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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
“It was really cool to see the differences between my five-gallon batch and a batch here,” he says.

Catch the Drift

Regulars to the Tasting Room probably know Assistant Tasting Room Manager Dan Petela. He’s our longest-serving Beertender, a fixture behind the bar and, for many, nearly synonymous with CMBC.

He’s also the biggest beer geek we have in the Tasting Room. By leaps and bounds. His knowledge of beer is almost supernatural. His first words probably were, “This isn’t bad, but they should have upped the Simcoe in the dry hop a bit.”

Now, we pride ourselves on hiring some of the brightest beer minds in the area to work behind the bar and help you select the next beer you’re going to love. Everyone behind the bar is top-notch.

But Dan definitely wins in the geekery department.

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After climbing out of the cold water, nothing sounds better than a big pint of Cape May Stout!

Taking the Plunge!

We’re sponsoring the Cape May St. Paddy’s Day Plunge for the second year in a row, and it’s shaping up to be a great time!

Kegs and Eggs? Check!
5K? Check!
Polar Bear Plunge? Check!
Going to a good cause? Check!
Plunging with Brew Crew members? Check!

We caught up with our six plungers to find out exactly why they’re taking the plunge.

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“I’m going to Disney World!”

King of Homebrewers!

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we have a good time at CMBC. Not only at our events and in the Tasting Room, but more or less everything that happens behind the scenes is a bunch of fun as well.

Case in point: our recent homebrew competitions.

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Homebrew Hero Of The Week

We’re proud to say that our team doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk. After a day on the job making and selling CMBC brews, members of our crew go home to make their own craft beers. Many even belong to the Cape May Brewers Guild, a collection of 15 or so homebrewers who gather at various locations once a month to talk technique and taste the fruits of their labors. Every three months, they hold an informal competition where the scratch-made brews are judged against each another.

Assistant Tasting Room Manager Dan Petela is one of these homebrew heroes. We caught up with him to ask all about his process and his passion…

Dan's setup!
Dan’s setup!

How long have you been homebrewing? About three years.

How’d you get into it? I got intro craft beer first, and always threw the idea around. But it wasn’t until I visited Cape May Brewing Company for the first time that I bought all of the stuff. At that time, they had their original, super small, 12-gallon system, and I was inspired.

What kind of equipment do you use and where did it come from? When I first started, I used a Home Depot Gatorade cooler as mash tun, and I actually still use that. Right now, I have a 15-gallon brewpot with a propane burner, and two kegs on tap for my ghetto homebuilt kegorator. Most of it was Christmas gifts.

What’s your method and why? Right now I do All-Grain Brewing versus Extract Brewing. It would be a lot easier and less time consuming to do the latter, but you get less control that way.

What was your best homebrew batch? Probably a double IPA with mosaic and citra hops. It won first place at the Cape May Brewers Guild competition.

And your biggest disaster? When I first got into it, I made a pumpkin beer and then left for the weekend. It fermented too much, so the pressure built up and the rubber stopper blew off. There was beer and pumpkin juice all over the ceiling and walls.


Why do you brew your own beer, when you could easily buy craft? I mean, what draws you to it? Well, you can’t always get exactly what you want on the shelves. Mostly, it’s just cool to experiment. At first I thought this would save me money, but it doesn’t. It costs about $50 per batch of beer. But it’s fun to share the finished product with friends. I share about half of every batch.

How much can you brew at once? About 10 gallons, but I do five at once.

Best tip for homebrewing? Just because something has been cleaned does not mean it’s been sanitized.

What’s your homebrewing goal? To keep learning new stuff… read the blogs, do the research, look recipes up online and tweak from there, take really good notes, take better notes…

What’s the best resource you’ve found? At first I got a lot from Home Brew Talk, which is a forum. Now, I’m following The Mad Fermentationist, which is a pretty cool blog.

Fill In The Blank With: Assistant Tap Room Manager Dan Petela

He’s a local guy who’s been a member of the CMBC team for two years. And he’s so amicable, he doesn’t even have any pet peeves… except maybe for an empty glass. Introducing: Dan “The Man” Petela…

Dan (left) with CMBC's Jim Zolna last Halloween.
Dan (left) being goofy with CMBC’s Jim Zolna last Halloween.

My favorite non CMBC craft beer is:  I don’t really have an all-time favorite beer. I like trying beers I haven’t had before.

My favorite CMBC brew is: City To Shore.

The superpower I would you like to have is: Teleportation.

My biggest fear is: Cenosillicaphobia: The fear of having an empty glass.

My favorite band/musician is: Rush.

The most famous person I’ve ever met was: Matt Ryan.

My karaoke song is: Depends, usually a Rush song. If it’s a duet, then Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

The sports team I root for is: Sports? None.

If I could splurge on one must-have item, it would it be:  A circa 1974 Rickenbacker 4001 Electric Bass.

 My favorite hobby is: Homebrewing.

If I were an animal, I would be a: Frog.

The thing that drew me to CMBC was: The beer.

The last time I laughed until I cried was: Never.

My greatest adventure was: Getting engaged.

The dorkiest thing about me is: Everything.

My favorite slasher movie is: I like The Walking Dead. Does that count?

Something no one knows about me is: I once ran a 5k in 18:05.

Craft beer is inspiring because: The possibilities are endless.

My favorite word is: At this point in this interview, probably “um.”

The job I’d give up CMBC for is: There isn’t one.

If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, it would be: Peanut butter pie…

I love people who: Are down to earth and honest.

The musician I’m embarrassed to admit I like is: Taylor Swift. Shake it Off is my jam.

The best pickup line I’ve ever heard is: “Is your father an alien? Because you’re from out of this world…”

The worst pickup line I’ve ever used is: I’ve never really used one. I wasn’t good with the ladies.

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