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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
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CMBC Heads To CBC

We’re mere hours away from the 32nd Annual Craft Brewers Conference, which means over 11,000 mostly bearded peers are currently descending upon beerlandia — aka Portland – for a week of education, networking and drinking really good freaking beer. Our president Ryan Krill and Head Brewer Brian Hink are among them.

"CBC has a wonderful, very high energy with so many people seeing old friends and meeting new ones, shopping for equipment, learning growing, sharing info, and tasting great beer," says Barb Photo credit: Brewers Association
“CBC has a very high energy with so many people seeing old friends and meeting new ones, shopping for equipment, learning, growing, sharing info, and tasting great beer,” says Barb Fusco. Photo credit: Brewers Association

“The craft beer industry is growing like gangbusters,” says Barb Fusco, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association, who hosts the event. “And the CBC has evolved right along with it.”

Case in point:  the folks in charge are expecting a 22% increase over last year’s attendance, this thanks to 1700 domestic breweries, 600 exhibitors and 215 credentialed members of the media, as well as industry suppliers and distributors. Beer geeks from around the globe (13% are coming from outside the US) will attend 79 seminars where they’ll hear from 173 speakers on topics ranging from brewer safety to sustainability to government affairs. And they’ll learn what’s new in terms of equipment and services from a trade show component covering 250,000 square feet. The economic impact on the city itself is expected to reach tens of millions of dollars.

Some people may see it as strange. All of this collaboration for the sake of businesses who should see each other as competition? Hell, at the “Keep Portland Weird” kickoff ceremony happening tomorrow night, not only will there be a slew of free and unusual doughnuts out for the taking (think Nyquil-glazed and Pepto Bismol-flavored), and not only will be there be 21,000 regional oysters up for grabs, but 59 Oregon breweries will be pouring in a spirit of welcome.  Competition, shompetition.

“This is an industry filled with wonderful, cool people,” explains Barb. “They do it out of love, and that positive energy spreads. It’s not a corporate environment where the only bottom line is the dollar; people are here for passion, for self-expression, for flavor and for fun. Those qualities are exuberant and people want to share them. That spirit of sharing – knowledge, passion, service — is a hallmark.”

We’re going to keep you updated on the adventures of Ry-guy and Bri-guy as they navigate the hipster-heavy, knowledge-heavy, zeitgeist-heavy conference. Stay tuned.

One of the CBC's long-anticipated seminars.
One of the CBC’s highly-anticipated seminars. Photo credit: Brewers Association

Live, From Saturday Night!

It’s taken a while to get this post up considering it’s a recap of “Sip and Savor,” the sold-out beer-pairing dinner that happened at Diamond Beach’s Coastal Blue restaurant on Saturday night, so we’ll blame that on the food hangover.

"We're not trying to be the most efficient brewery," CMB President (right) told the crowd. "Leave that to Budweiser. We'd rather offer variety." On the left: Chef Scot Delsandro
“We’re not trying to be the most efficient brewery,” CMB President (right) told the crowd. “Leave that to Budweiser. We’d rather offer variety.” On the left: Chef Scot Delsandro

Chef Scott Delsandro — who has been featured on the Food Network during a mother’s day special with NBA Allstar Grant Hill — created a sexy four-course meal that he says he thoroughly enjoyed pairing with CMB beer because, well, the macro stuff is “so blah.” How succinct!

Except for that one guy whose response to our IPA was “What’s UP with the f*cking bitterness?” everyone was thrilled with the beverages.

For some, the beers rekindled a romance…

“It was on our third or fourth date that he prepared a beer pairing dinner for me,” said Paige Pibbo of Stone Harbor, pointing to her SO.

Paige and Pibbo
Paige and Chris Pibbo

“So it’s amazing being here for a formal pairing dinner now. It’s been delicious!”

Others took their drinks with a side of crow…

“Earlier in the week, my fiance and I pulled up to Cape May Brewery but didn’t go in,” said Glen Baker of Burton, New Jersey. “It just looked kind of like a warehouse. But then we happened to be at Two Mile restaurant on Friday night where the brewery was doing a tap takeover. We tried the beer, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. We should have gone in!”

Glen Baker and Liz Kaiser
Glen Baker and Liz Kaiser

But no worries. Glen and his betrothed, the lovely Liz Kaiser, will be back in south Jersey for CMB beers when they get married at Coastal Blue next June. And by then, the restaurant will have opened it’s cool new, art-deco-inspired beach bar called Bungalow #1. It will operate on a space measuring 200-by-400 feet, and from here, the CMB beer will be a-flowing. Who knows? Maybe the next pairing dinner will be on the sand.

