Jeremy Lees recalls how his obsession with beer began.
A long-time lover of good brews, he caught the beer-making bug in 2005 after being encouraged by friends who were making beer at home.
“My first batch of home brew didn’t come out great,” he admits, “but I had so much fun doing it, I kept at it until it did.”
As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect, so Lees began a new brew every Friday night. Before long, delicious beer was flowing, and he knew he was onto something.
Lees always wanted to have his own business, and his love of craft beer combined with his entrepreneurial spirit led him to create Flounder Brewing Company—which he runs with the help of his brother, Daniel, and cousin, Billy Jordan—in 2010. The name is a nod to the nickname that Lees was given on his 21st birthday by someone who thought he resembled the character Flounder from “Animal House.”
Lees explains that his goal was to create good, go-to craft beers that had simple ingredients and delicious flavor. “I started with a blonde ale, which was an homage to my grandfather who was a beekeeper. I wanted to make a beer that actually tasted like honey,” he says. He launched the brewery with Hill Street Honey Blonde Ale, which is still Flounder’s best-selling beer.
Other favorites include their Murky Brown (an American brown ale), their FRED – The IPA (a gentle, hazy beer with notes of citrus and pine), a Lunatic Belgian golden ale (crisp with a touch of coriander) and their Black Emerald dry Irish stout (with flavors of chocolate and roasted coffee). They also offer seasonal beers, such as Norz Hill Drunkin’ Pumpkin, which is brewed with caramelized pumpkins from Norz Hill Farm in Hillsborough.
You can find Flounder brews at 22 West Tap & Grill in Bound Brook, Twenty/20 Taphouse in Somerset, Petrock’s Bar & Grille in Hillsborough, Chimney Rock Inn in Flemington, The Inn at Glen Gardner, Fox & Hound Tavern at the Lebanon Hotel and in ice cream at Gabriel’s Fountain in Bridgewater.
Thanks to a "Brew the American Dream" business loan from Samuel Adams, Flounder was able to go from making a one-barrel (31-gallon) batch to three-barrel (100-gallon) batches. After the brewery’s construction and re-launch, the brewhouse will be able to accommodate15 to 20 barrels of beer. It will be offering hard seltzers and craft sodas, too, so the whole family can enjoy spending a day at the brewery, which is housed in a 250-year-old Dutch barn on a 25-acre farm in Hillsborough.
“We want to be seen as a destination where everyone can enjoy a memorable experience based on good beer, great community and a fantastic setting,” Lees says.
Flounder Brewing Company
1 Ilene Court, Building 8, Suite 16
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Beer and BBQ Pairings
Our Hill Street Honey Blonde Ale is the perfect backyard BBQ beer as it pairs incredibly well with steak or burgers from the grill. The lighter flavor profile doesn’t overpower the food and the subtle sweetness in the beer complements the meat well.
Our FRED - The IPA pairs with traditional smoked BBQ like ribs or pulled pork. The juicy notes go great with the sweetness in a lot of sauces.