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From Pastime to Passion: A Journey to Craft Beer through Feminism

From Pastime to Passion: A Journey to Craft Beer through Feminism

Working in the New Jersey craft beer scene has been a wild (almost) two years.  If you came to me in 2012 and told me that I would be regularly drinking craft beer, occasionally brewing it, and talking about beer all the time, I would tell you to sit down and have another drink.

My foray into craft beer began at the 2012 Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival with my then-boyfriend, now-husband.  We had just started dating and I only went because it gave me the chance to be ‘the cool girl who drinks beer’.  Up until a few years ago, I believed the societal notion that beer was for guys and women only pretended to like beer to look cool (Go ahead – gasp and clutch your pearls.  I will save my Come to Jesus-I mean Feminism moment for another time.)

I was intimidated.  The only beer I had ever consumed at this point was some classically collegiate light beer and Yuengling Lager when the party hosts wanted to appear ‘cultured’.  Thankfully, my partner was aware of my palate (wine, please!) and introduced me to mead.  I think I spent the majority of the session between two meaderies (or in line for the bathroom) and felt like I was starting to fit in.  Over the course of the next four years, my partner made it his personal mission to find beer that I liked, and to my shock, I liked beer!  I grew comfortable looking at a beer list and learning which styles I preferred, and it became exciting to visit all the local breweries that were popping up like weeds.

This brings us to 2016.  Ever the stereotypical millennial with overwhelming student loan debt, I made the decision to get a second job.  With ten years of bartending experience under my belt and my newfound appreciation of craft beer, I felt confident in applying to a new, under-construction brewery.

Enter Chris Burke and Chris Mazzone of Eight & Sand Beer Co. – two friends who decided to open a brewery in Woodbury, New Jersey that focuses on styles that are traditionally European, with an American flair.

Eight & Sand is a 10-barrel brewhouse dedicated to its community.  Located on Evergreen Avenue, you are close enough to hear the train that runs through the city several times a day.  In the late 1800’s, trains were the main source of transportation.  Almost everywhere a train stopped, a community would grow around it.  This was the case for Woodbury, where three rail lines merged in the center of town, making it one of the oldest train hubs in New Jersey.  The name Eight & Sand is an old train term that means “quick and safe travels.”  Notch-8 is the fastest speed on certain trains and sand was thrown on tracks to prevent slippage.

I had no idea that starting a side hustle would turn into a passion, but Eight & Sand has been like a family to me, from my bosses to every person that comes in the Tasting Room.  Sure, I get to finish my full-time job and go right into a second one.  Many nights, I am responding to emails, scheduling staff, and thinking about social media, but who needs a day off when you get to do what you love every day?

It was Chris Burke that told me about the Pink Boots Society and encouraged me to join.  Founded in 2007 by brewmaster Teri Fahrendorf, Pink Boots Society is a non-profit organization created to assist, inspire, and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education. To this end, Pink Boots Society provides scholarship opportunities, job resources, and industry information to its more than 1,500 members.

This year, I coordinated the second E&S Women’s Brew Day and our first for International Women’s Brew Day.  Nevertheless She Brewsisted is a hoppy Kettle Sour brewed with Buddha hand fruit to compliment the citrus and herbal notes of the Pink Boots YCH hop blend.  When collaborating with our head brewer to create the style, I knew that even though the female staff and I would be brewing the beer, I did not want to brew a “girly” beer designed to only be marketed to and consumed by women.  This is the same consideration we had when collaborating on We Can Brew It, our Lemon Wheat Ale.

Within the craft beer industry, pandering to female consumers and using sexualized images of women’s bodies to market products is not hard to find, but it is getting better (a lot in part due to the Brewers Association Advertising and Marketing Code).  From a server standpoint, I have had more sexist comments from those new to craft beer than those who have been around for a while.  The majority of my customers trust and respect my knowledge, knowing that my favorite part of my job is introducing people to new styles and tastes.

