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“It was really cool to see the differences between my five-gallon batch and a batch here,” he says.

Catch the Drift

Regulars to the Tasting Room probably know Assistant Tasting Room Manager Dan Petela. He’s our longest-serving Beertender, a fixture behind the bar and, for many, nearly synonymous with CMBC.

He’s also the biggest beer geek we have in the Tasting Room. By leaps and bounds. His knowledge of beer is almost supernatural. His first words probably were, “This isn’t bad, but they should have upped the Simcoe in the dry hop a bit.”

Now, we pride ourselves on hiring some of the brightest beer minds in the area to work behind the bar and help you select the next beer you’re going to love. Everyone behind the bar is top-notch.

But Dan definitely wins in the geekery department.

7518826688_IMG_9567He’s been homebrewing for the past seven years and has made a name for himself as one of the best in the area.

“I thought it would be cheaper than buying beer,” Dan says. “Turns out, it doesn’t save you any money, but you do get to brew whatever you want to drink. If I’m in the mood for, say, an avocado IPA, I can brew one up. It’s endless possibilities.”

Dan tries to get at least one brew in a month, but, as with most of our hobbies, it usually depends on how busy he is. He leans toward pale ales and IPAs, usually lighter on the ABV.

“I’m not drinking a keg of 10% beer by myself,” he jokes. “I can, but….”

He’s an active member of the Cape May Brewers Guild, a club of homebrewers throughout the county. Each month, the previous month’s winner of the Cape May Brewers Guild homebrew competition gets to choose the style for the following month’s brew. Dan’s won a handful of times.

“It’s great because I get to brew stuff I wouldn’t normally brew,” he says.

7518826688_IMG_9601Not only does Dan win some competitions with them, but he also won our internal homebrew competition back in February. Beating out eight other contenders, his “Hoppy AF New England IPA” was juicy, tropical, and delicious.

So delicious that we decided to give Dan a chance to see his brew on a slightly larger scale — large enough for us to can up a few cases and sell a limited amount from the Tasting Room of what’s been rechristened as “Catch the Drift NEIPA”.

Nonetheless, Dan’s really gotten a kick out of seeing his beer getting brewed here.

“It was really cool to see the differences between my five-gallon batch and a batch here,” he says. “We cut back on the hops in the whirlpool but upped the dry hop, so it evens out.”

While it’s one of the smaller batches we’ve done in awhile, Dan’s excited to let it see the light of day.

It’s also the most expensive beer we’ve ever brewed. Golden Promise — a pale malt that’s slightly nuttier than the typical two-row malt — doesn’t come cheap. Yet, it’s a well-balanced malt, perfect to complement the insane amount of hops we used in this brew. We killed this brew with Citra and Vic Secret.

7518826688_IMG_9587Vic Secret — an Australian hop — isn’t one of the most common hops out there. In fact, not only is this the first time we’ve used it in any of our brews, but the homebrew competition in February was the first time many of our staff had ever tasted that variety.

“I think of it kind of like a baby Galaxy hop,” Dan tells us. “It’s got pineapple and mango. Really juicy. Really tropical. Then I added some Citra for the citrus flavors.”

The result is an intensely hazy and juicy New England IPA, with an extremely low bitterness that belies the huge amounts of hops we threw at this brew. Aromas of pineapple and passionfruit abound, complementing a soft mouthfeel thanks to the Golden Promise and wheat in the malt bill.

It is — in a word — delicious.

Catch the Drift releases May 19th at noon in the Brewtique. This limited-edition brew is $17.99 for a 4-pack — limit one case per person.

See you then!