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  This was also the year that the business made front page news with all of the changes that were made, then rescinded, by former ABC Commissioner Rible.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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Questions With...

10 Questions With…Jeff Greco of Heavy Reel Brewing Co

 10 Questions with Jeff Greco, Head Brewer, Heavy Reel Brewing Co

Winter in a resort town can be lonely and quiet as businesses close up for the season, the boardwalk goes dark and the parking meters go into hibernation. Not in Seaside Heights as Heavy Reel Brewing, after a fantastic summer season, continues to thrive. Heavy Reel is building a stellar reputation for creative and outstanding brews with some of the most thought provoking titles in South Jersey like Drowning Clown, Toonkish, and Paint it Black. Jeff just expanded to a 2.5  barrel system and hopes to be hiring an assistant brewer in the spring. 

Jeff and his wife Jessie were gracious enough to host our Ocean County Home Brewers Association meeting this month, so I got the opportunity to visit with them both. Over a delicious pint of The Wake of Isolation (Imperial IPA, 4.38 on Untapped, if you are wondering)  I got to ask Jeff the 10 questions.

What was the first beer you brewed? 

“Lagunitas IPA clone. Back then I thought it was good, but now…I don’t know how it would rate. It was all grain which I did from the start. I’ve never brewed with extract” 

What is your favorite style of beer to brew? 

“IPA, especially New England IPAs.  It’s my favorite to drink so naturally, it is my favorite to brew”

Do you look at ratings (Untapped, Beer Advocate, etc.)? Do they affect your recipes? 

“All the time! The ratings are not that far off of from what I think.   They don’t really change my mind about what I am brewing. “

How do you connect to the local area for ingredients?

“I’ve got the Atlantic Ocean a block to the east, Barnegat Bay a few blocks to the west, so  I use Barnegat Bay oysters for our oyster stout and Atlantic sea salt for our gose.” 

What is one tip for home brewers to help them make better beer?

“Keep messing up until you figure it out! Mistakes happen!” 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery? 

“Talk to actual brewers, brewery owners and work at a brewery first to see what it takes to operate on a daily basis.  Fill out your applications, federal and state, right away…don’t sit around waiting saying I’m going to open a brewery, do it. Assume it is always going to take longer than you anticipate!”   

If you could brew a beer, regardless of cost, what would you brew? 

“I do it every time I walk through that door.  That is an advantage of a small brewery, I brew what I want to brew” 

Since you have opened, what has surprised you the most? 

“The number of people who want to work in a brewery, but once they see what is involved, they don’t!”

Other than your own beer, what is your go to? 

“Bay Dreamer, our session IPA collaboration that we brewed at Icarus is one of my favorites, outside of that, I like anything funky or sour… the more sour the better!” 

Where do you see the brewery in a year…in 5 years? 

“Hopefully still in business!” he said with a laugh. “Really I’d like to have a larger staff and expand more so we can distribute our product.”   

In the near future, Jeff says to look out for some special releases and surprises for their April anniversary. 

Jeff, Bonus question: 

What kind of music do you listen to when you brew? 

Hard core!”  

Jeff turned up the volume and the voice of Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose sang us out into the foggy Jersey Shore evening.  

News

Cape May County Breweries Helping US Coast Guard Families During Shutdown!

Cape May County Breweries have once again stepped up to help their neighbors in need, this time helping Coast Guard families affected by the government shutdown.  With no money coming in, these families who have dedicated themselves to defending our coast and helping boaters in need are struggling to make ends meet.  With seemingly no end in sight for this shutdown, families are in need of anything you can contribute such as:

  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper Towels
  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Baby Food
  • Money

Unlike other Military Branches, the US Coast Guard does not fall under the Department of Defense, but under the Department of Homeland Security and are not being paid during the shutdown.

Gusto Brewing Co and Cape May Brewing Company had fund-raisers and collections this past week, and 7 Mile Brewery, Slack Tide Brewing Company, and Bucket Brigade Brewing are helping as well.

  • Slack Tide Brewing Company is a local drop off site for anything that you want to donate
  •  7 Mile Brewery is donating $1 from every pint, flight, and takeout purchases as well as being a collection center for donations
  • Bucket Brigade is offering 50% off to all Coast Guard Personnel and their families at the brewery
  • Mudhen Brewing Co. is running an internal fundraiser amongst staff. The owners of Mudhen (the Sciarra Family) will match the total amount raised and will be donating to our local USCG TRACEN in Cape May, NJ. ,

Please consider donating to help these families!  The USCG is a big part of the South Jersey Community and have helped many during their time of need!

 

 

Breweries News

Icarus Brewing Anniversary Party Saturday 1/12 at the Brewery!

One of the fastest growing South Jersey Breweries in size and reputation is turning 2! 

Icarus Brewing 2nd Anniversary Party is this Saturday, January 12, noon – 11 PM. 

Owner/Head Brewer Jason Goldstein, will be rolling out the barrel with a new bottle barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, Bourbon Legend. This big boy, aged in bourbon barrels for 8 months, weighs in at hefty  13.5%. Bottles will be available when the tasting room opens, but like most of Icarus’ bottle releases, the supply will go fast!   Consider it a winter warmer before the snow hits this weekend! 

Jason and the Icarus crew have been brewing 6 days a week preparing for the party, so there will also be 3 new can releases, as well as 8 or 9 “Best of” barrel aged beers on tap.  The festivities will finish up with 2 live bands Saturday night, so it promises to be an exciting day. 

If you haven’t been to Icarus yet, a great time to take the trip to Lakewood and see what the buzz is about!