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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
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Reviews Of The Week

We’ve been named one of THE TOP 50 BREWERIES IN AMERICA by Yahoo Travel, who’ve highlighted one brewery from each state based on scores from brewery rating app Untappd. (We have an overall score of 3.62 out of 5, which puts us on top!) Reads the write-up:

“Cape May is touristy in a fun way, and Cape May Brewing Company is fun in a tasty way.”

In other media news, thanks to Cyd Katz of New Jersey Isn’t Boring for this fun write-up about CMBC.

Here’s an excerpt:

“As someone who is partial to Belgian style ales and Sour beer, I was very happy to see it on their draft menu. Usually you will see the standard style beers at a craft brewery – IPA, Stout, Wheat etc, but Cape May Brewing Co really has something for every beer fan.”

Aw, shucks.

Courtesy Cyd Katz
Courtesy Cyd Katz

Lights, Camera, Action!

Our president Ryan Krill is set to appear on “What’s on Tap,” a simulcast program featuring national and local beer industry peeps that’s hosted by Gary Monterosso —  author of the acclaimed book Artisan Beers, featured History Channel and BBC radio guest, and one of the nation’s top 100 beverage personalities, according to Chilled magazine.

Have your day planner ready? The segment will air:

*On the radio! (WSNJ 1240; May 30, 1pm)

*Online! (snjtoday.com via iTunes and Android, with all shows archived at snjtoday.com/whats-on-tap; May 30, 1pm)

*On TV! (Comcast channel 20 in Cumberland County; May 30, 1pm/May 31, 8pm/June 2, 8pm)

“We were honored to have Ryan appear on our show,” Monterosso told us. “We sampled some of the fine offerings originating from a brewery I consider to be a remarkable success story. Although much of our time was spent in discussing the growth of the brewery, we also posed questions relating to Ryan’s role as president of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild. We fully expect to do a future episode of ‘What’s On Tap’ from the brewery, probably this summer.”

The set! "I wore all green," Ryan says.
The set! “I wore all green,” Ryan says.

 

What You Need To Know About Sophisticated Lady: Official Beer Of Jazz Fest

We’ve been talking a lot about the Exit Zero International Jazz Festival, happening this weekend. Over 100 world-class musicians will play venues throughout Cape May (see exit0jazzfest.com for the lineup), and we are exclusive beer sponsor. What, exactly, will be on tap? Sophisticated Lady Summer Ale. Here’s some of the FAQs:

What’s in a name? 

Ask Lead Brewer Brian Hink why this brew is called Sophisticated Lady as opposed to, you know, Trampy Lady, and he’ll tell you: “There aren’t any trampy women here… this isn’t Atlantic City!” (No offense to our northern neighbor.) But there’s more to it than that. Sophisticated Lady is an instrumental piece that was composed by jazz legend Duke Ellington in 1932. The song was inspired by three of Duke’s grade school teachers, all of whom he considered classy because they spent their summers traveling Europe.

What’s it taste like?

Sophisticated Lady, made with lemon peel in the boil kettle, is citrusy, snappy and bright. “There’s going to be many outdoor venues at this year’s jazz festival and it’s going to be hot, so we wanted something that would be light and refreshing,” says Brian. “At the same time, we wanted complexity and tons and of flavor.”

Okay, but what if I want a Miller Lite instead?

What? A Miller Lite fan at jazz fest? It’s not called the Exit Zero International Top Forty Festival. Go find a moshpit, you heathen.

 

Shout-Out Roundup

It’s been a big few days, shout-out wise. Here’s all of the recent CMBC-related sound bites you need to read:

1. New Jersey Monthly has called us out on their list of “36 Can’t-Miss Summer Food Festivals” because we’ll be pouring at The Craft Beer and Crab Festival on August 8 at Cape May’s historic Emlen Physick Estate. Says writer Lauren Bowers: “There will be plenty of crabby creations and other summer sustenance including pulled pork, hot dogs and hamburgers.” Also on tap: a Victorian circus.

2. Thrillist.com has included our home-base on their list of “The 14 Best Small Beach Towns in America.” Says author Matt Meltzer: “Nowhere in the country did the plague that is reality television hit harder than on the Jersey Shore. What was once a collection of quaint beach towns is now thought of worldwide as a Mecca for GTL and fist pumping. Fortunately, those who’ve been there know about places like Cape May, where visitors enjoy calm ocean breezes, historic Victorian homes, and the comforting knowledge that they are as far away geographically from New York City as any point in New Jersey.”

