or Philadelphia as a kid to learn about some nation-founding history, but there’s one town down that way that has a ton of history in its own right, but not nearly as many field trips: Bordentown.
A small city located on the Delaware River right outside of Trenton, it’s where Thomas Paine lived for a decade, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Thomas, called the square mile city home as well. Red Cross founder Clara Barton opened up the first free public school in the state in Bordentown. And in more recent times, one of the top skateboarders in America, Ishod Wair, hails from BTown.
All that history can be a lot to take in, and as Drunk History has taught us, talking about history or thinking about it can be pretty fun over beers. That’s where Tindall Road Brewery located on Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown comes into play.
Marci Warboys and her husband, Dan Pogorzelski, bought the brewery in 2017 when Common Sense Brewing closed in town. The couple bought the place, and made upgrades to the building and the brewing system. But more importantly the couple wanted to show their children, August and Izzy, that they can make history as well.
“I thought it would be really fun to start a business,” explains Warboys. “I wanted to show my kids that if you put your mind to something you can do anything. Our children love it, and I feel like we are continuing this for them even.”
The theme of family continues in all corners of the brewery, and Warboys and Pogorzelski want the brewery to feel like home. Over the years the regulars at the brewery have become family. The staff has as well, and Warboys isn’t shy to list all the professional and personal accomplishments of her staff.
Both Warboys and Pogorzelski are from the Trenton area, and the brewery is named after the road the couple lives on in nearby Robbinsville.
There are arcade games available to play, and there is a darts league that takes place every Thursday night. The Bordentown branch of the Burlington County Library system hosts a trivia night at the brewery.
“The business is a lot about community, and even more so about people,” says Warboys. “It’s not just beer, and you have to make sure everyone is happy and have a family type of environment.’’
The atmosphere that Tindall Road provides creates a good environment to drink a couple beers. Pogorzelski got really into craft beers when living in Southern California.
“Even early on when I started drinking, when I was 21, I didn’t like the traditional beers like Coors Light or Miller Lite,” explains Pogozelski. “I wanted to try something different so I tried Red Dog, and some of the more obscure beers. We lived in Southern California during the ’90s, when the IPA phase started to come about. I drank these IPAs and was like, ‘Wow,’ and we got exposed to different types of breweries around there.”
Pogozelski was so wowed by the IPAs that he took matters into his own hands, and started to homebrew. The way that he made his beer, though, shouldn’t be tried at home.
“I made my first couple batches on an electric stove,” recalls Pogozelski. “I don’t recommend it, and it took all fucking day. You have to bring six and a half gallons of liquid into a full rolling boil for an hour.’’
“It smelled awful,” says Warboys.
Thankfully for the noses of the family, brewing beer on an electric stove isn’t an option anymore since Tindall Road exists, and they have stainless steel tanks to house the beer.
Even though the technology is better, Pogozelski still carries with him some of the lessons he learned from homebrewing and brought some of his flavors with him. Pogozelski combined espresso and chili peppers. The beer gives you a one-two punch in a way.
The espresso does its job as it’s supposed to and hits you immediately like it’s 1:00 a.m. during finals week and you need a jolt of caffeine. Then a couple seconds later, just as the espresso taste evaporates, you have a spicy aftertaste and you’re reminded that you ordered something with chili pepper. The espresso is provided by Turtle Beans Coffee Roasters right down Farnsworth in Bordentown.
“It was an idea I hatched when I was still brewing at home,” says Pogozelski. “It’s a deep rich stout with actual espresso, and it has four gallons of actual espresso in it from Turtle Beans. We get the peppers from the grocery store, and we condition it and throw it in the fermenter, and then we do a secondary fermentation, and then all the flavors come together. “
Another one of Pogozelski’s ideas came into fruition with the Dan’s Double IPA.
“Dan’s Double was my attempt at an angry and mean IPA,” explains Pogozelski. “It’s got six pounds of hops in the back, which is a lot since we have a three-barrel system. It has a complex malt schedule as well.’’
While pumpkin-flavored anything is sort of meme now, when done correctly the pumpkin flavor hits the spot, and you don’t have to be wearing flannel listening to Bon Iver or getting ready for Halloween to enjoy the pumpkin flavor. It could be a cold January night and the Great Pumpkin Vanilla Chai hits the spot.
“The Pumpkin Vanilla Chai has a relatively high ABV, and it’s an amber ale that utilizes the pumpkin spice flavor,” says Pogozelski. “It also utilizes chai tea, and cold brew chai tea. The chai compliments the pumpkin spice really well.’’
For now, the brewery is looking forward to the future, and it’s also one of the closest breweries to Trenton. The other brewery is Bitchin Kitten in Morrisville. Even though you get some pretty dope beer at both places, the breweries are a different experience.
For one, you have a food menu at Bitchin Kitten, while across the Trenton Makes bridge plus a short trip on 195 to Bordentown, you have virtually no food menu at Tindall Road. I’m not complaining since you have some great food options in town such as Heart of Bordentown, Marcellos, HoopHouse, and Old Town Pub. But also it shows the limitations that breweries face in the Garden State.
It’s something that’s on the mind of Warboys as she hopes to do more business in Pennsylvania. Like other breweries across the state, Tindall Road has been affected by the regulations, and she admires what other breweries are doing to stand up for themselves, such as Death of a Fox in Gloucester County.
“Those regulations are made to keep the brewery business model from flourishing,” says Warboys. “It’s all about the competition for people who have bought liquor licenses. Yes I understand they spent a lot of money on licenses, but that is not our fault and it’s the fault of the state for using an antiquated method for liquor licenses.
“This industry has been here since the ’80s and will still be here for a very long time. They aren’t doing this to Lyft or Uber. To regulate the size of our TVs and to say that we can’t advertise on social media is crazy.”
But all in all, despite the limitations set forth by Trenton, Tindall Road does flourish with its inviting atmosphere and unique beer. It’s worth the field trip to Bordentown to make up for all the Washington Crossing and Liberty Bell field trips.