It is not hard to tell a craft beer newbie from someone more experienced.  I love asking people what they typically drink and finding a match in one of the 20 beers we have on tap at Eight & Sand.  Most recently, a new female customer told me cognac and coke is her usual drink of choice.  I will admit that this stumped me for a second, but our bourbon barrel-aged Belgian Tripel and Biere de Mars (respectively, Steel & Snow and Broken Nose) were winners that she enjoyed.  I can only hope that I inspired her appreciation for craft beer, as my partner did with me six years ago.

Even though New Jersey now has over 100 breweries (47 of which are in South Jersey), it is still on the list of states with the fewest breweries per capita.  This tells me that there is still more room to grow.  With this growth comes the opportunity for more women to learn and develop a passion for craft beer – whether that is drinking, selling, or brewing it.

Never forget – hop flowers are female!  Cheers.

Breweries Events

Dogfish Head Celebrates Completion of Three-Year Journey Bringing Together all the Goodness in Rehoboth

For Immediate Release:

Dogfish Head Celebrates Completion of Three-Year Journey Bringing Together all the Goodness in Rehoboth

Opening of new courtyard, merchandise store and brewing and distilling systems

Rehoboth Beach, Del., May 29, 2018 – After 23 years of serving original beers and spirits, wood-fired food and world-class music, Dogfish Head is embarking on a new era of creating more goodness as they celebrate the completion of a three-year journey at the location where it originally began on Rehoboth Ave.  The beautifully landscaped courtyard, new brewhouse and distillery operations, and Off-Centered EmPOURium store is the final stage in bringing together the downtown restaurants,  Brewings & Eats – an off-centered brewpub, and Chesapeake & Maine – a geographically inspired seafood restaurant, and establishing it as the heart for all things Dogfish.

The project commenced in 2015 when they first began construction on Chesapeake & Maine, then went on to build a new, world-class Brewings & Eats in the former parking area. Dogfish then tore down the original pub to make way for the new courtyard and operational enhancements. “From the world-class stage to the killer brewing and distilling program, guests can truly experience 360° of Dogfish in the same place we first began our story in 1995 as the smallest craft brewery in America,” says Sam Calagione, CEO and founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “I’m most proud that over the years we’ve been successful in building our Rehoboth restaurant brands as top beer destinations in the Mid-Atlantic region, and by coming together, and connecting our beer, food, spirits, music and merchandise – we can provide a world-class, panoramic, multi-sensory experience for folks to enjoy at our downtown properties.”

The charmingly landscaped, dog-friendly outdoor patio area seats 36 guests and serves as a passageway connecting Brewings & Eats and Chesapeake & Maine. The menu offers a full selection of food and drink offerings from the pub.  With a rustic wooden exterior and large glass windows framing the courtyard, the gathering space offers behind-the-scenes views into the brewing and distilling production areas along with allowing guests to see bartenders and mixologists serving drinks and chatting up customers through the windows of both restaurants.  Nestled in the corner of the patio is a beautiful, 14-barrel mash tun dating from the late 90s.  Handcrafted in the UK, this wooden relic was Calagione’s dream mash tun back in the day when he first opened the doors for business in Rehoboth.  When the opportunity to purchase the brewing equipment became available, Calagione jumped at the chance to bring it home to Dogfish and plans to incorporate it into the off-centered outdoor garden as a beer-inspired rain barrel of sorts.

The new, fully-manual five-barrel brewhouse system includes five fermentation tanks and five serving tanks.  These enhancements allow for increased brewing production capacity enabling Bryan Selders, Dogfish Head Brewing Ambassador, the ability to create a significantly higher volume of ingredient-driven, inventive brewpub exclusives. The new 50-gallon still allows Graham Hamblett, Lead Distiller at Dogfish Head Distilling Co., to experiment with creating culinary-inspired spirits which will be served at the Rehoboth restaurants.

To celebrate the opening, Dogfish Head Distilling Co. is debuting Lemon & Peppercorn Vodka, a spirit that captures the essence of both restaurants as it contains the quintessential seafood seasoning found at Chesapeake & Maine, with a wood fire smoked twist done at Brewings & Eats. Using Analog Vodka as the base, they distill dried lemon peel and a medley of peppercorns. This citrus-peppery spirit is used to macerate hand-sliced, wood-fire grilled lemons from Brewings & Eats. Lemon & Peppercorn Vodka will be exclusively available in the restaurants.

