Cape May has been ranked one of the top 16 sexiest beach towns in America by datingadvice.com, and our brewery tours got a shout-out. We’re in good company — Malibu Beach, California and Kailuna-Kona, Hawaii also made the list. It’s appropriate timing, as Bringing Sexy Bock is our next big release, but more on that in a bit. Boom-chicka-wow-wow.
The past seven days have been groovy. Allow us to explain:
1. Cool meeting
Our president Ryan Krill, who also happens to be president of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, was in DC last Thursday (in a snazzy baby blue suit) for the 78th Annual Walk to Washington, one of the state’s oldest political traditions. It works thusly: Jersey’s movers and shakers (lawmakers, business owners, town leaders) take a four-hour train ride to the nation’s capital, where they discuss the state’s economic future with our Congressional delegation. The name of the event comes from all of the walking that happens on the train itself, when said movers and shakers start meeting, mingling and sharing ideas.
Of course, it was too cold to walk anywhere once everyone arrived in DC, Ryan says, but at the annual Beer and Wine reception hosted by the Kaufman Zita Group later in the evening, the mingling and idea-sharing continued (this time over drinks, courtesy of the guild).
We’ll say this much — craft beer has many friends on The Hill, and not just because our senators like drinking it (boy, do they like drinking it) but because they see the importance of advocating for the entrepreneurs who make it. Forget what you’ve learned from House of Cards; politicians aren’t all bad.
Case in point: the Small BREW Act currently before the House, which would reduce taxes on a small brewery’s first 60,000 barrels. This would go a long way toward job creation, so keep your fingers crossed that the competing Fair BEER Act, which would extend aforementioned tax breaks to macro breweries, doesn’t split the vote.
Nelson is a New Zealand hop, so it comes from the land of glacier hiking, bungee jumping and Lord of the Rings. A place that, because of its remote location, experiences virtually no hop diseases.
Nelson’s flavors are “crazy exotic,” according to Brew Master Brian, meaning you can expect to taste grapefruit, lychee and bittersweet gooseberry.
The plant’s flavors are “crazy exotic,” according to Brew Master Brian, meaning you can expect to taste grapefruit, lychee and bittersweet gooseberry. Named after the Sauvignon grape, the aroma it lends to a brew resembles that of your favorite white wine, except better.
Only problem is, hops are a very seasonal crop. So, while home brewers have no trouble getting whatever kind they want in small doses, commercial brewers need to place their orders far in advance. Often years.
But CMB is not into waiting, and we’re not easily deterred. We put a call — okay, several — into our hop contractors, and they were able to secure us an 11-pound box of Nelson. No, it’s not much (we typically use a minimum of five to 10 pounds per batch of beer), but it’s enough to experiment with, so we’re thrilled. We’ll let you know what we come up with, and when our super limited release will be available. Watch this space.
Our Jersey Fresh Honey Porter was featured in this article from craftbeer.com about spring seasonals, along with only six other breweries from the northeast. Boom.
It’s sounds like the episode of a sitcom: sweet mother makes apple butter for her family with huge pots in a suburban backyard and is mistaken for meth lab operator. But that’s exactly what might have happened to the mom of our guy Chris — she remembers a state police helicopter circling above her house during one of her frequent apple butter cooking marathons. And yet, more has come out of her recipe than a funny story… this was the inspiration for CMBC’s Apple Bomb beer.
A few Christmas seasons ago, in our original 12 gallon brew house, we also cooked apples down until they reduced to a butter, and we tossed the fruit of this labor (womp, womp) into a fermenter with some cinnamon and apple juice concentrate purchased from ShopRite. The resulting brew was so popular, we decided to do it again and again… and again. Each time, we’ve refined the process because, well, let’s just say we’ve experienced some funny stories of our own.
“The name for the beer came about because, in the early days, we underestimated how easily the sugars from 55 gallons of juice would ferment, so the fermenter kind of blew up,” says Chris. “The floor of the brew house was covered in two inches worth of foam.”
But no worries – the beer itself was delicious, and CMBC’s Apple Bomb has only gotten tastier since. Just not in the way you might think.
“It’s one of the hardest beers to describe,” says Brew Master Brian. “With a name like Apple Bomb, you expect it to be a cider, which is a lot like alcoholic apple juice. But this still tastes like a beer.”
Sure, the fruit lends a little bit of tartness, but not so much that the hop note is masked, or the biscuit malts don’t come through. That’s because, unlike with a cider, all of the apple juice that goes into this beverage is converted to alcohol – hence the 8% ABV.
For your drinking pleasure, we’re releasing it Thursday, February 26 (it’s the second in a six-new-beers-in-six-weeks series), so come check it out in our tasting room. You know what they say: an apple beer a day keeps the doctor away, or some such thing.
As for Chris’ mom? She’s still operating her “lab.” Says Chris: “I’ve got apple butter in my fridge from three years ago.”
