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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

The Nine Things Required To Move A CMBC Fermenter

Yesterday, the fifth and final tank was moved from Cape May Brew Co’s original location to our new space at Cape May Airport. Here’s what it took:

Photo credit: Carl Hudson
Photo credit: Carl Hudson

1. Ingenuity

Because there’s no guide book, you need some resourcefulness to rig a 13 foot, 3,000-pound tank so that it can be transported safely the quarter mile distance between our buildings.”We just figured it out,” says CMBC President Ryan Krill. “That’s sort of our motto here, whether we’re plumbing, doing electric work or, in this case, rigging. It’s trial and error.”

2. Forklifts

Two of them: Big Red and Big Yellow. Ryan uses one to pick up the tank from its eyehooks on top with the help of a boom borrowed from travelEckel’s Diesel Service, while co-owner Chris “Hank” Henke uses the other to lift from the bottom. The guys work together until the fermenter hangs suspended like a hammock between them, just a few inches from the ground, with the help of some ratchet straps. “It’s a little like dancing,” says Ryan. “One person has to take the lead and the other follows.”

3. Trust

“I still have all ten fingers,” reminds Facility Technician Carl Hudson, as he works under the suspended tank readying it for transport . “I’d like to keep it that way.”

4. Balls

And we mean brass ones, considering the fermenter costs $25,000. “Moving a tank is a lot like flying,” says Ryan. “Not a lot of room for error, and if something goes wrong, you don’t have a lot of notice.” Adds Chris: “Put a hole in this tank, and we’ve got ourselves a giant new lawn ornament.”

5. Excellent Driving Skills

Ryan may have to navigate backwards, but no worries here, he passed his driver’s test on the first go-round. “At the time, I had one of the
new VW Beetles that had just come out and I think the instructor was more interested in my car than my driving,” he says.

Photo credit: Carl Hudson
Photo credit: Carl Hudson

6. Breathable Clothing

“You’re always sweating bullets,” says Ryan. “But we haven’t dropped one yet.”

7. Precision

The forklifts are so powerful, the guys say, if you so much as “love tap” something en route, you’re going to crush it. This may or may not have happened once to the back of the CMBC minivan, which may or may not have a giant, forklift-shaped dent in the back door.

8. A Sense of Humor

“Is this fermenter street legal?” asks Chris.

9. Thick Skin

Moving the last tank is just a little bittersweet. “I am sad to be moving out,” Ryan says. “We really broke our backs building the original brewery. At the same time, it’s exciting to be expanding because it wasn’t that long ago I was working in finance, and I wanted to be here but I didn’t have the balls to make it happen. Finally, I said ‘fuck it’ and pulled the trigger. When I think about that… moving tanks is the highlight of my day.”


Glassware Half Full

Who cares about your glass, as long as the beer inside is tasty and cold, amiright?


Glassware plays a major role in the craft beer-drinking experience. And not just because you look more age appropriate sipping from something that can be run through a dishwasher versus something you’d buy in a pack of 20 for a keg party at the frat.

According to researchers at The University of Bristol, the shape of your glass affects the speed at which you sip. In fact, “Drinking time is slowed by almost 60% when an alcoholic beverage is presented in a straight glass compared with a curved glass,” the findings show.

Shape also affects how much you drink. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, short, fat containers lead to overpouring.

But, perhaps most importantly, the shape of a glass ultimately affects the enjoyment of a beer – even more so, scientists are now suggesting, than it affects the enjoyment of a wine.

In an interview with Gizmodo, representatives from the UK’s Institute of Physics said it all comes down to head. Certain glasses allow for more, some for less. And since it’s head that traps and/or accentuates certain volatiles (fruity esters and spices), this is a big deal…  not just when it comes to taste, but also smell. The scientists explain it thusly:

“Bubbles are important for releasing the beers’ aromas. When bubbles in the head burst, they spray a miniscule amount of liquid into the air, reaching your nose and tickling your sense of smell with delightful bouquets. To accentuate this, glasses with a tapered head concentrate the aroma and force the drinker’s nose closer to the beer.”

