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John

News

Dogfish Announces The First-Ever Collaboration With Brouwerij Rodenbach In It’s Legendary History

SOMETHING’S BREWING BETWEEN BROUWERIJ RODENBACH

AND DOGFISH HEAD CRAFT BREWERY

A Beer 200 Years in the Making – RODENBACH’s First-Ever Collaboration in its Legendary History

Two of the Most Respected Sour Beer Pioneers Join Forces

 

West Flanders, BELGIUM and Milton, DELAWARE – January 30, 2019 – Brouwerij RODENBACH of Belgium, arguably the most awarded brewery globally, the leading brewer of oak-aged mixed-fermentation ale dating back to 1821 and an inspirational source for sour beer producers around the world, today announced an intent to brew a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, the iconic US craft brewery and producer of the fastest growing beer in the fastest growing craft beer style in America, SeaQuench Ale, a session sour.*

Today’s news marks the first time RODENBACH has agreed to a collaboration brew in its nearly 200-year history, and a monumental step forward in bringing a unique sour beer to consumers who are seeking a refreshing alternative to what’s currently available on the market today.  Known and loved throughout Belgium for its deliciously refreshing qualities and an exceptional choice for pairing with a variety of foods, sour beer has become one of the fastest-growing segments in beer and is responsible for introducing new generations of consumers into the beer industry.

“This is an historic moment for our brewery,” said Rudi Ghequire, Master Brewer of RODENBACH Brewery.  “Not only is the time right for this partnership as sour beer has become more popular than ever before (thanks in large part to Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale), but we found an incredible partner and kindred spirit in Sam Calagione and the Dogfish Head brewing team.   Though centuries and an ocean apart, our breweries share many similar values and principles.  From our independent and family-owned brewery to the spirit of collaboration among the people at our respective organizations, our shared appreciation and respect for quality ingredients, and how the coast influences both of our beers.  We couldn’t have found a more perfect partner in our first collaboration voyage, and we’re excited for the journey ahead.”

“I have been a huge fan of Rodenbach beers since the early 2000’s when legendary beer writer, Michael Jackson, turned me on to them at the Brickskeller in DC.  RODENBACH are the global pioneers in sour and wild beers production.  Dogfish Head is proud to have the number one selling sour beer in America.  So we have a lot to learn and explore together — and getting to know Rudi, David and the Rodenbach team has been rewarding and fun.  I am confident we are going to make a beautiful, unique beer together,” said Sam Calagione.

Traditional Meets Modern

The idea of a partnership first came about following a panel discussion of leading sour beer experts at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in March, 2018.  Rudi Ghequire was joined by several sour beer brewmasters including Bill Marchi, head of Wooden…It Be Nice!, Dogfish Head’s wild beer and barrel aged program, to discuss the nuances of traditional sour beers and the modern expressions showcased by Dogfish Head and others.

“We’ve always had a deep appreciation for Dogfish Head and the beers they craft, and what they’ve been able to do with SeaQuench Ale is nothing short of spectacular,” said David van Wees, President of Swinkels Family Brewers Imports, the North American importer for RODENBACH.   “The conversations continued from there, and as we got to know one another we realized how similar our passions were about sour beer and its potential in the marketplace.  We noticed striking similarities between our breweries – family-owned, independent and a deep expertise in brewing which got us talking and thinking that now is the right time for RODENBACH to take this step, and Dogfish Head was the perfect partner for us.”

Before the end of 2018, Rudi Ghequire and Kristof Ampe, Chief Marketing Officer of RODENBACH, visited the Dogfish Head facilities in Milton, DE to explore further and solidify plans.  Impressed by Dogfish Head’s expertise, commitment to quality, abundant creativity and an infectious passion for beer that exudes throughout their entire organization, it didn’t take long to finalize a plan for bringing a new beer to market.

“We spoke a lot about how RODENBACH’s traditional methods of brewing and blending, dating back centuries would heavily influence the direction of the beer, and that began the foundation for our collaborative brainstorming,” added Van Wees.   “It was amazing to watch these two icons work so closely together and see the magic happen as wheels started spinning about what a final product could look like.”

“We intend to take our time and get it right for a beer of this magnitude, and in order do that we have to go to where it all began – to Roeselare, Belgium,” added Calagione.  “The brainstorming will continue overseas, as Rudi and I explore the region together, explore the area’s culinary influence and experience the legendary brewery and cooperage which undoubtedly will serve as a huge inspiration behind the beer we create.”

While still in its early stages, the beer is planned to be brewed and blended in the United States in 2019 and available for an early 2020 launch for American consumers to enjoy.  Following this, the duo will explore a release of the beer in Belgium, where RODENBACH is widely sold.

“We see great opportunity for the years ahead,” added both Ghequire and Calagione.  “While we’re taking things one step at a time, we have great hope and expectations that this will be the beginning of a long-term relationship between our breweries for several years to come.

 

Breweries

12 Beers We Liked in 2018

We like to drink beer.  It is what we do.

We cover tons of South Jersey Beer stuff and we get to try a bunch of beer so we decided to talk about some of our faves from 2018.  When I was building this site I made a decision that we would not be rating beer on this site, and we still are not doing that.  What this list represents if some of our favorites that we tasted in 2018 and are listed in no particular order.  So please, before you troll us, understand that we drank a ton of great South Jersey beer last year but we wanted to recognize a few here that stood out for us.  So here is the list and some notes from Vic, Tom, and myself about each one!

