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Beer 101

Beer 101

Girls Take Flight With Karen: Why Is It Called A Flight?

Did you ever wonder why a flight is called a flight?  I tried researching this, but didn’t come up with much information.  Every resource seems to agree that “flight” originates from the second dictionary definition of the word.  Flight as a noun is a group of creatures or objects flying together, in particular.  The small grouping of beer samples fits this definition perfectly.  

A flight can also be compared to a flight of stairs.  Flights are usually drunk lightest to darkest where you work your way “up” in hues of color as you would work your way up a flight of stairs.

You can group your flight any way you’d like.  A “Horizontal Flight” is a flight of beers that has been brewed on the premises.  A “Vertical Flight” is a sampling of different vintages of the same beer.  “Shades of a Single Style” is a flight of a single style where you compare the variations within the style chosen.

Some people do not agree with the beauty of a flight as I do.  They feel you don’t truly appreciate or experience the beer because your palate is going all over the place tasting a variety in a short amount of time.  I do see this point of view, but a sip of water and a bite of pretzel can cleanse your palate and leave you ready to enjoy the next taste.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a brewery or bar that has enough selections to do a Single Style flight, I’d go for it!  You can compare color, taste, haziness, aroma, ABV, etc.  You might find the beer you’d like a pint of, or just keep enjoying the samples and compare more.

The point is there are no rules when it comes to a flight.  You choose whatever you want, you drink in any order you want, and you enjoy the flight any way you want.  Have fun, share your opinion, and explore the selections.  You might come across a beer you never would have considered.

Now sit back and enjoy your flight!

Beer 101 Breweries News

A Look Back at South Jersey’s Biggest Beer Stories of 2018

2018 was a very interesting year for South Jersey Breweries.  We once again saw a rise in the number of breweries that are operating and expansions of many of the breweries that are making beer here in South Jersey.  This was also the year that the business made front page news with all of the changes that were made, then rescinded, by former ABC Commissioner Rible.  Here is our list of the top 5 news stories of 2018.

1.  The ABC Changes, Then Reverts Back To Current Brewery Rules “Pending Further Review”

We had been hearing rumblings for years about the impending brewery rule changes and was not quite sure when they were going to happen and, when they did, what actually was going to be changed.  Well, on September 21st we found out, and the changes were sweeping (You can read our article about it HERE).  Public outcry was incredible, with most people backing their local breweries in fear that they would not be able to operate in the way that would allow them to continue to be profitable.  The Independent Craft Brewers of NJ, a cooperative partnership formed by a group of New Jersey Brewers in the late Summer of 2018, collected a petition with over 30,000 signatures from state residents in the days following the ruling which, in addition to several state and local politicians voicing their opposition, no doubt was a factor in the suspension of the ruling.

2.  Governor Murphy Nominates James B. Graziano as new ABC Director effective November 26, 2018

In another stunning turn of events in the continuing saga of the ABC, David Rible “stepped down to pursue other opportunities ” and a new ABC Director was named.  James B. Graziano assumed the role on 11/26/18 and we have not had any changes to the brewery rules that are currently being followed.  We expect more news on this in the very near future.

3.  More New Breweries!

  • 13th Child Brewing, Williamstown
  • Bonesaw Brewing Company, Glassboro
  • Cross Keys Brewing Company, Williamstown
  • Gusto Brewing Company, North Cape May
  • Heavy Reel Brewing Company, Seaside Heights
  • Hidden Sands Brewing Company, Egg Harbor Twp.
  • Oyster Creek Brewing Company, Waretown
  • Mudhen Brewing Company, Wildwood
  • Westville Brewery, Westville

We already have had an opening this year (Coho, Cape May Court House) and several in various stages of development so this trend should continue.  By our count, 53 of the states 99 breweries (excludes brewpubs) are located in the Southern Half of the State.  This is a tremendous turn of events over the last 3 years where South Jersey trailed the northern part of the state in the number of operating breweries.

4.  The Increased Availability of Local Beer in Cans, Bottles, and On Tap in the Region

We have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of locally brewed fresh beer in cans and bottles available not only at the breweries, but in local liquor stores and bottle shops.  Several breweries entered the self-distribution of cans and bottles this year and we have also seen the expansion of the OG canning and bottling breweries with more releases and greater availability of their brand.  It is rare to go into any liquor store and not be able to find at least a few types of local craft beer available for takeout.  It is also become very rare to go to a bar or restaurant and not have a few selections of locally brewed beer on tap.  In the past, it was hard for local breweries to get a tap handle if the bar/restaurant already had a few local selections on.  It is still a challenge, but the popularity of local beer has made it a little bit easier.  Bars and Restaurants are actively marketing local brands and we have even seen many that have added lines to accommodate them without taking one of their big beer selections from the tap.

5.  Continued dominance of IPA’s and the Introduction of a New Style, Brut IPA

Once again IPA’s ruled the roost this year.  The dominance of this style is so strong that we don’t see when it will end. Whether it is DDH, Single Hop, DIPA, Lactose IPA, Milkshake IPA, etc, it is still #1 in the sales category, and the most sought after by Craft Beer drinkers.