“Tonight has inspired me to do a bunch more,” said Josh McCallen, Executive Vice President of Coastal Blue and sister property Hotel Icona.

And if Josh, who has EIGHT CHILDREN, is making time to plan an event, you know it’s worth checking out.

Just for fun, here’s some of what we ate. (Sorry – we got a little too excited by dessert to snap a picture of the dish, but that chocolate trifle made with a Coconut IPA-infused sauce paired great with our Honey Porter.)

Cape May scallops with a chipolte vinaigarette and peppery arugala that marries well with our Cape May Saison
Cape May scallops with a chipolte vinaigarette and peppery arugala that marries well with our Cape May Saison
Pork carnitas, aka "pork heaven," according to Chef Scott, served with our Devil's Reach.
Pork carnitas, aka “pork heaven,” according to Chef Scott, served with our Devil’s Reach.

 

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Boneless beef shortribs with caramelized onions, Gorgonzola and a smoked bacon glaze. And a Coastal Evacuation to rinse it all down with, obvs.

 

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

1. It’s no secret that faceless macro breweries like Anheuser-Bush have been buying up craft breweries. Now, former Harpoon CEO Rich Doyle is offering some of the companies on the verge of, uh, sell-out another option: acquisition by his new venture, Enjoy Beer LLC, which promises to maintain an operation’s original character.

2. Powdered alcohol is creating quite the stir.

3. More and more colleges are offering majors in brewing-related fields of study, says NPR. “While people have been making beer for books
thousands of years, science has transformed it,” the article reads. “And students who set out to learn the science of beer might just end up improving science itself. Brewers have helped to shape fields from microbiology to statistics. And you can thank beer for the pH scale — the chemist who created it worked for the Danish brewer Carlsberg.”

jason4. Country star Jason Aldean was hit with a flying beer cup while on stage at his concert in Wichita, Kansas last Thursday. The perpetrator was only looking to grab the singer’s attention, he says, so that he might alert him to his friend’s recent engagement. Though it “took everything I had not to kick that guy’s teeth out,” Aldean is not pressing charges. No news on what type of beer was in the cup. Also on Thursday, Jimmy Fallon chugged a beer — but not very well — at the Yankees game.

5. In weird marketing strategy 101, Anheuser-Bush is now hawking not just it’s own beer but… any beer.

6. Congress is still divided over The Small BREW Act, which would cut taxes for small brewers, and its competing bill, The Fair BEER Act, says Politico. We first wrote about those here.

7. Mellenials are making headlines again, this time for being way into festivals that serve beer, wine and food, reports Forbes.

8. Four Louisiana college teens on their way to the beach were busted with 1,800(!) cans of beer (plus liquor and wine) last Monday. In unrelated news, one hotel is waking up hungover spring breakers by playing The Lion King music at 11am, ie checkout time.

giphy

9. Coming up this week is the country’s largest gathering of its type, the Craft Brewers Conference. At least 10,000 are going, including CMB Brew Master Brian Hink.

10. Beer ice cream sundaes aren’t just a thing, but a thing worth having, says Bloomberg Business. Speaking of food, one brewery is using its leftover ingredients for making pasta.

Big News From The Guild!

Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where King Joffrey Baratheon gets married to Margaery Tyrell and everyone pretends to be a big, happy family while secretly scheming their respective takedowns and the whole thing ends with a murder and some dancing midgets?

joffreyThat’s what the recent meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, held at Spellbound last Monday, could have turned into (minus the dancing dwarves).

Sure, HBO may have House Stark and House Lannister, but Jersey’s got House Craft Brewers Guild and House Restaurant Association and about 14 other special interest groups, all with a lot riding on access to the kingdom’s alcohol. No one blames any of them for being passionate about their respective agendas.

But there are those – let’s call them three-eyed ravens – constantly chirping that one house or another is usurping too much control. Gaining an unfair advantage. Operating outside of the law. Having incestuous affairs. (Wait – scratch that last one; that really is just GOT.)

The Guild agrees that no one industry should unnecessarily infringe on any other, or get more than its fair share of, uh, magical dinosaur eggs. And we’d never want to be accused of doing so.

