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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
"The Mezcal variant is my personal favorite of the two and I look forward to sipping on this one on cold December nights next to a fire."

Deck Your Home With Boughs of Barley

It’s that time of year again, folks! We’re back with more Boughs of Barley variants.

This year, we grabbed some Wheat Whiskey and Mezcal barrels to create two versions that pair well with sharing with loved ones, sitting by the fire, and tasting nights.

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"I love them both."

Surprise! Boughs of Barley 2019

So. We’ve got good news, and we’ve got bad news. 

We’ll start with the bad news: the Brewtique is completely sold out of Boughs of Barley 2020. Both variants! It seems like everyone loved our Grand Marnier- and Portuguese sherry-barrel-aged Belgian quad. It flew off the shelves this year!

But the good news is… we’re bringing out a few bottles of Boughs of Barley 2019 that we’ve had cellared in our Brewers’ Reserve! So, if you missed out on Boughs of Barley 2020 and are missing Boughs of Barley 2019, we’ve got you covered.

We sat down with Production Planning and Special Projects Manager Brian Hink and Lab Technician Matt Allen to see how the beer has aged.

“I love them both,” Brian says.

Check out the video below!

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They’ll be gone before the first notes of “Auld Lang Syne”, so stop by the Brewtique to get yours today!

Top Ten Reasons to Make Boughs of Barley Part of Your Holiday Celebration

Over the past few years, our Boughs of Barley has become a holiday tradition, and this year is no exception. 

We took our exceptional Belgian-style quadrupel ale and laid half of it to rest in used Grand Marnier barrels and racked the other half in Portuguese sherry puncheons. The time spent in the Grand Marnier barrels yielded a well-rounded body with strong notes of orange peel and toasted marshmallows, and the Portuguese sherry variant created a beautiful brew with a well-rounded body with strong notes of chocolate and cherries. With a carefully layered grain bill and our favorite fruity Belgian yeast, we’ve created a robust brew for your holiday season. 

And we’ve got the top ten reasons to deck your halls with Boughs of Barley this holiday season.

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“It’s definitely a beer that’s meant to be shared with close friends and family.”

Boughs of Barley 2019 with the Brew Crew

Can you feel it? Can you feel that the holidays are getting close? There’s an electricity in the air: everyone has a smile on their face and a warmth of heart that can only mean that we’re entering the holiday season.

It’s the time to get together with friends and family both near and far, no matter how time and circumstance have flung you apart. There’s nothing better for the holidays than gathering with the people you love around a warm fire, rehashing old memories and making plans for the future.

And there’s only one beer — or two! — you’ll want for just such an occasion: Boughs of Barley 2019.

In the spirit of togetherness, we sat down with a few of the guys in production, popped open a few bottles of Boughs of Barley 2019 — both the port and bourbon variants –, and recorded their reactions for posterity.

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“The Bourbon variant plays out much like you would expect... but the port plays out completely differently."

Boughs of Barley 2019

The season is drawing nigh. Temperatures are dropping, the world is decorated in greens and reds, and we’ve even seen a few snowflakes.

The holidays will be here before you know it. 

It’s almost time to break out the ice skates and to perfect your often-imitated-but-never-duplicated snowman-building technique. Polish up the skis and dust off the sled. Ice up your arm because the kid next door has been getting really good over the past few winters with his snowball aim.

And you’re going to want to keep warm while doing those things. That’s where this year’s variants of Boughs of Barley come in.

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The character of the barrels really shows through in each version.

Boughs of Barley Returns!

The best things come to those who wait.

You’ve heard that a million times — from your mom, from your teachers, from that Heinz ketchup commercial in the 80s starring Joey from Friends — but it’s the truth.

It’s the building of anticipation. It’s the hope that greater things lie in store. It’s the knowledge that, in time, there can be a greater version of yourself.

The guys in the brewery know a thing or two about waiting, particularly when it comes to barrel aging. This is one thing you simply can’t rush. If you’re looking for perfection, you have to sit back and wait.

For months.

But, for this year, at least, the wait is over. Boughs of Barley 2018 releases on Black Friday!

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...we wanted to make Boughs of Barley even more of a gift-giving opportunity for our loyal fans...

Everything You Need to Know about Boughs of Barley

Our Holiday release, Boughs of Barley 2017, is already on tap in the Tasting Room and residing happily in the Hans Gruber, waiting to fill your commemorative 32-ounce Holiday growler. Trying to figure out how you can get your hands on it? Want to know what to do with it when you do? Those questions and more are answered below!

