Since its grand opening on March 1st, 2014, Pinelands Brewing Company has really blossomed into one of the premier breweries in South Jersey. On that day they offered 6 different beers and had no idea if anyone would show up-well they did and have continued to come to the brewery located in Southern Ocean County ever since. Founder and Owner, Jason Chapman, was inspired by the 1.1 million acre Pinelands National Preserve and uses that inspiration to brew beer that “reflects and embodies the local pride and spirit so famously connected to the area” which was one of the principles that were emphasized in their grand opening press release in 2014. Our Tom Renzulli was lucky enough to spend a few hours with Jason and talk beer. It was a busy day, Jason was judging a homebrew competition, and they also did a food pairing (which you can read about HERE). Jason and his staff are all great people, make sure you stop by and grab a flight!
Thanks again to Jason and all of the Pinelands Brewing Company Staff for allowing us to stop by!
What was the first beer you brewed and how was it?
(Laughs) Extract Pale Ale with Hop Plugs. It wasn’t too bad, but definitely room for improvement. The ritual (of brewing) is what set the hook for me.
What is your favorite style to brew and why?
Barleywine, Big IPA, Oyster Stout. Almost anything that presents a challenge, like a gluten-free beer.
Do you look at ratings on Untappd, Beer Advocate, or Rate Beer and, if you do, does it influence your recipes?
Yes and No. It’s nice to get good and bad, but I’m my own worst critic, if they didn’t exist I would still be doing it the same way.
How do you stay connected to the local area in relation to sourcing ingredients?
It all starts with the water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer. Local honey, Hammonton Blueberries, fresh oysters for the Oyster stout, and local farm stand pumpkins
What is one tip you would give home brewers to make better beer?
Make sure you use good water with no chlorine and pitch more than enough yeast. Make sure your equipment is clean
What is one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to open a brewery?
First and foremost, make sure that your recipes are good, and consistent
It there was a beer you could brew with no regards to cost, production, or sales what would it be?
I would say 100% New Jersey ingredients from the same farm. It’s very important to me to use local ingredients
Looking back to your opening day forward, what was the one thing that happened that surprised you the most?
Definitely the fact that over 450 people showed up with a great response, even the Mayor was there! Sold all the beer we had made and couldn’t open up the following weekend
Other than your beer, what is your go to after a long day at the brewery?
I like a nice Tanqueray and Tonic, or Sailor Jerry and Coke
Where do you see the brewery in a year?
Doing a lot more of the same, just more frequently. 5 years full time on a 7 BBL system so I can make it my full-time job!
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