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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
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Sour Up

Corrosion — the American Wild Ale that launched our sour program — is back on tap this week. It’s got some bitterness (thanks to Citra and Centennial hops), an orange and grapefruit nose, a creamy mouthfeel, and a level of carbonation that tingles the tongue. Not to mention the session-like drinkability that led Untapped user ‘Ant C’ to dub the 5% brew a “pretty sexual sour.”

Sure, sour beers — made with hard-to-control bacterial strains — freak some people out at first. Serious Eats writer David Flaherty said last sour
year that, after his initial sip, he  “half expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out, tackle me like a rag doll, and shout, ‘You’ve been Punk’d, punk!'” The signature tartness can catch the uninitiated off guard.

But it’s also this unexpected, zingy flavor that can keep a craft drinker coming back for more. Even Flaherty says he caught the sour bug. (See what we did there?)

Consider this: An article this month from Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, attempts to answer the question: What’s the next IPA? As in, What’s the next style that will take the beer world by storm? While it’s unlikely any style will have such an impact ever again, Watson argues, a category with potential to drive volume growth in a similar fashion is, you guessed it, sours.

“The market is clearly growing as… American beer lovers become more adventurous,” Watson says.

Good on you for trying something new (and tasty) in the tasting room, open every day from noon to 8pm.

 

Why I Ride: Brandy Dianno

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.)

Brandy (on the left) with her sister Nicle Dianno before last year's ride.
Brandy (on the left) with her sister Nicle Dianno before last year’s ride.

Name: Brandy Dianno

Age: 23

Hometown:  Northeast Philadelphia

Occupation: Full-time student

Number of years on the Cape May Brew Co team: This will be my 2nd.

Why I ride: I was turned on to the MS Bike Race through my sister and her boyfriend who are also on the team. I enjoy participating in athletic events, especially if it supports a good cause, so I gave it a try last year and loved it. My sister and I did the race side by side and it was awesome! I also loved the atmosphere and the enormous support surrounding those with MS and the cyclists. Last year I rode to see if I could do it. This year, I ride to support those who can’t. I ride as a member of a great team. I ride to not only challenge myself, but to challenge others to care more about contributing to a cause wholeheartedly, even if that disease does not directly affect them.

Why I ride on the CMBC team: I was invited to join this team through my sister’s boyfriend, Kyle, who has been a member for years. The CMBC team was amazing… they were all extremely welcoming, supportive and dedicated to the ride and to the cause. Although my sister and I were new last year, they made us feel like we’d been a part of the team forever. CMBC is very devoted to raising as much as they can to support the MS Society. We get emails from team leaders to help motivate us to keep raising money and to stay in shape for the race! CMBC really cares about what they are doing here and I couldn’t ask to be on a better team.

What my go-to CMBC brew after a long training ride is: Mop water, but I’m excited to try #YOPO!

What my training looks like: I train for Spartan Races as well as the MS City to Shore so I do a bit of cross training. I try to get in as many bike rides as I can, especially because I got a new bike I need to get used to it (I rode a mountain bike last year, ouch). But mostly I lift three times a week and try to fill the rest of the week in with cardio/ bike rides. My sister and I also try to organize a bike ride every Sunday morning but we have not had success due to our busy, opposite schedules. Ugh.

Fundraising Goal: I would like to say it would be more then $300 to help support the cause but being a poor college student with fellow poor college students as a majority of my friends it makes it difficult to even reach $300. In years to come I hope to try and raise $1000 each year.

What I’ll feel like at the finish: Well…last year I made the mistake of riding my dad’s 20 year old mountain bike because I didn’t have one of my own. I could barely move after the race. This year I hope to feel exhausted yet feel my legs after the race. However, mentally I hope to feel the same as last year which was grateful that I could do it and grateful to be supporting those with MS, and ready to sign right back up for next year!

What I need people to know: You don’t need to have a direct connection to somebody with MS to contribute and ride for the cause. Every little bit helps and it is definitely worth your time and effort. Also, NEVER DO THIS RACE ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE.

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.

Top 40 In The House

Holla! Our president and co-founder, Ryan Krill, has been named a winner in the 2015 NJBIZ Forty Under 40 awards program.

Produced by New Jersey’s premier business news publication, the program honors men and women under the age of 40 who have been making headlines in their field and who “share a commitment to business growth, professional excellence and the community.”

An independent panel of judges scored each nominee on a specific set of criteria, including accomplishments in the field, leadership, vision, and community service.

See the the cool company Ryan is keeping here.

