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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

News From The Guild

Our guy Ryan Krill, CMB co-founder and president, was elected president of The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild — the voice of Jersey’s craft brewing industry since 1996 — last January. Under his leadership, the group’s spreading the good word: Jersey craft beer is primed to reach its tipping point.

Little known fact: the state used to be home to hundreds of breweries, including Kruger, the first in the world to can beer. Budweiser even had a satellite plant in Newark. And then came Prohibition and the death of Jersey beer distribution. Even after the government-mandated dry spell of the 1920s, the Garden State remained largely boozeless for over 70 years.

Now — thanks to sexy start-ups like the 32 breweries and 13 breweries-in-planning currently represented by the Guild, along with their four media and nine allied trade members — the pendulum is finally swinging the other way, and boy is it.

Garden State Brewers Guild Logo“I started getting really involved last year by founding a second Guild-sponsored beer festival called Brews by the Bay,” Ryan says. “Thanks to round-trip ferry passes, the event is the only bi-state beer  festival in the nation, and it raised money needed by the Guild for more latitude with pursuing new  ideas.”

Among these new ideas? Increasing communication between the association and Jersey’s thirsty  residents, hiring an executive director, and adding yet another beer festival to generate excitement  for an industry that’s creating jobs in a post-recession climate. As for just how many jobs, Cape  May Brewing Company alone is up to 21 year-round employees after only four years in existence,  and Ryan is busy putting together an economic impact report which details the importance of a  sustainable craft beer culture state-wide.

To that end, he and his fellow board members are traversing the sometimes vicious intersection that is beer and legislation, finessing a Best Practices document to help new brewers navigate the current tasting room boom.

And they’re doing it all because it’s their job, yes, but also because it’s their passion.

“Brewing beer is part science and part art, and that resonates with people,” says Ryan. “I remember when Cape May first joined the Guild, and there were only a handful of people at the meetings; our last meeting had 40 people. I’m looking forward to injecting the group with even more energy, and taking it to the next level.”

Stay tuned for updates, beer fans.

Brewhouse Update 3!

As of 7:30pm last night, our new brewhouse was making her way into St Louis, Missouri, home of Jon Hamm, John Goodman, and ice tea, invented there in 1904. Below is the proof, a picture of the Saint Louis Arch sent to us by driver David Cook. It’s a 630-foot structure built as a monument to western expansion, as seen from the freeway. Where will the brewhouse’s next pit stop be? Stay tuned…







Brewhouse Update 2!

The brew house has just entered 31.4-mile wide Joplin, Missouri, home of Langston Hughes, Dennis Weaver, and the Dorthea B Weaver Historical Museum. “We’re at 70 miles per hour,” says driver David Cook. Only 1261.15 miles to go.

Last Week In Review

It was a busy seven days of kicking ass kegs and taking names at CMB. Here’s what went down.

freedom Justin showed off his figure: CMB sales rep Justin Vittii was the man twice-over — first, at the Ugly Mug last Thursday  where his toasted coconut IPA was a big hit, and then again on March 13th. This was the first Firkin Friday at the new Gordon  Ramsay Pub and Grill in Atlantic City, and CMB’s Cape May IPA with dry-hopped citra and sweet orange peel was the brew of  the hour. Justin carried a keg on his shoulder through the lobby of Caesar’s Hotel and Casino before entering the restaurant  (he couldn’t carry the actual firkin or it would have exploded). Then, he made a brilliant show of tapping the firkin in front of  a full house, and he did it all to a soundtrack of bag pipers over the sound system while wearing a Black Watch tartan kilt. “Save for some of the girls who worked there, I was the only one in probably a 100-mile radius in a kilt,” he says, “but I got a lot of compliments.” Adding to the good energy of the day? A spirited speech kicking off the pub’schef opening made from on top of the bar by Executive Chef La Tasha McCutchen, winner of the Hell’s Kitchen’s 13th season. (Why the Scottish theme, considering Mr Ramsay is actually English? We don’t know, but we don’t nitpick.)

More kegs came in: 150 of them, kegto be exact.

Business partners Victoria Felman-Defalco and Christina Miranda pose for a photo at the Governor's Conference on Tourism with our girl Alicia.
Business partners Victoria Felman-Defalco and Christina Miranda pose for a photo at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism with our girl Alicia.

CMB surprised: Christina Miranda, co-owner of Manhattan-based Repoint Marketing PR, gave a talk at The Governor’s Conference on Tourism in the Golden Nugget Casino last Thursday. Her message? How important the element of surprise is when engaging potential customers and keeping them out of autopilot. And just as the 160 or so attendees started drifting off into, well, auto-pilot, Christina brought out some surprises of her own, including free beer from CMB, which perked everyone right up. “It was 4:40pm at the end of a long day of conferences, so energy was kind of low,” says our Marketing Guru Alicia Grasso. “But then, all of a sudden, out comes a New Orleans-style jazz band called Hot Sardines, servers delivering free bagels fresh from Bantams on Bleaker Street and, of course, Cape May beer. Two pitchers were brought to my table of five ladies, and they were both kicked quickly. And I only had half a glass!” Cheers to happy surprises.