So, under the direction of CMB leader and association president Ryan Krill, the group’s board began working last December on a Best Practices document. By clearing up some of the murky legalese regarding limited brewery tasting rooms, it should go a long way toward appeasing those who aren’t keen on Jersey’s current tasting room boom.

At the meeting, this finely-finessed document was unveiled to the membership.

What, exactly, does it say?

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children…

Just kidding.

It says that tasting rooms will not offer bar games or sports on TV, that they will close by 10pm unless the local municipality dictates earlier,Garden State Brewers Guild Logo
and that no food vendors will be allowed inside for on-premise consumption. But tasting rooms will be allowed to offer free bar snacks to patrons and, perhaps most importantly, customers will have the option of bringing in their own outside food. Finally, none of the aforementioned restrictions apply to private events.

Some braced themselves for a Red Wedding-style fight. After all, the document is effectively self-regulation – and rules are about as popular a topic as imps in Castlery Rock.

But the reaction was largely positive, with many vocalizing their agreement on the need for reiteration: tasting rooms are not traditional bars, and should not operate as such.

“I wish we had this when I was starting out,” Ryan told the group of 50, the largest turnout in Guild meeting history. “It’s going to clean up some gray areas, allowing us to better promote craft beer tourism, while maintaining a positive rapport with other alcohol-related businesses.”

Added Mark Edelson of Iron Hill: “We’ve taken the initiative, rather than leaving it up to someone else to regulate for us.”

And Jeremy Lees of Flounder Brewery agreed. “This will guide new start-ups,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone understands the nuances of the law.”

As always, we’ll keep you updated on those nuances. In the meantime, remember – summer’s coming.

 

CMB Takes Home Major Awards

Here’s some exciting news: we’ve won five awards from The World Beer Championships, America’s oldest international beer competition.

Says the WBC: “Instead of trying to cram the tasting of hundreds or thousands of beers into a week, or even a weekend, like other beer competitions, we review a different category of beer every other month and carefully blind taste no more than thirty-five beers a day with a small cadre of experienced judges from the retail, on-premise, distribution, and importing trades.”

Those judges, all of them certified by the Beverage Tasting Institute, selected our South Jersey Secession Session Scottish Ale for a bronze; our Mop Water, Biscuits and Honey, and Coastal Evacuation for silvers; and our Blonde for the full monty — gold.

We’re humbled by these honors, which bring CMB’s 2015 award count up to 11.

award

 

Barrels of Fun

Last week, we received 60 French oak barrels from a Colorado company that repurposes high-quality casks from all over the world for use as meat smokers, water fountains, even pet bathtubs. And while we’re not against dogs getting a rustic-chic day at the spa, CMBC’s barrels will be put to a far more exciting use, at least in our opinion. In these bad boys, we’ll be aging our sours, starting immediately.

barrelsWhile it may seem like the Hot New Thing, barrel aging is not exactly novel. From the early centuries AD, beer was brewed, stored and served in wood. With the advent of super-sanitary aluminum and stainless steel kegs, the practice fell largely out of fashion. But now, well… hello, renaissance. (It helps that modern brewers have a better handle on natural barrel-cleaning methods than ancient homies did.)

So what’s the big deal?

You might have heard that beer can pick up the aromas and flavors of the wood it’s in, and that oak lends hints of coconut, vanilla and caramel. While that’s true, it’s not going to happen in our case. You see, our barrels had a first life aging red wine before they were given up by their winemaking guardians. And usually, when a barrel is turned over by a vineyard, it’s because all of the aforementioned flavors have been leeched from the wood already.

We’re cool with that – we’ve got a different agenda in mind, and it’s two-fold.

One, our beer will be able to acquire residual red wine flavor, which will add to its complexity. And two, storing our sours this way will allow them to mature — in some cases up to two years — so that the resulting, beautifully acidic flavor is juuuust right.

A little bit of oxygen will permeate through the cracks, explains Head Brewer Brian Hink, so that necessary bacteria is kept happy. Meanwhile, our team will check on each barrel every 30 days or so, to make sure taste is on point and evaporation is kept in check.

Right now, the vessels are being rehydrated, or filled with water so that the wood of each swells, becoming liquid tight before it’s filled withele beer. The process is tricky, especially considering each 59-gallon barrel weighs 100 pounds empty, and a full 500 pounds when full.  Stack four on top of one another, as we’ll be doing, and you’ve got the weight of a full-grown elephant. It’s not like we can trot a few over to the nearest hose without the help of a forklift or power jack.

