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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Update From Your Guild

After Ryan flew to Maryland to pick up our new truck on Monday of last week, he flew to a meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers GuildGarden State Brewers Guild Logo at Departed Soles Brewing Company in Jersey City. The recent snowfall made it difficult for some members to make it, but 25 intrepid soles braved the elements. Here’s what went down:

  1. Executive Director Don Russell gave his report, including news on this year’s beer festivals. Brews by the Bay fans should mark their calendars — the 2016 event will take place on September 10.
  2. Eric Orlando of the Kaufman Zita Group gave the legislative report. Remember those three bills that would allow for greater job creation within the industry? Since they weren’t put to a vote before the new year, they had to be resubmitted. Now, we’re waiting for them to be assigned to committee.
  3. Jeremy “Flounder” Lees of Flounder Brewing Co gave the membership report: 38 limited breweries, 11 restricted breweries, 1 contract brewer, 19 in planning, and 21 allied trade. Boom.
  4. Ryan — Guild Prez — went over the importance of the Guild’s Best Practices document. “I want to make sure all of our members are marching to the same beat,” he says. “If we’re not regulating ourselves, it makes it difficult to negotatie, and difficult to to advocate for legislation.”
  5. Ryan also discussed his plans for the upcoming Guild meeting, being held April 4 at Flying Fish. Neighboring guilds from Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania will be invited to attend a presentation given by Matt Stinchfield, Safety Ambassador for the Brewers Association, about affordable practices that can improve well-being in the brewhouse. “There are a lot of people getting into the craft brewing business who have no manufacturing experience, and now they’re tasked with operating heavy machinery and working with dangerous chemicals,” Ryan says. “We’re fortunate enough to have a safety manager on staff, but not everyone has that. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. The party can end real quick if you’re not careful.”
  6. Three new brewery openings were announced, including Slacktide in Cape May County, Dark City in Asbury Park, and (almost launched) Alementary in Hackettstown.
  7. Everyone was reminded to sign up for the Craft Brewers Conference, coming at you May 3-6 in Philadelphia. We’ll be there.
  8. Meeting adjorned. Everyone enjoyed snacks and tasty beer.


Guild meeting!
Guild meeting!


Cape May Brew Co On The Move

In this week’s installment of Cape May Brew Co swag in cool places, we’ve got Roland Watson of Cape May Court House, who goes back and forth to Naples, Florida in the winter. On January 15, on his most recent trip, he happened to be wearing a CMBC tee while waiting for a tornado to touch down two miles north of Naples. “I was drinking coffee,” Roland says. “But if it had been later in the evening, I probably would have been watching the weather report with a bottle of Devil’s Reach. And it hit me: Tornado Watch would make a great name for a beer.”


Got a pic of yourself wearing CMBC swag in a cool place? Send it to [email protected]

Animal Of The Week: Bruce

We’ve kicked off our charity drive for the Cape May County Animal Shelter, so every week, we’ll be introducing you to one of the wet-nosed cuties you’ll be helping when you donate in our tasting room. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even be compelled to adopt… hint, hint.

Here’s something that will bring on the beer tears. Bruce, a loving pit-bull-beagle mix, was surrendered to the shelter because his owner fell on hard times. He’ll do great in a home with children, other dogs, and CMBC fans. (No, really. He’s got great taste.) Call the shelter at 609-465-8923.


Introducing The First Beer of The Stow Away Reserve Series…

Once upon a time (December 18, 2013) in a land not so faraway (Cape May Airport), we brewed batch number 278. It was 15-barrels worth of SOJO, our South Jersey Secession Session Scottish Ale – malty, medium-bodied and oh-so tasty.

We know what you’re thinking:

Geez, CMBC, you’re up to batch number 572 now! A lot has happened since that December day. This was so long ago, you only had seven employees, compared to the 39 you have now. And you only brewed 1400 barrels a year, as opposed to the 4500 barrels you produced in 2015. Heck, Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” was still on the Top 40 list back then! Why are you dwelling on beers of winter’s past?

