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The New Jersey Audubon Society seeks to foster environmental awareness, protect New Jersey’s birds, especially endangered and threatened species, and promote the preservation of natural habitats.

Cape May Brewing Co. has partnered with the New Jersey Audubon to host an Earth Day Pint Night benefiting the Audubon Society and the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Earth Day Pint Night

Sustainability is one of the most important things to us here at CMBC. We like this planet. It’s pretty. It’s our home. And as far as we know, it’s the only planet that has beer. So, we’re gonna do what we can to take care of it.

We do our part to take care of our environment. Sourcing local ingredients means that less energy is spent getting them to us. (Well, that… and we’re in South Jersey where we can get almost anything we need to put in beer relatively closeby and much fresher than if it were coming from California.) We send our spent grain to local farmers for feed instead of a landfill. We use reclaimed materials for our bottling line. We use reusable glassware in our Tasting Room and for growler fills.

Taking care of our environment is part of who we are — it’s all part and parcel of being a good neighbor. But, compared to the Nature Center and the Bird Observatory, we’re definitely in third place.

That’s why we’ve decided to make them the beneficiaries of our Earth Day Pint Night. On April 20th, we’ll be donating $1 from each pint or flight sold from 5 to 8pm.

If you haven’t checked out the Nature Center, you should make a point to get out there. Located at 1600 Delaware Ave, right on Cape May Harbor, the observation deck and tower provide spectacular views of the harbor and Cape May. You can chill in their upstairs lounge and read or relax while overlooking the harbor. They’ve got multiple aquaria with local marine life and natural history artifacts. It’s a great time for the kids, with tons of hands-on activities and a Children’s Garden full of fun, explorative, and sensory activities.

It’s a chill, chill place.

And for bird-watchers, these are two of the best groups in the state. The second story of the welcome center of the Nature Center provides a prominent vantage point for watching the birds around the harbor and in the meadow. The Observatory holds several events each year for birders, as well as being situated in one of the most celebrated birding spots on the planet. Wind and geography bring millions of migrating hawks, seabirds, shorebirds, songbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies to the area throughout the year.

Both organizations are under the umbrella of the Audubon Society, with the Nature Center joining the association in 1995 and the Observatory going as far back as 1976. Founded in 1905, the mission of the Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Are there better recipients for our Earth Day Pint Night? These guys are part of an organization that have dedicated to conservation since before the modern environmental movement was even a thing.

So, drink some brews and let’s get them some cash!

We’ll be serving a special $5 flight of brews that night — the Birder’s Flight — featuring our brews with close ties to the natural aspects of Cape May: Tide Table Pale Ale, Erosion American Wild Ale, our flagship Double IPA Coastal Evacuation, and Sophisticated Lady, our official brew of the Exit Zero Jazz Festival

You’ll also get a chance to meet representatives from the Nature Center and the Bird Observatory to learn more about their programs and initiatives. If you’re interested in volunteer possibilities, you’ll be able to speak with agents from the two organizations to learn more.

It’s gonna be a great night, and you’ll be supporting two stellar organizations for Earth Day.

See you there!

Hops and Crops

local-producers-settle-in-for-an-evening-of-conservation-brews-in-hand

The brewery is a great venue for events, and every so often we hold one that’s not only great for the event, but great for us, as well.

We were especially excited to host the NJ Audubon Society in the beer garden this past week, hosting farmers and producers from Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties for a Hops and Crops event.

The purpose of the event was to bring together private landowners and agricultural producers to educate and encourage participation in these conservation programs. They’re all available to them through federal, state, and private grants.

president-ryan-krill-tells-the-audience-about-the-breweries-history-and-how-it-became-what-it-is-todayCould you imagine a better place to hold such an event? Ryan talked about the history of the brewery and the state of craft beer and its impact on New Jersey. Wearing his Guild-president hat, he spoke the Guild’s ability to connect farmers to breweries that want to use fresh ingredients. You know how we love sourcing local at CMBC, and Ryan is a huge proponent of the Jersey Fresh program.

Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm spoke, as well. They both spoke about their recent trip to hops selection in Yakima. Jimmy spoke about our One-Off Wednesday program and our exciting new state beer, Three Plows. (More info to come!) He fielded questions about hop volume, wet-hopping and challenges, and the volume of crops needed for a batch of beer.

In addition, we had green farmers, organic vegetable growers, a couple of hops growers, alpaca farmers, and people that grow nursery stock. Some of the other speakers involved were from Rutgers, the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service — which is under the USDA with the Farm Service Agency — and the US Fish and Wildlife was there and also the Northeast Organic Farming Association, so there was a great representation of everyone that’s providing assistance to farmers in the state.

brew-master-jimmy-valm-talks-about-the-use-of-locally-sourced-ingredients-in-their-jersey-fresh-certified-beers-on-tapEvent organizer and NJ Audubon Society Stewardship Specialist Brittany Dobrzynski really enjoyed being in the beer garden. “I felt like that informal atmosphere really allowed people to kick back and relax and mingle with other growers in their community.