9:30: Chatter about the weekend ensues. Fearless leader Ryan Krill was in DC for the 78th Annual Walk to Washington where legislators had opportunity to mingle with Jersey’s craft beer makers. “Those senator guys can drink,” says Ryan. “I felt like an old man.” Meanwhile, Brew Master Brian Hink discusses his trip to Colorado, where he visited Avery Brewery. “They collect and repurpose CO2 with what looks like a fucking nuclear reactor,” he says. “Very impressive.” Both men are wearing the same CMB hat, complete with puff ball on top.
9:31: Production meeting commences. Brian has not yet had time to update the white board on which the brew schedule is usually written. “What the fuck?” jokes Ryan, although its hard to take him seriously in said puffy hat.
9:33: About the tap room, Brian says: “Everything’s kicking on us!” So, on deck for brewing is Cape May IPA, followed by Cape May Saison, and the new Take Five Session IPA. Bottling of Coastal Evacuation will happen on Friday.
9:42: New brew house update: it ships next week!
9:43: New brewer update: Jake Smith starts training tomorrow! “We’ll give him a raise to $.08 an hour,” says Ryan. But in all seriousness, Brian is pumped for the help; last Tuesday he had a 14-hour day that started at 4am — ah, the life of a brewer.
9:44: Time to talk about this week’s Wednesday one-off, Devil’s Reach Gone Wild, which is theDevil’s Reach IPA fermented with wild yeast from grapes that grew right outside of the brewery. “I’m really excited for this one; it’s a beer geek thing,” says Brian. As for taste, expect it to be very wine-like, super dry, and not at all oaky.
9:47:AC BeerFest is coming up! Discussion ensues over whether it’s best to transport CMB brews there via firkins or pins. (If you’re wondering what the firk a firkin is, or if you’re too pin-headed to know what a pin is, click here.)
9:51: Speaking of pins, one of ours “blew up” last Friday. “It was in an outside cooler, and it was so cold it froze,” explains Brian. “As things freeze, they swell. It made a hot mess.”
10:30: Full staff meeting begins! Ryan shows everyone the plans for CMB’s next, next big expansion, coming at you spring of 2016. If all goes well, added on to our new 15,000 square foot-building will be another 5,000 square-foot tasting room, plus beer garden and 120-space parking lot. Bartender extraordinaire Jim Zolna wonders aloud which parking spot is his. “You’re over here,” says Ryan, pointing to the blueprint. “Can’t be too close to a school or it violates that law…” (We kid, we kid.)
10:33:Richie Rallo, Justin Vitti, and Justin Vitti’s mustache update everyone on new clients, including farm-to-table friendly Red Hen restaurant in Swedesboro and Red Robin in Mays Landing. That brings the total number of accounts up to — drum roll, please — 149 in Jersey and 71 in Pennsylvania.
10:56: Ryan adds that Cape May’s own Congress Hall is installing a new draught system and putting CMB on tap. Also, a new shipment of kegs is a-coming, and that will “effectively double our inventory.”
10:57: Logistics guy Andrew Ewing confirms that Nugget, the official minivan of CMB, got an oil change last week.
10:59: Because fearless leader Chris Henke is out of town, Brian updates everyone on what went down at the morning’s production meeting, including a statement on how “crushable” that upcoming Session IPA is going to be.
11:05: Richie reviews Beats, Brews, and BBQ, which took place at World Café Live in Philadelphia over the weekend: “It wasn’t a drunk fest at all,” he says. “Good music, good people. It was the first event our two new employees were working, and I was trying to stress to them how much they were being spoiled. They’ll get a rude awakening at AC Beer Fest.” [Insert maniacal laughter here.] For all upcoming events, click here.
11:07: Jim and tap room coordinator Ashley Sundstrom update everyone on the weekend at the tasting room (“Smooth, no issues”) as well as the movement of merchandise (sweatshirts are selling like hot cakes. Or maybe cold beer).
11:12: Ryan, President of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, tells everyone to stay tuned for updates from the guild next week, because exciting things are… brewing. In the meantime, meeting is adjourned. Cheers!
Things are getting pretty wild at Cape May Brew Co this week. Not Reese-Witherspoon-alone-in-the-woods wild. And not spring-breakers-doing-body-shots-in-Cancun wild. But more like bird-nabs-seed-from-local-winery-and-drops-it-at-our-doorstep wild.
You see, that is likely how it came to be that a wild grape vine started growing outside of CMB a while back. And when life hands you lemons grapes, you’re supposed to make lemonade wine, right? Since we’re a brewery, we opted for a wine/beer hybrid that we’re dubbing Devil’s Reach Gone Wild.
That’s the Wednesday one-off this week: our Devil’s Reach IPA fermented with a little help from our lone vine. “Yeast is everywhere,” explains Brew Master Brian, “so it was growing on the skin of this fruit. We waited about four months, until we had a useable amount.”
The end result is a very dry, not at all oaky brew that has us pretty geeked out.
We open at noon, so get it while it lasts — the beverage isn’t coming back. The DRBA (Delaware River and Bay Authority) tore down our vine when they cleaned up the area recently. And while the property looks great, we have lost our wild yeast source.
