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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company
“I will most definitely drink one of these with breakfast.”

Cape May Coffee Stout

We’ve been brewing coffee stouts for years, practically since we opened our doors. In that time, we’ve learned a lot — about coffee and how to best present it in a beer.

So, the final culmination of all of those efforts come to fruition today: Cape May Coffee Stout releases in 12oz cans!

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"Using locally-roasted coffee, Cape May Coffee Stout is the latest -- and best...."

Introducing Cape May Coffee Stout

We’ve been brewing coffee stouts almost as long as we’ve been brewing beer. They’ve gone by a few names over the years, but they’ve always been roasty, smooth, and incredibly delicious.

This winter, we’ve decided to can it up and bring it to the masses! Our  Cape May Coffee Stout will be distributed beginning October 26th!

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“Can’t go wrong with a good coffee stout, and Cape May does it right.”

Wakey Wakey!

Our coffee stout has had a few names over the past few years — Avalon Coffee Stout, Fresh Brewed Coffee Stout, now Wakey Wakey Coffee Stout — but, thankfully, the recipe has not changed in the slightest.

It’s the same coffee stout you’ve come to know and love, simply with a new name.

Conditioned on locally-roasted coffee from our caffeine suppliers up at Avalon Coffee, Wakey Wakey has a complex grain bill of pilsner, carafa, caramunich, roasted barley, and oats. With the soft nutty and cocoa notes of Avalon’s Latin American-leaning house blend, this brew is the perfect brew to put a little spring in your step.

Whatever the name, our fans love — like, LOVE — this beer. Check out what they have to say!

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CMBC Brews and Easter Sweets

Easter is just around the corner, and that means one thing: stealing candy from your kids’ Easter baskets.

No! Our fans would never do something so despicable as literally taking candy from a baby!

Yeah, you would. Stop lying. The blog for a brewery is no place to put on airs.

So we caught up with our Head Chef, JP Thomas, to find out which of our brews pair best with your favorite Easter confections.

Cadbury Creme Eggs + Devil’s Reach

Nothing says Easter more than finding that ubiquitous basket of Cadbury Creme Eggs next to every cash register on the planet. That thick chocolate shell holding back that sweet and creamy fondant? Pure heaven.

JP suggests pairing those eggs with Devil’s Reach. The sweet fondant will cut the high alcohol content and astringency of our flagship Belgian brew, and the richness of the egg will reduce Devil’s Reach’s Belgian, funky, yeasty finish. The sweetness of our Belgian will commingle well with the sweetness of the Cadbury Creme Egg, leaving you thankful that the Easter Bunny didn’t miss your house.

Whopper Robin Eggs + Biscuits and Honey

These little eggs are like little balls of pure joy. Basically a Whopper candy masquerading as an Easter Egg, they’re crunchy, malty, and only slightly sweet — the perfect addition to any Easter basket.

“Malt, malt, malt,” JP says. This combination is basically a “malt bomb,” combining the maltiness of Biscuits and Honey with the maltiness of the Whoppers. The natural sweetness of the honey in Biscuits and Honey will play well with the maltiness of the candy. With only that slight sweetness coming from the chocolate surrounding the candy, this combination could just as easily substitute for your starch during Easter dinner.

Peeps + Avalon Coffee Stout

Everybody has some pretty strong feelings about Peeps: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. They end up in every basket, usually with copious amounts of Easter grass stuck to their marshmallowy goodness. Just try to keep them out of the microwave, unless you’re doing a science experiment or want to test out a new cleaner you just bought.

Peeps are basically sugar-covered balls of sugar, so you’re looking for something bitter to bring that down a peg. So JP suggests matching them with Avalon Coffee Stout. The bitterness of the coffee and the stout will beautifully counter the super-sweetness of the sugar-encrusted marshmallow. He says to dip the Peeps right into the beer because, “Who doesn’t like a little vanilla with their coffee?” Sounds tasty!

Jelly Beans + Misty Dawn Saison

Jelly Beans are perfect year round, but you’ll always love to find them rolling around your Easter basket. Usually because you’ve eaten everything else, cleaned out the grass, and get to find a little treat at the bottom that the kids have missed.

With all the variety out there with jelly beans, JP expects that our Misty Dawn Saison will pair well with most of them. “Black jelly beans… mmmm… probably not,” JP says, but all of the fruity ones go excellently with the fruitiness of the Saison. The sweet earthiness of the Saison will counterbalance nearly every flavor of jelly bean, including those crazy Jelly Belly flavors like popcorn, boogers, vomit, and cut grass. Yum…?

Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny + Honey Porter

The centerpiece of any well-curated Easter basket, the Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny says Easter more than just about anything. And spring for the solid one, for crying out loud. Those hollow things are the candy equivalent of oatmeal raisin cookies — you think you’re gonna get chocolate chip, but you end up with a mouthful of breakfast. With a hollow bunny, you just end up with a mouthful of air.

Chocolate and porters are like ying and yang. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like Easter and solid milk chocolate bunnies. “They’re just perfect together,” JP says. The natural sweetness of the honey married with the bitterness of the porter is exactly what happens in milk chocolate — the slight sweetness of the chocolate is balanced by its bitterness — which makes this a marriage made in Easter heaven.

If you want to try any of these delectable combinations, all of the brews are on tap in the Tasting Room and available for growler fills in the Brewtique — let us know what you think! Be sure to stop down before Easter Sunday — we’ll be closed that day, busy testing these pairings with our own kids’ candy.

I Know What You Did Last Shandy and…?

img_1775If you missed I Know What You Did Last Shandy when it was out last year, no worries! It’s on tap again in the Tasting Room.

This killer shandy stands just fine on its own. It’s practically a liquid dessert: flavors of cinnamon, clove, and a ton of brown sugar swirl around your glass, enticing you with its aromas and flavors.

Nevertheless, this is the perfect beer to blend with some of our other brews. We’ve got some ideas for you for your next trip down to the brewery.

Mop Water — The spices in these two brews will complement each other nicely. Both have cinnamon, but the nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and vanilla in Mop Water will play beautifully with I Know What You Did Last Shandy. Furthermore, the dryness of the German malts in Mop Water’s brown ale are just begging to be sweetened a bit with a shandy. Give it a whirl!

Apple Bomb — There’s literally nothing more American than apple pie. Ask your grandmother for her apple pie recipe, and if she doesn’t mention cinnamon and brown sugar… ask your other grandmother. Combining I Know What You Did Last Shandy with Apple Bomb will leave you wondering who smuggled a slice of apple pie into your pint glass.

Avalon Coffee Stout — Who doesn’t love some spice in their coffee? If Starbucks’ next big coffee drink is some combination of coffee, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar, we’d assume that they got the idea from a brewery in Cape May. The grain bill of pilsner, carafa, caramunich, roasted barley, and oats with the nutty and cocoa notes of Avalon’s house blend will pair beautifully with I Know What You Did Last Shandy’s spicy sweetness. Yum!

Honey Porter — The roasted and dark crystal malts and characteristic sweetness of our flagship Honey Porter practically implores you to add a bit of spice to the mix. Cinnamon, cloves, and honey play wonderfully together, while the brown sugar brings the malts to the fore. This is where tradition and innovation converge!

Devil’s Reach — The fruity simplicity of our flagship Strong Belgian fares well against the complex sweetness of I Know What You Did Last Shandy. The fruity esters and unbearable lightness of Devil’s Reach are spiced up considerably by the cinnamon and cloves in the shandy. And that brown sugar all over those fruits? It’s like an apricot jam or orange marmalade on a cinnamon raisin toast first thing on a cold winter morning.

Do you have other ideas? Come on down and try them out!

Java Brian


Avalon Coffee Stout is not only a fan favorite, it’s a favorite of Head Brewer Brian Hink’s, as well. Our man spent some fifteen years in the coffee biz, brewing that other nectar of the gods, so, not only is a coffee stout a match made in brewing heaven, Brian’s subsequent geek-out nearly caused his head to explode.

And, with a four-hour flight to Denver to the Great American Beer Festival, Brian was more than willing to fill that time telling us more than we ever wanted to know about coffee. So, if you’ve ever wondered how our ingredients get into your glass, Brian’s got the scoop! (Of coffee grounds….)

Avalon Coffee Stout is a heavenly brew to drink as these fall evenings start getting colder and longer, as the sun fades quicker, and we’re further removed from the dog days of summer.

Brian on the Brew

Avalon Coffee Stout is a match made in heaven, combing the full-bodied roastiness of our stout with the medium-bodied and rich Avalon Coffee house blend to concoct a brew that is simply perfect. It’s a heavenly brew to drink as these fall evenings start getting colder and longer, as the sun fades quicker, and we’re further removed from the dog days of summer.