And this doesn’t begin to touch on the thickness of a glass – if too dense, a beer’s temperature can be affected, causing a brew to go prematurely flat.

All of this helps explain why we’ve invested in some sexy new glassware, and why we don’t mind that it’s currently taking up a massive space in our new brewery. See here:


But in case you aren’t familiar with the four headliners of the CMBC glassware department, a breakdown is below. Read it and then, no matter what you’re drinking from, cheers!

American Pint Glass, aka Shaker Pint: Easy to clean, store and drink from, it’s the most common beer glass in the US. Good for stouts, IPAs, lagers and ales.


IPA Glass: Ours is made by premier manufacturer Rastal, and its tulip shape is designed to up your froth a notch.


Belgian Glass: They’re bulbous, and great for complex beers with a heavy head. The wide opening helps in analyzing a flavor profile.


Barrel Glass: This post-Prohibition style includes grooves made for easy holding.



Lights, Camera, Action!

Our president Ryan Krill is set to appear on “What’s on Tap,” a simulcast program featuring national and local beer industry peeps that’s hosted by Gary Monterosso —  author of the acclaimed book Artisan Beers, featured History Channel and BBC radio guest, and one of the nation’s top 100 beverage personalities, according to Chilled magazine.

Have your day planner ready? The segment will air:

*On the radio! (WSNJ 1240; May 30, 1pm)

*Online! (snjtoday.com via iTunes and Android, with all shows archived at snjtoday.com/whats-on-tap; May 30, 1pm)

*On TV! (Comcast channel 20 in Cumberland County; May 30, 1pm/May 31, 8pm/June 2, 8pm)

“We were honored to have Ryan appear on our show,” Monterosso told us. “We sampled some of the fine offerings originating from a brewery I consider to be a remarkable success story. Although much of our time was spent in discussing the growth of the brewery, we also posed questions relating to Ryan’s role as president of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild. We fully expect to do a future episode of ‘What’s On Tap’ from the brewery, probably this summer.”

The set! "I wore all green," Ryan says.
The set! “I wore all green,” Ryan says.


Fill In The Blank With Lead Brewer Brian Hink

Head brewer Brian recently had his two-year anniversary at CMBC — so happy anni, Brian. Instead of giving him flowers and chocolate, we grilled him with questions. Presenting: the man behind the beer:

THE LAST TIME I LAUGHED UNTIL I CRIED WAS… I don’t remember! My fiance says my laugh is robotic, so she’d probably say never.

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER GOTTEN WAS… My mom always said it’s easier to do something and deal with the consequences, rather then ask for permission and be denied. Which is interesting advice coming from a mother.

THE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT IS… Hmmm, in no particular order, my beard, beer, pizza, my fiance, and my cats.


THE BAND I’M EMBARRASSED TO ADMIT I LIKE IS…  I’m not really embarrassed by any of the bands I like. There’s definitely some guilty pleasures, like KP, or Bruno, or just about any good funk song with a strong groove to it that’ll make you boogie, and Supertramp is downright awesome but a little corny, but I’m pretty cool with em all.

THE MOST SURPRISING THING ABOUT ME IS… I went to college intending to become a math teacher. And then I graduated with a degree in photography. I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. Also, I like animals a whole lot more than people.

THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON I EVER MET WAS… Fame doesn’t really mean anything to me, so as I sit here and try to think about famous people I can only think of New Belgium’s Peter Bouckaert, or Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo, or any of the great sour beer producers of our time, and then I realize they’re not famous and that I’d rather meet them then any actual famous person, and then I realize I’m just avoiding the question and this has gone on far too long already.

THE NUMBER OF TIMES I’VE DRIVEN CROSS-COUNTRY IS… Two! And both couldn’t have been more more different yet equally enjoyable.


THE MOST SURPRISING THING ABOUT CMBC IS… Just how well-received we are by the community! A couple of years ago you’d be hard pressed to find one good craft beer on tap, let alone full on beer bars, in this area of South Jersey, but the evolution of the local’s pallet has been fascinating.