All The Universe Is Conspiring To Get You To Brews By The Bay…

Everywhere you go, people are talking about Brews by the Bay. It’s like the universe is trying to tell you something. I mean, there you are, just minding your own business, when wham! You stumble upon videos like this:

 

And then you log onto your social media pages, and you’re bombarded with messages like this:

 

So you try losing yourself in the latest issue of Exit Zero magazine, but as soon as you open the thing, this is what you see…

Beer

 

Annoyed, you turn to something innocuous — the weather report. But doggone it! The weather for Saturday, you realize, is just about perfect for a beer festival: dry, sunny, not too hot, and super comfy humidity-wise:

weather

 

You realize you have no choice left but to buy your tickets here. It’s never smart to mess with the universe, after all…

 

 

Delaware? Better Get There!

We’ve been so excited about this year’s Brews by the Bay — happening this Saturday — and so thrilled to be telling you all about all of the cool things happening on the Cape May side of this year’s event (Lawn games! Live music from Southern Cut! Food from Lucky Bones and Rio Station! A tent double the size of last year’s in order to provide more cool shade!), we want to make sure you know that the shizz going down on the Delaware side is just as fly.  A festival insider filled us in on the top 10 reasons you should get thee to the First State this Saturday (after you’ve had your Jersey session, of course)…

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  1. You get to ride the boat. The Cape May-Lewes Ferry this time of year practically guarantees a cool breeze, a dolphin show, and some #epicselfie opportunities. (What? You know you’re into that.)
  2. You get to meet Sam Calagione. Think of him as the Steve Jobs of the craft beer world — a trailblazer. When he opened DogFish Head Brewery — now the 38th largest commercial brewery in the US — in 1995, it was the smallest of its kind in America. He led the way for nonconformist beer makers for years to come, and he’ll be pouring from 4-5pm.
  3. You get to sample the 2005 premier of DFH’s Punkin Ale. Which is something the general public won’t get to do until September 1. Boom.
  4. You get to hang with Ryan Krill. That’s right, our president and the leader of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild is boarding this bandwagon.
  5. You get to taste Lower Slower Delaware IPA. It’s a collaborative Session IPA brewed by some of Delaware’s best beer makers. Teamwork never tasted so good.
  6. You get to taste beer made with cow brains. No, we’re not joking. You can thank Frozen Toes Brewery for this opportunity to live a little.
  7. You get to hear live music. Think Stone Jack Ballers (the folk/rock/southern soul/blues/pop guys you love to love), and headliners Chapel Street Junction (a bluegrass-y, ragtime-y, traditional Country/Irish-y five-piece band).
  8. You get to eat good food. Including Indonesian eats from the Jakarta food truck, and gourmet sandwiches from the Wildwich food truck. Bon appetit!
  9.  You get to support the only all female-owned brewery in the state. They’re called 3rd Wave — look for them.
  10. You get to support the newest brewery in the state. They’re called Blue Earl, and they launched in May. Look for them, too.

Convinced yet? We’ll see you on the bay!

 

Getting High: Flying With Our Resident Pilot

Piper Dakota. It sounds like the name of a stripper, yes. But it’s also the name of the single-piston aircraft that our president Ryan rents asIMG_5321 much as he can, not just because he’s a licensed pilot with a passion for flying, but because it gets him to his beer-related meetings far quicker than driving.

This was the case just last week when Ryan and sales rep Justin commuted at 3,500 feet to a conference with CMBC’s Philly distributor, Origlio Beverage, in northeast Philadelphia. The trip took 30 minutes as opposed to 2.5, and we’re pretty sure Justin spent that time suppressing schoolgirl giggles.

“I’d only been in commercial planes before,” he said. “It was cool to see it all in action. And it was surprising to see Ryan, who can’t sit still for five minutes in the office, so focused and paying such great attention to all of the gauges. I was also not prepared for the amount of wind coming off of the propeller, blowing my mustache all over the place.”

Our fearless flyers started out by checking ForeFlight, an app that alerts pilots to potential weather hazards and TFRs, also known as temporary flight restrictions or a good way to discover where presidents, popes, and other important figureheads happen to be chilling at any given time. Foreflight also helps a pilot keep oriented with land and water boundaries, and makes sure he’s up to date with NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

ryBy 7:30am, wheels were off of the ground and, aside from having to circle back when our pilot realized he’d forgotten his sunglasses, our guys were on their way. En route, Ryan checked in with his requisite agencies, including Whiskey Whiskey Delta (pilot speak for Cape May Airport), and KACY (Atlantic City International Airport), but still found time to admire the world from above.

“It looks like a big enough wave could splash over Jersey’s whole peninsula at any time,” he says.

Think of flying as a special kind of rush comparable to, well, brewing beer.