On Friday night, our own Ryan Krill was featured on “Drinking Dirty in Jersey,” a show broadcasted by the “irreverent, entertaining, cool” LA Talk Radio. Program hosts Cassie and Chris Finley — self-described “beer drinking champions of the world” — peppered Ryan with questions about CMB’s
history, ongoing expansion, and industrial-chic locale. The action starts at 14:10 here. But if you don’t have time to listen in, here’s the interview in numbers:
1: Number of on-air f-bombs dropped by Ryan
4: Number of specific CMB brews discussed, including the Coastal Evacuation which recently won a silver medal in the Best of Craft Beer Awards in Oregon, aka “IPA country.”
1: Number of accounts CMB started with in 2011 (Cabanas).
300: Number of accounts CMB will have by the end of this summer
2: Number of states in which CMB is currently distributed. (PA and NJ)
47: The ranking of New Jersey in per capita craft breweries when CMB launched. (Today, we’re still only at 40, but we’re climbing!)
>100: Number of beers produced by CMB in its four-year history
21: Number of CMB employees (and counting!)
1,500: The original square footage of the first CMB building. (The square footage of our new addition? 15,000.)
12: The number of gallons produced by our original brew house. The capacity of our new brew house? 30 barrels.
1: The number of comparisons made between “south Jersey guys” and “mellow” Californians. (Unlike farther north where there is “too much expresso and too much cocaine,” says Cassie. All the more reason to head south?)
1. David has taken on Goliath. Founder of Dogfish Head brewery Sam Calagione was interviewed by Men’s Journal this week, and the craft beer ambassador had some harsh words for A-B InBev, parent company to Budweiser, and its practice of buying up craft breweries in an attempt to monopolize the market. “The more they spite us for trying beer outside of the light lager juggernaut,” he said, “the more we’re going to stand for something very separate from what they’re about.”
3. A “free the growler” campaign is making headway in Florida, where lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow patrons to purchase the 64-ounce jugs currently banned in the Sunshine State. Big beer is reeling… and doing everything in its power to stop the change. But Florida’s 90-plus craft breweries are fighting the good fight.
4. Remember when traditional, homemade beer in Mozambique was poisoned with crocodile bile during a funeral last month, leading to 72 deaths and 200 hospitalizations? Officials have finally made an arrest. Meanwhile, the tainted drink has been sent to the US for testing, and Mozambique villagers are saying “In a while, crocodile” to homemade brew.
5. Red Bull is crying “trademark infringement!” because the name of a tiny Virginia-based startup — Old Ox Brewery — channels a different bovine. Seriously. An excerpt from the letter brewery president Chris Burns sent to the energy drink company reads as follows: “We can only interpret your actions as one thing—bullying. You are a big Red Bully. Just like that mean kid from grade school pushing everyone down on the playground and giving us post-gym class wedgies. You are giving us one hell of a corporate wedgie.” We’ll agree – this is “bull”shit.
7. Beer may be getting cheaper, thanks to continued support for the Small BREW Act currently before Congress; it now has 25 Senate sponsors from both parties, reports Reuters. The bill would provide some tax relief for small brewers — good news considering those taxes dictate more than forty percent of a beer’s cost.
9. This Sunday is the Oscars! Stop by our tasting room any day between noon and 8pm, fill up your growler (that’s still legal here, unlike in Florida), and play this Oscars drinking game from the LA Times.
The Hungarian Roppi 1100 has arrived! No, that’s not some weird piece of workout equipment for Richie and Justin to use between sales calls, it’s the mill that will grind 2,425 pounds of our grain per hour into a rough flour called grist. This is important because — for all of you newbies — that’s the first step in making beer.
“Think of it this way,” says CMBC Brew Master Brian Hink, “when you’re making coffee at home, you don’t just dump beans into a machine, because you’d get a little bit of flavor and a little bit of color to your coffee, but it would be weak. You have to use a grinder to crush them up first.”
Now, as for getting the Roppi set up… “Ryan buys the equipment and I read the manual,” says Chris.
The 90s are so in right now. Think resurgence of neon high-tops. Flip phones becoming hip again. This Saved by the Bell Reunion on Jimmy Fallon. So, it’s only fitting that for our seasonal release, we’d be working hard on a style that, circa ’95, got every craft beer newbie in this area hooked. Back then, it was Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale that was the ticket, says Brew Master Brian. But now we’ve got a PA lineup all our own and — drum roll, please — Citra Pale Ale is coming at you today.
“It’s a really dry, light-bodied beer with just a tiny bit of sweetness,” Brian says, adding that the 5.5% brew is dry-hopped with a pound per barrel of citra, the “buzziest” beer flower of the day, and one that’s“deserving of all its praise.”
So what, exactly, is the big deal?
“Picture walking through a California orange grove at harvest time,” Brian says of the beverage’s sensory impact.“Or the mist you get when you peel back an orange.”
The ale will be on tap in our tasting room beginning at noon, as the first in a six-new-beers-in-six-weeks series.
Atlantic City’s been having a rough go of it lately, but the addition of a new Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill at Caesar’s Casino can only help America’s playground. We mean, GR’s been awarded a Michelin star 15(!) times. We’re excited to be on tap here, and excited for this mention of it on app.com. Always stoked to get a shout out from the Beer Guy in the Press of Atlantic City and, earlier this week, CMBC received another shout-out from Philly.com. What, what.