MY FAVORITE CMBC BEER IS… It changes weekly. Usually whatever is newest to come out.

THE THING I’M MOST AFRAID OF IS… becoming gluten intolerant. If I couldn’t eat pizza and drink beer, I would hardy see a reason to exist.

MY FAVORITE NON-CMBC BEER IS… New Belgium would be my favorite brewery, with La Folie being my favorite of their’s, but there are just so many great great breweries out there. I Kane and Carton are putting out some fantastic beers, really helping put NJ on the beer map, Victory and Yards are still going strong throwing around Philly’s weight, just too hard to answer really. My most checked in beers on Untappd would be Round Guys The Berliner, Kane’s Overhead, and Victory’s Swing Saison, which would be my favorite if I absolutely had to list one I guess.

MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS… Pizza. I’ve gone two straight weeks before, eating it everyday. Sometimes I’ll have it for lunch and dinner.

Briguy, in black and white.
Briguy, in black and white.

THE COOLEST THING ABOUT ME IS… I’m too uncomfortable talking about myself to answer that.

THE PERSON I MOST ADMIRE IS… Everyone is worthy of admiration, in my opinion, if you take the time to figure out why. But if I had to choose, I’d probably say President Barack Obama. He was dealt a really shitty hand, and he deals well with the adversity. It doesn’t hurt that he is the first president to home brew in the White House! Also, Jack Kerouak. On the Road is a life changing book, and one everyone should read at least once.

MY KARAOKE SONG IS… Never done it, but if I were to do it, it would be Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”

IF I COULD PICK ANY SUPERPOWER, IT WOULD BE… If we’re talking Matrix style, where I could just download any program, I would probably download all of the biology and chemistry programs available so I could have infinite knowledge of all the sciences I deal with on a daily basis. If we’re talking real world superpower, Wolverine has been my favorite super hero since I started reading comic books in early grade school, so I would pick being him.

IF I COULD SPLURGE ON ONE ITEM, IT WOULD BE… I’d probably get a warehouse. Think of all the possibilities!

MY QUIRKIEST HOBBY IS… I don’t have time for many hobbies! When I get done brewing at work, I’m often brewing or bottling beers at home, or visiting other local breweries. I’m a big fan of order though, sometimes chaos is overwhelming, so if order is a hobby I would say that’s pretty quirky. 



What You Need To Know About Sophisticated Lady: Official Beer Of Jazz Fest

We’ve been talking a lot about the Exit Zero International Jazz Festival, happening this weekend. Over 100 world-class musicians will play venues throughout Cape May (see exit0jazzfest.com for the lineup), and we are exclusive beer sponsor. What, exactly, will be on tap? Sophisticated Lady Summer Ale. Here’s some of the FAQs:

What’s in a name? 

Ask Lead Brewer Brian Hink why this brew is called Sophisticated Lady as opposed to, you know, Trampy Lady, and he’ll tell you: “There aren’t any trampy women here… this isn’t Atlantic City!” (No offense to our northern neighbor.) But there’s more to it than that. Sophisticated Lady is an instrumental piece that was composed by jazz legend Duke Ellington in 1932. The song was inspired by three of Duke’s grade school teachers, all of whom he considered classy because they spent their summers traveling Europe.

What’s it taste like?

Sophisticated Lady, made with lemon peel in the boil kettle, is citrusy, snappy and bright. “There’s going to be many outdoor venues at this year’s jazz festival and it’s going to be hot, so we wanted something that would be light and refreshing,” says Brian. “At the same time, we wanted complexity and tons and of flavor.”

Okay, but what if I want a Miller Lite instead?

What? A Miller Lite fan at jazz fest? It’s not called the Exit Zero International Top Forty Festival. Go find a moshpit, you heathen.


