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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
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Beer At The Forum

Last night, members of our team joined 170 other people in the ballroom of Congress Hall for a tasty farm-to-table dinner – complete with pairings of donated CMB beer. It was the main fundraising event for Cape May Forum.

Fans of our brewery have likely heard of the Forum for two reasons:

First, this is who sponsored the TEDx talk given by our fearless leader, Ryan Krill, in 2013:

Second, ya’ll tend to like transformative ideas, and that’s pretty much the Cape May Forum shtick.

"Because of our belief in this community, it behooves us to partner with Cape May Brewing Company, who also have great faith in this place." - Chase Jackson, Managing Director of Cape May Forum
“Because of our belief in this community, it behooves us to partner with Cape May Brewing Company, who also have great faith in this place.” – Chase Jackson, Managing Director of Cape May Forum

Each year, this Chautauqua-modeled program brings a series of events to Cape Island — lectures, meals, concerts – which provide residents and visitors an outlet for “grappling with the social, moral and political issues of our times.”

Sure, you could use the internet for that, but… ooh, look, a cat video.

In the past, the programming has tackled themes such as: “Humor – Can it Save the World?” and “The Future of Energy.” This year, the topic is: “Wine and Oysters – Growing on the Garden State.”

While the current subject might appear more micro in scope, it’s thinking locally – like, for instance, about the importance of sustaining the aforementioned industries in Cape May County – that sets the stage for big things to happen globally, at least according to Forum President Barry Cohen.

“The challenge in a beach town is that people come here for an escape,” he told us. “So how do we get people to think about important issues when the object is retreat?”

One way, the Forum team has discovered, is through good food and booze.

Enter Derek Thomas, the farmer with surfer-boy good looks who tilled the land at Fincas del Mar and Windy Acres to cultivate the ingredients for this evening’s five-course meal. He told us a few things: 1. He has seven children. 2. One of them does ballet, so he got a big kick out of CMB’s ballet-related April Fool’s prank. 3. The evening’s chef, Jeremy Einhorn, started scoping out his produce — and planning the beer pairings — way back in December.

“This is a very exciting event for me,” Jeremy said. “There’s a certain affinity between brewers and chefs. And most people don’t think this way, but it’s actually easier to pair food with beer than with wine. Dinners like this have been happening for a decade, but they’re getting more attention as beer gains respect.”

Ryan Krill explains how CMB has come to employ 24 year-round people.
Our guy Ryan explains how CMB has come to employ 24 year-round people.

Event-goer Gary Padussis is a convert.

“Before tonight, I’d never heard of pairing beer with fine food, only pub food,” he told us, “but it works.”

And it doesn’t just work because it tastes good, but because it’s one way to get younger generations excited about employment opportunities on the Cape. That’s one of the goals of this year’s Forum, and the reason that a group of students from Lower Cape May Regional High School were invited to last night’s dinner. No, they aren’t old enough to drink, but via the evening’s speakers they still got a window into the importance of the oyster harvesting, food growing, wine making, and beer brewing businesses that thrive in this region.

“I definitely plan on coming back to Cape May after college to open a business, or maybe even more than one,” said LCMR Senior George Swoyer, adding that he’s got family in Buck’s County who make trips to Cape May specifically to visit the brewery.

“The company is a testament to the fact that small businesses really can can flourish here,” said George’s classmate Victoria Jacoby.

Aw shucks, kids.

For more information on this year’s Forum line-up, or their partnerships with Jersey universities, visit capemayforum.org.

And just for fun, here are photos of what we ate. The savory courses were paired — alongside vino from Hawk Haven and Cape May Wineries — with our Cape May Saison. And the sweet dessert went great with our Honey Porter. Big brews and big ideas really do go hand in hand…

Salad of red and dwarf romaine lettuce, baby kale and roasted sweet peppers with aged goat cheese, pickled radish and a terragon-honey vinaigrette.
Salad of red and dwarf romaine lettuce, baby kale and roasted sweet peppers with aged goat cheese, pickled radish and a terragon-honey vinaigrette.
Carrot-ginger bisque garnished with crispy kale and lemongrass espuma
Carrot-ginger bisque garnished with crispy kale and lemongrass espuma
Half cornish game hen with braised spring greens, turnip and carrot stoemp and rosemary jus
Half cornish game hen with braised spring greens, turnip and carrot stoemp and rosemary jus
Banana creme tart with caramelized bananas and chocolate chantilly in a flaky cream cheese pastry
Banana creme tart with caramelized bananas and chocolate chantilly in a flaky cream cheese pastry

Drink Like a Woman

Our Cherry Limaide Shandy comes out today, and we’re not ashamed to admit it.

“Because they’re so light and refreshing, shandys are often considered ‘chic’ beers,” says Brew Master Brian. “That’s a ridiculous stereotype because women oftentimes have the more refined palettes, capable of discerning complex notes.”

It’s a fact backed up by research from the Sensory Science and Research Tasting Center in the UK.

