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“I’m going to Disney World!”

King of Homebrewers!

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a good time at CMBC. Not only at our events and in the Tasting Room, but more or less everything that happens behind the scenes is a bunch of fun as well.

Case in point: our recent homebrew competitions.

IMG_3201We have a lot of very talented individuals on staff. Everyone is good at their jobs — from accounting to marketing to retail, we’ve got some good people working at CMBC.

However, the staff’s talents extend far beyond their jobs. And, luckily, many of those talents extend to homebrewing.

“We have a lot of really talented staff here,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “Some of the people here brew very unique beers and we want to get some of this variation into our production, so by having them strut their stuff for everyone and put their mettle to the test, we can come up with some really cool things.”

So, over the past few months, we’ve been having homebrew competitions, placing the winner on the production schedule. Not only does our staff get the chance to show off their stuff, but the brewery gets to sample creative and innovative recipes from our team members for a future brew consideration.

“Imagination and creativity are like a muscle,” Jimmy says, “and like any other muscle it has to be exercised or else it gets weak.”

One of our Core Values is “Foster Creativity”, and we’re always looking for ways to do exactly that, both professionally and in our endeavors outside of the office.

“We’ve gotta keep those neurons firing,” Jimmy says, “so by pushing ourselves to make time for events like this we hope to keep those creative juices going.”

IMG_3160We had nine entrants — Head Brewer Brian Hink, Brewers Andrew Ewing and Mark Graves, Cellarmen Mike McGrath and Eddie Siciliano, Packaging Operator Kevin Kately, Director of Distribution Justin Vitti, Assistant Tasting Room Manager Dan Petela, and Co-Owner Hank.

In two double-blind tastings — no one had any idea whose beers were whose — the Brew Crew rated them from 1-10 on aroma, appearance, flavor, body, and overall impression.

“Ten being amazing and one being ‘I think my dog makes better beer than this’,” Jimmy joked.

The Brew Crew grabbed trays of nine beers and got down to very enjoyable work.

“…this is some seriously cloudy beer here, guys….”

“…I don’t know which beer is mine…”

“…smells like curry…”

“…I can’t smell #2…”


“…I think #3 is my favorite…”

“…I got you a present. It’s #8…”

“…smells like onions. But in a good way….”

“…swirl it…”

“…love the color…!”

“…you have to smell yourself. That’ll reset your palate…”

“…#9. #9’s the winner…”

In the end, it wasn’t #9 but #4 that was the winner, universally rated very high by all the tasters. Brewed by Assistant Tasting Room Manager — and active member of the Cape May Brewers Guild — Dan Petela, his winning brew was a big IPA with a unique hops bill and fermented with a London Ale yeast strain that imparted lovely fruity flavors to complement the tropical hops.

“I loved it,” Jimmy said, “but I also really liked all of the brews that were done. If I could brew them all up, I would!”

When asked how he felt about winning, Dan said, “I’m going to Disney World!”

(Yes. He really said that.)

Congrats to Dan and all the participants! Stay tuned for the future of this brew.