African coffee is some of the most underrated out there, oftentimes bringing strong lemon, berry, and floral notes that really add a nice complexity to any blend.

Brian on Avalon Coffee

[Social Media and Graphic Design Director] Courtney Rosenberg and I showed up at Avalon Coffee in Rio Grande at 1pm on Friday the 23rd just as Pete — their main roaster — was ripping through batches of coffee. He was mainly roasting their house blend — a mix of Costa Rican, Colombian, and Kenya — a beautiful blend of beans that hits all the right notes: soft acidity, rich cocoa and nutty notes, and a subtle berry aroma, thanks to the Kenya. African coffee is some of the most underrated out there, oftentimes bringing strong lemon, berry, and floral notes that really add a nice complexity to any blend.

If you haven’t gathered by now I really miss roasting coffee and creating blends!

Brian on Beans

Let me back up a second and talk about coffee in general. There are two types of coffee bean: Arabica and Robusto. Arabica is the higher quality, more flavorful, and less mass produced bean of the two, with Robusto being a little harsher, more stringent, and generally an inferior bean. Arabica grow at higher elevations — 2500 feet above sea level and higher — while Robusto are grown below that.

We’ll focus on the Arabica genus because that’s the good stuff. All coffee is only grown between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, primarily along the equator. Volcanic soil is great for coffee because it has the ideal minerality and pH content. There are three primary growing regions: Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia. Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico are the main Latin American offerings; Kenya and Ethiopia are Africa’s main players; and Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Papua New Guinea are the main Indonesian areas that produce quality beans.

Coffee can either be a single-origin offering — usually you’ll see a Colombian or Brazilian offering — a great coffee that can stand up on it’s own. On the other hand, that can either get boring or not offer enough flavor variety, and that’s where blending comes into play. Much like when we blend our barrel-aged beers: some individual barrels can stand on their own accord, and some are better to contribute to a blend. Sometimes we need the extra acidity of this barrel combined with the softer notes of that barrel to achieve the complexity we’re looking for. Coffee blending is much the same: the dark-roasted earthiness of a Sumatra will be balanced perfectly by the nutty offering of a Costa Rican, and all tied together by the berry floral notes thanks to an Ethiopian – stuff like that. (If you haven’t gathered by now I really miss roasting coffee and creating blends!)

Roasting coffee is much like baking: you don’t just turn on your oven and throw in some cookie dough and hope for the best.

Brian on Roasting

Roasting coffee is much like baking: you don’t just turn on your oven and throw in some cookie dough and hope for the best. You have a set temperature and time, looking for the desired end result. You turn the roaster on and bring it up to temperature, usually around 415-430 degrees.

A roaster is kinda like a dryer, tumbling around with constant heat being applied to the sides of the drum to supply an even and consistent heat source. As the roaster is heating up, you measure out your raw coffee beans — called green beans — and add them in stages at just the right time.

With your oven you can set it to 430 and there it goes; with a roaster not so much. It’s all about controlling the gas flow to control the flame, and also controlling the airflow through the drum — the more air you draw the cooler it gets; the less air, the hotter the drum will be. A skilled roaster looks for a window, and dropping the beans in at exactly the right time is paramount to getting the proper roast: drop the beans in even 5 degrees above or below and you’ll be playing catch up the entire roast — much like our mashing process.

Getting my hands back on the roaster at Avalon Coffee was a great experience and something I had really missed doing.

Ahhh, the Memories….

Having worked at Starbucks for six years prior to coming to CMBC and at Java Jane’s in Ocean City for nine years prior to that, I have an extreme appreciation for roasting coffee and the craft and artistry that goes into it. The owner of Java Jane’s went to the Diedrich Roaster manufacturing plant to take a week-long roasting course and taught me everything he knew back when I was in my early twenties, so getting my hands back on the roaster at Avalon Coffee was a great experience and something I had really missed doing.

So, has Brian’s extensive coffee knowledge paid off? Only one way to find out: come down and check out our Avalon Coffee Stout, pouring now.

What’s Brewin’, Good Lookin’?

avalon-coffee-stoutFall’s a-brewin’ and so are we. But, really, that should come as no surprise. It’s kinda why we’re here. If we weren’t, we’d probably have to change our name.

But we’ve got a superior brew coming up for autumn — something that combines two of your favorite brewed beverages: beer and coffee.

And it’s not just any coffee we’re using. You know of our penchant for sourcing locally, right? Any time we can, we like to support our local businesses — and we’re pretty lucky to have some of the greatest coffee being roasted right up the street at Avalon Coffee.