3. On May 15, Joe Sixpack of Philly.com said about CMBC: “There’s just a very pleasant vibe at this out-of-the-way brewery plunked down in the middle of Cape May Airport. Bring a growler, take a tour, then suck down the Bog, a low-alcohol cranberry wheat shandy, or hunker down with a high-alcohol Coastal Evacuation Double IPA.” You heard the man.

4. This morning, Atlantic City Weekly ran a story called “5 Things to Know About Where to Party Memorial Day Weekend,” and our firkin event this Friday at the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesar’s casino made the cut. In case you missed our story about Gordon Ramsay himself tapping some CMBC beer and showering it with praise, catch up here.

5. Also today, craftbeer.com featured our cranberry wheat beer, The Bog, in a list of cool summer seasonals from The Northeast. Boom.

6. Speaking of sexy writeups about summer beer, The Bog also made an appearance on Yahoo Food today. Says writer Jeff O’Heir: “Now is the time for crisp, quenching, light beers brewed specifically for the beach, ballgames, and barbecues.” Can we get an amen?

 

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Farewell To Ryan

It is with heavy hearts that we wish a fond farewell to our president and co-founder Ryan Krill, who’s leaving Cape May Brewing Company to pursue his other passion: professional ballet dancing in New York City.

“Few people know this,” he says, “but sometimes after the tasting room has closed, I use the space to practice my routine. And only after I’ve nailed my pirouettes do I allow myself a pint of Devil’s Reach.”

Ryan was hoping to continue his work at CMBC while performing with ABT, or the American Ballet Theater, but he can no longer risk the  potential for injury that comes with operating heavy machinery.

“I’m afraid my satin pointe shoes will not protect my feet should somebody drop a firkin or run me over  with a forklift, which happens about once a year. And although I love making beer, my toes have to be my  top priority from here on out. It’s going to be a very bittersweet goodbye.”

Although we’ll miss Ryan terribly, CMBC intends to honor his legacy by continuing to build upon it. We know we haven’t even had the

ribbon cutting for our new space at the Cape May County Airport yet (that will happen in early May), but we see no reason to stop at two production breweries. So, this month, we’ll also be taking over Cape May Convention Hall, where we’ll install a 50-barrel brewhouse and begin work on our next release: Conventional Ale. The secret ingredient will be thrice-massaged kelp fetched fresh from the Atlantic by CMBC’s head logistics man, Andrew Ewing.

“I did not agree to this,” says Andrew.

We realize that Cape May’s City Council occasionally requires this space for their monthly meetings, but we figure with the way those have been going, everyone involved could probably use a drink, anyway.

 

Dueling Firkins, Tonight

There are some rumors that are just that – unfounded gossip.

Like, for instance, the rumor that The Irish Mile bar in Haddon Township – well-known for its 72 rotating taps and buzzy but laid-back vibe — is named the way it is because owner Ed Donohue and his daughter Erin are runners. While the pair have always pounded the pavement – Erin, at the Olympic level – this simply isn’t true.

“Most people have that impression,” explains Ed. “But actually, everyone knows that the Irish like to drink, so that’s where the ‘Irish’ part of the name came from. And as for ‘mile,’ that refers to the street where we’re located, Haddon Avenue. There are seven bars here within a mile of one another.”

Then there are those rumors that have every basis in fact.

Like, for instance, the juicy bit of chatter going around town that the two CMB firkins being tapped tonight at the Irish Mile are the stuff of beer geek dreams.

Literally, Brew Master Brian has been dreaming of these casks for weeks.

The first firkin will be filled with Turtle Gut Sour that’s been conditioned with sweet orange peel. The second is for the Cape May Saison we released yesterday, only this time it’s been dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. (We wrote about how exciting those are here.)

“You remember that Budweiser commercial that played during the Superbowl?” says Brian. “The one that made fun of people who ‘dissect’ their beers? Yea, well, these beers were born to be dissected.”

Oh, and we’ve got eight other beers on draught, too.

So keep on spreading the word — just not about that running business – and we’ll see you tonight.

It's a duel to the finish. Image courtesy of The Irish Mile.
It’s a duel to the finish. Image courtesy of The Irish Mile.