“Only 10% to 15% of the population have the sensory acuity to be a sensory taste panellist [the people chosen to assess food and drink products]… and when we give consumers a test, women always do better,” says Deborah Parker, PhD, one of only 37 accredited beer sommeliers in the world.

What we’re getting at? Show up at the tasting room and you, too, can drink like a girl.

kp

 

Hit The (Best) Beach

Our home base was named by Family Vacation Critic among the Top 10 Best Beaches for Families in the Country, along with Oregon’s Lincoln City, Maine’s Ogunquit  Beach, and Lake Tahoe’s King Beach. We won out over other Jersey shore options because of our  “mix of historic charm and modern fun.” We like to think Cape May Brew Co is part of that modern fun; it’s okay to hire a babysitter on a family vacay, after all…

Blue skies for days. Image courtesy of Family Vacation Critic.
Blue skies for days. Image courtesy of Family Vacation Critic.

 

CMBC In The Funnies

Just for fun, after illustrator Jim Kohl graduated from college, he began drawing a comic called Happy Hour in which one of the main characters works at a brewery. Jim soon found that he had so much to say about beer and its culture, he needed to launch a sister strip called The Brewery, which doesn’t follow a strict storyline. Rather, each iteration is it’s own self-contained piece that highlights a topical news story or brewery. The former will hit it 2,000th strip this August. The latter, which has been picked up by nightlife rag Steppin’ Out as well as Beer magazine, just hit the big 275.

And CMBC is the plot.

“I am from New Jersey and I could not be more excited about the beer in our state,” Jim told us. “I have been following Cape May’s  newsletter and Twitter account. Every email and tweet has this energy of fun, and I really wanted to meet the people behind that, so I sent an email and was lucky enough to speak with [Marketing Guru] Alicia Grasso and President Ryan Krill.”

See Jim’s comic below — we love us some Jersey shore humor — and check out his cool interview with Ryan here.

bird

Farewell To Ryan

It is with heavy hearts that we wish a fond farewell to our president and co-founder Ryan Krill, who’s leaving Cape May Brewing Company to pursue his other passion: professional ballet dancing in New York City.

“Few people know this,” he says, “but sometimes after the tasting room has closed, I use the space to practice my routine. And only after I’ve nailed my pirouettes do I allow myself a pint of Devil’s Reach.”

Ryan was hoping to continue his work at CMBC while performing with ABT, or the American Ballet Theater, but he can no longer risk the  potential for injury that comes with operating heavy machinery.

“I’m afraid my satin pointe shoes will not protect my feet should somebody drop a firkin or run me over  with a forklift, which happens about once a year. And although I love making beer, my toes have to be my  top priority from here on out. It’s going to be a very bittersweet goodbye.”

Although we’ll miss Ryan terribly, CMBC intends to honor his legacy by continuing to build upon it. We know we haven’t even had the

ribbon cutting for our new space at the Cape May County Airport yet (that will happen in early May), but we see no reason to stop at two production breweries. So, this month, we’ll also be taking over Cape May Convention Hall, where we’ll install a 50-barrel brewhouse and begin work on our next release: Conventional Ale. The secret ingredient will be thrice-massaged kelp fetched fresh from the Atlantic by CMBC’s head logistics man, Andrew Ewing.

“I did not agree to this,” says Andrew.

We realize that Cape May’s City Council occasionally requires this space for their monthly meetings, but we figure with the way those have been going, everyone involved could probably use a drink, anyway.

 

Run, CMBC Fans, Run

At 9am today, the 17th Annual Ocean Drive Marathon and 10-mile race kicks off off on Beach Avenue in Cape  May:

The course, courtesy of oceandrivemarathon.org.
The course, courtesy of oceandrivemarathon.org.

Best of luck, runners, especially those of you who chose to carb-load with CMB beer. May the wind be at your back…

 

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

1. Foreign countries love American craft beer as much as the USA, says Fox news – especially Brazil. images

2. A “Happy Ending” beer from SweetWater Brewing Co with a label featuring the face of a, uh, climaxing man and his box of tissues is, not surprisingly, raising some eyebrows. (For more on beer label news, see here.)

3. There’s something out there called a beer dress. And it’s exactly what it sounds like: a dress… made from beer. Or, more specifically, from “a material produced by a bacterial fermentation process.” It’s the fabric of our lives.

It's the dress -- not the punch -- that's going to be spiked this prom season.
It’s the dress — not the punch — that’s going to be spiked this prom season. Photo credit: Adam Scott

4. A couple of bartender friends have invented Doggie Brew Bites, healthy treats for pups made out of repurposed barley malt obtained from breweries. “You could go out and buy a pint of your cheap domestic beer for $2.50, or you can spend a little bit more but get something way better in return,” says founder Mike McLean, on why his product is just like your favorite beverage.

5. A Tennessee woman used beer bottles to tell her husband she’s expecting, and his underwhelmed reaction has gone viral.

6. Someone threw a beer at Lil Wayne while he was on stage in Fort Lauderdale, after which the rapper confirmed: “Someone threw a motherfuckin’ beer at me.”

giphy (1) 7. The world’s biggest beer makers will be putting nutrition labels on their bottles in Europe, and  America could be next.