“Both are a confluence of beauty, art and science,” Ryan says. “And you can’t do either if you get complacent. Your head has to be in the game.”

Until next time, CMBC fans, stay fly.

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fly

Fill In The Blank With: Ashley Sundstrom, Operations Manager

Ashley Sundstrom​ grew up on the Cape before leaving for seven years to pursue a singing career, but Los Angeles wasn’t her proverbial bag.

“I recorded a few demo CDs in Burbank and Sherman Oaks, worked with some really cool bands, and booked a lot of shows,” she says. “But it’s so cutthroat, and the people out there can kind of suck the life out of you. I wanted it to be fun and exciting.”

LA’s loss is Cape May Brew Co’s gain. Ashley moved back to New Jersey where she serves as CMBC’s operations manager by day and sings for crowds at local bars by night.

“I’m really happy,” she says. “I’m passionate about what I’m doing, and excited for the opportunity to learn more every day.”

Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about the woman behind the CMBC scenes:

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The best part of my job is: working with the tasting room staff and the staff in the warehouse. They brighten my day — every day — with their enthusiasm for beer and their passion for the customers and our brewery in general. They continually inspire me with their positive attitudes.

My favorite CMBC beers is: Citra Pale Ale and Cape May IPA.

If I could pick a superpower, it would be:  to stop time so I would never run late, and could sleep as late as I wanted to every day.

The thing I’m most afraid of is: being buried alive. I know it’s weird, but it keeps me from going into enclosed spaces.

My favorite band/musician is: Jason Aldean, Gavin Degraw.

The most famous person I ever met was: Sylvester Stallone, Reese Witherspoon, and Elizabeth Banks (totally evil person, by the way. She threw her credit card at me multiple times.)

My karaoke song is: “I am Nothing” by Whitney Houston and “Alone” by Heart.

The last time I laughed until I cried was: probably while hanging out with my mom and sister last weekend before starting the craziness of moving into a new house. The time we spend together is precious, and we’ve got a lot of inside jokes.

The most surprising thing about me is: I’m a huge history buff/nerd. I went to college for a BA in it, and spent three years studying ancient Chinese history.

My biggest pet peeve is: when people don’t pay attention to things right in front of them.

My favorite non-CMBC beer is: Nugget Nectar from Troegs & Bengali Tiger from Six Point.

The greatest adventure I ever had was: probably the first time that [my boyfriend] Jake Smith [assistant brewer at CMBC] got to meet my parents. We decided to take a trip to Disney with them, and on our way there our flight got canceled three different times and we were stranded in Denver for an evening at Christmastime with no bags, no nothing. The next morning, our flight got canceled again. It took a day and half longer than we’d anticipated, but it turned into a fun adventure.

My top bucket list item is: backpacking through Europe, and drinking Champagne in Champagne, France.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be: a rockstar.

My favorite movie of all time is: Titanic. I saw it 13 times in the theater. I know, that’s obsessive.

My hero is: my mom. She’s so strong and so caring. She’s a teacher, and it’s inspiring to see how many people rely on her and contact her even after graduation.

The actor I’d want to play me in the story of my life would be: probably Rachel McAdams.

The worst job I ever had was: being a chambermaid at a bed and breakfast in Cape May. The owners were super nice, but the job could be gross.

The best advice I ever received was: from a former teacher at Lower Cape May Regional High School, Mr Mathis, who passed away of cancer two years ago. He encouraged me to live life to the fullest every day. He was an amazing person, he encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and I can’t thank him enough.

The job I’d leave CMBC for is: if I got picked up for a world tour.

The most memorable pickup line I ever heard was: “Can I get some fries with that shake?” I guess I tend to sway a little bit when I walk.

Rub-A-Dub-Dub: Beer Soap, Anyone?

Some things belong together. Peanut butter and jelly. Batman and Robin. Soap and beer?

That’s been the case since Canyon Allen, who operates A Place on Earth soap company with his mother Rose, took over a unit last year in the same complex at Cape May Airport as CMBC.

“We’ve got suds on one end and suds on the other,” Canyon says.

Sometimes, these suds overlap. A couple of Cape May beers are key ingredients in three of Canyon’s artisanal products. His oatmeal stout bar is made with our Cape May Stout, and both his honey ale and honey amber ale bars – which have been topped off with real honeycomb — are made with our Jersey Fresh-designated Honey Porter. It takes approximately two pounds of beer to make five pounds of soap.

“These were great sellers even before we moved next to the brewery,” says Canyon, whose flagship retail location still exists on the Washington Street Mall. “As soon as people see what they’re made with, they swipe the bars right up.”

