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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Jersey Craft Beer Needs Your Support!

Pssst. There’s a movement underfoot that would be great for Jersey’s craft beer scene, but it needs support. That’s where you come in.

Remember when Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean came to CMBC last summer? He was spreading the good word about his three-bill package that would allow for the sale of beer at farm markets (including ours!), for the consumption of food at certain Jersey breweries (including ours!), and for ability of brewpubs to self-distribute a small amount of beer (okay, this one doesn’t apply to us to directly, but it’s still a great thing for the craft industry in our state).

Unfortunately, these bills did not get put to a vote before members our our legislative body packed up their pencil boxes at the end of their 2015 session. This means that despite all of the — gasp — bipartisan support these bills had garnered, they were left as dead as an oxidized IPA.

But now, all three are coming back to life — they’ve been given new numbers and they’ve been reassigned to committees for discussion. But we have no interest in sitting back and letting these bills languish in said comittees, which is always — for any would-be law — a bummer of a possibility. Instead, we’re throwing our weight behind the NJ Senate Republicans and Senator Kean, who have put together a website asking the public to lend support. All you have to do is click here, and you can send a message to the Senate President and Assembly Speaker politely nudging them along. 

Then share the link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and your OKCupid dating profile.

Hey, it IS a sexy cause.



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

Beer fountains, drinking presidential candidates and a whole lot more — your craft beer week in review:

  1. Peyton Manning may have made Broncos fans happy during SuperBowl 50, but he left craft beer fans shaking their heads — the winning QB plugged Bud! The Brewers Association called foul and attempted to run interference (heh) by sending Manning 10 flavorful, independently-brewed Colorado beers. That’s what you call a Hail Mary.
  2. One UK company is using data analytics to brew beer. First — via an intense social media scan — they determined which 38 emotions people connect with a new year (hint: a whole lot of love and good cheer). Then they chose ingredients associated with those feelings (apparently, honey = cheerfulness) to concoct their feel-good recipe. The result? A small batch of cream ale called 0101.
  3. In Slovenia, a $400,000 beer fountain is now a thing.
  4. In Michigan, drinking while grocery shopping is now a thing.
  5. A 76-year-old Wisconsin man is blaming his, ahem, 10th DWI conviction on eating too much beer-battered fish. His blood-alcohol level was .062. His score on the ridiculous excuse meter? 10.
  6. newglarus.com

    Speaking of weird beer crimes involving Wisconsin, two men have been charged with felonies for smuggling kegs of New Glarus Spotted Cow across  the Minnesota border for resale. Police report the alleged felons are in custody and in a bad moo-d.

  7. Don Russell — aka Joe Sixpack — has included our Bringing Sexy Bock brew on his list of beers for Philly.com
    Jacquelyn Martin
    Jacquelyn Martin

    that will make your heart go pitter-patter this weekend. “Valentine’s Day is more than hearts and flowers,” he says. “It’s hops and malt, too.” Touche.

  8. According to a very important online poll, Donald Trump is the presidential candidate voters most want to have a beer with, a feeling that often translates to votes, according to Slate. Says writer Seth Stevenson: “Dude seems like he’d be fun after you got a couple shots in him.”
  9. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has been drinking beer (and eating boiled peanuts) with Stephen Colbert.
  10. Monday is President’s Day. In the spirit of the holiday, here is George Washington’s beer recipe.

CMBC Hires Exciting New Talent

Spring is a time for new beginnings… and a new chapter at Cape May Brewing Company. Starting the first week of March, Jimmy Valm –jimmy formerly of Brooklyn Brewery — will take over as CMBC’s Director of Brewing Operations, responsible for overseeing fermentation, maturation and packaging.

“As the craft beer industry evolves and the consumer becomes all the more savvy, we’re not looking only to keep pace,” says our Prez Ryan. “In order to offer the best product possible, we’ve expanded our physical space and our brewing capabilities. Now, we’re bringing in one of the best brewing talents on the east coast, who will take us to that next level.”

Jimmy grew up in Seattle, where he thought about pursuing a law degree and working for Amnesty International. But one year into college, he realized this path wasn’t for him. Instead, he took a job at Trader Joe’s where he was put in charge of the beer section and allowed to connect with some of Seattle’s homebrew luminaries.

“There was a huge scene for this there,” Jimmy says. “The older generation took me under its wing – I brewed my first batch at 19, before I was legally allowed to drink.”

In 2006, at the age of 25, Jimmy left for Scotland. While his girlfriend Margarete Oenning (now his fiancé) pursued a Master’s degree in Anthropology, he earned a bachelor’s degree in brewing and distilling at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. Between classes, he worked at a whiskey shop along the Royal Mile, the city’s main thoroughfare. Then, after graduation, he took on a full-time position with Heineken UK, the conglomerate producing 3.5 million barrels per year. In Manchester, England, he served as Brewing Shift Manager, overseeing everything from ingredient intake to filtration and blending.