Everything You Need To Know About The Great IPA Shortage Of 2015

An interview with CMBC leaders Ryan Krill and Chris “Hank” Henke, about running out of their flagship beer, Cape May IPA, just in time for Memorial Day…

1. What happened? Ryan: Yesterday, I was out on the road all day. I had a meeting with Senator Peter Barnes, I was in New York and I’d been in Philly the night before, so I was gone and trying to deal with different crises all day…  and then Chris called me when I was about 20 minutes out and said: “There’s a shitstorm brewing.” We were out of IPA, and we had orders for 26 halves and 11 sixtels.

No beer. How sad.
No beer. How sad.

2. How did it happen? Ryan: We have a lot of beer, we’re just selling it. It’s all flying out the door, and it just kind of caught us off guard. The white board where we write them down isn’t even big enough to handle all the orders coming in. Chris: If we could have started brewing in the new brewhouse a week earlier, we would have been fine, but installation got delayed. What are you going to do?

2. Who can we blame? Andrew? He always looks kind of guilty. Chris: Let’s blame our accounts for ordering too much beer!

3. Are you “hopping” mad that it happened? Ryan: At least it’s not our flagship beer… oh, wait.

4. What’s the silver lining here? Ryan: We know we’re reliable and we can deliver on our promises. I came in and worked with [sales reps] Justin and Richie, and we had a little triage unit to figure out which accounts have to get the beer now and which orders we can delay slightly. We’re kegging the IPA on Tuesday, so the beer will be available very soon. Some people can wait, and some are happy to take something else in the meantime. Chris: We have 90 barrels of it, almost ready to rock. And when it’s delivered, it’s going to be ridiculously fresh.

5. For those who can’t bear to be without the Cape May IPA this weekend, what do you recommend as a comparable beer? Chris: We still have the Coastal Evacuation, our double IPA, on tap.

6. Will you miss these kind of growing pains when you hit the big-time and Budweiser is trying to buy you out? Ryan: Chris says I keep telling myself that. It is part of the charm of operating a small business, putting out these fires, so long-term, I think that I’m going to miss it. Chris: Uh, no. I won’t miss it. There’s other things to stress out about! But it’s kind of a good problem to have, right? We’re selling all the beer we have. And the sales team did a good job of calling up the accounts and talking it out.

7. How many IPA accounts are we talking about, exactly? Chris: There was 28 on the board yesterday. Add however many would have been added today, and you’re probably talking close to 40.

8. Finish this sentence. “It’s could always be worse; I’d rather run out of IPA than _____?” Ryan: I’d rather run out of IPA than get randomly inspected by the ABC. Chris: I’d rather run out of IPA than have an overstock of IPA to sit on.

9. Anything else people should know about The Great IPA Shortage of 2015? Ryan: It’s the last one we’ll have. Chris: And it will be short. The shortage will be short.

9. How long do you think it will be before you’re laughing about this? Chris: Once the IPA is in the kegs next week. Ryan: Already laughing.

Shout-Out Roundup

It’s been a big few days, shout-out wise. Here’s all of the recent CMBC-related sound bites you need to read:

1. New Jersey Monthly has called us out on their list of “36 Can’t-Miss Summer Food Festivals” because we’ll be pouring at The Craft Beer and Crab Festival on August 8 at Cape May’s historic Emlen Physick Estate. Says writer Lauren Bowers: “There will be plenty of crabby creations and other summer sustenance including pulled pork, hot dogs and hamburgers.” Also on tap: a Victorian circus.

2. Thrillist.com has included our home-base on their list of “The 14 Best Small Beach Towns in America.” Says author Matt Meltzer: “Nowhere in the country did the plague that is reality television hit harder than on the Jersey Shore. What was once a collection of quaint beach towns is now thought of worldwide as a Mecca for GTL and fist pumping. Fortunately, those who’ve been there know about places like Cape May, where visitors enjoy calm ocean breezes, historic Victorian homes, and the comforting knowledge that they are as far away geographically from New York City as any point in New Jersey.”

3. On May 15, Joe Sixpack of Philly.com said about CMBC: “There’s just a very pleasant vibe at this out-of-the-way brewery plunked down in the middle of Cape May Airport. Bring a growler, take a tour, then suck down the Bog, a low-alcohol cranberry wheat shandy, or hunker down with a high-alcohol Coastal Evacuation Double IPA.” You heard the man.

