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We’re Building A Sour Brewery

Recently, we told you that that we put our 15-barrel brewhouse (the fourth of five brew system upgrades at CMBC) up for sale. What we didn’t tell you? WHY we’re so keen on unloading this equipment.

Our 15-bbl system, on its way to its new home, complete with brewhouse, boiler, auger and mill.
Our 15-bbl system, on its way to its new home, complete with brewhouse, boiler, auger and mill.

Now that we’ve struck a deal and officially kissed the brewhouse goodbye — it left on Monday to join Locust Lane Brewing in the Malvern area of Pennsylvania — we’ll come clean (or dirty, in this particular case).  We’re turning  her space, the 3,000-square-foot area attached to our tasting room, into a sour-only brewery.

Our production team will be the first tell you: sour beers are the new frontier in craft. Ryan believes they’re going to be the new IPA –meaning this style is on the cusp of a mega surge. It’s a surprising theory to some brewers, considering sour beers are made with hard-to-control bacteria strains that can easily contaminate beers not meant to be sour (and not meant to acquire that signature acidic flavor reminiscent of sour cherries or balsamic vinegar).

But having a space completely separate from our brewing headquaters to make these beers — coupled with our neurotic attention to cleanliness — allows us the freedom to brew without fear. And it allows visitors the opportunity to see the process up close. On a tour, you’ll get within inches of our equipment.

While Chris, predictably, has “no comment” (his enthusiasm is the understated kind), Ryan says he “couldn’t be more excited to make this happen, and to take Cape May’s production to the next level.”

Right now, we’re under construction, ripping out our concrete floors in order to install a new trench drain (thank you, Chris Archbold of Cape Concrete Designs). We’re moving out the cooler and dry goods that once resided here — they’ll be moving into a recently acquired unit, which we wrote about here — and we’re moving in four 15-barrel fermenting tanks. We’re also setting up 60 French oak wine barrels, which will be used to age our sour beers, and a one-barrel pilot brew system, which members of our staff will use to make experimental brews.

We’ll also be unveiling a new entrance to the brewery, which will mark the beginning of a self-guided tour in order to “elevate the whole customer experience,” says Ryan. No longer will you need to enter through the tasting room, THEN take a self-guided tour of the brewing space, only to return to the tasting room.

Of course, we’ll continue our regularly-scheduled brewing program in our 30-barrel brewhouse just across the way at Cape May Airport.

We’re expecting the whole operation to be complete within one month’s time… which means our New Year’s Resolution is all set: to bring you the best and most exciting beer possible. In the meantime, pardon our appearance.