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Oyster Creek Brewing Company of Waretown Edges Closer to Opening!

The impressive stable of Ocean County breweries will soon be joined by Oyster Creek Brewing Company, Waretown’s first! I had the opportunity to sit and meet with founder and head brewer, Kris Lewis, tour the facility and talk about the progress.

The brewery is minutes from Oyster Creek Generating Station, the oldest operating nuclear plant in the US (which recently announced it will be closing later this year) and the tributary of Barnegat Bay which it is named for. Kris wanted to keep a local feel, so rather than ignore the proximity to the plant, he incorporated it into the name, logo, and design of his brewhouse. The table tops are embedded with a map of the Tri-State area, with markers of all the generating stations and locations. He also has several booths from the now closed local restaurant the Forked River House, again, keeping that local connection.

That sense of community that we see with many of our breweries is important to Kris, as he was born, raised in still lives in Southern Ocean County. His love of brewing started over 20 years ago when he bought a homebrew kit for his dad. It was an extract kit, “Your basic ale”, and soon, like many home brewers, he was hooked! The passion grew quickly, followed by the need to upgrade his system, develop more complicated recipes and brew larger batches.

Kris refined his skills and recipes and for many years his brews have been enjoyed by friends and families who all encouraged him to open his own brewery. Buoyed by the favorable change in NJ laws and the recent surge and success of local breweries, Kris decided to take the plunge and after much planning secured his present location about a year ago.

Maybe more than any other industry, the brewing community is very supportive, nurturing group and the experience Kris had was no different. “We were at the Manahopkin Brew Festival, and even though we weren’t able to produce beer yet, everyone was very supportive. Jason from Icarus Brewing stopped by and we had a great conversation about his experiences, the pitfalls, and frustrations in waiting for inspections and concern over the finances. But we also spoke about the excitement of building the brewhouse and the sense of accomplishment once everything comes together. It was a very encouraging conversation and the success they are having at Icarus now shows it can be done. Torie at Backward Flag has been great also. We are so close to their location, I didn’t want it to seem like I was encroaching on their territory, so I introduced myself to her, but she was nothing but supportive and full of advice. We even heard from Megan Myers from Human Village Brewing Company all the way down in Pitman, offering congratulations and best wishes!”

It takes a village to convert a computer repair shop to a brewery so Kris, his wife Colleen, contractors, family, friends have been working diligently. The work has paid off and with a beautiful concrete bar as a focal point, the dream that is Oyster Creek Brewery is taking shape. “We have a few more inspections to go through and then hopefully we can start brewing.”

Kris anticipates 6-8 taps running for the 1.5 barrel brewhouse including 4-5 staples and some seasonal beers and possibly some experimental batches. “Our Irish Ale and Habanero Double IPA are 2 of our standards, so we hope to have them year round. Opening…possibly by St Patrick’s Day or maybe a little longer. Again, it all depends on how the inspections go.”

In honor of Kris’ hope to be open by St Patrick’s Day, we leave you with this Irish toast:

“May you always have love in your hearts, and beer in your belly!”
Cheers!

Breweries Podcast

The South Jersey Beer Scene Podcast: Rob Callaghan of Tuckahoe Brewing Company

Rob Callaghan of Tuckahoe Brewing Company joins us on the podcast and we talk all things Tuckahoe including the introduction of cans, being the brewer of the official beer of the 2018 Beerfest, the life of a beer salesman, and Rob’s history in the business. You don’t want to miss this one, Rob pulls no punches and gives great insight on the day in the life of being in the brewing business!

 

Listen here or on iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!

 


Breweries Events

Cape May Brewing Company Wins Eagles/Pats Wager, Night Shift Here to Settle Bet on 2/17!

E-A-G-L-E-S!  Expect to hear a bunch of Eagles chants and good-natured trash talking as Night Shift Brewing Company comes to Cape May Brewing Company on 2/17 to settle a wager made between the breweries on the Super Bowl.  This event will benefit Eagles Charities and will be a lot of fun!  More details in the press release below!

From The Press Release:

Cape May Brewing Company Celebrates Eagles Win!

Cape May, NJ — Cape May Brewing Company is celebrating the Eagles’ recent big win with a celebration in their Tasting Room at 1288 Hornet Road in the Cape May Airport. In the weeks before the big game, the brewery entered into a friendly wager with Massachusetts-based Night Shift Brewing. On February 17th, representatives from Night Shift will be on-hand in the Cape May Brewing Company Tasting Room from 4-5pm to settle the wager.

“It’s really been a great time working with these guys,” says Cape May Brewing Company CEO and co-founder Ryan Krill. “We were both hoping to see our teams win, but they’ve been gracious, even in the face of their home team’s loss. The Eagles prevailed and so did CMBC!”

