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Cape May Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm Talks Always Ready

Cape May Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm Talks Always Ready

We spoke with Cape May Brewing's Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm about Always Ready.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
This recipe was created by myself and Brian Hink, our Head Brewer, but it went through a few iterations before we landed on the final recipe. Getting the hoppiness just right and a lower bitterness in this low-ABV beer was a tough mark to hit, and we went through a few different hop varieties and ratios to get there. We were doing tasting sessions with the whole crew as well and getting lots of feedback on what was good and what needed more work. At the end of the day, I think this was the most collaborative brew we've done, with the whole team involved in making it what it is.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
My favorite aspect of this beer is how much flavor we were able to get into a 4.8% beer. The aroma and flavor just pop with those tropical notes, but it's not only pineapple or only mango like I find in so many tropical IPAs. This one has it all, and then it's backed up by a little malty backbone from the wheat and just the slightest bitter bite on the finish. It's really complex.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The name is a translation of Semper Paratus, which is the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard. Cape May is the home of the only Coast Guard Training Facility, so each "Coastie" comes through Cape May for eight weeks. The Training Center is a big part of our community, so we wanted to give them a little tribute for all they've done for us in protecting our shores, as well as what they've done for Cape May, so we brewed a beer that's always good to go, just like they are.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
When we decided to take it from a Spring Seasonal to a full-time offering, I was ecstatic. The beer in my fridge rotates depending on what's available, but this one has become a permanent resident. This has very quickly jumped to near the top of my list of desert island beers.  

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Refreshingly crushable hop bomb that will never let you down.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
When we first began talking with the Coast Guard about this beer, we were all very excited that we were able to get something done together -- our liaison from the Coast Guard asked if there was anything else we needed from them.  Well, I'm an avid surfer, and there's this sweet little surf break in Cape May that is technically on Coast Guard property. They don't use it and it's essentially a beach now, but access is still restricted. I'd only gotten out there a few times with some friends who are former Coasties, and it's a great spot because of the restricted nature of this beach: it's never as crowded as the other beaches here in the summer, and everyone there are locals. It's a good crowd. So I asked for a special pass to get me access to that break. It hasn't happened yet, but as this beer gets more and more popular, I think I can swing something.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
So far, my favorite food to pair with Always Ready is Mexican food, especially with something that has salsa verde or pico de gallo. The fruitiness pairs so well with those spicy flavors.

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