Summa Down Unda Returns!
Like many of you out there, 2020 was shaping up to be a great year for Cape May Brewing Company. We had all of our ducks in a row: for the first time, we came out with a set-in-stone release schedule, we knew which brands were being retired and which ones were making a comeback, we had a strong schedule of draft-only beers, and it looked like we’d have smooth sailing until 2021.
While the trials and tribulations of an independent brewery due to COVID pale in comparison to the folks on the front lines fighting the disease and the millions of families throughout our country who have been stricken, when the pandemic hit, we had some realigning to do.
With bars and restaurants closed, it didn’t make sense to pursue the draft-only releases we’d had planned. With our own Tasting Room closed, Tasting Room-only releases were out the door. So, we focused on our canned releases.
Then, as things began to reopen a little, we began to return to our Tasting Room-only releases, cautiously re-adding them to the schedule to gauge the response.
And… the response was good.
Considering the fact that we had ingredients in-house for many of our Tasting Room-only and draft variety releases, we began putting them back on the schedule, with some of those draft brands being reimagined as Tasting Room-only releases. We put our crack design team on the case, asking them to whip up some can designs for these unexpected releases, got them approved by the guv’mint, and got things rolling.
Such is the story of Summa Down Unda — a hazy kiwi pale ale inspired by one of our favorite New Zealand hops, with a name more suited for the frigid days of winter than the dog days of summer.
Yet… it releases on Friday, on a day that the temperature is expected to top out in the 80s, only in the Tasting Room!
See, the thing about Summa Down Unda is that it was always conceived as a typical summer beer. We originally released it in January of 2019 as a way for us — and our fans — to think warmer thoughts in an otherwise cold and frigid time of year. While it was winter for us, due to the axial tilt of Mother Earth, it was Summa Down Unda.
As many of you know, in January, north of the equator, we’re just about beginning to be over the winter. While this winter was relatively mild, usually at that time, we’re over the snow and the wind and the cold air that hurts our face and all we really want is to be lying on a beach somewhere with a cold, summery beer in hand.
So, we decided to release Summa Down Unda — if we couldn’t actually be on a beach somewhere, we could, at the very least, recreate one of the sensory experiences with a summertime beer.
And it went over well.
“Summa Down Unda had a great reception in the Tasting Room last year,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello. “We’ve had hopes of canning this beer for some time and finally had an opening in the production schedule to make this dream a reality.”
We’d planned to release Summa Down Unda as a draft-only beer back in March — in fact, we were scheduled to brew it the day after everything began shutting down.
“With all of the ingredients already in-house when we started talking about lining up additional Tasting Room-only releases,” says Production Planning and Special Projects Manager Brian Hink, “we lined up our design team to make a label for this brand, and they absolutely killed it. It’s honestly one of the best labels I think they’ve ever done for us.”
Brian is thrilled to see the return of Summa Down Unda — it’s one of his favorite beers that we brew, with a “brilliant aroma” and a perfectly drinkable ABV of 5.2%.
“It’s super refreshing and crazy drinkable for a hop bomb of a pale ale,” he says. “The delicate touch of acidity from the kiwi really helps the hops pop.”
Chris loves this one, too.
“Summa Down Unda is a wonderful pale ale with a kiss of kiwi,” he says. “While it was originally conceived as a winter brew, it’s super drinkable on a hot summer’s night and goes excellently with shrimp on the barbie.”
So, a decidedly summer beer meant for a winter release makes a reappearance in the summer due to an inconceivable confluence of events that we hope never to see again.
“This was originally a winter brew in the Northern Hemisphere,” Brian says, “but it’s the perfect summer beer, so I’m glad we’re releasing it during the winter down under.”
In a rapidly changing world, there are bright lights to keep us going. Summa Down Unda lives on!
Available through the Tasting Room, Summa Down Unda will be available for online orders on Thursday night and for in-store pickup at noon on Friday, $14.99+tax/4-pack. Don’t miss it!