4. This morning, Atlantic City Weekly ran a story called “5 Things to Know About Where to Party Memorial Day Weekend,” and our firkin event this Friday at the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill in Caesar’s casino made the cut. In case you missed our story about Gordon Ramsay himself tapping some CMBC beer and showering it with praise, catch up here.

5. Also today, craftbeer.com featured our cranberry wheat beer, The Bog, in a list of cool summer seasonals from The Northeast. Boom.

6. Speaking of sexy writeups about summer beer, The Bog also made an appearance on Yahoo Food today. Says writer Jeff O’Heir: “Now is the time for crisp, quenching, light beers brewed specifically for the beach, ballgames, and barbecues.” Can we get an amen?



Brew In Review

Last week, we brewed for the first time in our new location — and in our new, 30-barrel brewhouse — and what a ride it was. We began on Tuesday… with a 13-hour day. Then came two 11-hour days on Wednesday and Thursday, and a 10-hour day on Friday. It’s a good thing lead brewer BrianHink likes coffee.

“Getting comfortable with the new equipment has been a lot like making the move from a PC to a MAC,” he says. “The job is the same, but not quite.”

Of course, there are kinks to be worked out, too, which is to be expected in a building that’s still receiving her finishing touches. Facility technician Carl Hudson spent some time last week balancing precariously over a 120-degree boil kettle in order to finish off work on the glycol piping above.

And then there’s COO Chris “Hank” Henke…

“I’ve been spending time fixing tiny leaks here and there,” he says, adding that he’ll taste whatever fluid he sees to get an idea of what, exactly, it is. “If it’s bitter, it’s the glycol… but don’t worry, it’s food-grade glycol.”

As the guys busy themselves, uh, licking various pieces of equipment, we’ll lay out the plan for brewing from here on out:

120 barrels per week at the new location (which is double what we produced last year)

15 barrels per week at the original building

6,000 barrels per year total, maybe a little over

“This schedule doesn’t mean we’re at capacity,” Brian says. “It means we have room to brew extra, one-off beers as they arise.”

One such recipe will be a special papal-themed beverage out for Pope Francis’ visit to Philly this September.

We’ll keep you posted on that and, in the meantime, check out this cool video of our fermenter tank being moved across the airport last week, from our original building to our new warehouse space.

“It took two forklifts, one to grab the eyehooks on top and lift, and one to grab from the bottom,” says Brian. “It came over like a hammock, hung between the two.”

Sales rep Richie Rallo shot the footage, and he was so thorough, he even got the roadkill en route.


CMBC Receives Award Of Excellence From TripAdvisor

Let’s talk about trolls.

That’s right, trolls.

But not the Norse mythology kind:


And not the neon 90s kind with the diamond bellybuttons:


We mean the — gasp! — internet kind:

internet troll

We know… scary, right?

But let’s face it: internet trolls are a reality of 21st century living.

We know you’re out there, Humperdink29. We know you’re holed up behind that laptop, Paddlewaggle33. And we’ve seen the vitriol you’ve spewed, MrSquiddlywinks3.

You spend your days trolling dating sites, comment sections, and virtual forums like TripAdvisor and Yelp not to offer constructive criticism or voice an informed opinion, but simply to vent. We get it. Your girlfriend left you/your mom never loved you/you ran out of macaroni and cheese, and you need an outlet.

But here’s the problem.

You give the good guys a bad name. You make the normal, pleasant, helpful TripAdvisor users look uncool, too. You drown out the constructive criticism, and you suffocate the positive reviews.

Well, not today, trolls.


The happy interweb users have spoken, and the word is good.

Cape May Brewing Company has received TripAdvisor’s 2015 Certificate of Excellence for “consistently great reviews,” and a rating of four-and-a-half out of five stars.



Thank you to the 146 peeps who wrote about us, not just for the great praise, but for the helpful, respectful feedback.

CMBC fans, you show the internet trolls of the world how it’s done, and for that, we’re sending you a virtual high-five right now.