“This was a good learning experience in terms of managing processes and people,” he says. “But my heart was always with craft. At the end of a long day, I wasn’t ordering a Foster’s.”

In 2012, Jimmy and Margarete moved to New York where he took over as Production Manager for Brooklyn Brewery, until the position at CMBC opened up.

“I’m really stoked,” he says. “Just because a brewery is craft doesn’t mean their beer is going to be good, or that it’s been well-managed in terms of process. But Cape May has so many things going for it – it’s well-run, people rave about the product, and there’s a great plan in place for growing. It’s an intriguing place. My goal is to help create a reputation for high-quality, consistent beers outside of our current Jersey and Philadelphia distribution network. I want people in New York and elsewhere to search us out and anticipate our new releases. We’re going to be right in the thick of it.”

But that’s not the only reason Jimmy is excited about his upcoming move.

“I’m a surfer, so I’m thrilled for a place with great swell,” he says. “Surfing is a lot like drinking beer — there are many styles and none of them are wrong… no matter what the latest trend says. The style that’s best? The one you like the most.”


Biking For Good

Bikes and beer – two of our favorite things. To prove it, we’re hosting a national launch party to kick off crowd-funding for the socially conscious startup called Bikes ORO on February 29 from 4-8pm. But before we get into that, some background…

Eight years ago, Duke graduate Chelsea Koglmeier was working for a microfinance organization in a Ugandan refugee community. In a country plagued by poverty, food insecurity, and bleak humanitarian conditions, she had an unlikely thought: This place needs more bicycles.

 “For people in developing nations, bikes offer access to opportunity,” Chelsea says. “Case studies show that children are more likely to stay in school if they don’t have to walk for hours to get there. And adults, many of whom are craftsmen, can bring more product to market if only they have the transportation.”

While the idea for a new bike business – one that donates a set of wheels for every set it sells — started percolating, Chelsea returned to her home town of Cincinnati and a career in the tech industry. For the last two years, she’s worked for the web company Roadtrippers, raising venture capital and founding a travel app. But the idea for a socially responsible startup kept, well, rolling through her head.

“One night, I told my friends I was going to quit my job and go for it,” she says. “As we finished off one bottle of wine and I reached for another, someone said, ‘Are you sure we should do that?’ I told them I was going to open the bottle the same way I was going to start the business — with reckless optimism. Bikes ORO, meaning Of Reckless Optimism, was born. The idea is that if we could care about one another with reckless optimism, we’d create a better world.”

After moving to Cape May, a place she calls welcoming to young entrepreneurs, Chelsea secured the boutique Australian design company Flying Machine to help bring her vision for simple, low-maintenance commuter bikes to life. The model, meant as a lifestyle bike and not a racing bike, will be manufactured in China with 4130 chromoly steel, and will utilize a belt drive rather than a chain. Made of rubber with carbon fiber running through it, this feature is resistant to rust and requires no grease. The bike will retail for $899, but can be pre-ordered for $700 at the CMBC launch party where a prototype will be on site. For every bike purchased, ORO will support the donation of a bike to someone in a developing nation via the nonprofit World Bike Relief.

As for the party on the 29th, that’s free to enter.

“This is a great chance to support another local business, one whose mission we believe in,” says CMBC Prez Ryan Krill. “We love to support like-minded entrepreneurs with the balls to take the plunge.”

For more information on Bikes ORO, how you can help, or the other breweries hosting launch parties (we’re in good company – Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist is also participating), check out bikesoro.com.



Update From Your Guild

After Ryan flew to Maryland to pick up our new truck on Monday of last week, he flew to a meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers GuildGarden State Brewers Guild Logo at Departed Soles Brewing Company in Jersey City. The recent snowfall made it difficult for some members to make it, but 25 intrepid soles braved the elements. Here’s what went down:

  1. Executive Director Don Russell gave his report, including news on this year’s beer festivals. Brews by the Bay fans should mark their calendars — the 2016 event will take place on September 10.
  2. Eric Orlando of the Kaufman Zita Group gave the legislative report. Remember those three bills that would allow for greater job creation within the industry? Since they weren’t put to a vote before the new year, they had to be resubmitted. Now, we’re waiting for them to be assigned to committee.
  3. Jeremy “Flounder” Lees of Flounder Brewing Co gave the membership report: 38 limited breweries, 11 restricted breweries, 1 contract brewer, 19 in planning, and 21 allied trade. Boom.
  4. Ryan — Guild Prez — went over the importance of the Guild’s Best Practices document. “I want to make sure all of our members are marching to the same beat,” he says. “If we’re not regulating ourselves, it makes it difficult to negotatie, and difficult to to advocate for legislation.”
  5. Ryan also discussed his plans for the upcoming Guild meeting, being held April 4 at Flying Fish. Neighboring guilds from Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania will be invited to attend a presentation given by Matt Stinchfield, Safety Ambassador for the Brewers Association, about affordable practices that can improve well-being in the brewhouse. “There are a lot of people getting into the craft brewing business who have no manufacturing experience, and now they’re tasked with operating heavy machinery and working with dangerous chemicals,” Ryan says. “We’re fortunate enough to have a safety manager on staff, but not everyone has that. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. The party can end real quick if you’re not careful.”
  6. Three new brewery openings were announced, including Slacktide in Cape May County, Dark City in Asbury Park, and (almost launched) Alementary in Hackettstown.
  7. Everyone was reminded to sign up for the Craft Brewers Conference, coming at you May 3-6 in Philadelphia. We’ll be there.
  8. Meeting adjorned. Everyone enjoyed snacks and tasty beer.


Guild meeting!
Guild meeting!


Cape May Brew Co On The Move

In this week’s installment of Cape May Brew Co swag in cool places, we’ve got Roland Watson of Cape May Court House, who goes back and forth to Naples, Florida in the winter. On January 15, on his most recent trip, he happened to be wearing a CMBC tee while waiting for a tornado to touch down two miles north of Naples. “I was drinking coffee,” Roland says. “But if it had been later in the evening, I probably would have been watching the weather report with a bottle of Devil’s Reach. And it hit me: Tornado Watch would make a great name for a beer.”


Got a pic of yourself wearing CMBC swag in a cool place? Send it to [email protected]

Animal Of The Week: Bruce

We’ve kicked off our charity drive for the Cape May County Animal Shelter, so every week, we’ll be introducing you to one of the wet-nosed cuties you’ll be helping when you donate in our tasting room. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even be compelled to adopt… hint, hint.

Here’s something that will bring on the beer tears. Bruce, a loving pit-bull-beagle mix, was surrendered to the shelter because his owner fell on hard times. He’ll do great in a home with children, other dogs, and CMBC fans. (No, really. He’s got great taste.) Call the shelter at 609-465-8923.


Introducing The First Beer of The Stow Away Reserve Series…

Once upon a time (December 18, 2013) in a land not so faraway (Cape May Airport), we brewed batch number 278. It was 15-barrels worth of SOJO, our South Jersey Secession Session Scottish Ale – malty, medium-bodied and oh-so tasty.

We know what you’re thinking:

Geez, CMBC, you’re up to batch number 572 now! A lot has happened since that December day. This was so long ago, you only had seven employees, compared to the 39 you have now. And you only brewed 1400 barrels a year, as opposed to the 4500 barrels you produced in 2015. Heck, Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” was still on the Top 40 list back then! Why are you dwelling on beers of winter’s past?

Here’s the thing — We didn’t put that batch of SOJO on tap in our tasting room, at least not all of it. And we didn’t ship all of it off to accounts in Jersey or Philadelphia, either. In fact, this was so long ago, we weren’t even distributing in Philly yet.

Instead, we added 20 different yeast and bacteria strains from a local supplier to 50% (about 220 gallons) of the brew before stowing it away in a warm room ideal for microbial growth, and going about our regularly-scheduled program.

While we kept working – hiring new employees, brewing on a relatively new 15-barrel system, and dreaming about the day we’d be able to move into a second production facility – the beer soured. What ended up fermenting was essentially an early version of Turtle Gut, the delightfully tart American sour made with a slightly different microbial mixture that would eventually kick off our sour program.

On May 29 last year — a year and a half after we brewed batch number 278 and the month we realized that dream of a second production facility — we combined our stowed-away SOJO with a fresh batch of this Turtle Gut, by now a fan favorite. The mixture of aged beer and new — and all of the beautiful bacteria strains therein — was poured into nine French oak, freshly-dumped wine barrels and left to age again.

“I’m happy we had the foresight to sit on it,” says Chris. “We could have bottled it and had a simple release, but we sat on it and blended it and sat on it again. Now, not only do we have a releasable amount instead of a limited one-off, we have a more complex beer that tastes even better than a year ago. This is hard to do. It’s risky because you don’t know what you’re going to get. There could be oxidation or contamination. But we decided to wait it out for the full two years. It takes guts.”

No pun intended.

You know that saying, good things come to those who wait? This week, we tasted from those nine barrels, thrilled to see not only that our patience paid off, but that each barrel produced a slightly different flavor profile.

“Some were more funky, some were more tart, and some picked up on the residual red wine flavor of the wood,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink. “We blended all 530 gallons together in our blending tank, which is where the brew is now.”

