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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
A cheese factory blew up. All that was left was de brie.

Chefs’ Dine Around

From time to time, we’ll schedule a beer dinner. One of our accounts will coordinate with our Head Chef JP Thomas, and, together, they’ll work out a menu and pairings.

They’re always a great time. JP really has a knack for pairings, and we’re lucky to have him.

We’re also lucky to have an organization such as MAC in town. Formally known as the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, they’ve been great friends to the brewery for years. A non-profit, we’ve hosted Pint Nights for them, worked on Pop-Up Beer Gardens with them, and, last week, worked with them on their take on the traditional beer dinner: the Chefs’ Dine Around.

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“It feels good getting out of the house and riding and being in the fresh air and getting some exercise,” Jimmy says.

Our 50-milers

The two oldest guys in the brewhouse — bambinos by our standards — are dusting off their bikes and hitting the course for BikeMS: City to Shore. Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm and Culinary Ops & Soda Guru JP Thomas are doing the one of the shortest possible distances — 50 miles — but Multiple Sclerosis research doesn’t care, and, to be completely honest, 50 miles on a bike is still quite an achievement.

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CMBC Hires A Chef!

John Paul Thomas is the new head of Culinary Special Ops at the brewery.

“I guess the title of soda jerk was taken?” he says.

Indeed, JP will be making all-natural sodas for the designated driver – or, even, the non-designated driver — in your crew. Since hejp joined our team a month ago, he’s been tweaking our gingerale and rootbeer, and crafting his own cream, blueberry and lemon-lime recipes. He’s also been dreaming up some exciting gastronomic creations involving savory ingredients and beer (more on this to come later), he’s been making tasty-but-subtle cold-pressed coffee (on tap starting January 7), and he’s been brainstorming inventive new One-Off Wednesday brews.

“I like it when people dare me,” he says. “I like when they say, ‘You can’t put Christmas tree in a beer!’”

For the one-off on tap this week, this is exactly what JP’s done – infused our spiced Mop Water with rosemary, mint, and young needles he picked from a blue spruce at a local tree farm. The older needles, he explains, are less tender and too tannic.

“Whether you’re making a meal or infusing a beer, the goal is the same,” he says. “It’s all about balancing flavors.”

JP, a Villas native, graduated from Manhattan’s Culinary Institute of America in 2000 with a degree in culinary arts and from Johnson and Wales University in 2005 with a degree in restaurant entrepreneurship. Most recently, he worked as sous chef for the Laurel Creek Country Club in Mount Laurel.

“The brewery is a good fit,” he says. “First, it’s a nine-to-five position which, working in commercial kitchens, I haven’t ever had. But just like making food in a kitchen, making beer is part science, part art. I’m looking forward to experimenting.”

In the meantime… stop by and say hello.

“I’m all about new ideas,” JP says. “So feel free to pass them along!”

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