But it’s work that’ll be well worth it in the end. CMBC was already the only brewery in the state doing sours; now we’re the only one doing barrel-aged sours, and we’re pretty geeked up about it.

“I was thinking about it from an artist’s perspective,” says Brian. “We’re not just relying on what we create ourselves, but what the barrel maker and wine maker have created. It’s a cool collaborative effort and I’m excited to see where this takes our sour program.”

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Show Us Some Love!

NJ.com is asking you to vote for Jersey’s best independent beer maker, so — get on it! Vote here and pass the link along to your friends, your family, your neighbor with the 10,000 Twitter followers, the members of Great Aunt Bertha’s bridge club… you get the idea…

 

Let The Brew Choose You

FDR In honor of that defining moment 82 years ago when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law allowing Americans to brew beer — marking the beginning of the end for Prohibition  — April 7 is National Beer Day. In celebration, we’ll be bringing a giant wheel into our tasting room beginning at noon, and on it will be listed all of CMB’s beers.

“One of the most frequent questions asked of the bartending team at CMB is: ‘What should I have’?” says our Marketing Guru Alicia Grasso. “This way, instead of having to decide,  you can simply spin the wheel and let the brew choose you.”

Or, if you’d like to opt for a flight rather than a pint, let the brews choose you. Either way, members of the CMB team will be happy to fill you in on the specifics behind each beverage, including notable ingredients, special brewing stories or, in the case of the Apple Bomb, anecdotes about that time the fermenter exploded.

Remember: our long-anticipated Foreshore Cherry Limeaide Shandy, released last Friday, is on the wheel.

beers

 

 

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

1. Easter is upon us. And one Colorado Brewery is releasing  Peep-infused beer. Seriously:

2. And one reverend is out to prove you can love beer and love God, all at the same time, by hosting his Easter service in a brewery.

© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporation3. For others, the most spiritual part of this long weekend will be Phillie’s opening day. So naturally, someone put together a list of the best baseball stadiums for craft beer. Sadly, Citizens Bank Park didn’t make the cut.

4. Yuengling has unseated Sam Adams as the top US craft brewer. Many balk at the idea of Yuengling being grouped in the craft beer camp at all, which happened when the Brewers Association relaxed its criteria. Since last year, “independent brewers who use flavor-enhancing additions like corn, rice and even syrups” have been fair game.

5. Big weekend for sports fans: March Madness continues with the Final Four, and Fortune magazine reminds that, considering alcohol is prohibited in the stadiums of NCAA-sponsored events, you’re better off watching at home with a growler of your favorite CMB brew.

6.  The rise of maple syrup as ingredient-of-choice among craft brewers has gotten some attention this week. Reminds us of our most maple-syrup-heavy brew, Paul’s Bareknuckle Imperial Stout, which cost a bloody fortune to make. The sweet stuff ain’t cheap.

7. Tea bags for steeping beer are now a thing.

8. The next Game of Thrones season is available April 12th, and Ommegang Brewing is once again partnering with HBO on GOT-inspired beer. Next up: the dark saison called Three Eyed Raven. Let’s hope it’s up to King Joffrey’s standards.

9. AmazonFresh, a grocery-delivering subsidiary of e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com, has stopped serving booze.

10.  The Beer Mile world record has been broken! (Well, almost. It’s yet to be confirmed.) According to Runner’s World, 21-year-old James “Jimbo” Hansen completed the event, which involves chugging a beer before each of four laps around a track — in a time of 4:56.25, or about how long it takes to microwave two bags of popcorn. See the amazing feat below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=98&v=xPUThNHDeck

 

 

 

 

Three Things That Happened Yesterday

1. People had  a grand old time in the tasting room, including Joan and Marc Krain of Downingtown, Pennsylvania who chose to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary by tasting our Cape May Saison, Citra Pale Ale, Coconut IPA, and South Jersey Secession Session Scottish Ale. “We go every time we come down to have a drink or two and fill a growler,” says Joan. What’s that expression? Couples who drink CMB beer together stay together…

joan and marc

2. Sales rep Justin Vitti came across this helpful iconographic, comparing the effects of beer and coffee on the creative process…

iconographic

3. Members of the CMB team kicked off the holiday weekend at Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill, our very first client, where we watched the Bastard Sons of Levon Helm perform. Happy holiday weekend!

bastards

 

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