Editorial Dept.'s picture

Coastal Evacuation – Cape May Brewing Co. – 91 Rating

Brian Hink, Head Brewer
Brian Hink, Head Brewer

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
One of the core beliefs here at Cape May is that we can always do better.  We have grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and with that comes changes for the better.  Coastal Evacuation is the perfect example of that, having first evolved entirely out of another beer - Centennial IPA (or CIPA) - which was one of our original beers designed by co-owner and our original brewer Chris Henke, This was a beer before a bit its time with the way we added the hops to the kettle. By the time I started doing most of the brewing in late 2013/early 2014 we felt this beer could be even better, so we tweaked it to create Coastal Evacuation. We lightened the body, dried it out, and amped up the dry-hopping; we were genuinely happy with where it was. But as we continued to grow further, we saw an opportunity to further improve the efficiency of our process to intensify the hop aroma even more, so we went back to the drawing board this past summer, looking at the kinds of hops, the amount of hops, when they were added, and our dry-hopping process. Over a number of months, (Director of Brewery Operations) Jimmy and I tweaked and tweaked until we felt we created the perfect DIPA. Once again it was about striving for more, continually trying to improve without resting on our laurels, and we ended up with a beer that was more intense, more complex and evolving on the palate, and less astringent that made Coastal way too easy to put back.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
What don't I like about this beer?! It's an absolute hop bomb, really hitting your senses hard with a one-two punch of citrus and a touch of dank, but it's not stripping or astringent in its bitterness. It has a softer body, which really makes the barrage of hops continue, and at 8.0% you're more likely to have a couple and not wake up hurting the next day. We dry-hop Coastal Evacuation with two pounds per barrel of a blend of hops that blend together so well that we really think created the perfect aroma for this beer: predominately Centennial, a hefty amount of Simcoe, and a touch of Apollo to play up the dankness, so you get a complex aroma of orange peel, grapefruit rind, pine needles, and apricots.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
We live on the Jersey Shore (and no, it's not like the MTV show: Cape May is an old Victorian resort town that has more Bed & Breakfasts than fist-pumpers), so we're all well-accustomed to the Coastal Evacuation Route signs we see along every roadway. If you go any further south of us you wind up in the Delaware Bay, so in the event of hurricanes or severe coastal storms, we have to evacuate inland and head northwest.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
I don't usually drink one particular beer too often, but Coastal is one I can easily go back to time and time again. Being Head Brewer I'm trying beers along every step of the way, from trying the raw materials, to the wort on brew day, during the daily gravity checks, and of course before packaging, so by the time a beer is released I've been trying it in stages throughout the entire process. That being said, with Coastal Evacuation I do find myself bringing a 6-pack home at least once a week. It really is my favorite of our core offerings, and with the complexity in the aroma, I could definitely enjoy this over and over again on a desert island, especially with how incredibly drinkable it is despite coming in at 8.0% alcohol.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Hop-bomb with the complexity to keep you coming back.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
We completely changed our dry-hopping procedure based on the needs of this beer. We have 30 and 60 bbl tanks and we use a 2 bbl rolling tank to do our dry-hopping.  After running a few trials we decided to shift some of the hops from whirlpool additions to dry-hopping to bring out the complexity and intensity of the aroma, but this put quite a load on that 2 bbl rolling tank with the method we were using. I had long wanted to experiment with recirculating the beer through the hops in this rolling tank throughout dry-hopping instead of letting the beer sit on the hops for a few days before pushing the it back into the fermenter, as this left most of the hop matter behind.  And dry-hopping a beer to the level that Coastal Evacuation is at, the efficiency of the hop oil extraction just wasn't as good as we knew it could be.  So as soon as we tried to brew Coastal Evacuation with the new dry-hopping rates we immediately knew we would have to change our process, so Jimmy, our Director of Brewing Operations, and I worked out a new way to recirculate the beer through the bed of hops, and our then Head Cellarmen and I tweaked the process on the fly. What's the saying about necessity being the mother of invention or something? We switched all of our other dry-hopped beers to this new process and have seen an enormous increase in hop utilization, bringing out the intensity that we had long been seeking.

Read Review  |  Beer Details