Kicking off a 4pm, Night Shift owner Mike O’Mara will be behind the bar at Cape May Brewing Company serving Cape May Brewing Company beers while wearing a Patriots jersey with “We Lost” emblazoned on the back. All tips collected during this hour will be donated to the Eagles Charitable Foundation.

“We love the opportunity to stir up a little bit of friendly competition with other great craft breweries,” says Kim Currier, Marketing Director at Night Shift Brewing. “Although we are bummed that the Patriots lost, it was a well-played game and we have to give credit where credit is due. The Eagles out-played us so now we have a good reason to visit CMBC, making the loss even a little less painful. We hope Mike, one of our co-founders, has a great day serving beers to all of the fans down in the NJ/Philly area and we are honored to be able to donate his tips to support the Eagles Charitable Foundation.”

In addition, Cape May Brewing Company will be tapping a special firkin of their recent Northeast Pale Ale commemorating the US Coast Guard, Always Ready. With five varieties of hops and wheat and oats in the grain bill, this pale ale is bursting with aromas of tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, and citrus zest. For the event, the brewers will be creating a Boston Cream Pale Ale: Always Ready conditioned with lactose, chocolate and vanilla.

For more information on Cape May Brewing Company — including for tours and tastings — see capemaybrewery.com or call (609) 849-9933.

Breweries

Lunacy Brewing Company Celebrating 3rd Anniversary Saturday, 2/10!

Lunacy Brewing Company will be celebrating their 3rd Anniversary on Saturday, February 10th at the taproom in Haddon Heights.  The event will run from 1-8 PM and the guys are going to be giving away swag and prizes all day.  There will be 16 different types of beer on tap including a special new brew or two – including their Chocolate Coconut Stout.  In addition, there will be live acoustic music from Rob McMahon and Ashley Heffren along with a food truck from  Il Fuoco Dentro, who will be making brick oven pizza all day!  “It’s going to be momentous!” co-owner Ed Gledhill told us, and with the rabid fanbase of “lunatics” that Lunacy has, I would expect nothing less!

Lunacy opened in Magnolia in January of 2015 and recently moved to their new location in Haddon Heights in September of 2017.  In those 3 years, Lunacy has built a dedicated fanbase which may be the most loyal in all of South Jersey.  Ed agreed, “We have the best patrons that you can ask for and they spread the Lunacy name to any and all like it’s their job!”  When I asked Ed what it is about Lunacy that people love, he said it “is that all of the guys are really down to earth and approachable” but the “brewery following comes because of the quality of the beer”.  I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, you can be the nicest guys in the world, but if your beer is not up to spec, you would not have such a loyal contingent.

Reaching the three-year mark is a fantastic milestone, but it did not come without hard work.  I asked Ed what the one piece of advice that he would give to someone that was looking to open a brewery would be, and he told us, “you better love what you are doing.  There’s truth to the old saying ‘if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life’ but, trust me, you do indeed work. Aside from that, whatever amount of time/money you think it will take to get to certain plateaus-at least double it. But stick with it and see it through, trust your vision”.

To that point, the guys are in the process of upgrading the brewery to a 15 BBL system.  This will enable them to make more beer and bring mobile canning in to get their beer on to the shelf of your local liquor stores.  “At this point, we are hoping to have it running by spring and canning at some point for sure” Ed explained.  As the brewery has evolved, the biggest change that has occurred is the variety and quality of brews that they have made.  “You learn from your first-year mistakes and we have been lucky not to repeat them,” Ed told us and we could not agree more!

Congratulations to Ed, Mike, Rick, and Jay on this anniversary and we encourage everyone to get to the brewery and join in the revelry!

 

 

Breweries Events

Backward Flag Brewing Reopened This Weekend and is Bigger and Better Than Ever!

WE’RE BACK!

With those 2 words everyone’s favorite veteran owned and operated brewery reopened this past weekend to standing room only crowds! Backward Flag recently completed a huge upgrade to its brewhouse, more than doubling in size to a 10 barrel facility with state of the art equipment. That means more beer, but also more opportunity to support the veteran and law enforcement community, the mission of owner Torie Fisher since the brewery opened in 2015.

The brewery was closed the month of January to install the machinery, plumbing, train the staff and of course, brew more beer to fill all of those new tanks!

Mil-Spec Black IPA, Oak Armored Ale and the annual January favorite, Raisin Bread (made with 10 pounds of raisins and Saigon Cinnamon) were among the brews on tap with more on the way.

Congratulations and good luck to Torie and her team at Backward Flag!
Welcome back!