Breweries News

Tuckahoe Brewing Co and Slack Tide Announce Collaboration Release!

Hot off the press!  Tuckahoe Brewing Company and Slack Tide Brewing Company have announced the release of “Banner Plane”, their slightly hoppy ale brewed with malt from Rabbit Hill Malthouse and local honey from Busy Bees from Cape May County!  Sales Manager Rob Callaghan of Tuckahoe describes it as “a slightly hoppy beer with hints of clove and a crisp, dry finish”.  Draft will be available on 7/25/18 in both tasting rooms and select bars and restaurants with cans following shortly thereafter!  We were lucky enough to be invited to vote on the beer selection at an event last month and we can tell you that this beer is unique and delicious!

Stay tuned for more info!



The South Jersey Beer Scene Podcast: Episode 17-The 2018 South Jersey Half Year in Beer Review!

On Episode 17 we look back at the first half of 2018 while drinking some of the beers on the Zymurgy Magazine Best Beers in America list including Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Founders KBS, Founders CBS, and Founders Breakfast Stout.  Vic is salty about the list and he tells us why he hates top ten lists and how it is all just a matter of opinion.

We also talk about the new breweries that have opened in South Jersey and how many that South Jersey can support.  John tells us why there are too many festivals, we revisit the formation of a new Brewer’s guild and the pending ABC legislation rumors that are running rampant in the industry.

John Howard-Fusco of Eating in South Jersey, Rafael Pena-Medina, and Richard Rabic our producer and Co-host of the great “Fear of A Craft Beer Planet” Podcast also sit in with John, Rob, and Vic.





Ship Bottom Brewery Is What’s Up on Long Beach Island!

Long Beach Island is one of the most beautiful spots on the Jersey Shore. From the iconic Old Barney lighthouse and modern beachfront mansions on the north end to old Victorian homes on the south end, not to mention the gorgeous beaches, great restaurants, and shopping, there is truly something for everyone.  And since 2016 you can add craft beer lovers to that list as Ship Bottom Brewery celebrates its second anniversary this August. 

I had the opportunity to talk with owner/founder, Rob Zarko at the Beach Haven brewery to discuss the genesis of Ship Bottom, beers, brewing and business.      

Our journey takes us back in time to 1995 when Rob was a young Pennsylvania beer lover spending time at a summer house in the Ship Bottom section of LBI (hence Ship Bottom Brewery) with a Cooper’s DIY kit of Australian Pale Ale.  

As with all home brewer’s, the moment of truth…was the beer good, was it bad, was it undrinkable?  The wrong answer can make you quit (sort of like golf), but thankfully in Rob’s case, it was good, he was hooked and the brewery seeds were planted. 

Rob decided to start building his own brewhouse back home in his garage. He started small and gradually increased his brewing knowledge and experience as well as his system.  Doing much of the work on his own he eventually built a 1 barrel system and a walk-in cooler in his garage. You can’t drink that much beer on your own (well maybe some of you can), so he partnered with some local bars and restaurants to supply them with some kegs of his brew. 

After several years of this, Rob took the plunge, applied for his license and presented his plan at a public hearing.  Many locals were supportive but he did encounter several objections, including a neighbor who was worried about a brewery opening in the quiet neighborhood.  “We don’t want him getting so big and becoming Budweiser”. They also worried that the nano-brewery would explode, but Rob was able to counter the complaints by assuring his neighbors that he had been brewing on his back porch for 10 years (One gentleman admitted he had enjoyed several of his beers locally). He was approved and in 2012, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Ship Bottom Brewery was born!  (In his garage…this isn’t New Jersey, folks!) 

Rob’s business plan included expansion, so in the fall of 2015, he began talking to investors about building a brew house on LBI and things moved quickly after that (unusual for a NJ brewery).  He found a location in the popular Bay Village shopping/dining area of Beach Haven (several miles south of his first brewing experience in Ship Bottom). In order to execute the plan he knew he needed some help with the brewing side.  Enter Jake Stablein, who crossed paths with Rob at Twin Lakes in Delaware, but was originally from Colorado, where beer is a way of life (#4 state in breweries per capita…NJ is 45th).  Rob enlisted Jake to help bring life to his recipes.

Doing much of the work themselves and dealing with the challenges of a second-floor brewery, Ship Bottom Brewery opened in August of 2016, with Jake on board as the Head Brewer. 

The unique Beach vibe is reflected in the beer lineup, as Stupid Paddle Boat IPA, Beach Patrol Hefeweizen and The Shack IPA are year-round offerings. Special offerings include Mexican Cerveza, brewed with salt harvested from the Barnegat Bay that is visible from the tasting room bar, and Chicken or the Egg IPA, named for a state if not world-renowned LBI restaurant and brewed with their hot wing sauce. 