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Your Thanksgiving Meal

Gotta love Thanksgiving. Ostensibly, it’s a day to give thanks for the bounty with which we’ve been blessed, but, let’s face it, it’s a day for food. We don’t call it “Turkey Day” because we’re thankful for turkeys.

(No one is thankful for turkeys. They’re incredibly stupid birds.)

That’s why we had our Head Chef JP Thomas come up with a few recipes to make your Thanksgiving dinner a little more beery. Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Pie? Check! Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing with Cranberry Wheat with Orange? Check! Harvest Herb Turkey with Harvest Ale? Check! Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Boughs of Barley? Check!

Check out these recipes below for some inspiration for your holiday meal. If you end up giving any of these recipes a try, let us know what you thought in the comments!

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“Using two types of barrels really showcases the barrel-aging process in its own right,” Jimmy says.

Boughs of Barley is Back!

We all know someone who’s waaaaaay too prepared for Christmas. They start their shopping in May, invites to their Holiday Potluck go out in August, decorations for the house are down from the attic sometime in September, and Josh Groban’s Christmas CD is playing in their car the minute the temperature drops below 75. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, they’re checking out Black Friday sales for stocking stuffers.

We certainly admire their verve and moxie, but their planning seems last-minute compared to the guys in the brewhouse.

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Deck the Halls with Boughs of Barley!


Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that only means one thing: the world will act as if this holiday doesn’t even exist and start planning for Christmas.

Us too!

It’s not like it’s unwarranted. The holidays are a huge undertaking, particularly if you have to play Santa for a brood of children. It’s Stressgiving.

Luckily, we’ve got a way to alleviate some of your stress. We’re not going to do your shopping for you, but what we produce here has the tendency to make any stressful situation that much more beerable. (Hooray for puns!)

This holiday, you’ll want to deck the halls with Boughs of Barley!

“What’s that?” asks the random person we just made up in our heads, who’s drooling slightly at the prospect of an as-yet-untried CMBC brew.

Barleywine. Bourbon barrels. Bottle conditioned. Boughs of Barley.

We’re pretty sure we’ve brewed this entirely for the alliteration.

“We brewed up a pretty awesome barleywine,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink, “and what do you do with something awesome? Make it awesomer, of course.”

So we did. We made that bad boy barleywine even badder.

“We decided to go big or go home,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “So we got our hands on some high-quality barrels from the Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky to make something that would be really special for the holidays.”

If you’ve been to the brewery lately — or if you’ve been keeping up on what’s going on down here by faithfully reading Straight to the Pint — you may have noticed that we’ve been doing quite a bit of barrel-aging lately. But the nautically-themed Barrel Aged Series has been aged in red wine barrels.

“As our Barrel Aged Series takes off, we wanted to inject some more variety as to the kinds of barrels we use,” Jimmy says. “Using bourbon barrels is not all that new in the craft beer world, but most of those are Imperial stouts and not too many barleywines. And Bourbon barrel-aged beers have been few and far between in South Jersey.”

And it’s not just the rarity of this brew that makes it outstanding: barleywines age rather nicely in oak casks because the high alcohol content extracts more of the flavors from the barrels.

(By the way: 11%. This is how you’re going to get through the holidays.)

“The oak and vanilla flavors we pick up from the wood really complement the strong malt flavors that have a dash of toffee as well as the extra sweetness from the higher alcohols in the barleywine,” Jimmy says.

Boughs of Barley will pair rather well with some of the more traditional holiday dishes like turkey and gravy or a roast, and it will complement some desserts nicely, as well. Your chocolate cake or crème brûlée will never quite be the same.

Jimmy has already planned his Christmas dinner with Boughs of Barley in mind: “I’ll be cooking a nice pork roast with a selection of herbs and fresh garlic.”

Brian will be sharing a bottle at his buddy’s wedding over the holidays. “He’s a huge whiskey and bourbon guy, so I’m definitely looking forward to sharing a bottle with him and his bride to be.”

Like the beers in our Barrel Aged series, Boughs of Barley is bottle conditioned.

“It will age nicely over the course of the year,” Jimmy says, “and next winter the flavors will have further developed and it’ll have an extra smooth, almost velvet-like body. I simply can’t wait for that!”

And we can’t wait for you to try Boughs of Barley. Brian likes brewing these beers because, boy, he enjoys imbibing them, but he also looks forward to beholding how you guys like them.

“Boughs of Barley is very different in flavor and style and execution,” he says. “I think we hit it out of the park with this one, but like always I’m really excited to see what everyone else thinks about it.”

Bottles of Boughs of Barley can be bought from the Brewtique for 18 bucks beginning Black Friday! Our doorBuster sales begin at 9am. Be there!

This blog has been brought to you by the letter “B”.

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