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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Hank Gets A Haircut

How do you know spring is coming?

Once a year, Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke cuts his hair. He does it himself, and he does it outside.

But it’s been so cold, Hank hasn’t wanted to venture out for his annual trim.

Until today!

This was Hank this morning (he’s on the right, Facility Engineer Carl Hudson is on the left):

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And this is Hank now:

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Happy spring, ya’ll.

What’s Happening At 12:39pm On A Tuesday

At 20 minutes before 1:00 yesterday, CMB President Ryan Krill was just finishing up a meeting of the ABC Advisory Committee in Trenton, where he represented New Jersey craft breweries as president of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild. Here’s what happened in his absence, back at home base:

Tasting room vet Bill Edwards of Dennis Township has a pint with tasting room newbies Eric and Zach Gorecke of Avalon. “We’ve heard great things about this place,” says Eric.


Sales rep Richie Rallo sports a cooler filled with growlers before a meeting with a client. “It’s the first time I’ve had to put ice in this cooler in months because it’s been 0 degrees outside,” he says.

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Bartender Bill McCaughey poses for a picture after eating chicken, asparagus, and a baked potato for lunch.

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Photographer Frank Weiss sets up for a shoot of CMB employees.

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Bartender Dan Petela and Tasting Room Manager Jim Zolna play frisbee while waiting to have their picture taken.

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Graphic designer Courtney Rosenberg expresses concern that said frisbees will end up in the street.

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Cellarman Paul Nease folds six-pack containers that will be filled with bottles of Coastal Evacuation. “I’d like to get through 700 today,” he says.

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Facility engineer Carl Hudson and Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke work on the bottling line.

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Logistics man Andrew Ewing sorts through candidates for the new driver position or, as he calls it, “checking out the apps.”

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What Went Down At The Monday Meeting: 3/9/15

9:30: Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke discusses his upcoming haircut. “I only do it once a year,” he says. “We should put that in [CMB newsletter] The Growler.”

9:33: Production meeting begins! Last week’s snowstorm altered the brewing schedule a bit. The new plan: brewing, kegging, and bottling a LOT of Devil’s Reach this week, and Cape May IPA and the Foreshore Shandy next week. The latter is a cherry and lime shandy, and “probably the manliest beer we have,” jokes Brew Master Brian Hink. Following that will be another batch of Turtle Gut.

9:41: Discussion ensues over what beer will be delivered to Philadelphia accounts next, as well as the upcoming contest,maria_sharapova_51aa3b89b0 the United States Open Beer Championship. Not to be confused with that other US Open. (Go, Sharapova, go!)

9:47: The one-off for one-off Wednesday this week is ChaIPA, says Brian. (That’s chai tea plus Cape May IPA.) For next week, it’s Devil’s Apple Forbidden Fruit, a 12% “beast of a beer,” followed by a “pineappleized” version of the new coconut IPA. As for what to call the last one — “Pina Colada-ish,” suggests Hank.

9:50: President Ryan Krill reminds everyone we’ll be brewing Escape the Cape Pale Ale again this year to commemorate June’s Escape the Cape Triathlon, the race in which a bunch of crazy people athletes leap from the back of a ferry into the Delaware Bay.

Escape the Cape! Photo courtesy of DelMo Sports.
Escape the Cape! Photo courtesy of DelMo Sports.

9:53: Expansion update! New brew house is shipping THIS WEEK, and a team of electricians are currently busy making sure the new HQ building has enough juice to power it.

9:55: Yesterday, reports licensed pilot Ryan, he did a flight with the owner of Ventura’s Offshore Cafe, who’s interested in carrying CMB beer. Also, Ryan will be attending an ABC Advisory Committee meeting in Trenton this week in order to represent Jersey breweries as President of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild.

