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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Can’t Stop the Beet

Secretary Fisher and Ryan
Secretary Fisher and Ryan

We had a bit of a party on our hands at the brewery this past Friday. Not in the Tasting Room, though — that’s always a good time — instead, it was over at HQ. The guest list included Ben Menk from Farm and Fisherman restaurant in Cherry Hill, Shirl and John Formisano from Formisano Farms and Produce, Asst. NJ Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray, and NJ Secretary of Agriculture, Douglas Fisher.

The reason? Why, our second Jersey Fresh brew, Beets By May, of course!

The idea for Beets By May originally came from Farm and Fisherman restaurant in Cherry Hill. “They asked us over the winter about making a beet beer to showcase a crop that goes largely unnoticed, but is vitally important to the farmers,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink.

Click to see SNJ Today‘s coverage of the event

We were hoping to add the brew a little earlier to the schedule, but “beets don’t come out until late May,” explains Shirl Formisano of Formisano Produce. “We really can’t make them any faster!” So, we knew we’d have the beer out by May. (Hmm. Sounds familiar….)

But why beets? Beets are a love-’em-or-leave-’em kind of vegetable. “It’s one of the main ingredients on our menu: the beet,” said General Manager Ben Menk of Farm and Fisherman. 

“The sexy fruits and vegetables get all the love,” Brian says, “but as a root vegetable beets play a vital roll. Also, New Jersey is one of the four largest providers of beets in the country, so it just feels right to give ’em some love.”

Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm agrees. “They have a distinctively earthy flavor that is impossible to replicate using malt or hops; they really are quite unique and we love making experimental beers with unique flavors.”

The Daily Journal of Vineland covers Formisano's involvement in the process. Click for story.
The Daily Journal of Vineland covers Formisano’s involvement in the process. Click for story.

The event at the brewery on May 20th was a helluva great time. Secretary Fisher got caught red-handed cutting up some beets. Representatives from Exit Zerovisitsouthjersey.com, At The Shore, SNJ Today, and Shore News Today helped us toast the new brew.

Secretary Fisher was on-hand for our previous Jersey Fresh unveiling with our Honey Porter, “Cape May Brewing Company are great supporters of Jersey Fresh,” said Secretary Fisher. “It’s a true local economy, supporting each other at every level: the farmers at the farm, on to the craft brewery, and then to the restaurants. It’s a circular flow of the economy.”

Everyone on hand got a chance to get a sneak preview of Beets By May. “Sure, most people think they don’t like beets,” Jimmy said.  “But remember when you thought you didn’t like Brussels sprouts until you had them sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and a touch of fresh cracked black pepper and it was amazing?” We totally do, Jimmy.

And amazed we all were. The general consensus was surprise: the finished brew is on the sweeter side, with the earthy hints of beet present, but not overpowering the underlying Pale Ale.

“It’s the best way to get your vegetables!” Jimmy said.

Like most things in this world, don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. Hashtag-YOLO, son.

Photos courtesy of Exit Zero

Beets By May is on tap in the Tasting Room now, and will be at better bars and restaurants throughout the area — including Farm and Fisherman — soon.

Freshest Beets This Side of Bel Air

Beets By May
Now, this is a story all about how
CMBC got flipped-turned upside down.
And we’d like to take a minute, right here today,
To tell you how we came to brew Beets by May.
In Buena, New Jersey, the beets were raised
On Formisano Farms they spent most of their days
Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool
And soakin’ up sun so that these beets would rule.
When a couple of guys who knew about food
Wanted to make a beer with some beets imbued.
One little phone call and Ryan said, “Hey!
“We’re gonna brew a beer! It’s called Beets by May!”
We whistled for a truck and when it came near
The plate said Jersey Fresh and it had beets in the mirror.
We hopped in the truck and then on the Parkway
We thought, “We can do this!”
Yo, homes to Cape May!
We pulled up to the brewery about 7 or 8
And we yelled to the trucker,
“Yo, homes, smell ya later!”
We looked at our creation
We could finally say:
We used beets in a beer!
We made Beets by May!
Ya dig? These fresh beets drop May 26!

It’s Gonna Be May

CMBC_May Releases

If April’s release of Bringing Sexy Bock didn’t give you enough late-90s flashbacks to last you a lifetime, pretty much existing at the beginning of May should do it for you. Justin Timberlake is EVERYWHERE! Unfortunately, he hasn’t been down to the brewery. Yet. We’re pretty sure that at some point, we’ll get him down here. Particularly if we keep naming beers after his songs. Bock Your Body? Dunkel in a Box? Well… probably not. But what we do have are these killer brews for May.

May 5 — Salty Lips
ABV: 4.7%  IBU: 10  Style: Gose
The name says it all! Salty Lips is a Gose — which is closely related to its tart cousin the Berliner Weisse — where using local ingredients from the Cape May Sea Salt Co brings out a slight touch of salinity. This refreshingly tart ale spent 2 days souring in the boil kettle to lower the pH to a pleasant acidity, then had coriander added with the local sea salt and hops before being fermented with a classic American Ale yeast strain. The saltiness strikes your palate before subsiding to a gentle tart bite, finishing with a yeast ester profile of peaches and honeydew, leaving you with a hint of the ocean on your lips.

May 12 — Summer Catch
ABV: 5.5%  IBU: 35  Style: Belgian Wheat
Welcome to summers at the Jersey shore. Soaking up some sun, hot days and cool nights, enjoying the beach, and just loving the heck out of life, make sure you take it all in with some Summer Catch. Citrusy and refreshing, this crushable Belgian-style wheat ale is sure to be your go-to drink all summer long. Citrus on the nose with an easy-drinking yet firm body, Summer Catch is our new summer seasonal aimed at the adventurous craft beer drinkers, yet approachable enough to encourage the yet-to-be converted consumer. At home on the patio during your next cookout, but also ready to be sipped all night long out with your squad, Summer Catch is your new summer ale.

May 19 — The Bog
ABV: 3.9%  SRM: 12  IBU: 9  Style: Cranberry Shandy
Sometimes we’ll create a beer because we’ve always wanted to make a certain style, other times it’s to fill a hole in our lineup, but what happens when we’re making our Cranberry Wheat and accidentally add too much cranberry making it too tart? We embrace it and turn it into a Shandy. What was supposed to be a one off batch has turned into one of our top selling and sought after beers, one that come end of spring we can barely keep in stock. The Bog has become the definitive South Jersey summer beer, a tart cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade to create an uber-drinkable summer shandy. Designed to enjoy on those sweltering days, this beer is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor.

May 26 — Beets by May
ABV: 5.0%  IBU: 40  Style: American Pale Ale with Beets
The Bavarian Purity Law may reign in Germany, but here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., we put whatever we damn well please into our beer!  Couple this with our love of local Jersey ingredients — in this case, red and yellow beets — and you have our latest experiment with certified “Jersey Fresh” ingredients: Beets by May.  This classic American Pale Ale is specifically designed around the semi-sweet, earthy flavor of fresh beets, complemented by notes of pine, fresh grass, and a touch of orange citrus from the Bravo, Target, and Chinook hops.  Topped off with a distinctive color you can see from across the bar, this one simply can’t be missed!

Also back on tap and in bottles… APPLE BOMB! We know, we know… we let you down by not having it on tap the past few times you’ve been here. We’re ashamed and horrified. We’re pretty sure it’s why JT hasn’t visited, either.

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