Here’s the thing — We didn’t put that batch of SOJO on tap in our tasting room, at least not all of it. And we didn’t ship all of it off to accounts in Jersey or Philadelphia, either. In fact, this was so long ago, we weren’t even distributing in Philly yet.

Instead, we added 20 different yeast and bacteria strains from a local supplier to 50% (about 220 gallons) of the brew before stowing it away in a warm room ideal for microbial growth, and going about our regularly-scheduled program.

While we kept working – hiring new employees, brewing on a relatively new 15-barrel system, and dreaming about the day we’d be able to move into a second production facility – the beer soured. What ended up fermenting was essentially an early version of Turtle Gut, the delightfully tart American sour made with a slightly different microbial mixture that would eventually kick off our sour program.

On May 29 last year — a year and a half after we brewed batch number 278 and the month we realized that dream of a second production facility — we combined our stowed-away SOJO with a fresh batch of this Turtle Gut, by now a fan favorite. The mixture of aged beer and new — and all of the beautiful bacteria strains therein — was poured into nine French oak, freshly-dumped wine barrels and left to age again.

“I’m happy we had the foresight to sit on it,” says Chris. “We could have bottled it and had a simple release, but we sat on it and blended it and sat on it again. Now, not only do we have a releasable amount instead of a limited one-off, we have a more complex beer that tastes even better than a year ago. This is hard to do. It’s risky because you don’t know what you’re going to get. There could be oxidation or contamination. But we decided to wait it out for the full two years. It takes guts.”

No pun intended.

You know that saying, good things come to those who wait? This week, we tasted from those nine barrels, thrilled to see not only that our patience paid off, but that each barrel produced a slightly different flavor profile.

“Some were more funky, some were more tart, and some picked up on the residual red wine flavor of the wood,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink. “We blended all 530 gallons together in our blending tank, which is where the brew is now.”

Some time in the near future, a six-man team will package this yet-to-be-named beer into 2,500, 750ml champagne bottles, which can handle the pressure of refermentation. (The beer is bottled flat and a refermentation takes place in the bottle to produce the carbonation.) Then we’ll cap them off and introduce them to the world as the first in our brand-spanking new reserve series: Stow Away.

In the meantime, get excited.

“This is serious beer geekery,” Brian says.

Meet The New Member Of The Fleet!

Dyanamic duo Ryan K and Ryan H, in flight...
Dyanamic duo Ryan K and Ryan H, in flight…

Last week, fearless leader Ryan Krill flew CMBC driver Ryan Haungs to Hyattsville, Maryland, just outside of DC. Here, the guys picked up a custom-made International 4300 Reefer from K Neal International. No, for those of you with gutter minds, the 2010 truck wasn’t previously owned by a drug kingpin (at least, not that we know of…). ‘Reefer’ refers to the vehicle’s self-contained refrigeration system that operates off of the truck’s diesel fuel, but independently of her engine. What this means for our clients? Our product will always arrive totally chilled. (And for a reminder of why this is so important, see this post.)

Immediately after arriving, Ryan jumped into the truck and pulled the air horn – hey, you’re never too old. Then the guys admired the new purchase – all 18 feet and 16,000 pounds of it. Bear in mind, this is the curb weight. We’ll be able to load her up with sweet beer (and a sweet CMBC driver) until she weighs closer to 26,000 pounds.

In her past life, the truck was leased by K Neal International to a beverage distributor, which means she’s “never been used for anything but to haul precious beer,” says K Neal International Sales

In air...
In air…
Manager Bill Warren. “She was also used in our Touch-A-Truck events, for which local kids could come check out our vehicles and even jump inside the refrigerated area in the back. You should do the same thing!”

But we don’t think we’ll need to bring in little kids at all. When Ellie (that’s short for “big white elephant,” according to Bill) made her way back to CMBC, our staff of grown-up kids all took turns pulling the air horn…

We caught up with Ryan H, who drove Ellie home, about his first ride in the new truck. Here’s what he had to say…

How long did it take you to fly to Maryland? It was a smooth trip with barely any wind… probably about an hour.