Hair got buzzed: First, it was Hank. Then, Andrew and Ryan followed suit. Then Paul shaved his beard. But Brew Master Brian is holding

scissors out. “We can’t be a hairless brewery!” he says.

We got around: CMB picked up 10 new accounts, including: Green’s Liquors (Hildreth Avenue in Wildwood), Green’s Liquors (26th Street in Wildwood), Congress Hall, the Greate Bay Country Club, Ventura’s Off-Shore Café, Di Orio’s Circle Café, Back Bay Ale House, Bubba’s Liquors, Tuckers Tavern, and Scales Grill and Deck Bar.

Brewhouse Update 1!

The new brewhouse is currently in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 1,377 miles left to go on a 2,800-mile journey that began yesterday.

Our brew house at the very beginning of her trip, in Barstow, California. Image courtesy of David  Cook.
Our brew house at the very beginning of her trip, in Barstow, California. Image courtesy of David Cook.

We caught up with West Virginia-native and our brewhouse driver David Cook, who, although a Pilsner fan himself, says he’s stoked to arrive in Cape May.

“I don’t have to load up again until Friday, so I’m excited to try the beer,” he told us.

As for the trip thus far? This is what David has to say:

How’s it going? I’m getting a lot of attention.

How so? Yesterday, in New Mexico, I thought I was going to be pulled over by the cop behind me, but then I realized he had his phone out, taking pictures. A lot of people are grabbing photos.

Are you taking pictures of your trip? I wanted to in New Mexico, but I couldn’t find the really big, really gnarly rocks I was looking for.

Any crazy sightings, wildlife encounters, bizarre happenings en route? All smooth so far.

How many hours are you driving a day? Between 10 and 11.

How are you staying alert? Lots of caffeine.

Is it nerve-wracking driving such a big load? This is my first brew house, but it’s alright. It’s not hanging off the back of the trailer or nothing. [Editor’s note: Good to know.]

What’s the blind spot like on a vehicle like this: Pretty damn big.

What route are you taking: Probably Route 70. I really ain’t sure. When I get to Jersey, I think… isn’t there a road called 58 or something?

55? That sounds right.

Please tell me you have GPS: Yes, I do.

David is going to keep us updated with photos en route, so we’ll keep you updated, too, beer fans.

Happy Saint Pat’s

It’s Saint Paddy’s Day, which means it’s green beer time. Come into our tasting room between noon and 8pm, order a $5 pint or tasting, and we’ll give you one of our lucky color-changing cups. Leave the food coloring to the frat boys.

Just remember, this is the only day you’re allowed to be excited about green beer. That’s because, any other day, “green beer” likely doesn’t refer to a Kermit-colored brew, but one that’s been removed from its yeast too early.

Allow us to go Bill Nye on you for a moment:

Acetaldehyde is a compound released during the process of fermentation. If beer is allowed to ferment long enough, it clears itself of the off-flavor this compound lends. But if not, the unsuspecting brewer ends up with a taste and aroma she didn’t see coming — that of grass, green apples or, in extreme cases, latex paint.

While it’s usually considered a fault, the presence of acetaldehyde flavor is sometimes the end-goal (we’re looking at you, Budweiser). So, if you happen to experience it during your own home-brew experiment, tell your friends it was purposeful, join them for a Saint Paddy’s pint, and go easy on yourself.

It ain’t easy being green.


New Brew House Is On The Road!

Our new three-vessel, 30-barrel, 8,000-pound brewhouse has (finally!) left Escondido, California and is en route to Cape May. It was custom-built by state-of-the-art manufacturer Premier Stainless, and loaded onto a 53-foot trailer by two guys and one big-ass forklift. The system was one of 94 projects completed by the company in 2014, all of them for microbreweries.

“We’ve been in business  since 2000, but in the last two years, this industry has blown up,” says Premier Stainless Production Manager Jimmy Hicks. “We went from having about 10 or 12 employees to about 32. Millenials don’t drink the Big Three — Bud, Miller, Coors — so there’s an entire generation opting for craft. And no one’s expecting a turn-down anytime soon.”

As for craft beer in Cape May?

“Heck yeah I’m excited to try it!” says Jimmy, a self-described So-Cal boy.

We’ll keep you posted on the whereabouts of our traveling system — the things it’s going to see! — but if you happen to be on the road yourself, especially on Highway 10, keep your eyes peeled. Jimmy says people are keen to tweet pictures of on-the-go brewhouses, and we’re on board with that.

Here’s to a safe journey for our kickass cargo. Ain’t she a beaut?






Road Trip, Anyone?

