Chris Guest's picture

Cape May Brewing Co. Tour

A New Jersey Jewel

New Jersey, the Garden State, much like the rest of the wider craft beer universe, is experiencing a surge of new breweries and scintillating new beer concepts and recipes. With over 80 breweries and brewpubs (as well as 22 still in planning or pre-production), New Jersey serves as a perfect reminder that all states in the union are enjoying the economic and cultural boons that a craft brewery can provide.

While each and every brewery has a terrific story of its founding, Cape May Brewing Co. is the subject of this issue’s Brewery Tour.

Founded in 2011, fittingly in Cape May, New Jersey, the brewery quickly found its location, purchased its first forklift and delivered its first keg of Cape May IPA to a local restaurant. Since then, the brewery has been focused on “providing South Jersey with fresh, delicious, local beer and helping put New Jersey on the map as a craft beer state,” according to the brewery’s website.

(L-R): Cape May Brewer Andrew Ewing and Head Brewer Brian Hink salute your good taste in beer.

Also listed on the brewery’s site are seven of the brewery’s core values, any number of which can be directly attributed to the brewery’s 100+(!) rotating selection of craft elixirs. Highlighting a few major ones makes it simple to plot the purpose of the brewery and showcase some of its fine libations.

The first value the brewery conveys is “Be A Pro.” This singular belief can be traced all the way back to the brewery’s first beer, Cape May IPA. A quintessentially West Coast IPA with powerful floral and tropical notes due to the pound of hops used per barrel, this is Cape May’s flagship beer, and why not? As easily quaffable as a stoppered decanter of lemonade on a hot day, Cape May’s IPA is balanced yet striking, and deftly displays the professionalism of any and all employees at the brewery.

Value number two is “Be Direct, Honest and Respectful.” The merits of being a craft brewery, in general, tend to extend to these values, but Cape May takes it one step further by self-distributing all of their brews, rather than relying on a distributor or other outside parties. This makes it easier for the brewery to be direct, honest and respectful since, as the creators of the delightful drinks, they know them better than anyone else.

Cape May’s third value is perhaps the easiest for any craft brewery to follow: “Foster Creativity: Be open to raising the bar and challenging the status quo.” This tenet of the brewery’s existence serves as a reminder of all of the envelope-pushing experimentalism that exists in the craft beer sphere, and also proves a perfect segue into some of the brewery’s more interesting beer creations. Here is a minute sampling of the brewery’s wares:

The Garden State's outline emblazons Cape May's logo'd glassware, filled to the brim with delectable craft creations.

Coastal Evacuation – This hopped-up DIPA features a heavy dose of Centennial hops, and is one of the brewery’s year-round offerings.

Mop Water – Don’t let the unsavory name fool you, this spiced brown ale is a delightful concoction featuring the stellar spice blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and a heaping dose of whole vanilla beans. Perfect for an autumn evening, this beer does not serve as a substitute liquid when mopping the floor.

Apple Bomb – Another year-round beer, this 8-percent ABV wheat beer is dosed with a healthy helping of tasty, tart, fresh apples, providing a zingy flavor that is one of the brewery’s most creative and interesting alongside…

Apple Pie – A lower-ABV version of Apple Bomb combined with the spice mix from Mop Water, this seasonal release is a hazy, gorgeous light orange color featuring an aroma reminiscent of mulled wine. Delightful and sought after, Cape May’s Apple Pie is always a hit, and pairs beautifully with its eponymous pastry.

Barrel-Aged Series – A brand new line of brews introduced by Cape May in 2016, these creations run the gamut of styles and flavors, and are true jewels in the brewery’s lineup. Debuting with sour beer The Keel in June 2016, Cape May quickly followed with The Skeg and The Scupper, both of which plumbed the depths of combining barrel elements with sour beers.

Cape May Brewing Company serves as a perfect amalgam of its sundry “Purpose & Values,” as the final ones evince: “Make It Better,” and “Have Fun,” both of which the brewery specializes in with fascinating and delightful beers that help to improve New Jersey’s fast-growing craft beer scene.

While most NJ breweries are only open for a short time during the week and weekend, Cape May’s taproom is open from 12-8 p.m. every day, so pop into the Cape May airport and enjoy some fresh suds. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your own purpose and value, all while downing some delightful craft brews.


scrapmetal's picture
Great area and great beer but self distribution translates to limited availability. That works for alchemist heady topper in vt but takes 80 pct of the national market out of the loop....think gordonbiersch on the left coast


scrapmetal's picture
Great area and great beer but self distribution translates to limited availability. That works for alchemist heady topper in vt but takes 80 pct of the national market out of the loop....think gordonbiersch on the left coast