10:30: Full staff meeting begins! Graphic designer Courtney Rosenberg, sporting a cool new hairdo, tells Hank to stop stealing her corner seat. “No one takes baby out of the corner,” she says. Everyone then wishes a happy birthday to sales rep Richie Rallo;there are doughnuts on the conference table to celebrate.

10:33: Sales rep Justin Vitti gives everyone the new account info: Tortilla Press Cantina in Merchantville is now carrying Devi’s Reach. Sales rep Richie Rallo adds that Sand Barrens Golf Club in Swainton has also boarded the CMB train, and that we’re the only craft beer on tap there.

10:38: Hank downloads everyone on the morning’s production meeting, and reminds that Justin’s NIU IPA, a toasted coconut IPA, is being released this Thursday.

Our team working hard  at Philly Craft Beer Festival.
Our team working hard at Philly Craft Beer Festival.

10:43: Time for a recap of the weekend, including the “drunk-fest” that was Philly Craft Beer Festival at the Navy Yard, and the “super successful” tap takeover that took place at UNO Pizzeria and Grill in Maple Shade. Upcoming are several exciting spring events, including a Firkin Friday at the new Gordon Ramsay Pub in Atlantic City, which should be a bit of a show. Justin explains the venue would like him to pierce the bunghole and “make it spray a little,” which someone promptly suggests putting on a tee-shirt.

10:46: Ryan says we’ll be partnering with the Cape May Boat Show May 1st through 3rd, which is the same weekend as the Strictly Boaters Boat Show, also in Cape May. “Awkward,” says Justin.

10:50: Tap Room Coordinator Ashley Sundstrom says we’ll be supplying beer to a civil war reenactment hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Arts and Humanities this summer. Cape May brews: enjoyed by Red Coats and Rebels alike.

10:52: Hank makes a formal motion to end the meeting, and Ryan seconds it. (Ryan and Hank have been reading up on parliamentary procedure as laid out by Robert’s Rules of Order.) Cheers!

Hey Sports Fans

Press of Atlantic City sports writer David Weinberg has a bone to pick with Eagles coach Chip Kelly — a duck bone. There’s speculation that Kelly, who now has control over free agency and the draft, will make a move for quarterback Marcus Mariota — aka, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” — which would bring the former Oregon Duck count on the Eagles roster up to 10.  It’s a “huge mistake,” says Weinberg. “Aside from Dan Fotus, if you can name even one former Oregon quarterback who became an NFL star, I’ll buy you a growler filled with Coastal Evacuation ale at Cape May Brewing Company.”

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


If so, Dave’s email is [email protected]. Hit him up.

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

1. It snowed… again. CMB’s Facility Engineer Carl Hudson sent the photographic proof. (We can neither confirm nor deny that he was tipsy.)


2. Cannabis and craft beer-pairing classes are now a thing. For $45, you get three hash courses and a “terpene education.”

3. Finnish chemists have finally discovered, thanks to some serious molecular-analysis, what the beer discovered in a 170-year old shipwreck back in 2010 is supposed to taste like: apples and roses! What it actually tastes like? Over-ripe cheese. There’s even talk of recreating the 19th-century brew. God bless science.

4. Hops needed by the craft beer industry might be the salvation of the American farmer, reports Fortune.

5. Yes, there’s a lot of booze-related legislation in front of Congress right now, but add one more bill to that list: The Alabama Brewers Guild has proposed a specialty license allowing craft breweries to operate on-site restaurants.

6. Baby bottles are now being made to look like lager bottles. The line — called Chill, Baby — will be released in baby bottleApril… unless the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has its way. “We would argue that this could be an indirect promotion of underage drinking,” says Director George Koob.

7. Pennsylvania beer distributors have gotten a green light — they can now sell 12-packs. Rejoice, PA peeps; Coastal Evacuation bottles might be coming at you by the dozen.

8. Researchers from the University of Bristol have confirmed it: beer goggles are real… they just don’t work the way you think. People don’t necessarily become more attractive to us when we imbibe, but when they do. Chalk it up to rosier cheeks, scientists say.