Accolades are nothing new for Cape May, crown jewel of the Jersey shore and CMB’s home base. We’re a National Historic Landmark-designated city. Budget Travel named us among the top ten coolest small towns in America. Parents magazine named us fifth best beach town in the nation. And datingadvice.com thinks we’re one of the sexiest. (We like to think that has something to do with the beer…)

You might think another shout-out would be ho-hum at this point, but we’re pretty psyched about the most recent: a spot on a map laying out must-see destinations on the ultimate cross-country adventure. The route was calculated by Michigan Data Scientist Randy Olson, who used high-tech algorithms to determine your next dream vacation. The 12,290-mile round-trip will take you through the top-ranked TripAdvisor cities in the US, including Cape Island.

If you’d like to customize your own road trip, Olson released his Python code (plus instructions for how to use it) on his blog. Best brewery stops in the country? We’re just sayin’.

Your ultimate road trip.  Image courtesy of randalolson.com
Your ultimate road trip. Image courtesy of randalolson.com

Getting Mugged

We like to think the people who drink Cape May beer are pretty savvy. To prove it, we asked a bunch of patrons at last night’s Tap Takeover at the Ugly Mug to tell us the coolest thing about themselves. Here’s what they had to say:


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Name: Brady Schoenrock

Drinking: Coconut IPA

Coolest Thing: He’s a Mummer. Also, he used to drive a winch-cat up the slopes of Mt. Tom ski resort in Massachusetts. The not so cool thing? When a cable of that winch-cat broke and Brady nearly went toppling down the mountain. “But I brought it back under control,” he says.


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Name: Cathie Sexton

Drinking: Vodka with grapefruit juice and a splash of cranberry. (We’ll forgive her.)

Coolest Thing: “I’m loyal and real,” she says.


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Names: Amber Slawek, Jaclyn Gray                                                                     

Drinking: Coconut IPA, Apple Bomb                                                                       

Coolest Thing: Amber trains horses, and she thinks “the only thing better than CMB beer is the lead singer of Escape Plan.” Jaclyn is a kickass teacher.


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Name: Chris Ohrenich

Drinking: Abbey Dubbel

Coolest Thing: He once swam with barracudas. “And they were frightened of me!” he says.


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Name: Josh Chandlee

Drinking: Coconut IPA

Coolest Thing: He’s only been wrong three times in his life. Also, he’s a twin.


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Name: Kristen Hughes

Drinking: Coconut IPA

Coolest Thing: She can drive stick like a boss.


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Name: Taylor Haley

Drinking: Coconut IPA

Coolest Thing: She’ll soon be teaching English in Thailand.


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Name: Lily Kublak

Drinking: Abbey Dubbel

Cool Thing: She’s an “underground comedian.”


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Names: Emily RighterPeter RossiCraig Lawson

Drinking: Apple BombCoconut IPA, Abbey Dubbel

Coolest Thing: Emily works at Congress Hall and loves Cape May Brewery, Peter is a student at Rowan University, and Craig owns Seven Mile Pies in Stone Harbor. “Bring more Cape May brew up there,” he says. “We love it!”


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Name: Jack Doyle

Drinking: Coastal Evacuation

Coolest Thing: He says, “I’m rush chairman,” which we’re pretty sure is an Animal House reference.


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Name: Our own Justin Vitti, CMB sales rep, and the guy behind tonight’s toasted Coconut IPA

Drinking: Coconut IPA

Coolest Thing: He can stick three-quarters of a drinking straw up his nose. Evidence above.




Get Thee To The Mug… Tonight!

The Ugly Mug is one of the oldest and coolest pubs in Cape May. It’s home to the infamous — and sexual innuendo-rich — Froth-Blowing Contest (where patrons blow as much head from their beers in one breath as possible)…

The blowing of the froth. (Image courtesy of Exit Zero magazine.)
The blowing of the froth. (Image courtesy of Exit Zero magazine.)

And it’s home to the Exit Zero Burns Supper (where men in kilts recite poetry and eat haggis)…

Burns night! (Image courtesy of Exit Zero magazine)
Burns night! (Image courtesy of Exit Zero magazine)

And now — drum roll, please — it’s home to CMBC’s tap takeover (where everyone will drink kickass beer and have a tremendously good time)…


Beginning at 6pm, six of our brews are available.

Says Mug Manager Dwight Dunbracco: “This is an excellent chance to experience local beers in the heart of town. The Devil’s Reach Belgian Ale pairs great with any of our burgers.”

Be sure to also try Justin’s Niu IPA, the one-time release brainchild of CMB sales rep Justin Vitti, who spent eight-and-a-half hours toasting organic coconut for the brew. While you do so, cover band Escape Plan will perform music that is “80s, 90s, country, rock, dance and anything that’s popular,” says Dwight.

Bottom line: you’re going to want to show your mug, ugly or otherwise.


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