“I think the event was successful, too, because they were there to learn about all the assistance available to them, and maybe inspire them to implement some of these best management practices that we’d kinda been preaching to them about all night.”

The focus of the evening was to talk about hops production, but there are a multitude of barriers to growing hops, particularly in New Jersey. Each plant requires a pole for the bines to grow upon — that’s a huge investment in infrastructure. In addition, the crop is susceptible to disease because the plants reproduce clonally — they all have the same DNA. If a disease finds its way into one plant, it knows how to get into every single other plant.

Furthermore, the sheer volume that we need to brew a batch of beer can be intimidating. Especially with some of the hop bombs we have on tap.

brittany-dobrzysnki-new-jersey-audubon-stewardship-specialist-greets-the-crowd-some-who-traveled-as-far-as-salem-county-to-attendThere were a few reasons Brittany wanted to host the event at the brewery. “I live right around the corner and you guys have always been my favorite brewery: I’ve been coming to you since I’ve been down here.”

More importantly, however, is our choice of ingredients. The grant program works through the William Penn Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Service in four main focal areas, all of which fall within the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer.

“When you guys redid your self-guided tour and I saw all these great plugs for the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer — the water for your beer comes from — I thought this would be a great match because we all love the Kirkwood-Cohansey.”

Our success with the Jersey Fresh program was another determining factor in holding the event at the brewery. “I wanted to showcase the Jersey Fresh-certified beers that you have on tap.” Brittany tells us. “I thought that the farmers would really get a kick out of that.

farmers-tour-the-brew-house-with-jimmy-valm-during-a-break-in-program-announcements“I’ve always enjoyed the Beets by May and the Honey Porter, they’re great, but the attendees especially loved them. I think it was especially exciting to try these beers that came from locally-sourced ingredients. I think it really got the gears in their heads going: ‘What do I grow that could potentially become an an ingredient in one of these beers?’”

And the wheels were definitely turning. One farmer asked if we’d be interested in making a zucchini beer. While zucchini is one of New Jersey’s major crops, we’re not sure if anyone should be holding their breath on that one. But, then again, no one ever expected us to make a beet beer, either.

Ultimately, it came down to the beer. Brittany’s go-to is the Cape May IPA, but she misses the Devil’s Heat — a chipotle-infused Devil’s Reach one-off — from last winter. “That was my all-time favorite. I’ve been searching and have not found anything that even comes close to being as satisfying as that fiery beer on a cold day.”

Apparently, one of the farmers at the event brought a pepper for Jimmy to taste, and it brought our big, bearded beer man to tears. You might just get your wish, Brittany.

If you’re interested in holding an event at the brewery — from holiday parties to corporate meetings to not-for-profit events — contact Event Coordinator Randi Friel at [email protected] or call (609) 849-9933.

nrcs-district-conservationist-encourages-producers-to-sign-up-for-farm-bill-programs

Birding And… Beer?

UPDATE: At 6pm on October 25, Cape May Brew Co President Ryan Krill will take anyone with an Autumn Birding Festival badge on a private tour of both CMBC production facilities at the Cape May Airport. Meet him at the tasting room (1288 Hornet Road), and prepare to discuss everything from migratory patterns to mash temps. It’s bound to be great, we’re talon you…

birdAs we type this, the world’s birders are descending upon Cape Island, the capital of the known birding universe, for the annual fall migration, as well as the 69th Annual Autumn Birding Festival happening here this weekend. And we expect to see a bunch of you migrating over to our tasting room. (Had to do it.)

According to David La Puma, director of the Cape May Bird Observatory and a big fan of CMBC: “The type of beer a birder craves after a long day of birding is seasonally-dependent. On a warm fall day, I go for the Cape May IPA or the Take Five Session IPA, but after a cold front moves in, you need something that’s going to warm the cockles. I like the Devil’s Reach or, if you’re looking for something less boozy, the Coffee Stout.”

But how do we even know most birders are beer drinkers to begin with? Let’s examine the evidence:

1 In 2013, Men’s Journal did a story on the “Bad News Birders” who smoke pot, curse, ride motorcycles and, yes, drink beer.

2 “Pub birding” — in which people identify birds from bar windows — is an actual thing.

3 This “All I care about is birding and beer” tee-shirt exists.

4 The International Bird Beer Label Association exists.

5 Birding-slash-drinking clubs hold events in multiple cities, including Denver, Maine and Chicago.

6 The character of James Bond was named for a birder. (Okay, the original 007 drank martinis, but he has since made the switch to beer.)

Let’s face it: after a long day — or even a Big Year — of birdwatching, a cool beer can be so gratifying. So, after you hit the Hawk Watch Platform, the South Cape May Meadows, or some other avian-rich spot, hit our tasting room. We’ll be waiting with some flights. (Really, the puns just write themselves…)

 

 

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