9. George Thorogood, singer of catchy rebel anthem “Bad to the Bone,” said this week that he plays many songs about beer because he books more gigs this way.

10. Daylight Savings Time is this Sunday! Happy hour’s coming early.





Cape May IPA Makes Its Winning Soup Debut

Many Cape May couples spent the recent Valentine’s Day drinking wine, eating chocolate and making candlelit whoopee. Michael Keating and his better half shucked oysters until 3am.

Let’s back up.

Every February, Cape May’s Chamber of Commerce hosts a Chili and Chowder Challenge where commercial and home chefs enter recipes to be judged by the public. This year’s event took place at Congress Hall on February 15 and Mike, who happens to be executive chef of Cape May’s Blue Rose Inn and Restaurant, submitted an oyster chowder made with our Cape May IPA. The dish used about 32-ounces of beer and 100 Cape May Salts in a five-gallon batch… and beat out 20 other entries for first place in the chowder division.

And that’s not all. Last year, Mike’s Texas-style chili made with beef shoulder and CMB’s Scottish ale was also a blue-ribbon winner. Apparently, our beer is meant for soup.

This past Sunday, we caught up with Mike and his colleague/sister Courtney over chocolate porters at CMB and we have to say, we like these guys. Not just because they’re into beer (they brew their own at home and are regulars of our tasting room), but because they run an impressive operation. The Blue Rose is owned by their parents. Courtney is the office manager of many hats, including marketing and innkeeping. Mike’s wife Angela works by his side as pastry chef, and we’re surprised their four-year-old child isn’t yet answering phones. It’s very much a family affair, and yet no one has managed to kill anyone else.

“People are always going to clash,” explains Mike, “but family are more understanding when it happens.”

And it helps that everyone has the same philosophy when it comes to food.

“We’re very much a scratch kitchen,” Mike told us. “We do as much as we can by hand. We make our own bread and cheese and we smoke our own bacon, which we used in the winning chowder. It’s also important that we use local ingredients — like Cape May Roasters Coffee, the Cape May honey we use for glazing fingerling potatoes and, of course, Cape May Brewery Beer. It’s only going to make my product better.”

In the case of Mike’s chowder, the hoppiness of the CMB beer was an ideal match for the brininess of his Cape May Salt oysters — a marriage that might soon appear on the Blue Rose’s menu full-time.

Meantime, stop by the brewery and check out our soup-friendly brews. It’s a place where the world — or at least the tasting room — is your oyster.

Hungry taste-testers let their palettes decide. Photo courtesy of Cape May Chamber of Commerce.
Hungry taste-testers let their palettes decide at the 5th Annual Chili and Chowder Challenge. Photo courtesy of Cape May Chamber of Commerce.



What Went Down At The Monday Meeting, 3/2/15: Chai Beer, the Pope, and Frisbees

9:31: Production meeting commences! Brew Master Brian Hink lays out the immediate brew schedule: Coastal Evacuation on Tuesday and Wednesday (because liquor stores are “begging for it”) and Honey Porter Thursday and Friday. Full steam ahead — upcoming snowstorm be damned!

id-tap-that-beer-keg-party-funny-tshirt3009:34: Time for the meat of the morning’s discussion: how to avoid keg shortage scandals! (Okay, there are no keg shortage scandals — more like keg shortage “pickles,” as CMB president Ryan Krill calls them — but we’ve been watching a lot of House of Cards.) Bottom line: no one wants to “slam on the brewing brakes” because we’ve got more beer than containers to put it in, so… keg shopping here we come.

9:50: The one-off for One-Off Wednesday this week is Raspberry Coastal. Next week is ChaIPA – that’s right, Chai tea plus IPA. Fun fact: the ingredients in chai are good for everything from warding off the flu (cloves) to helping with digestion and motion sickness (ginger). There you have it — a beer that’s good for your health.