We’re using their house roast: a blend of 100% Arabica Costa Rican, Kenya AA and Colombian Supremo beans. It’s not just for breakfast anymore!

Head Brewer Brian Hink — in addition to being a genius in the brewhouse — spent fifteen years in the coffee biz, so this is kind of a match made in sweet-aroma’d heaven.

The combination of coffee with a hearty stout is perfection in a glass. “The soft cocoa notes from the Latin American portion paired with the bright and juicy aspects of the Kenya makes it the perfect blend of beans,” he tells us, “wonderfully suited for our full-bodied and roasty stout.”

The really cool thing? The coffee ends up retaining all the caffeine it would have if you were to use it to make… well… coffee. We’re “dry-coffee-ing” the brew — pretty much the same process as dry-hopping a beer. So, we’ll end up pulling all the caffeine, but we’re not using the same amount of grounds that we would if we were brewing multiple barrels of coffee, so it won’t be quite as strong.

“At the ratio we used, you’re getting about a third of a cup of coffee per eight ounces of beer,” Brian says, “which comes out to around 60 milligrams of caffeine per pint of beer.” Still quite a bit of caffeine, “so it’s not recommended for pregnant women or people with heart conditions.” Who probably shouldn’t be drinking beer, anyway.

“Expect a rich blend of cocoa, slightly nutty, and fragrant coffee aromas paired with the roasty and slightly bitter notes of the base stout to create a beautifully full bodied cup of joe… er, beer,” Brian tells us.

They were brewing the Avalon Coffee Stout this past week, and the brewery — which already smells like the happiest place on earth — smelled like Juan Valdez decided to drink all the beer. It was glorious. It’ll be a few weeks before it’s ready, but, as far as we’re concerned, October 6th can’t come fast enough.

But, wait! There’s more!

We’ve got something else brewing that’s gonna knock your stockings off just in time for Christmas. Christmas 2017, that is. We’d get it out to you sooner, but, as you’ve probably learned by now, barrel-aging takes a looooong time. And this one will be so beautifully barrel-aged that the finished product will be well worth the wait.

If you’ve ever wanted to spend Christmas in Belgium — and, let’s face it, who hasn’t? — then this beer will be right up your abbey. A dark ale in the Trappist tradition, we’re just starting to brew this heavenly Christmas concoction this week. It’s unpasteurized and unfiltered, brewed by adding sugar to the wort kettle, then bottle-conditioned.

Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm tells us that “we added Dark Belgian Candi Syrup to the boil that adds a dark color as well as the flavors of plums, raisins, burnt sugar, and a slight molasses note. The candi syrup also makes up a large portion of the fermentable sugars, but contains no unfermentable dextrins like malt, resulting in a very dry body in the beer.”

He’s being pretty tight-lipped on this one, but Jimmy gave us an idea of what to expect. “It’ll have a very complex palate from the spicy and phenolic Belgian yeast, a sweetness reminiscent of caramel and dark fruits of the Candi Syrup, and notes of dried fruits, honey, vanilla, and a slight oak flavor from the Cognac barrels.”

This sounds like a tasty Christmas dessert! And with an ABV in the 9.5%-10.5% range, it’ll be the perfect brew to quaff during one of those large family dinners. Your crazy uncle’s ramblings will be that much more amusing. As Jimmy tells us, “It’ll be warming, dry, sweet, complex, and extremely satisfying.”

As we said, this brew will be coming at you next Christmas, so add it to your shopping list now. You won’t want to forget when it comes around next year. But, no worries. We’ll be sure to remind you. Just keep your eyes on the blog!

Coffee Stout Is Out

There are those who can’t function without a morning cup – er, pint – of joe.

Luckily for them, our popular Coffee Stout, brewed with Avalon Coffee’s house blend, is back on draft (and on nitro!). Full and roasty, rich and toasty, the 4.6% ABV beer has a heavy body, a massive grain bill, bright acidic notes, chocolate undertones and, perhaps most importantly, it really does taste like coffee.

We mash the brew at a really high temperature – about 158 degrees as opposed to the more typical 150-152 degree range – which creates unfermentable sugars. The result is a super high gravity, which is a technical way of saying the beer is hella hearty.

It’s a daily grind making good beer (see what we did there?), but when it all comes together like this, it’s all worth it.

Sip for yourself at our tasting room, open from noon everyday.



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