Mop Man on Cape May IPA
Our flagship IPA is our flagship IPA for good reason: it’s a helluva beer.
It was originally Hank’s recipe — “Jump the Jetty” it was called. As he and Ryan were getting into homebrewing, it was essentially all he ever brewed.
“I pretty much just brewed IPA, then I’d change it and brew it again,” Hank said. “I just kept playing with the recipe.”
Once they were ready to open the brewery, with their new space at the Cape May Airport secured, they brought the “finished” product to Mop Man, and he gave his opinion.
When I tasted the first batch they made of Cape May IPA, they actually had it hopped to the extent that it was bitter. They put a lot of hops in the beginning and that was it. I wasn’t a big IPA fan at the time, but when I tasted it, I said, “There’s too much hops in this!” So, they altered the way they added the hops. They put a third in the front, a third halfway through, and a third at the very end. So you get a nice bouquet, a nice aroma, and a nice flavor. That totally changed the game for me. Ever since then, I like IPAs! Even today, that’s still my go-to beer.
2. Why do you think our fans have embraced this beer from the beginning?
It affirms that the choice was right when we made the beer, because ⅓ of all the beer we make is Cape May IPA. People are choosing it — not just me! People are choosing it, and that’s the affirmation that we’re doing it right. People have a lot of choices for IPAs — why the hell do they need ours? People like our IPA. I was the everyday man who said that it was too bitter, and if I didn’t do that, if I said, “yeah, it’s perfect,” they would have been making this bitter beer that people would have rejected overall. There are a lot of people like me, just getting introduced to craft beer, so having a well-balanced IPA, people like it. Because it tastes like an IPA that you can drink all day without getting hammered.
3. Why is Cape May IPA a good introduction to craft beer?
It’s not too high in alcohol. I think everybody thinks that people want the high alcohol, but they don’t. And that they want the high hops, but they don’t. So, it’s not too high in alcohol and it’s not too high in hops, and that’s why it’s agreeable to the average person who wants to get into drinking craft beer.
4. What do you love about Cape May IPA?
Well, of course, it’s our baby! But I like that it’s very consistent. The quality is always high. And when it’s a frosty cold beer, there’s nothing better. It’s consistently made with the right quality. We were worried about that as we grew: if we did not keep the quality high, things could have gone to hell in a handbasket. So, for me, that consistent quality makes it the go-to beer for me.
5. Is this how you expected Cape May IPA to taste seven years later?
I expected it would be, but I didn’t know when we increased the amount we were making. Thousands of gallons, from twelve gallons? That was a big question mark in my mind that we were going to be able to keep that quality. I really didn’t know. I thought it was going to taste different. How can you make a 5,000-pound cake and have it taste like Betty Crocker? It’s pretty hard to keep that same quality. I didn’t know that they were going to be able to do it, but they did it. And that’s why it continues to sell — that consistent, high quality.
Consistent quality. That’s a difficult thing to achieve in the craft beer world. Generally, we like to attempt to improve upon what we have — a tweak here, an adjustment there — until the beer bears only a slight resemblance to its original incarnation.
Not true with Cape May IPA. Aside from a few modifications necessary in scaling up production from 12 gallons to 30 barrels, the recipe for this beer has not changed.
That’s what will keep you coming back time and time again: consistent quality.
So, continue to enjoy this beer all summer long, into autumn, followed by winter, winter will become spring, and the summer will return again — all the while, this mainstay of brewing will remain unchanged.