10:30: Full staff meeting begins! Sales rep Justin Vitti comes limping in, due to a recent Cross-Fit session at North Beach Health Club.

10:33: Time for an accounts update from Justin and his mustache: 132 in Jersey alone.  New on the list are Canal’s in Mount Ephraim and Connie Mac’s Irish Pub in Pennsauken.

10:38: Events report! Up first –at UNO Pizzeria and Grill in Maple Shade this Friday — will be a tap takeover and we do mean takeover. Nine CMB beers will be on the menu, many of which aren’t even available in CMB’s own tasting room any longer. In other words, it’s last call. Saturday is the Philly Craft Beer Festival where we’re expecting “well over a thousand people at each session,” says Justin. On March 12 is a tap takeover at The Ugly Mug in Cape May, during which time six CMB beers will be available, including the Coconut IPA dreamed up by Justin himself. March 13th is a Firkin Friday event at AC’s Gordon Ramsey Pub, and one at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, too, followed by the AC Beer and Music Festival on March 20th and 21st. The day after that, CMB will be at Wildwood’s Bridal Fair, because what bridezilla doesn’t need to chill out with a good beer? bride2

10:45: Graphic design guru Courtney Rosenberg reminds everyone that American Craft Beer Week is May 11-17, and CMB will be offering something special — possibly a home brewing course — so stay tuned. Also the Democratic National Convention is coming to Philadelphia in July of 2016, which may be an opportune time for a politically-charged beer. “Impeachment ale!” offers Justin. “The Pope is also coming to Philly this summer,” adds Brian, prompting Courtney to wonder aloud if a priestly pint would be offensive. Suggestions include: Pious Pale Ale and Infalliable IPA.

10:50: Taproom Manager Jim Zolna and Taproom Coordinator Ashley Sullivan update everyone on goings on at the tasting room, including an upcoming collaboration for Saint Baldrick’s Day, when area students and teachers raise money for childhood cancer research before shaving their heads in a show of solidarity. Last year, the effort generated over $40,000. Watch this space.

10:53: Discussion ensues over new CMB merchandise, including summer-friendly sweatshirts, tee-shirts and — ready for it? — frisbees! Available now for $6, including tax.

10:57: Two more 60-barrel fermenters are on their way, says Ryan.

11:00: Meeting dismissed. Cheers!

We’re Bringing Sexy Bock

Weiner means a lot of things to a lot of people. The menu staple at Hot Dog Tommy’s. Adorable puppies doing adorable things. That Congressman who took phallic… selfies. But at Cape May Brewery, “weiner” is what we’ve nicknamed our next release. It’s a Bock — aka Vienna-style lager — and ‘Vienna’ in German is ‘wein,’ so…. you see where we’re going with this. But for formal purposes, we’ve opted for a name with a little more pop culture pizazz — Bringing Sexy Bock — because this is one sexy brew.

img_5836-editBefore we get into all that, a little beer school: a lager is a lager because it’s fermented at a colder temperature — 50 degrees as opposed to 65ish, which would work for a regular old ale. Of course at this cooler temp the fermentation process takes longer, and that’s before you even get to the lagering (ie, cold storage) stage, where the beer sits at 32 degrees for at least six weeks. During this time, it clears itself of any “off” flavors that develop during fermentation. We’re speaking of diacetyl, which is akin to that fake butter flavor you get on movie theater popcorn, and DMS, similar in taste to cooked cabbage. So yea – best to wait those out.

“It’s the reason a lot of craft breweries don’t make lagers,” says Brew Master Brian. “You’re tying up a tank for twice as long.”

But if you’re willing to hang tight, well, what’s that they say about patience being a virtue?

Bringing Sexy Bock is smooth, clean and malty, with virtually no hop or yeast character. The flavor profile comes instead from a complex grain bill — we use five different kinds instead of the more typical one-two punch (single base grain and single specialty grain for mouthfeel).