The Brut IPA craze hit us in late Summer and just about every brewery made a version of it.  This new style was “invented” in San Francisco, at Social Kitchen & Brewery.  Brewmaster Kim Sturdavant had been using amyloglucosidase on his triple IPA to help tamp down the sugars found in that beer.  He decided to use the enzyme on a traditional IPA and the result was a 0° Plato, bone-dry, super-aromatic, slightly hazy but still bright, IPA. He immediately knew he had something new and different and was going to call it “Champagne IPA”, but settled on “Brut IPA” after talking to one of his wine friends.  The brewing industry went crazy and South Jersey was no exception.  Some brewers feel that this is a game-changer as it will be a beer that will appeal to people that have an affinity to Champagne or Extra Dry Wines.

Honorable Mentions

  • Festivals were everywhere again last year, although we did see a decline in attendance to some of them.  We think the trend of festivals will continue again this year, but they have become so common that we may see the attendance fall off at some of the smaller, newer events.
  • The sheer amount of brands of beer available in New Jersey has exploded.  We saw many sought-after brands hit New Jersey this year including Bell’s, Omnipollo, Prairie Artisan Ales, Hoof-Hearted, Evil Twin, Mikkeller, Alesong, and The Ale Apothecary to name a few.

Of course, this is just one man’s opinion.  Let us know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer 101 Breweries

Tom Spends A Day With Brewer Tadhg Campbell of Slack Tide Brewing Company

We have been sitting on this article for quite some time.  Not because it wasn’t done well, we just wanted to hold onto it until Slack Tide Brewing Company was ready to release their first run of cans.  While we were awaiting the boys to let us know, something very cool happened, they went out and one a Bronze Medal at The Great American Beer Festival for Avalon Amber Ale!  So as this article goes to press their cans of Angry Osprey, Bell Buoy, and Tipsy Dipsy are available in 12 oz 6 packs at the brewery and select locations around South Jersey.  Without further adieu, here is Tom’s article born of sweat and hard work while yours truly sat in air conditioning!

John Couchoud, Editor-In-Chief

A Day With The Brewer

I recently spent a couple days with Tadhg Campbell of Slack Tide Brewing Company  to experience what a brew day consists of. The first day started with cleaning and sanitizing the equipment that will be used for the day. On day one Tadhg and assistant brewer Shawn Karge were going to be brewing a BBL batch one of mine and my wife’s favorite, Avalon Amber Ale. Apparently we are not the only ones who think that.3   This beer just took home the Bronze in the American-Style Amber/Red category for the Avalon at the Great American Beer Festival. Tadhg mentioned to me that it’s not a popular style, but I don’t understand why. It has beautiful color, and a nice toasty, malty flavor. For this batch we milled 110 lbs of base grain, and another 90lbs of specialty malt grains. While the grains did their thing in the Mash Tun we started cleaning kegs, and getting things set up to transfer Sand Spike Session IPA from the fermenter to the Brite tank. While the Sand Spike transfer was taking place I was able to clean 12 half kegs and 19 sixtels in their Keg Commander cleaner. We will be filling those the next day with Sand Spike, their Session IPA. My first day was only about 3 hours, but it was a great warm-up for what was to come on day 2.

Day 2 started out at a balmy 86 degrees in the brew house at 6am. That day Tadhg and assistant brewer Chuck Wieland were going to be brewing a double 10 BBL batch of Bell Buoy,  their award wining Belgian Blonde .  The grain bill for each batch will be a little over 700 lbs. While the first batch of Bell Buoy was in the Mash Tun we started kegging the delicious Sand Spike out of the Brite Tank which yielded 12 half kegs, and 19 sixtels which I had cleaned yesterday. By 8:30 we had the first 10 BBL batch of Bell Buoy in the Brew Kettle and all of the Sand Spike in kegs.  It is balmy in the brew house, currently in the low 90’s, thankfully the cloud cover is saving us. As I thought about the process of brewing, the one word that keeps popping into my head is “multitasking”. As Forrest Gump said “There’s always something to do and somewhere to go”. It’s 9 am, and we start to sanitize the 20 BBL fermenter that housed Sand Spike the day before, and will be the new home for the double batch of Bell Buoy for a couple of weeks. At around 10 am we add the hop bill to the first batch of Bell Buoy and start to pull out the spent grains from the Mash Tun which will be picked up by a local farmer to feed his livestock. I also took some of the spent grain and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with them that turned out really good (Editor’s Note:  They were good!). The sun is out, and it’s about 100 degrees inside the metal building which houses the brewing operation.  so much for me and my big mouth talking about the cloud cover. As we finished removing the first batch of spent grain, Tadhg started pumping the Bell Buoy through the heat exchanger, and into the freshly sanitized 20 BBL fermenter.

