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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Meet The Band

Have you purchased your tickets for the nation’s only bi-state beer festival — Brews by the Bay — yet? There’s one more reason to do so, and that’s Southern Cut, the modern/classic country rock band who will be will be providing the live entertainment on August 29.

The six-piece band – including two guys who can rock a harp – has already made a name for itself in Cumberland County. And they’ll be coming to Cape May County bars near you soon enough.

We sat down with lead guitarist Jake Smith, who just so happens to be a CMBC brewer, to get the deets:

Where does the name Southern Cut come from? It’s a play on words. We’re based in south Jersey and we’re doing a southern rock/country thing.

What’s the sound? We play everything from the Allman Brothers to Lynyrd Skynyrd, all the way through modern pop country. Sometimes people hear ‘country’ and they think of that slow, behind-the-barn country song, but we want to get people dancing.

Originals or covers? We have a couple of our own songs, but we’re 99% covers.

Is there any reason you’re especially excited to play Brews by the Bay? Absolutely. I was at the event last year and it was awesome – over 1,000 people, and we’re expecting this year to be even bigger. Plus, the beer is great, and the space is beautiful. Right on the water.

Is there any similarity between brewing beer and playing music? I consider both to be an art form. They each require a lot of practice and passion to make it work right.


The Numbers Are In

In 2014, the craft beer industry reached 11% marketshare. And in case you’ve been worried this was a flash-in-the-pan type of milestone… it’s not.

According to the most recent Brewers Association report, growth has continued through the first half of 2015. In fact, production between January and June was 16 percent higher than during the same time frame last year. In the last six months, we’ve collectively churned out 12.2 million barrels.

Perhaps the most exciting bit of mid-year data? 699 more craft breweries are operating in the country now than 12 months ago, bringing the grand total to 3,739. That’s a whole lot of job creation. And CMBC is filing suit — we’ve reached 36 employees and counting.

“More and more Americans are discovering the joys of enjoying fresh beer produced by their neighborhood brewery,” said the BA’s Chief Economist Bart Watson in a recent press release. “By supporting local, small and independent craft breweries, beer lovers are gradually returning the United States to the system of localized beer production that existed for much of our nation’s history.”

And what a tasty return it is.





Today, Douglas Fisher — New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture and the guy whose job it is to ensure the Garden State remains an “agricultural powerhouse” — came to CMBC as part of his #JerseyFreshLove tour.

The two-day, live-tweeted trip includes 15 stops — farms,jersey farmers’ markets, and businesses throughout the state who respect, nourish, promote and utilize Jersey’s agricultural bounty. We were honored to make the cut for several reasons, including our Jersey Fresh-designated Honey Porter, which needs 90-pounds of locally-grown honey for every 15-barrel batch.

“Holy mackerel, it’s great,” Fisher said when he saw our tasting room. Then he took a tour led by CMBC president Ryan, enjoyed a pint, and explained the goal of the day. “We’re looking to get responses from people on the ground. We’re using the #JerseyFreshLove hashtag to showcase central places, but we want others to use it as well. Show us what Jersey Fresh products and places are important to you. We’ll cross-pollinate, and we’ll get people to recognize all this state has to offer.”

Here’s a peek at some of the social media shots. Take a look and then — you heard the man — post your own…

#jerseyfresh spotted at @capemaybrewco!!! #honey #porter #beer

A post shared by Jersey Fresh (@jerseyfreshnjda) on

Fill In The Blank With: Charles “The Chuck” Wray

chuck wrayChuck Wray is a 24-year-old graduate of Susquehanna University who studied public relations, advertising, marketing and graphic design. He’s a man of many hats and, at the brewery, he wears a bunch of them. Chuck’s official title is ‘event rep,’ but since he was hired in April, he’s done everything from delivering beer to bartending to helping out at CMBC’s headquarters… and he wipes out in style, too. Get to know “The Chuck” below:

I am from… Egg Harbor Township.

My favorite non-CMBC craft beer is… Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.

My favorite CMBC brew isGeek Out 2.0.

The superpower I’d most like to have is… laser vision.

The thing I’m most afraid of doing is… starting my own clothing company.

The thing that’s stopping me is… probably that I’m broke!

My favorite musician is… Led Zeppelin

The most famous person I’ve ever met was… I technically didn’t meet him, but I saw George W. Bush at an Army Navy football game.

My karaoke song is… I’ve never sung karaoke, but with a few pints of Devil’s Reach I’m sure I would!