How long did it take you to drive back? About four hours.

'Twas a rainy ride...
‘Twas a rainy ride…

Was it nerve-wracking? A little, yes. It was pouring rain, and I had planned on taking 295. But as I was leaving, I was told I can’t drive on that road… the truck is too big. My GPS wanted to take me on a regular car route, so I downloaded a truck route on my phone. But then my phone died and I had to pull over at a truck stop to charge it.

Did you get anything good to eat at the truck stop? A cheesesteak.

Are you excited about how much easier this is going to make the job of delivering cold beer? Yes, especially in the summer.

What’s the gas mileage? I burned through half a tank by the time I got to the WaWa on route 47. It cost $90 to fill up.

What’s your blind spot like? There are so many mirrors, there really aren’t any blind spots.

What tastes best after a long, stressful ride? A cold glass of Cape May IPA on nitro.

What do you normally drive? A Chevy Malibu.

What’s the biggest difference? In this truck, you’re definitely king of the road. Every car gets out of your way.

The Full Monty
The Full Monty

The List: What In-The-Know Beer Drinkers Will Be Talking About This Weekend

We’re bringing it back. Ladies and gents, your craft beer week in review:

  1. America now has its first official craft beer attorney. Candace Moon is her name; settling trademark disputes is her game.groundhog
  2. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow last Tuesday. Some enthusiastic Philadelphians celebrated with a traditional “beer breakfast,” as one does.
  3. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has renamed this month FeBREWary, to promote the state’s booming craft beer industry. The goal? To rebrand the Eastern Shore a craft-beer destination and “not just a beach getaway.”
  4. Big beer makers are (finally) changing the way they portray women in their ads. Because “objectified” is so 1952.
  5. Craft beer is getting its first SuperBowl ad. But it’s not really craft. And it’s only costing a measly $5 million. Speaking of the Super Bowl, Helen Mirren is going to be super angry if you drive drunk. And speaking of the The 79th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsSuper Bowl again, Men’s Health is more interested in this crafty competition than the big game…
  6. Colorado’s craft industry is throwing big beer some serious side-eye.
  7. Here is one way to make raising awareness for men’s health issues fun: Pints for Prostates, a European barprostate tour coming at you this September.
  8. The phrase “craft beer” may not be long for this world
  9. Yet another college has joined the ranks of those offering craft-beer related courses. This time, it’s Michigan’s Grand Rapids Community College, with the option for a new “Craft Brewing, Packaging, and Service Operations Certificate.” Just make sure the dog doesn’t drink your homework…
  10. Mardi Gras is this Tuesday. Get your growlers and drink up!

Introducing CMBC’s Stow Away Reserve Series

If Cape May Brewery were a fairytale, we’d have all the archetypal characters: the princess (a light and pretty shandy), the prince (a strong but oh-so-smooth Imperial IPA), and the token bad guy you hate to love (Devil’s Reach, perhaps?). You get the idea.

But now, with a new Stow Away reserve series, we’re shaking things up.

“Think of the beers in this line as more Dr Suess-ish,” says Chris. “They’re creative, unique, weird in a good way. These are the unexpected characters.”

When we moved into our new headquarters at Cape May Airport, we freed up our original space for experimental brewing. This means we’re better equipped than ever for tackling non-standard fermentations where funky yeast and mischievous bacteria strains become the protagonists.

And just like with any good story, these beers can take a while to develop. The first in the series, which we’ll tell you about momentarily, has been two years in the making, and we’ve got a few other long-term brews coming up right behind. In fact, the waiting period involved with this sort of undertaking is part of the incentive behind our series’ name. Sure, Stow Away connotes a nautical theme, but it also speaks to a literal stowing away – the beers are infused with exciting, wild-child microbes and left to age under the watchful eye of our brew team.