Hot Riffs And Cold Beer: CMBC Sponsors The Exit Zero International Jazz Festival

It’s arguably the greatest Jersey musical event of the year (and we’re not just saying that because we’re sponsoring it for the third year running). In case you aren’t familiar with the Exit Zero Jazz Festival, here’s the rundown:

In 2010 the Cape May Jazz Festival, which ran for 17 years, came to an end, and people were — to put it lightly — pissed. Especially Michael Kline.

Dr John of Dr John and the Nite Trippers, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will headline this year's festival.
Dr John of Dr John and the Nite Trippers, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will headline this year’s festival.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Michael had fallen in love with Cape May on family vacations as a kid, so he moved here after college in ’92. But nine years later, his heart would lead him to the the Big Easy… he’d developed such a passion for jazz, New Orleans simply called his name. There, Micheal got involved with WWOZ radio, managing their underwriting and sponsorship departments, and eventually became a booking agent for the likes of Charlie Haden, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In a short amount of time, Michael had won entry into an impressive inner circle. (He can tell you what it’s like to chat with Ray Charles, or about the bowling scores of Irma Thomas — the Aretha Franklin of New Orleans.)

And then: Hurricane Katrina.

Michael moved back to Cape May where, in 2006, he launched his own boutique international booking agency, Michael Kline Artists, and that job has taken him all over the world. Traveling throughout Europe, South America and Asia, he’s learned what makes for the world’s best jazz festivals. Four years ago, Cape May benefited from Michael’s expertise when he relaunched the now-defunct Cape May fest, this time as the Exit Zero International Jazz Festival.

We caught up with the musical guru to ask about this year’s event , happening May 28-30, which features such big name headliners as Dr John, six-time Grammy award winner, and Joey Alexander, 11-year-old piano prodigy.

Here’s what he had to say about the weekend, and about CMBC’s role:

The festival has many big name sponsors, including Xerox. Why are you excited to count CMBC among them?  How many reasons do you want? We pride ourselves on accentuating what Cape May and South Jersey do best, so this is an ideal collaboration. And the music happening on the Cape May Brewery stage [at Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill] is going to blow the roof off. It’s a really great fit for the brewery.

How so? Let’s see… there’s the Rebirth Brass Band straight out of New Orleans playing there on Saturday evening. To me, this is the greatest party band in the world, but I’m not the only one who thinks it. Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers tweets it all the time, saying these guys are the best band he’s ever seen live. They’ve got a funky, explosive sound… they’re going to blow the roof off. Then there’s The Lost Bayou Ramblers on Sunday. They’re also from New Orleans but with a whole different sound. We’re pairing that performance with a real Louisiana crawfish boil — between that and the music and the beer, it’s going to be one hell of a party. Joe Keys and the Late Bloomer Band are also on the CMBC stage — they’re another horn-predominating group, funkadelic, and they’ll have people on the dance floor all night long.

How many musicians are we talking about total, throughout the city? Over 100.

What makes this year’s festival cooler than  year’s past? Our goal was to have as much music outdoors as possible, and we’ve worked hard to fulfill that. There’s Jazz at the Estate, happening on the lawn of the Emlen Physick Estate. Then there’s the pier at the Lobster House restaurant, and there’s going to be a tent on Diamond Beach where we’ll host two Havana nights. I’m not really doing it justice, calling it a tent; this is a semi-permanent structure that fits 400 people, and I’m really excited about the incredible Cuban music that will be happening there. Basically, from Friday at 9pm until Sunday at 5pm, there’s going to be music all over the place.

Where can people get CMBC beer? At all of the venues. And Cape May’s is the exclusive beer available at Convention Hall for the headliner performances, and at Jazz at the Estate.

Why is it that craft beer and jazz go so well together? Neither are the kind of thing you can get just anywhere; you have to work a little bit harder to seek them out. Both are for people who want something just a little bit above the norm… they’re for people who want something better.

For more information on times, tickets and musicians, visit exit0jazzfest.com.

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