Pinelands Brewing Company Evan John Porter

Vic:  An oldie but a goodie, this was one of the first beers served at the Little Egg Harbor brewery and it remains consistently delicious .  Dark beer with creamy head, the bitterness of the malt is offset by the whole vanilla beans pods they use.  Smooth, easy drinking porter! 

Icarus Brewing Kalashnikoffee

Vic:  A beautiful dark, rich Russian Imperial Stout is a coffee variant of the extremely popular Kalishnikov series.  This 14.5% ABV strikes such a nice balance of flavors that it is not boozy at all.  Coffee and pecan hit you up front, and it has a delicious creamy mouthfeel.  Icarus calls it “Breakfast in a Can” and we aren’t going to argue! 

Spellbound Brewing Brut IPA

Vic: My first Brut and it was sublime!  The skies opened, angels sang…it was magical!  Champagne like in appearance and carbonation, Spellbound dry hops it with  Nelson Sauvin  which gives it a fruity, grapelike quality.  They also use Hallertau hops,popular in many German style beers.  Nice dry finish, not much bitterness. Excellent job and unique twist on this relatively new style! 

7 Mile Brewery Barrel-Aged Trippel 7

Tom:  What happens when you put a Trippel Belgian in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrel for about 120 days? You wind up with one of my favorite beers 2018. That’s exactly what 7 Mile Owner Pete Beyda was hoping for with his Barrel-Aged Trippel 7. Unlike a lot of barrel-aged beers, Trippel 7 does not have a strong boozy aroma or taste, but more caramel and raisin sweetness. Make no mistake, it still packs a punch at 12.5% ABV. Pete affectionately calls it a “finishing beer”, because once you start drinking it you’re finished doing anything for the rest of the day!

Atco Brewing Mr. McOat Pants

Tom:  The guys at Atco rolled out this juicy NEDIPA at The Glassboro Beer Festival, and it was love at first sip. This was their first crack at the NEDIPA haze craze, and I told them they could write the recipe in pen. Although it is smooth and delicious it’s a big boy beer coming in at 8.5%. In the hazy NE style craze this beer stood out for me in 2018

Slack Tide Brewing Company Avalon Amber

Tom:  Although 2018 wasn’t the first time this beer was brewed it has always been one of my favorites. My opinion was confirmed when it took home the Bronze Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in September. It’s also special to me because it was the batch I helped brew when I did my “A Day With The Brewer” article which actually turned into 2 days I had so much fun. It’s great to know I had a small part in brewing an award winning beer.

Tonewood DDH Fuego

Tom:  Tonewood has earned a reputation for making great beers, and this one is no different. They got this one in under the wire by releasing it on December 31st. They took their already great Fuego, and Double Dry Hopped it with an incredible 10lbs per barrel of Galaxy, Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops to make this Hop Head dream brew. These guys are always pushing for the next best thing, so it comes as no surprise this beer made the list.

Tuckahoe Brewing Company Arc of Visibility

John:  2018 was a big year for Tuckahoe and they released a few beers that I really enjoyed, but Arc of Visibility was at the top of my list.  First of all, this can features impressive artwork by local artist Mike Bell who has done many of the great pieces of artwork that Tuckahoe is using for their packaging.  But we know that the beer is why we are here.  This 6.5% ABV IPA brewed with a unique mix of Vic Secret, Hallertau Blanc, And Mosaic Hops and comes in at only 22 IBU’s to make this one of the smoothest drinking IPA’s I tasted this year

Ludlam Island Brewery Thunder Jacket

John: The first thing I think of when I think of Thunder Jacket is a picture of Brewer Joe, then Assistant Brewer Brad, and Owner Billy dressed in Cow suits (See Pic HERE)  and sitting on lawn furniture in a promo pic for the beer.  Let’s just say it lived up to its hype.  This Dessert Beer, an Imperial Milk Stout, made with Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Malt, Roasted Barley, and Lactose then finished with Madagascar Vanilla Beans, is full of big flavor and proved to everyone that you could make a delicious beer float!  Perfectly pairs with desserts, but also great to drink all by itself

Eight & Sand Beer Company Bad Hombre

John:  This 2017 Great American Beer Festival Silver Medalist in the Chili Beer Category continues to amaze me with its balance and how its flavor profile changes as it warms up.  To top that off, Burke threw a bunch in Tequila Barrels this year and, once again, it was terrific.  The way Brewer Burke balances the Cinnamon, Peppers, Vanilla, and Coffee keeps me coming back for more

Kelly Green Brewing Company Pecher American Wild Ale

John:  Kelly Green has been one of the leaders in Saison development in South Jersey and this ale fermented and aged in oak barrels then fermented again on whole peaches was funky, sour, and delicious.  The peach flavor was subtle, not overpowering the beer, adding to the complexity of the ale. Looking forward to the 2019 incarnation

Glasstown Brewing Company The Big Breakfast

John:  When I first started visiting local breweries this was immediately one that made me see just how good local craft can be.  This Maple Coffee Porter is always a welcome sight when found on tap, and now you can find it in cans.  Perfectly balanced, with hints of maple syrup, coffee, and roasted malt, it will always be one of the beers that started me on this craft beer journey.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Podcast

Podcast Episode 27: Jason Goldstein of Icarus Brewing!

Icarus Brewing of Lakewood, NJ is getting ready to celebrate their 2nd Anniversary on January 12th and Rob, Vic, and Richard got to speak with Owner/Brewer Jason Goldstein taped live in Vic’s Palatial Bar!

Festivities at the brewery include special tap releases, Barrel-Aged Bottle Releases, and 3 Different Can Releases! Don’t miss this great party at one of the Region’s most buzzed-about breweries!