Some time in the near future, a six-man team will package this yet-to-be-named beer into 2,500, 750ml champagne bottles, which can handle the pressure of refermentation. (The beer is bottled flat and a refermentation takes place in the bottle to produce the carbonation.) Then we’ll cap them off and introduce them to the world as the first in our brand-spanking new reserve series: Stow Away.

In the meantime, get excited.

“This is serious beer geekery,” Brian says.

Meet The New Member Of The Fleet!

Dyanamic duo Ryan K and Ryan H, in flight...
Dyanamic duo Ryan K and Ryan H, in flight…

Last week, fearless leader Ryan Krill flew CMBC driver Ryan Haungs to Hyattsville, Maryland, just outside of DC. Here, the guys picked up a custom-made International 4300 Reefer from K Neal International. No, for those of you with gutter minds, the 2010 truck wasn’t previously owned by a drug kingpin (at least, not that we know of…). ‘Reefer’ refers to the vehicle’s self-contained refrigeration system that operates off of the truck’s diesel fuel, but independently of her engine. What this means for our clients? Our product will always arrive totally chilled. (And for a reminder of why this is so important, see this post.)

Immediately after arriving, Ryan jumped into the truck and pulled the air horn – hey, you’re never too old. Then the guys admired the new purchase – all 18 feet and 16,000 pounds of it. Bear in mind, this is the curb weight. We’ll be able to load her up with sweet beer (and a sweet CMBC driver) until she weighs closer to 26,000 pounds.

In her past life, the truck was leased by K Neal International to a beverage distributor, which means she’s “never been used for anything but to haul precious beer,” says K Neal International Sales

In air...
In air…
Manager Bill Warren. “She was also used in our Touch-A-Truck events, for which local kids could come check out our vehicles and even jump inside the refrigerated area in the back. You should do the same thing!”

But we don’t think we’ll need to bring in little kids at all. When Ellie (that’s short for “big white elephant,” according to Bill) made her way back to CMBC, our staff of grown-up kids all took turns pulling the air horn…

We caught up with Ryan H, who drove Ellie home, about his first ride in the new truck. Here’s what he had to say…

How long did it take you to fly to Maryland? It was a smooth trip with barely any wind… probably about an hour.

How long did it take you to drive back? About four hours.

'Twas a rainy ride...
‘Twas a rainy ride…

Was it nerve-wracking? A little, yes. It was pouring rain, and I had planned on taking 295. But as I was leaving, I was told I can’t drive on that road… the truck is too big. My GPS wanted to take me on a regular car route, so I downloaded a truck route on my phone. But then my phone died and I had to pull over at a truck stop to charge it.

Did you get anything good to eat at the truck stop? A cheesesteak.

Are you excited about how much easier this is going to make the job of delivering cold beer? Yes, especially in the summer.

What’s the gas mileage? I burned through half a tank by the time I got to the WaWa on route 47. It cost $90 to fill up.

What’s your blind spot like? There are so many mirrors, there really aren’t any blind spots.

What tastes best after a long, stressful ride? A cold glass of Cape May IPA on nitro.

What do you normally drive? A Chevy Malibu.

What’s the biggest difference? In this truck, you’re definitely king of the road. Every car gets out of your way.

The Full Monty
The Full Monty

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

We’re bringing it back. Ladies and gents, your craft beer week in review:

  1. America now has its first official craft beer attorney. Candace Moon is her name; settling trademark disputes is her game.groundhog
  2. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow last Tuesday. Some enthusiastic Philadelphians celebrated with a traditional “beer breakfast,” as one does.
  3. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has renamed this month FeBREWary, to promote the state’s booming craft beer industry. The goal? To rebrand the Eastern Shore a craft-beer destination and “not just a beach getaway.”
  4. Big beer makers are (finally) changing the way they portray women in their ads. Because “objectified” is so 1952.
  5. Craft beer is getting its first SuperBowl ad. But it’s not really craft. And it’s only costing a measly $5 million. Speaking of the Super Bowl, Helen Mirren is going to be super angry if you drive drunk. And speaking of the The 79th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsSuper Bowl again, Men’s Health is more interested in this crafty competition than the big game…
  6. Colorado’s craft industry is throwing big beer some serious side-eye.
  7. Here is one way to make raising awareness for men’s health issues fun: Pints for Prostates, a European barprostate tour coming at you this September.
  8. The phrase “craft beer” may not be long for this world
  9. Yet another college has joined the ranks of those offering craft-beer related courses. This time, it’s Michigan’s Grand Rapids Community College, with the option for a new “Craft Brewing, Packaging, and Service Operations Certificate.” Just make sure the dog doesn’t drink your homework…
  10. Mardi Gras is this Tuesday. Get your growlers and drink up!

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