In the soap-making process, which takes about five days, the beer replaces the ingredient of lye, which is then mixed with all-natural oils (think olive and coconut) at just the right temperature to kickstart the chemical reaction that creates soap. Grains and other ingredients are added for texture – yes, there’s oatmeal in the oatmeal stout, and local honey in the honey bars. And a professional perfumer adds essential oils that enhance the respective aromas.

“The smell isn’t beer only,” Canyon says. “You don’t have to worry about being pulled over after you take a shower.”

The partnership has been so successful, there might just be a beer-infused bubble bath coming at you in the near future. Rubber duckies be warned.

“It’s great to work together,” Canyon says. “We try our best to work with local suppliers, and to collaborate with our neighbors. The guys at the brewery are the best, and we get along really well.”

Stop over after your next brewery tour. A Place on Earth is open at the airport from 10am to 5pm every day but Sunday. Or check out their mall location, open 10am-10pm every day. 

soap

Senator Tom Kean Visits CMBC

Unless you’re a fairly new human, you’ve seen many things that seem, by today’s standards, bizarre. We’re talking about smoking sections in restaurants, polyester leisure suits, film cameras, and – gasp — a world where tasting rooms weren’t allowed at Jersey breweries. It’s hard to believe that the bill sponsored by Senator Tom Kean which changed that archaic-sounding world for the better – and allowed CMBC to expand from one employee to 37 — was only just passed in 2012.

Now, three years later, the politician is once again campaigning for brewery-related legislation that, he says, is just as sound and just as overdue. This week, he visited CMBC to promote his agenda.

But before we get into that, some background: the three-bill package includes S-2910, which would make the sale of craft beer legal at Jersey

Ryan Krill and Senator Tom Kean
Ryan Krill and Senator Tom Kean

farm markets, and S-2911, which would allow patrons to enjoy food on a brewery’s premises. The latter piece, many argue, is important for safety reasons – it’s harder for alcohol to get the better of a person who’s able to eat. The final item is S-2912, which would allow brewpubs to self-distribute a small amount of beer. As the law stands now, brewpubs must go through a wholesaler, and this can be cost prohibitive for an operation whose beer sales only comprise a portion of total revenue.

“We’re trying to complete and expand what we started in 2012,” Kean told a group of reporters outside of our HQ last Tuesday. The mission is to support the state’s entrepreneurs while helping turn the Jersey shore brand into a year-round experience, he explained, before adding: “And I realize I’m the only thing standing between you and Cape May’s tasting room, so I’ll try to be quick.”

Kean then took a tour led by CMBC President Ryan Krill of our two production facilities, getting an insider’s view of even the CMBC cooler, while stakeholders followed closely behind. One such stakeholder was Thomas Beaver, research associate with the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

“The overall focus among consumers is on local food,” he told us. “People want Jersey Fresh — and there seems to be particular attention paid to that at Cape May Brewing Company – and this legislation would support that.”

At the end, Senator Kean headed for a sample of our Take Five Session IPA at the tasting room, where he told the crowd “in my experience, there’s nothing more bipartisan than beer. It’s fascinating to see the creativity of those who make it, the risk takers, unleashed.”

As for why he decided to promote his legislation at CMBC?

“Cape May has surged to the third largest brewery in the state,” Kean said. “They’re growing by leaps and bounds. They’re a great model. And they’re great innovators within the industry.”

Hopefully, if the bills pass, a time without food at breweries or beer at farmers markets will soon seem as foreign as those polyester leisure suits.

Pretty In Pink: Watermelon Wheat Beer Coming Soon

Nothing says summer like a watermelon beer.

Okay, that’s not true. Nothing says summer like a good watermelon beer. There are so many out there that don’t taste like the real, sun-waterripened, fresh-off-the-vine thing, but rather, like the processed, watermelon-flavored hard candies/water ices/jelly beans that can only imitate the real thing.

So, for the making of our own watermelon wheat beer, we brought in over 100 real melons and spent four hours slicing and dicing them into two, two-barrel stainless steel tanks. Then we liquefied it, and added the fruit to a 60% pilsner/40% wheat malt concotion with a neutral house yeast strain.

We know what you’re thinking: that base doesn’t sound very interesting. But that’s precisely the point. The more simple the beer, the more the watermelon flavor can shine. Since our star ingredient is such a delicate thing, we don’t want to overpower it. This is one of those cases where less is indeed more.

While the final product does have that great biscuity taste (and great head retention) lent by the wheat, the main flavor really is the watermelon, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

The beer will premiere at Brews by the Bay on August 29. Just one more reason to purchase those tickets… summer ain’t over yet.

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