“Because we’re using hard-to-control ingredients, this is a precarious process,” Chris says. “But the payoff is huge. With a reserve series, the possibilities are endless.”

Watch this space.

Three Releases This Week!

No, the record isn’t skipping. This is the third week in a row we’ve brought you three new things to sip.

First up is our One-Off Wednesday: Lemongrass Ginger Devil’s Reach, for which fresh lemongrass and fresh ginger have been infused into our flagship Belgian Strong Ale. The sweetness of these Asian flavors helps “balance out the intense finish of the beer,” says Manager of Culinary Special Ops JP Thomas.

On deck is Concrete Ship. It’s a BIG beer (ahem, 9.2%) named for a BIG ship, the 3,000-ton, half-sunk, World War I-era SS Atlantus that ran aground 150 feet from Cape May’s Sunset Beach. (The sinking part isn’t all that surprising when you consider it was made of concrete… we wrote more on that here.)

This Imperial Stout is rich and layered with flavors of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. It’s so decadent, we like to think we wouldn’t mind going down with the ship, as long as this were on board.

“It’s a good sipping beer,” says Chris. “Think of it as your digestif, dessert in a glass.”

Concrete Ship is on tap starting February 4 at noon.

And for the dry dude or sober sister in your group, we’ve got a Habanero Mango soda, also on tap beginning February 4, in which the tropical notes of real habaneros complement the fresh fruit. No worries for the spice adverse; the soda has been strained over top of the peppers’ seeds – aka, the keepers of the kick — and not infused with them.

“The final product gives you just a little tingle on the lips,” JP says.

"It's the best one yet!" says CMBC's account guru Nakeya Barreto of the Mango Habanero soda
“It’s the best one yet!” says CMBC’s account guru Nakeya Barreto of the Mango Habanero soda

Drivers Wanted

We’re hiring the people who can handle transporting our precious cargo. Think you’re up for the gig of CMBC driver? See what it takes here. And get an insider’s view here…



Stop, Collaborate And Listen…

Cape May Brewing Company is about to embark on another exciting first: our first collaboration beer. Head Brewer Brian Hink is headed to Denver next Friday to partner with Ryan Kilpatrick of Fiction Brewing on an inventive, yet-to-be-named saison that will feature at Colorado’s third annual Collaboration Beer Fest this March.

CMBC’s will be one of 75 collaboration projects showcasing at the event, labeled “America’s most creative beer fest” by Food and Wine. Each is the work of at least two brewers – one must be a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild, the other must come from somewhere on planet Earth, which means participants are hailing from all over globe.

From the festival website: “Collaboration is all about sharing brewing experience and technique to join the perfect ingredients. Brewers come together to decide exactly what yeast to use with what fruit, what type of malt works best with what barrel, or what hops will contribute to the perfect aroma. When done right, the effort becomes truly legendary.”

Brian and Ryan have been going over their own legendary recipe for the last two weeks via email, and they’ve settled on a saison made with unlikely hat tips: the common meadow violet, better known as Jersey’s state flower, and clover leaf honey from Colorado. Rather than your standard grain bill, the guys will use Vienna and Munich for a richer mouthfeel. And perhaps most exciting, they’ll hop the beer with buzz-worthy Equinox, appropriate since the festival takes place the day before the spring Equinox.

“It’s the perfect hop for a saison,” Brian says. “It’s peppery with lemon and lime undertones, and very fragrant. It will bring out the fruitiness of a finicky Belgian yeast strain.”

That ‘finicky’ part is important. The festival is the perfect time to experiment with unpredictable ingredients, since the rigid production schedules of big-batch brewing often rule them out. At Collaboration Fest, you’ll try beers you can’t find anywhere else. Unfortunately, what happens in Colorado stays in Colorado.

So if you want to taste this effervescent, super-carbonated, estery brew, you’re going to have to book a trip to the Centennial State. We hope to see you there.

Courtesy collaborationfest.com
Courtesy collaborationfest.com

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