For those looking to take a little bit of the Dogfish Head universe home, guests can swing into the Off-Centered EmPOURium to purchase Dogfish merchandise, including exclusive Rehoboth t-shirts, hoodies and hats. Folks can also find keychains, stickers, coasters and glassware.  Keeping the spirit alive from the original Brewings & Eats, the countertop in the Off-Centered EmPOURium is the old bar top from the 1995 pub.  Bike racks and stroller parking are also available.

For more information about Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Chesapeake & Maine and the Off-Centered EmPOURium, visit



20 Years in The Making, Westville Brewery Sets Opening Date!

Westville Brewery’s much-anticipated Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting has been announced for 6/23/18 at 3 PM.  This is the culmination of a 20-year love of brewing by Co-Owners Mike and Pam Gordy who, along with their good friends Co-Owners John Metz and Chuck Eckert, are bringing craft beer to downtown Westville, NJ in the old Westville Firehouse on Broadway Ave.

The seeds for the Westville Brewery were sown back in 1996 when Mike was working as a steamfitter on a job in Philly and one of his co-workers asked him if he was interested in brewing beer.  Mike said “Sure, why not?” and purchased a $60 Home Brew kit from him that consisted of a 5-gallon bucket fermenting kit with an airlock, some caps, and a capper, Charlie Papazian’s famous “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing”, and extract to make the beer.  Mike and Pam cooked the beer at her brother’s house and then transported it to Mike’s parent’s house where he was living at the time. “I can remember Pam and me bottling the beer in the bathroom, washing bottles in the sink and the tub, it wasn’t very sanitary but we didn’t know a lot about what we were doing.”  Mike also remembers that his father was asking what they were doing and he yelled from the bathroom, “We are botting beer dad!”  They filled their Anheuser-Busch returnable bottles and stuck them in Mike’s closet for 2 weeks. Long story short, the finished product was not so good.  Mike promptly put the kit up on a shelf and forgot about it.  Some time went by and Mike and Pam were moving in together and were unpacking and they came across the kit and figured they would try it again, and from then on “it just steamrolled from extracts, to partial mashing, to all grain, and then we started to build the all-grain system with a hot liquor tank, mash tuns, putting pumps on it” Mike told us.

Fast Forward to 2014 and John was talking to his friends (Mike and John have known each other since kindergarten, and Chuck since high-school) on Christmas Eve about how he wanted to open a bar, and that is when Mike told him about his brewery idea.  They all decided to see what they needed to do to open a brewery.

They started to look for locations for the brewery and, being locals, they wanted to stay in the area.  Pam, who has her real estate license, started looking for a place and like most breweries found it hard to find something that would fit in their budget.  One day the Westville property popped up and they checked it out.  As soon as they walked in Pam told us they thought, “Yeah.  We could do something with this,” and the location was settled upon.  They signed their lease on June 1st of 2017 and started to get to work.  They did all the demolition and construction themselves, including putting the brewhouse together.

I visited the brewery for the interview and was impressed with the transformation.  They have done a ton of remodeling.  They tore down the storefront walls so they could use the garage doors of the firehouse (the previous tenants had pushed them up and built around them to make a storefront) and open the building to the street.  “We opened up the wall and found a button, pushed it and the doors came down,” John told us.  They had been hidden for 20 years and worked the first time, pretty amazing!

Westville Brewery is not forgetting the building’s firehouse roots and will feature it prominently in their decor.  Pam and the guys have done a deep dive into Westville history and will honor it by naming its beers with names that are rooted in the local history and landmarks of the town.  Here are some of the names and styles:

  • Thomas West Pale Ale (Thomas West is the founder of Westville)
  • Pipewrench Porter (In honor of Mike’s Union)
  • North Station IPA (After the Firehouse)
  • Timber Creek NEIPA (Timber Creek is the local river)
  • Parkview Saison (Named after the local Elementary School)

Mike is also doing a Gluten-reduced beer for people that have a gluten sensitivity, and an as-yet-to-be-named Mango Wheat (Check back closer to opening for the official menu).