 8. Pad Thai-infused beer is a thing.

 9. A bill allowing visitors at Georgia craft breweries to take home 109 ounces of free beer was approved  by the House yesterday. But the brewers still aren’t allowed to sell any. They “were looking for  something robust – like a dark and flavorful porter,” says reporter Doug Richards. “They got something a little more like Coors Lite – in large part, due to the watering-down of the powerful beer wholesalers lobby.”

 

Dueling Firkins, Tonight

There are some rumors that are just that – unfounded gossip.

Like, for instance, the rumor that The Irish Mile bar in Haddon Township – well-known for its 72 rotating taps and buzzy but laid-back vibe — is named the way it is because owner Ed Donohue and his daughter Erin are runners. While the pair have always pounded the pavement – Erin, at the Olympic level – this simply isn’t true.

“Most people have that impression,” explains Ed. “But actually, everyone knows that the Irish like to drink, so that’s where the ‘Irish’ part of the name came from. And as for ‘mile,’ that refers to the street where we’re located, Haddon Avenue. There are seven bars here within a mile of one another.”

Then there are those rumors that have every basis in fact.

Like, for instance, the juicy bit of chatter going around town that the two CMB firkins being tapped tonight at the Irish Mile are the stuff of beer geek dreams.

Literally, Brew Master Brian has been dreaming of these casks for weeks.

The first firkin will be filled with Turtle Gut Sour that’s been conditioned with sweet orange peel. The second is for the Cape May Saison we released yesterday, only this time it’s been dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. (We wrote about how exciting those are here.)

“You remember that Budweiser commercial that played during the Superbowl?” says Brian. “The one that made fun of people who ‘dissect’ their beers? Yea, well, these beers were born to be dissected.”

Oh, and we’ve got eight other beers on draught, too.

So keep on spreading the word — just not about that running business – and we’ll see you tonight.

It's a duel to the finish. Image courtesy of The Irish Mile.
It’s a duel to the finish. Image courtesy of The Irish Mile.

Cover Stars

Check out the delivery of our new brewhouse on the cover of this week’s issue of Exit Zero (and inside, too).


March 26, 2015 - featured

 

By the way, the brewhouse is being installed TODAY by Andrew (no last name, like Madonna). Here he is below (on the left) preparing for the big job with our guy Hank:

andrew

 

Labelology

We made it to round two in the Most Loved Beer Label Contest sponsored by CNBC – so show us some love this afternoon when voting opens up again. In the hpmeantime, here are some things you might not know about the beer label approval process, because it’s all fun and games until the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau knocks you down.

1. While both the state and federal governments must approve a beer’s label, neither care whether the name that appears on that label infringes on intellectual property. In other words, Uncle Sam won’t hassle you for calling a brew Bud Light. But Budweiser probably will.

2. In fact, there are countless legal spats happening as we speak, because breweries are constantly stepping on one another’s toes. It’s  not
platypus_662_600x450intentional; it’s just that “pretty much every beer name you come up with has been taken,”  says CMB’s Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke. A January piece by NPR confirms it:  “Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America – as well as myriad other words, concepts and images – has been  snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer.” We wanted to test the  theory, so we typed the first obscure animal we thought of into our search engine, along with the  word ‘beer,’ and let’s just say there’s a Platypus Brew Pub out there that prides itself on “walking  the fine line between ducks and beavers.” Seriously.

3. But the TTB does care if a name — or any other writing on your label — suggests a false health claim. (One brewery got shot down for calling their beer a “heart-warming ale,” because someone, somewhere might take this to mean alcohol is good for the temperature of internal organs.) And collective panties get really twisted if a beer is made out to be more potent than it really is. Case in point: We weren’t allowed to call our Devil’s Reach the style that it is – a Belgian Golden Strong ale – because of the world ‘strong.’

4. Humor must be kept in check, too. We tried calling one of our recipes Pumpkin, Pumpkin Ale for the very reason that there isn’t any pumpkin in it, but the TTB called it misleading. In the words of spirit animal Allanis Morisette, CMB is ironic, just a little too ironic, for the TTB.

5. So far for 2015, 36,178 labels have successfully obtained COLA (Certificate of Label Approval). Legally, an answer has to be given to an application within 90 days of submission, which means brewers must be thinking spring in early fall. For CMB’s labels, says graphic design guru Courtney Rosenberg, it usually takes somewhere between one day and three weeks.

6. The reason for the inconsistency in timing is probably down to the fact that one man and one many only, Kent “Battle” Martin,” is in charge of the approval process. The Daily Beast calls him a tyrant, a legend and a pedantic pain in the ass. But that doesn’t mean his reasons for snubbing certain lables aren’t chuckle-worthy. “He rejected a beer called Bad Elf,” the story goes, “because it featured an ‘Elf Warning,’ suggesting that elves not operate machinery while drinking the ale… it did not get approved on the grounds that the warning was confusing to customers.”

So there you have it, beer fans. Don’t let it be said the TTB isn’t looking out for you.

giphy

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