The end result is full-bodied; when it hits your lips, you’re transported from Cape May to a broody German beer hall, stein in hand.

The end result is full-bodied; when it hits your lips, you’re transported from Cape May to a broody German beer hall, stein in hand. Just be careful how quickly you down that stein, reminds Brian — because it’s a bock, the brew’s got a higher ABV (6.9%) than your typical lager.

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We’re tapping it on March 5, as the third in a six-new-beers-in-six-weeks series. So come check out the weiner in our tasting room, and don’t be afraid to call it what it is, loud and proud — we’ve heard that some of you were a tad sheepish ordering Bringing Sexy Bock by name last year.

But CMB is not usually a place where embarrassment comes easy.

“We like Justin Timberlake around here, but he’s no T-Swift,” says Brian, without a hint of irony. “She’s Chris’ favorite. Personally, I’m a big Katy Perry fan.”

See what we mean?


Why It’s Hard To Spill Your Beer

What’s the latest research to come out of Princeton University? No, it doesn’t have to do with curing cancer, shifting the tides of climate change, determining extraterrestrial existence, or any other life-altering course of study you’d expect from the nation’s top institute of higher learning. Instead, it has to do with beer — specifically, why it doesn’t spill as easily as water. That’s right, the world’s greatest minds are busy analyzing slosh factor. LOL.

Princeton’s best fluid physicists teamed up with the French National Center for Scientific Research to build a device for shaking liquid. This contraption created waves — like the kind that happen when you walk glass in hand — and those waves were recorded and analyzed.

The high-tech slosh tester. Image courtesy of The Physics of Fluids Journal.
The high-tech slosh tester. Image courtesy of The Physics of Fluids Journal.

The results? Drinks with foam (ie, beer with head) are harder to spill, because that foam inhibits wave action by 90%.

All kidding aside, the research has big implications for the transportation of hazardous material, like oil. Add some foam to it, and we might see less high-stake spillage.

So there you have it. Princeton researchers saving the planet, one beer study at a time.

Big News On The Liquor License Front

We’ve been talking a lot lately about all of the alcohol-related legislation in front of Congress right now, including the oh-so-important Small BREW Act that would ease the tax burden of the craft brewer and, in the process, lessen the cost of your beers while allowing for job creation. A win-win for everyone. But there’s a new bill in town, this one specific to New Jersey, and its potential impact is also huge. So we’ll get off of our Small BREW-soapbox a minute to give you the facts. We’re talking about the proposal introduced last Wednesday by Assemblyman John Burzichelli that would allow for a new type of liquor license in our state.

At the moment, liquor licenses are to Jersey restauranteurs what overhead waves are to Jersey surfers. First, they’re elusive; up until this point, due to leftover Prohibition-era laws, only one license per every 3,000 people in a given municipality has been permitted. Next, they’re potentially devastating. Depending on the town, a license can run over a million dollars. For any small business owner, it’s a big investment, and a big risk. Kind of like going backside on a closeout swell, you better hope it pans out.


But the new law would temper that risk. If it passes, restaurateurs who find themselves unable to buy a license currently — either because it’s financially prohibitive or because their towns have reached maximum allowance — will have the option of purchasing a restricted version.

In other words, a business owner can pay an initial fee of between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the size of her establishment and how many hours she wants to serve libations, in order to pour alcohol tableside only. No bars allowed. Commercial kitchen required. The option to renew comes yearly, for a cost of between $1,500 and $10,000.

“It’s designed to… help encourage the restaurant industry to flourish and to give the little guy a chance of competing,” Burzichelli told The Record. And there are many who support him, from both the consumer and BYO-owner camps. There are also many who’ve got their hackles up, claiming they’ve shelled out tremendously for the right to pour and, even though they’d be awarded tax credits for their troubles, should reap the rewards of greater license exclusivity.

We’ll keep you posted on how all this pans out. In the meantime, how about a little refresher course…

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