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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
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The List: What In-The-Know Drinkers Will Be Talking About This Weekend

  1. CupidLogo-300x238Beer-lovers are “60 percent more likely to be okay sleeping with someone they’ve just met,” according to an article shared by Time magazine. Do with this information, um, what you will.
  1. Maine State Senator John Patrick is calling out bars in his state for cheating customers with pint glasses that are smaller than the US standard of 16 ounces. Many 05-fifty-shades-of-green-beer.w245.h368.2x“actually hold only 14 ounces – or who knows what amount, really,” reports Food and Wine. But Patrick is introducing a bill that would put an end to all of that. Hopefully, he’ll have better luck than Michigan did with the same campaign in 2013. No worries at CMBC… our pint glasses are always a full 16 ounces.
  1. Fifty Shades of Grey opened yesterday, and yes, a beer has been released to commemorate the occasion, thanks to Scotland’s Innis and Gunn. The brew, called 50 Shades of Green, blends — you guessed it — 50 different hops and a slew of “libido increasing” ingredients. Unfortunately, it’s only available in the UK, lovebirds.
  1. It’s President’s Day Weekend, so time to bone up on your history: George Washington wrote a beer recipe (think lots of molasses), and brewed it at the distillery he opened when his tobacco-growing businesses went bust.
  1. An ambitious man tried to sneak about 24 beers past a security guard at a Turkish soccer game this week. He failed, and that fail is going viral.

    photo credit: Michael Sears
    Activated Sludge Wheat Ale (yes, it’s a thing…) photo credit: Michael Sears
  1. Sewage beer” is now a thing, thanks to recycling advocacy group Clean Water Oregon, who says brews made with purified waste water are a-okay for drinking.
  1. It’s Mardi Gras! And in case you’re in the mood to get your Creole on, our Citra Pale Ale, being released this Thursday, pairs great with shrimp and grits, and our Tower 23 is a match for a Muffuletta. Fun fact: Canyon Allen, owner of A Place on Earth soap company and our newest neighbor at the Cape May Airport, recently marched along with Flying Fish Studio owner Sue Lotozo in Mardi Gras’ Krewe de Vieux parade and tribute to James Brown. Get on up!

Five Things We’re Excited About in 2015

Ah, the beginning of a new year. It’s a time to reflect — perhaps over a Honey Porter — on events past. At Cape May Brewing Company, a lot’s gone down.

We launched in July of 2011 with an airport hangar, a used Quizno fridge that smelled of deli meat, and a 12-gallon pilot brew system concocted from scrapyard keg shells, hot water heaters found on eBay, and stainless steel tanks dug out of Jersey recycling plants. To our, ahem, one client, we delivered beer in a hand-me-down Mazda MVP. (Yea, that’s a minivan alright.)

But since then, Ryan Krill and Chris “Hank” Henke, our intrepid owners/good booze

Ryan Krill & Chris "Hank" Henke (photo credit Frank Weiss, courtesy Exit Zero Magazine)
Co-founders Ryan Krill & Chris “Hank” Henke (photo credit Frank Weiss, courtesy Exit Zero Magazine)

ambassadors, have taken steps – like adding a tasting room, updating equipment, and landing a distributor — to prime this beachside brewery for world domination. Or, at least, putting south Jersey’s craft beer scene on the map.

Other brewers told us it couldn’t be done. They said everyone “down the shore” drinks bottled lite beer only. But we’ve forgiven them — after all, not everyone knows how good an IPA tastes in a place with salty ocean breezes.

Now, we’ve got upwards of 200 clients (not counting that random guy who drove a CMB keg to North Carolina before serving it illegally) and over 40 recipes on our docket. But we’re only getting bigger.