The team is support is… Eagles.

If I could, I would splurge on… probably lots of good beer, like a lot.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten is… Let’s go with something really corny: follow your heart.

The last time I laughed until I cried was… About a month ago. I was out with my a couple buddies hanging at the bar, just having a good time.

The greatest adventure I ever had was… When I traveled to Germany with school the summer before my senior year of college.

The dorkiest thing about me is… I’m a craft beer nerd. I will ask EVERY bar for their craft beer selection.

The thing no one knows about me is… I never went to prom in high school. I always had a big crew race the day after…

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be… Chick-fil-A.

I would give up 10 years of my life if it meant I could… Travel around the world.

The decade I wish I’d lived through is… The 50s.

My hidden talent is… I would say I could juggle but [sales rep] Justin can do it so much better than me… I’m the runner-up.

My biggest bucket list item is… It’s something I’ll probably never do, but I’d love to climb Mount Everest.

The strangest question I’ve ever gotten about CMBC is… Whether or not we serve wine. Also, a customer asked me recently if I speak French…

My favorite curseword is… DAMMIT.

I was drawn to CMBC because…  It has such a well-known reputation. Craft beer is something I’d already enjoyed as a hobby, but I wanted to take it to next level and Cape May is a great place to do it.

My favorite cartoon is… Sponge Bob.

The job I would leave CMBC for is…  Maybe to work for Red Bull in Austria.

The best part of my job is… Getting to meet new people every day.

The thing people would be surprised to know about me is… I may work in a brewery, but I’ll probably never grow a beard.

Big Plans For National IPA Day On August 6

We know, we know. This “National Day of _____” thing has gotten out of hand.

July 16 is National Corn Fritters Day. March 30 is National Pencil Day. And May 16 is National Sea Monkey Day. Sea Monkey Day! We love a novelty aquarium pet as much as the next guy, but… come on.

Typically, we’d consider the fake holiday market a bit saturated, and we’d be loathe to trumpet a National Day of Anything. But we think of National IPA Day as the exception to the rule – a celebration worth celebrating.


The proof is in the Twittersphere. Last year, the official #IPADay hashtag was used 22,877 times in a 24-hour span, according to Ashley Routson on  craftbeer.com, and it trended around the globe. All this because the IPA style “represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.”

And it has a special place in our hearts because Cape May IPA is CMBC’s flagship beer, and the first brew we sold to client number one in 2011. (Coincidentally, 2011 was the inaugural year of National IPA Day, too.)

We thought we’d do something a little special next month to commemorate the occasion. So, without further ado, here’s what’s on tap at the CMBC tasting room August 6:

  1. A special firkin of our Take Five Session IPA, which has been infused with extra hops and citrus flavor.
  2. A special pin of Coastal Evacuation made with extra (flowery, citrusy, spicy) Amarillo hops.
  3. A one-time release of Cape May IPA that’s been dry-hopped a second time with wet hops.

For the uninitiated, dry hopping is the process of adding hops (flowers that lend flavor, aroma and bitterness to a brew) after fermentation instead of before. This way, more aroma is locked in to the final product. Typically, we do this to our IPA with two different hop varieties (Cascade and Chinook), and we do it one time only. The hops we use have been palletized, or processed in a natural way to preserve flavor, since harvesting season comes but once a year.


We’ve recently come into some fresh-off-the vine (ie “wet”) hops that were grown locally. The blend of Cascade, Chinook, Noble, Centennial and mostly Cascade flowers went from on-plant to in-beer within 48 hours, and the result is a piney, spicy, tangy, citrusy sort of deliciousness that you can taste for yourself on National IPA Day.

Take that, Sea Monkeys.

Why I Ride: Stephan Briggs

We’re getting stoked for City to Shore, the mammoth biking fundraiser sponsored by the National MS Society. Until the October event, we’ll be profiling members of the Cape May Brew Co cycling team to find out what inspires them. Hopefully, this will encourage others to join their ranks. (Hint, hint.)

Name: Stephan Briggs, CMBC Team Captain

Age: 28

Hometown: Back and forth between South Jersey and South Philly my entire life.

Occupation: Biomedical Engineer at Edmund Optics in New Jersey

Number of years on the Cape May Brew Co Team: This will be my 5th year with the team – since the very beginning!stephan

Why I ride: Three major reasons – first and foremost, to help the hundreds of thousands affected by MS.  Second, a personal challenge for myself year after year.  Third, to try and inspire others and raise awareness.