Cover Stars

Check out the delivery of our new brewhouse on the cover of this week’s issue of Exit Zero (and inside, too).


March 26, 2015 - featured

 

By the way, the brewhouse is being installed TODAY by Andrew (no last name, like Madonna). Here he is below (on the left) preparing for the big job with our guy Hank:

andrew

 

Labelology

We made it to round two in the Most Loved Beer Label Contest sponsored by CNBC – so show us some love this afternoon when voting opens up again. In the hpmeantime, here are some things you might not know about the beer label approval process, because it’s all fun and games until the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau knocks you down.

1. While both the state and federal governments must approve a beer’s label, neither care whether the name that appears on that label infringes on intellectual property. In other words, Uncle Sam won’t hassle you for calling a brew Bud Light. But Budweiser probably will.

2. In fact, there are countless legal spats happening as we speak, because breweries are constantly stepping on one another’s toes. It’s  not
platypus_662_600x450intentional; it’s just that “pretty much every beer name you come up with has been taken,”  says CMB’s Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke. A January piece by NPR confirms it:  “Virtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America – as well as myriad other words, concepts and images – has been  snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer.” We wanted to test the  theory, so we typed the first obscure animal we thought of into our search engine, along with the  word ‘beer,’ and let’s just say there’s a Platypus Brew Pub out there that prides itself on “walking  the fine line between ducks and beavers.” Seriously.

3. But the TTB does care if a name — or any other writing on your label — suggests a false health claim. (One brewery got shot down for calling their beer a “heart-warming ale,” because someone, somewhere might take this to mean alcohol is good for the temperature of internal organs.) And collective panties get really twisted if a beer is made out to be more potent than it really is. Case in point: We weren’t allowed to call our Devil’s Reach the style that it is – a Belgian Golden Strong ale – because of the world ‘strong.’

4. Humor must be kept in check, too. We tried calling one of our recipes Pumpkin, Pumpkin Ale for the very reason that there isn’t any pumpkin in it, but the TTB called it misleading. In the words of spirit animal Allanis Morisette, CMB is ironic, just a little too ironic, for the TTB.

5. So far for 2015, 36,178 labels have successfully obtained COLA (Certificate of Label Approval). Legally, an answer has to be given to an application within 90 days of submission, which means brewers must be thinking spring in early fall. For CMB’s labels, says graphic design guru Courtney Rosenberg, it usually takes somewhere between one day and three weeks.

6. The reason for the inconsistency in timing is probably down to the fact that one man and one many only, Kent “Battle” Martin,” is in charge of the approval process. The Daily Beast calls him a tyrant, a legend and a pedantic pain in the ass. But that doesn’t mean his reasons for snubbing certain lables aren’t chuckle-worthy. “He rejected a beer called Bad Elf,” the story goes, “because it featured an ‘Elf Warning,’ suggesting that elves not operate machinery while drinking the ale… it did not get approved on the grounds that the warning was confusing to customers.”

So there you have it, beer fans. Don’t let it be said the TTB isn’t looking out for you.

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It’s The Yeast You Can Do

Come mid-April, Brew Master Brian will, along with 10,000 other industry professionals, hop a plane to Portland for the annual Craft Brewers Conference, where he’s especially pumped for a master class on yeast management. And why shouldn’t he be? Yeast is the reason your mom’s homemade banana bread rises. It’s the main ingredient behind the sandwich spread of choice in the land down under, where women glow and men plunder.  It also happens to be everywhere (yes, chilling all over you and everything you own right now.) And, most importantly for our purposes, it’s crucial to brewing. Bottom line: yeast is one fascinating, microscopic fungus.

Allow us to explain:

In beer making, step one is mixing malted barley with hot water — viva la oatmeal! Then, a sugary liquid called wort is extracted, and flowers called hops which lend aroma and flavor are added to that. Only then does the ingredient of the hour come in. The single-celled superstar we call yeast now chows down on sugar, turning it into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The former is the psychoactive drug part of beer that you can blame for those 2am texts to your ex; the latter makes bubbles. This conversion process is known as fermentation, and the temperature at which it happens determines whether your brew baby will be born a lager or an ale.

Go yeast, young man.
Go yeast, young man.

There are over 500 species of yeast, and Brewer’s Yeast is just one. But within that group, there are thousands  of distinct strains that can each affect a beer’s flavor profile in a different way. Which one a brewer selects is  often a tight-lipped decision — as top-secret as Elliott’s hiding place for ET in the midst of a federal task force  investigation (sorry – there’s a Spielberg documentary playing as we type this).