As always there is something to sanitize, and prep for the next stage. It’s like a grain, hops, water, and sanitizing symphony that is kind of special to be a part of. It’s now 11:25 am and is about 110 degrees in the brew house, Chuck is moving to the taproom, and we are joined by sales representative Jordi Nicolau to finish up the day in the brew house. We are now ready to move the second batch from the Mash Tun to the Brew Kettle, and we are still sanitizing the Brite Tank to get it ready for the next batch of liquid gold to go in it. Time check is now 12:45 pm, and I just pulled out the second batch of grain from the Mash which comes in at about 1800 lbs when saturated, and the second batch is boiling. Although Tadhg’s day is far from over I’m ready to taste test some of the Sand Spike we kegged, and grab a few crowlers for the 4th. I can’t thank Tadhg, and his brother Jason, and everyone at Slack Tide that I worked with over the 2 days. It was an awesome experience, and it was hot, and hard work, but if you love what you do you never work a day in your life. I can’t wait to do this at another brewery, and have another great experience.

And, as always, Enjoy Your Pour!

                                       

Beer 101 Beer Biz Profiles Breweries

Beerworld! A Short History of Ponderlodge Golf Course and It’s Beer Connection!

Beerworld: A History

Deep in the Cape May County peninsula there was once a lodge on a non-descript golf course referred to as ‘Beerworld’.  Located in Lower Township, this mystical place was born out of the Ponderlodge Golf Course and built by William H. ‘Billy’ Pflaumer shortly after he acquired the land in 1976.

Ponderlodge would shortly be dubbed, Beerworld by locals of Cape May County chiefly because of Billy Pflaumer’s day job: owner of Christian Schmidt & Sons brewery in Philadelphia (more commonly known to many simply as ‘Schmidts’).  Once known as the 9th largest brewer in the country, Schmidts was an American beer icon for decades along with Pabst Blue Ribbon and Anheuser-Busch.

Pflaumer himself did not drink beer or play golf, but built the 16,000-square foot building within Ponderlodge Golf Course for friends and family anyway.  First, as a private 9-hole course and then in 1991, Beerworld was expanded to 18 holes and opened to the public for the first time.  Pflaumer’s family and Lower Township locals alike would play the course up until the crumble of the Schmidts beer empire, and a bankruptcy that would mark a sad end to Beerworld in 1997.  

Schmidt’s Logo Tiled On the Pool

Today, although you can no longer step inside Beerworld for a fresh draft before conquering the back-nine, you can walk the land it once stood on before the lodges’ eventual demolition in 2011.  After Billy Pflaumer lost the golf course in bankruptcy, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection bought the land and made plans to restore it into a wildlife management area (WMA).  

The Cox Hall Creek WMA makes Ponderlodge almost unrecognizable now in 2018.  The golf cart paths are replaced by nature trails.  Ponds once resembling course obstacles have turned into handicap accessible fishing hide-a-ways.  Migratory birds visit the lush grasses and woods that once held drunken golfers cursing a dismal shot in the rough.  

Beerworld is no more, but the lore lives on!  Throw those clubs in the back and let’s find somewhere that still pours a draft!

Cape May Brewing Company

Ah, yes.  New Jersey’s fastest growing craft beer brewer.  Located in the heart of Cape May County and quite literally so close to Ponderlodge/Cox Hall Creek WMA that if golf carts where still on site, one could make the trip to the brewery within five minutes.

Established in 2011, in what could be interpreted as rising from the ruins of Beerworld, the Cape May Brewing Company has gone on to dominate the region since opening its taps to the world.  With a full tasting room, newly renovated outdoor lounge, and nearly two dozen craftsmanship awards from around the globe – Cape May Brewery is a must see, sit, and drink location.

Whether you’re into tastings or pints (I’m a pint guy myself) there’s plenty of brews to try and even more options to take home in the company’s ‘Brewtique’ store (A+ on the creative name convention).  Cape May IPA is the brewery’s flagship beer, and was the very first draft the woman who would go on to become my wife and I tried on a sizzling late summer day in 2012 in a little place called Cabana’s Beach Bar on Beach Avenue in Cape May.  This also happens to be the historic first location Cape May Brewery placed kegs in and sometimes, I like to think we drank a beer from that first keg.  

We were blown away that someone in South Jersey had created an IPA to challenge all IPAs, and even beat out quite a few of our favorites.  On our next visit we went to see this brewery for ourselves and where not disappointed.  Now we find ourselves making the trek down from Camden County as often as summer traffic and hectic schedules allow.

Cape May Brewery has grown a lot since 2011, but you can still purchase as much Cape May IPA as you can carry and so many beers since then.  Coastal Evacuation DIPA is one of my personal favorites while my wife enjoys the taste bud tingle of Corrosion Sour IPA.  

Photo Credit: Cape May Brewing Company

Other flagship beers include Devil’s Reach and Honey Porter.  The latter of the two is made with local honey that is certified Jersey Fresh by the state.  Sign up for the newsletter and check out what’s on tap often from One Off Wednesday’s (week to week one-time brews) to seasonal brews such as Follow The Gull and the much coveted Apple Bomb.