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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

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.


A “Niu” Brew For Coconut Fans Released Today

Forget power. With great variety comes great responsibility.

At CMB, we’ve curated the largest tasting room in the state, with 20 or so rotating brews on tap at any given time. This means we’ve set the bar high for ourselves when it comes to creating new recipes, but we don’t shy away from a challenge. Launching our employee series was one way to ensure the beer variety at Exit 0 never waivers.

Fourteen people who work for CMB — from bartenders to truck drivers to graphic designers — have each collaborated with Brew Master Brian Hink in order to conceptualize a new beer. Out of this brainstorming has come everything from Paul’s Bareknuckle Imperial Stout, infused with organic maple syrup, to the Session IPA called Maggie’s Day Off, to an English-style ESB known as Steve’s Biscuits and Honey.

“They’ve each been a homerun,” says President Ryan Krill. Which is not surprising, considering how important customer satisfaction is to everyone on the CMB team. (Okay, let’s be real, we’re all competing with one another to see whose keg kicks the quickest.)

Now, the employee series is coming to a temporary end — our bartenders and truck drivers and graphic designers need to stop researching hops and get back to work, or we’ll have no one to serve/deliver/market all of that beer everyone’s been dreaming up.

But first, being released on Thursday March 12 as the fourth in a six-new-beers-in-six-weeks series, is Justin’s Niu IPA (“Niu” is Hawaiian for coconut).

Typically, coconut is not an ingredient you see in beer, and if it IS used, it’s likely part of a heavier porter or stout.

But, as Brew Master Brian says, “We’re craft brewers; we do whatever the hell we want.”

So Justin Vitti — our most mustachioed sales rep — spent eight-and-a-half hours toasting 44 pounds of organic

Justin contemplates his new beer.
Justin contemplates his new beer.

coconut in small batches, until it was browned enough for this exotic, one-time release and it’s tropical fruit-heavy nose.

“It’s light, fresh and different, and a great kick-off for spring,” he says.

We’re expecting this to be a pretty polarizing brew, so stop by our tasting room any day between noon and 8pm to see where you stand.

If nothing else, you’ll be helping Justin win that unspoken competition.

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.

use this one

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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