Here’s what’s on tap (womp, womp) for 2015:

  1. Expansion: Our current tasting room may be the largest of its kind in the state, and we may be able to brew 500 gallons of beer at one time with our current setup, but it’s not enough. So we took over another section of the Cape May Airport’s industrial complex – the 15,000 square-foot building formerly owned by the Tomwar wallpaper company. When we started our renovation a little more than a year ago, the space smelled of sewage gas, having sat vacant for over a decade. “You could have filmed a murder movie here,” Ryan says. But we did some sprucing, and are now in the process of moving 14 tanks into position for a three-vessel brew house capable of producing 15,000 barrels a year. Quite the far cry from our original pilot apparatus, eh? For 2016, we’re looking into a second tap room and an outdoor beer garden in the spirit of Brooklyn’s DeKalb market. We do have a thing for shipping containers…
  2. Bottling: We’re now home to the little bottling line that could — part handmade (thanks to Hank’s engineering skills), and part kickass, industrial mechanism that cost a bloody fortune. That’s right, expect to see our brews coming at you in six-pack form in the very near future.
  3. Homemade Soda: We’ve been inspired by Hotlips. (We know — isn’t everyone?) But we actually mean the Portland pizza company that makes pop from all-natural ingredients. Think pure cane sugar, organic lemon juice, sparkling water, and straight-from-the-ground fruit. We’ve been experimenting with a few flavors (watermelon mint, gingerale and rootbeer) but we’ve got more cool carbonations coming. So far, we’re the only ones in Jersey doing it, and it all feels very full-circle — back when we were more hobby-business than business-business, our first batches of beer were delivered in repurposed soda kegs. Says Ryan: “Unlike with beer, soda production is rarely a transparent process. Our goal is to change that.”
  4. Malt Vinegar: The word ‘artisanal’ is sure having a moment in the sun, isn’t it? We’re exjersey fresh logocited to compound the sustainability fad by introducing homemade malt vinegar. Did you know the condiment is actually just beer, with a bacteria introduced to eat off all the alcohol? Quick — grab some fish and chips!
  5. Jersey Fresh: Now for some very sweet news — the New Jersey Department of Agriculture offers a “Jersey Fresh” label to products made from local agricultural ingredients of the highest quality. After much paperwork and several USDA inspections, our honey porter passed the test, thanks to the 90 pounds of homegrown honey used in every 15 barrels of brew.

Shooting for Six in Six

In January of 2013, brew master Brian Hink entered our tasting room, and his first thought was: “Holy shit, how do you guys have 12 beers on tap?”

In Jersey, a double-digit offering at a craft brewery is considered “insane.”

You’re more likely to see three or so regulars on a tasting room menu, with a seasonal selection rotated in for good measure.

And yet, 12 ain’t nothing compared to now.

making beer
photo credit: Frank Weiss, Courtesy Exit Zero Magazine

Brian has helped expand our selection, so that there are at least 20 beers available at any given time. Excuse us while we brag about our baby — we’ve got the largest on-tap variety of any tasting room in the state, and we’re only looking to grow.

Enter our upcoming production schedule: Six new beers in six weeks (released every Thursday beginning 2/19). Add to this the tasty concoctions put out every hump day for “One Off Wednesdays,” and you’re looking at 12 new beers in half as many weeks.

“Variety is the spice of life,” says our guy Chris. But he’s not referring to the less-than-authentic type of variety some other breweries pass off as choice. In those cases, the same yeast strain might be used to create beers that are merely tweaked to be different from each other via extra hops, blended fruit, or aging. “Whereas, we’re not afraid to buy the right ingredients,” says Chris. “For our recent Biscuits and Honey ESB, for instance, we used four different yeast strains and four different grains to get the style just right.”

CMBC's Master Brewer Brian HInk
CMBC’s Master Brewer Brian Hink

And those upcoming six beers? They’ll be just as distinct, ranging from a light-bodied Citra Pale Ale (2/19) to the cidery Apple Bomb (2/26), to a clean and malty lager called Bringing Sexy Bock (3/5), to a Toasted Coconut IPA (3/12), to the beautifully bitter Take Five Session IPA which Brian’s been dreaming up for a over a year (3/19), to the dry and complex Cape May Saison (3/26).

All of this brewing isn’t merely about pleasing customers, although that’s a nice bonus. What can we say? We’ve got a passion. Hell, Brian spends his Saturdays making beer at home. “And I find myself spending my commute, which is 45 minutes each way, brainstorming new ideas,” he says.

Watch this space for his next lightbulb moment. And be extra careful if you see him on the road. He’s clearly a distracted driver.

Winning!

Cape May Brewing Company is kicking ass and taking names. (Isn’t that what the kids are saying these days?) But seriously – we’ve won, we’ve won!

