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“The stars aligned."

Watermelon Wheat in CANS!

Deciding which legacy beers to nix and which to bring back is a difficult process.

We know you have favorites. So do we. However, after eight years of brewing and, at the moment, 381 beers on Untappd, we simply can’t brew them all. If we tried, we’d never sleep and you’d only get one pint of every beer.

No one wants that.

Furthermore, we need to have the chance to brew up your next favorite beer. That’s the nature of the industry: if craft beer drinkers wanted to drink the same thing day in and day out, we’d brew nothing but Cape May IPA. 

But you don’t. And neither do we.

So, each year, some beers end up on the chopping block — sometimes, some long-held favorites. It’s disappointing, but we have to do it.

Watermelon Wheat almost didn’t make the cut. Almost

But, through a series of unexpected events — and a few champions throughout the brewery — not only is it back, but we’re canning it up for the first time — just in time for National Watermelon Day on August 3rd.

IMG_3958_1“Every year we have the really tough decision on what to brew the next year,” says Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello. “It’s inevitable that some of our favorites just don’t make the cut. But when it comes to the tasting room, I never forget those old favorites and try to reintroduce them any chance we get for one final curtain call.”

In previous years, our batches of Watermelon Wheat were, even for us, small batches, in the 22-barrel range. That’s 44 half kegs — slightly over 5,400 pints for all of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania to enjoy.

Admittedly, that’s not a lot, particularly when many of our accounts would jump at this beer, clearing out our stock in less than a week. That didn’t leave much for us to put on in the Tasting Room, where, again, it would be sold out in about two weeks.

“It didn’t make the cut for draft,” Innovation Director Brian Hink tells us. “We couldn’t do enough of it to make everyone happy. There were a few more desirable options, so, unfortunately, it originally did not get selected for this year.”

As we built out our Tasting Room-only canned releases throughout the year, we knew we had to be strategic as to what we release. We only have so much room in terms of fermentation tanks that we can’t always do everything that we want.

“We decommissioned two of the 15-barrel fermenters in the sour facility, moving them over to HQ and repurposing them as clean tanks,” Brian says, “that unexpectedly allowed us to expand our offerings for the summer.”

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By April, we knew we were going to be making this move, so that opened some room in the schedule for us.

“So that was like, ‘Holy shit! We can really start getting some releases out!’” he says.

Our Innovation Team came up with a list of about ten beers that, because of this change in tank availability, suddenly came available as a Tasting Room Only release.

“We could work on names and labels and recipes and slot them in as time allowed,” Brian says.

We ordered them in terms of preference, and a few brews that were slated for the cutting room floor ended up in production in one form or another. For example, our cherry limeade shandy, Foreshore Shandy, hit the bucket but, as we knew that we’d be brewing up a new version of Tiny Drink Umbrella, we could, at the very least, bring back Foreshore’s flavor combination. 

So, while Watermelon Wheat was sort of in the middle of the bunch, we realized that we had an open slot the same weekend as National Watermelon Day.

IMG_9191“We were like, ‘That sounds great. Let’s lock that in,’” Brian said.

“The stars aligned,” said Social Media & Design Alchemist Courtney Rosenberg, another member of the Innovation Team. “It kinda fell into the spot as we were planning this all out.”

And that’s why we have an Innovation Team. Obviously, they’re there to innovate new beers, but they’re also there to say, “Hey, let’s not fix this thing that isn’t broken.”

Watermelon Wheat certainly isn’t broken. 

So, TL;DR: Watermelon Wheat is available in 16-ounce cans! It’s available only in the Tasting Room. It may be the very last time we brew it.

If you absolutely need your Watermelon Wheat fix — and we don’t blame you — you’ll have to swing down to the Tasting Room this Saturday. We’ve got about 100 cases of 16-ounce cans, so they’ll go fast, and we won’t be doing growler fills.

Don’t miss out!