So yea, it’s safe to say the significance of yeast is common knowledge within the modern brewing field, but  this wasn’t always the case. In the 1700s, wild, airborne strands were doing work on batches of beer  completely unbeknownst to early brewers. In fact, yeast wasn’t even considered an ingredient in beer-making until French chemist/original beer geek Louis Pastuer discovered its role in fermentation in 1857.  Thus began a centuries-long struggle to harness its power. And bearded brew masters across the globe still bend to its magical, gaseous will! Many of them, including our Bri-guy, will be doing just that in Portland, and he promises to keep us updated on the conference happenings.

It may be one of the simplest plant forms on the planet, but yeast – the little fungus that could — has done okay for itself.

What Went Down At The Monday Meeting, 3/2/15: Chai Beer, the Pope, and Frisbees

9:31: Production meeting commences! Brew Master Brian Hink lays out the immediate brew schedule: Coastal Evacuation on Tuesday and Wednesday (because liquor stores are “begging for it”) and Honey Porter Thursday and Friday. Full steam ahead — upcoming snowstorm be damned!

id-tap-that-beer-keg-party-funny-tshirt3009:34: Time for the meat of the morning’s discussion: how to avoid keg shortage scandals! (Okay, there are no keg shortage scandals — more like keg shortage “pickles,” as CMB president Ryan Krill calls them — but we’ve been watching a lot of House of Cards.) Bottom line: no one wants to “slam on the brewing brakes” because we’ve got more beer than containers to put it in, so… keg shopping here we come.

9:50: The one-off for One-Off Wednesday this week is Raspberry Coastal. Next week is ChaIPA – that’s right, Chai tea plus IPA. Fun fact: the ingredients in chai are good for everything from warding off the flu (cloves) to helping with digestion and motion sickness (ginger). There you have it — a beer that’s good for your health.

10:30: Full staff meeting begins! Sales rep Justin Vitti comes limping in, due to a recent Cross-Fit session at North Beach Health Club.

10:33: Time for an accounts update from Justin and his mustache: 132 in Jersey alone.  New on the list are Canal’s in Mount Ephraim and Connie Mac’s Irish Pub in Pennsauken.

10:38: Events report! Up first –at UNO Pizzeria and Grill in Maple Shade this Friday — will be a tap takeover and we do mean takeover. Nine CMB beers will be on the menu, many of which aren’t even available in CMB’s own tasting room any longer. In other words, it’s last call. Saturday is the Philly Craft Beer Festival where we’re expecting “well over a thousand people at each session,” says Justin. On March 12 is a tap takeover at The Ugly Mug in Cape May, during which time six CMB beers will be available, including the Coconut IPA dreamed up by Justin himself. March 13th is a Firkin Friday event at AC’s Gordon Ramsey Pub, and one at Grey Lodge Pub in Philadelphia, too, followed by the AC Beer and Music Festival on March 20th and 21st. The day after that, CMB will be at Wildwood’s Bridal Fair, because what bridezilla doesn’t need to chill out with a good beer? bride2

10:45: Graphic design guru Courtney Rosenberg reminds everyone that American Craft Beer Week is May 11-17, and CMB will be offering something special — possibly a home brewing course — so stay tuned. Also the Democratic National Convention is coming to Philadelphia in July of 2016, which may be an opportune time for a politically-charged beer. “Impeachment ale!” offers Justin. “The Pope is also coming to Philly this summer,” adds Brian, prompting Courtney to wonder aloud if a priestly pint would be offensive. Suggestions include: Pious Pale Ale and Infalliable IPA.

10:50: Taproom Manager Jim Zolna and Taproom Coordinator Ashley Sullivan update everyone on goings on at the tasting room, including an upcoming collaboration for Saint Baldrick’s Day, when area students and teachers raise money for childhood cancer research before shaving their heads in a show of solidarity. Last year, the effort generated over $40,000. Watch this space.

10:53: Discussion ensues over new CMB merchandise, including summer-friendly sweatshirts, tee-shirts and — ready for it? — frisbees! Available now for $6, including tax.

10:57: Two more 60-barrel fermenters are on their way, says Ryan.

11:00: Meeting dismissed. Cheers!

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