Why I ride on the CMBC team: I remember walking into the brewery only a few weeks after Ryan, Chris, and Bob opened the doors and being greeted in such a warm and welcoming way.  The guys and rest of the team at CMBC are such great people and full of energy.  It is great to be around others who give off that vibe, and I strive to do the same.  I can’t forget the more obvious reasons of great beer and a great location in Cape May (haha).

What my go-to brew after a long training ride is: A cold, fresh IPA.  Usually Cape May IPA when I’m in the area.

What my training looks like: I do a lot of running and biking.  Once the hot summer months hit, there is nothing better than riding for 2-3 hours along the Cape May shores or on the hilly terrain from Philly to Valley Forge.

Fundraising Goal: My record is just under $2000.  I always try to set my expectations high, so just above that 🙂

What I’ll feel like at the finish: One word, GOOSEBUMPS.  The last 2 miles of bliss, joy, and euphoria make up for the 75 – 100 miles of pain, strength, and hours spent on the saddle.  Hundreds line the streets and cheer you on with whistles, posters, and even cowbells!  Somehow, the day of the ride always ends up being a beautiful sunny day in Ocean City as well.

What I need people to know: The ride is not that hard and raising money is very doable.  I was somewhat intimidated by both for years until I finally said enough was enough and signed up.  I encourage everyone to do the same.  Take the plunge and sign up for your first ride – you won’t regret it!

City to Shore will take place on October 3 and 4. To join the team or make a contribution, visit the Cape May Brewing Co page at nationalmssociety.org.

Cape May Brew Co Sponsors Cape To Cape

Jibe ho! This weekend marks the seventh annual Cape to Cape Sailing Challenge, a regatta that crosses the Delaware Bay. Although sailors from all over the region are set to participate, the real battle for bragging rights is between the two clubs who call this body of water homebase: Cape May’s Corinthian Yacht Club and Delaware’s Lewes Yacht Club. At an after-party, the seafarers will drink our beer and winners will receive cool CMBC swag. Best of luck to all participants… may the wind be ever in your favor.

Image courtesy cyccm.com
Image courtesy cyccm.com

What’s In A Name: Concrete Ship Edition

Beginning this Friday, Cape May Brew Co is serving up history by the pint. We’re talking about our newest release, Concrete Ship, a rich Imperial Stout weighing in at 9.3%. It’s a layered beer with flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malt.

So… what’s with the name?

Perhaps you’ve noticed a 3,000-ton, algae-covered, mostly-sunk vessel at the end of Cape May’s Sunset Beach. It’s not merely a slimy navigational hazard for out-of-control windsurfers – it’s the most famous World War I-era prototype of its kind.

The story begins in 1918, when the military experienced a severe steel shortage and President Woodrow Wilson ordered the construction of an emergency naval fleet comprised of 24 concrete (yes, concrete) ships. This is what kids today would call a major fail. Only 12 of the models were completed, and all proved too heavy and, therefore, too impractical, for use in war. One of them, the SS Atlantus, found new life serving as a coal steamer in New England and, later, as transport for American soldiers from Europe home. Eventually, she was sent to Virginia’s “bone yard,” a cemetery for decommissioned ships.

In 1926, the 250-foot Atlantus was purchased by a salvage company for use as the dock to a new ferry system running between Cape May and Lewes, Delaware. But before she could be moved into place, a strong gale pulled The Concrete Ship loose from her moorings. A watchman aboard waved a sheet in distress and, while he and his cat (yes, his cat) were rescued, the Atlantus ran aground 150 feet from shore. The Coast Guard attempted to move the ship using two large towropes called hawsers, but the only result was two broken hawsers.

Since then, the wreck has become a photo-op for tourists. At one point, a local company attached a billboard advertising boat insurance to the side of the ship (har har). But winds and swell have beaten against the iron barbs of her skeleton for so long, only a small portion of the stern remains visible. Now, this is the backdrop to nightly flag-lowering ceremonies that honor veterans on Sunset Beach.

Every day, people can’t help but wonder: will it ever sink completely? The answer is no, at least not from memory, at least not for CMBC fans.

We’ll see you all on Friday, when we can raise a glass of big beer to the big ship with an even bigger story.

Our guy Andrew, kegging Concrete Ship.
Our guy Andrew, kegging Concrete Ship.

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