Westville will be brewing on a 2 BBL system and has room to expand in the future.  When I asked Mike what is the one thing that he wished he knew prior to opening a brewery was he told me that, “You don’t
know what you need until you need it.  The process of getting started and even after you brew your first beer.  I wish they had a blueprint on how it gets done.  You send in your paperwork and they call you back and ask for more.  They have been great to us, but we just wish there was some kind of blueprint to help you along the way”.  This is something that we hear often at South Jersey Beer Scene, and just about everyone that we have interviewed has echoed some sort of this.  Business idea anyone?

Howard Huepful’s #9A Sporting the Brewery’s Logo

Now the big news!  Westville Brewery has announced that their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting will occur on 6/23/18 at 3 PM.  (They will also be having soft openings on 6/15 and 6/16 with limited hours which will be posted closer to the dates on their Facebook Page)

Westville Brewery also has a membership club called “Clock Keeper”.  For $100 a year you can purchase a membership that will give you a bunch of cool stuff including:

  • A limited edition Clock Keeper T-Shirt
  • A Westville Brewery Pint Glass
  • A 32 oz Growler with a free fill on your birthday
  • Your name on the “Clock Keepers” Wall
  • Member’s Only Party
  • Invites to Small Batch Tappings
  • Membership Card and Lanyard
  • 10% Discount on Merchandise

For More information on this Exclusive Club,  you can reach out to them on any of the links on the bottom of this article.

Congratulations to Mike, Pam, John, and Chuck on the opening of the brewery.  They have a great brewery and are even better people!  I, for one, cannot wait to Meet Them At The Clock!


For More Information on Westville Brewery Check Out The Links Below

On The Web at

Facebook  @westvillebrewery

Instagram westvillebrewery

Twitter @westvillebrew

Westville Brewery is Located at 201 Broadway, Westville, NJ








Last Wave Brewing Company Celebrating It’s First Anniversary This Weekend

Another Ocean County brewery hits a milestone, as Last Wave Brewing in Point Pleasant Beach kicks off the summer with their First Anniversary celebration!

“This year has been incredible, far above expectations!” said co-owner Bert Roling.”We were welcomed into the town like old friends from the moment we opened the doors.  Dani (Bert’s wife, co-owner, designer) has done an amazing job of keeping the tasting room on track and operating like a well-oiled machine. Nick (co-owner Nick Jiorle) and I are both working the brewery full time now so we are pumped to keep pushing the envelope and delivering tasty concoctions that make Last Wave stand out from the crowd!”

Last Wave has built up a great following as well as a large distribution system and their beer can be found in over 30 bars and restaurants, from Hoboken to Long Beach Island.   “We’ve had a great reception and are blessed to have such a supportive community.  Our hope is that we are creating a buzz for downtown Point Pleasant that echoes through the other businesses here, not only in the bars that get first dibs on our newest brews but also in the plethora of shops and eateries in our community.”

To help kick off the weekend, Last Wave will have some variations on some old favorites:

* Soul Arch Saison (Brewed with Hibiscus)

*  A -Frame IPA  (aged on tequila soaked oak and mango)* Red Sky Red Ale (Aged on rum-soaked vanilla beans)

And Of Couple Of New Releases!

*Dawn Patrol Gose ( slightly tart with a  touch of salt and loads of Guava!)

* Flatspell Belgian Witbier (classic easy drinking summer beer)

Congratulations to Bert, Dani, Nick and their team!

Breweries News

Oyster Creek Brewing Company Opens Saturday 5/12 at 2 PM!

The long-awaited opening of Ocean County’s latest brewery, Oyster Creek Brewing Company in Waretown, is set for Saturday, 5/12 at 2 PM.  Founder/Head Brewer Kris Lewis is glowing with anticipation and looking forward to a great day!

 What’s an opening without a menu? Here is the nuclear tap list for Saturday:

* May the Fourth IPA
* DARKmatter Vanilla Porter
* COLDfusion Coffee Stout
* MELTdown Habanero DIPA
Congrats to Kris and his team on this momentous occasion!