BOCBA

On January 24, 608 brews from 108 breweries across the nation were tested in Bend, Oregon by industry professionals in a BJCP (or Beer Judge Certification Program)-sanctioned event. Meaning? The judges here were the real deal, having qualified for their positions via exams on this 66-page(!) study guide.

In the category of Imperial IPA, our Coastal Evacuation — a Centennial-hop heavy beer that will have you evacuating your home to hit our tasting room (badum-ching!) — scored a silver medal, besting 27 other entries. “It’s a pretty cutthroat category, so we’re thrilled,” says brew master Brian.

Another winner was our light and refreshing Tower 23, which earned silver in the Berline Weisse group. Little known fact? This is the beer that almost never was. “Brian wanted to do this for so long,” says Chris. “I told him ‘no’ for about six months before I finally said, ‘OK, this is how we’ll do it.’” There’s a lesson there, kids — if at first you don’t succeed… keep trying until you get a kickass beer.

Finally, our most popular pint, Devil’s Reach, took home a bronze in the Belgian Golden Strong Ale class.

“It’s something every brewer wants to do — win awards,” says Brian. But we know that his real motivation is more warm and fuzzy than that. “To make the best product, you have to really care about it. When you’re brewing beer, it’s important that your heart be in it.”

Cheers to your favorite liquid labor of love.

Beer Commercial Has Congress All Hopped Up

Sure, this past Super Bowl may have been one of the most exciting in history, but for many beer lovers, the game took a backseat to the $9 million dollar Budweiser ad that praised macro brews for their rugged drinkability, and poo-poo’d the micro world for appealing to fussy girly-boys (we’re paraphrasing).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siHU_9ec94c

While Bud is standing by its commercial, the backlash was swift and fierce. Some bars are now refusing to carry beverages made by parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, while craft breweries are busy releasing parody ads of their own, complete with puppies. On social media, a Wall Street Journal piece published a few months ago is once again making the rounds, because it suggests the commercial’s genesis may have been insecurity – research shows 44 percent of drinkers between the ages of 21 and 27 have never so much as tasted a Bud. If nothing else, critics say, the ad is hypocritical, considering AB InBev is muscling its way into the craft market by buying up the nation’s most successful small breweries.

But a snarky reaction from the Twittersphere? That’s just par for the course. The medium is also where people go to criticize Uma Thurman’s face and Taco Bell burritos, so nothing is sacred here. A more fair gauge of just how many buttons the commercial has pushed? The reaction of Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum have been irked by the ad, meaning Budweiser has done the impossible – united Republicans and Democrats in mutual annoyance. The company “seems to have forgotten that the craft beer industry has a lot of allies in Congress,” reports Daily Beast writer Matt Laslo. Case in point: the existence of the House’s bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus, which makes experimental brews sound as American as apple pie. God bless the USA!small brewers caucus logo

The Bud commercial lit such a fire under these politicians that, less than 24 hours after its airing, they reintroduced legislation meant to protect the little guys, Laslo reports. The Small BREW (or Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce) Act would “drop the tax rate per barrel from $7 to $3.50 for the first 60,000 barrels a brewery churns out. It would then save small breweries an additional $2 on every barrel until they hit the magical two million number.”

Of course, politicians with vested interests in the macro world are pushing back with the Fair BEER (or Brewers Excise and Economic Relief) Act, which argues that the big guns are deserving of such protections as well.

While the House fights it out, we’ll make a suggestion to Budwesier: stick to Clydesdales.

Regional Paper Shows CMBC Some Love

ac interview in HQ

Last Monday, veteran Press of Atlantic City reporter Rich Degener stopped by for a story on our ongoing expansion. He showed up in his signature unassuming dress —complete with a duct-tape chic jacket — and spent over an hour checking out our new setup. He tasted the product, scrawled copious albeit totally illegible notes, and told us that his daughter Elizabeth (who sells the delicious homemade bread on Sunset Boulevard) loves our tasting room, which is awesome, because we love her bread! You can see Rich’s article here. Just a couple of small corrections: the money spent on gutting and renovating our new space (called HQ for ‘headquarters’, until someone around here comes up with a name more clever) was actually closer to $1,000,000 than half a million, and our fearless leaders attended Villanova University, not Temple. No offense against the Owls – we’re all Philly proud!

ac press-dale gerhard, ryan krill
photo credit: Dale Gerhard, Courtesy Press of Atlantic City

 

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