I asked Rob if he had any advice for those who may want to open a brewery.  “Have a solid business plan. Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Find people that can do the things you aren’t good at. I hired a professional brewer so I could concentrate on the business. It’s a highly competitive market so make sure your beer, branding, marketing, sales strategy are thought out and designed well.  Hire good people, they are the face and voice of your company “

Rob’s plan included an aggressive distribution plan and Ship Bottom in cans can be found in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He does some canning in the Ship Bottom facility but a lot of it is done at a partner brewery, Sly Fox, in Pennsylvania. 

I asked Rob what are his go-to beers, aside from his own. “I like 2SP Russian Stout (Aston, PA), as well as the Yeti Stouts (Great Divide, Denver CO)” 

Rob’s favorite Ship Bottom beer is the Mexican Stout which is brewed with Ancho Peppers, Mexican Coffee Mexican Chocolates, Cinnamon and vanilla beans, but he is passionate about all of them.  

“Our motto is “Brew every beer very well”, said Rob.  “I could have a lot more on our tap list, but I want every beer we offer is of the highest quality.”    

That is probably the most important aspect of any business plan, as in the end, it is all about the beer.  Unlike many of the businesses on LBI, Ship Bottom Brewery is open year round, so definitely an island brewery for all seasons! 

Beer 101

A Millennial’s Beer Journey with Lauren Emerick!

Editors Note-We would like to introduce another woman who will be contributing to the site, Lauren Emerick.  Lauren represents the millennial side of craft beer and will bring her unique take to the site.  She has grown up in an era when there has been a local brewery and a significant amount of craft beer available for her to try without going on a quest to find it!  We look forward to hearing her musings as she enriches her beer knowledge!  Welcome aboard Lauren!

Hi, my name is Lauren Emerick! I’m a South Jersey native and lover of all things craft beer. I grew up in Egg Harbor Township and have lived here most of my life. I got into craft beer right after I turned 21. My first brewery was Cape May Brewing Company in 2011, the first year that they were in business. It has always remained my favorite New Jersey brewery and it’s been awesome to see them evolve to what they are today. They started with a small tap room that had picnic tables to sit at and now it’s so much bigger! My favorite beer from Cape May Brewing Company is definitely the Cape May IPA!  After checking out Cape May Brewery, the hook was set, I couldn’t wait to check out more.

I’m not going to lie, as a girl it used to be a bit intimidating going to breweries but now I feel comfortable going in and knowing what I want to try. I even got my boyfriend to start drinking craft beer and now he enjoys it a lot as well! There can be a stigma that just because you’re a female, you won’t like certain beers or you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s definitely not true! I’m always posting new beers I try on my Instagram and sharing my thoughts. IPA’s have always been my go-to but I always like to try other styles as well.

Currently, for summer, I’m all about the shandys! A shandy is typically a beer mixed with lemonade or some sort of fruit juice. With a lower ABV, they are very refreshing and great for drinking on the beach.

I love hearing the stories behind the local breweries and enjoying the different vibes at each brewery. We have so many great breweries in South Jersey and each of them are unique in their own way.  While I’ve tried quite a few, there’s still so many to explore and more breweries  are opening in what seems like almost every week. I always recommend doing a tour at a new brewery you stop at, even if it wasn’t mandatory (The State of New Jersey requires that you take a tour prior to enjoying a beer). You’ll hear interesting stories and learn something new each time.I’m excited to contribute to South Jersey Beer Scene because it combines two of my favorite things, writing and craft beer.  I’m also excited to be another female voice in the craft beer industry and share my thoughts!

Beer Biz Profiles Podcast

The South Jersey Beer Scene Podcast: Episode 16-John Howard-Fusco of “Eating In South Jersey” and Author of “A Culinary History of Cape May: Salt Oysters, Beach Plums, & Cabernet Franc

John Howard-Fusco of the great blog “Eating In South Jersey“, and author of “A Culinary History of Cape May:  Salt Oysters, Beach Plums, & Cabernet Franc” (available on Amazon) joined us for this week’s podcast.  John has seen the rise of the Craft Beer movement in New Jersey and Philadelphia and how restaurants in the region have embraced (or not) it.  We talk great beer bars in South Jersey, what does a foodie order when he goes out, and how to tell a chef that you don’t like something.  We also talk about his great book on the culinary history of Cape May, and how it has become a food and beer destination.

You can also listen to John on the Small Bites Radio Show on Wildfire Radio!

Check out John’s Eating in South Jersey Blog!

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If you like the show, please leave a review or rating on iTunes!