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Tun Tavern Launching Diving Horse Line of Craft Beer Paying Homage to the Steel Pier Icon

For nearly half a century Atlantic City’s Steel Pier was home to one of the most amazing attractions in the world,  the Steel Pier Diving Horse.  Up to 4 times a day an energetic, well-trained, water-loving horse would dive from as high as 60 feet from an elevated platform into a large pool for a throng of spectators. Usually an attractive young woman in a bathing suit would ride on the back of the fearless steed as it jettisoned through the air and into the water. The horses trained for several months and only the most valiant were selected for the big show. 

As Legend has it, the idea of the Diving Horse was born in Texas by “Doc” William Frank Carver, a 19th Century sharp shooter who traveled the Wild West performing shows that included animal acts and shooting exhibitions. The story has it that while his show was traveling over a bridge in Nebraska, Carver and his horse fell through a wooden bridge plunging into a river. This mishap gave birth to the Diving Horse, which quickly grew to become his favorite act in his traveling show. Doc’s children Al and Lorena helped train and take care of the horses. It is said that Lorena was the first rider of diving horses and she trained her own favorite horse, Ruby Red Lips,  to make the dives. In 1923 Sonora Webster joined the company and quickly became one of the most well-known divers starting at the young age of 15.  Senora would go on to marry Al and continue to dive and help Al run the company after Doc Carver’s death in 1927. The traveling show was eventually split into two distinct companies with one of them settling in Atlantic City in 1928. 

The continued to run on the Steel Pier until 1978, when pressure from animal rights group forced it to close, even though during its 50 years on the Pier not one animal was harmed. When the animals did jump, they jumped on their own. No cattle prods, whips, or any other devices were used to force the horse to do the dive. In fact, sometimes it would take a horse up to 20 minutes to decide to jump. In some cases the horse would just turn around and walk down the ramp and not jump at all. When an injury would occur it would be to the diver, and that was usually from the horse thrashing in the water to swim after a dive. The major injury happened to Senora Carver when she landed in the water face first. She wasn’t expected to be propelled face first and her eyes were open causing her to rupture both retinas and leaving her virtually sightless. This did not stop her from diving as she continued to do so for 11 more years until her retirement.

The Tun Tavern is no stranger to history. The original Tun Tavern was established in Philadelphia in 1685 by Samuel Carpenter in what is now known as Penn’s Landing. The Tun Tavern hosted a number of first meetings for individuals and organizations including Benjamin Franklin’s use of the brewery to recruit members for the Philadelphia militia as it prepared to fight a Native American uprising. The Tavern would also later host meetings for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress. The Tun was also the place where the United States Marines held their first recruitment drive.

The reincarnated Tun Tavern in Atlantic City was established by Montgomery Dahm and opened in 1998. As of this date it still is Atlantic City’s only brewery using the famed quality water found in Atlantic City to make craft beer. With Montgomery’s love of history, his service to this country, and his affection for the Atlantic City area, the development of the new Diving Horse line of beers seemed like a no brainer. With new Brew Master Brad Judge at the helm of the Diving Horse brand, one can only expect excellence, and that is what he has accomplished. Coming off of his collaboration with Atlantic City’s own Little Water Distillery’s Whitecap Barrel-Aged Stout, Brad has proven to be an up and coming brewer in South Jersey ( See our ”New Tun Tavern Brew Master Brad Judge Crafting Great Beer in Atlantic City).

The Diving Horse line of beers has three distinct flavor profiles on its roster. The Diving Horse IPA is a New England Style IPA. This hazy beer is full-bodied, yet smooth, with an intense flavor profile brewed with a combination of barley, oats, and wheat. It is heavily dry hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic and Citra. The flavors and aromas of tropical fruits, melon, and citrus will definitely impress those with the more fickle taste buds. 

The second beer under the Diving Horse line is the reimagined High Altitude Double IPA. This beer is brewed with oats and wheat. It is aggressively hopped with Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic leaving it with a citrusy, tropical fruit and pine flavor profile that makes this a very drinkable double IPA. (Almost too drinkable in my opinion!)

The third beer in the Diving horse line of beers is the Red Lips. This is an American Red Ale named after the famed diving horse owned by Lorena Carver. This beer has a slightly sweet and toasty malt profile with a light hop bitterness that is extremely drinkable.

With their launch of the Diving Horse line of beers early this May, The Tun Tavern has created the perfect balance of Atlantic City’s past and future. With their reputation in the food industry already being top-notch and Brad Judge as their Master Brewer the Tun Tavern is now Atlantic City’s next must visit attraction.


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An Afternoon at Human Village Brewing in Pitman!

So when my son asked me if I knew of any interesting places that he could do his Rowan University Photojournalism Project near the campus I immediately thought of Human Village Brewing.  Megan Myers and her staff hosted my son for an afternoon and this video is the end result.  I want to personally thank Megan and everyone at Human Village for their hospitality!  If you haven’t visited, make sure you stop by and grab a beer or two!

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New Tun Tavern Brewmaster Brad Judge Crafting Great Beer in Atlantic City!

Last week, Tom, Vic, and I had the chance to meet with Brad Judge, the new Head Brewer at the Tun Tavern Restaurant & Brewery in Atlantic City, at the Whitecap Barrel-Aged Stout Release Event.  This collaboration between Tun and Atlantic City’s Little Water Distillery really impressed! We also had a chance to try some of the new beers that Brad had made and were just as impressed. we tried at one of New Jersey’s oldest Brew Pubs.  If you have not beenTun in a minute, you should come back now.

Brad and the team from Little Water Distillery!

The Tun Tavern was established in Atlantic City in 1998 as one of the first operating Brew Pubs in the state and gave many people their first taste of handcrafted craft beer.  Located across from the Atlantic City Convention Center, the Tun quickly became one of the hottest spots in AC, especially among conventioneers and locals who had started to hear about this “craft beer” thing.  Tun has always had a really good food menu and the beer they made was unlike most people had ever had before.  I can remember my first trip there right after opening, trying my first actual craft beer that was actually made right in the place I was eating.  This set the hook for me, it was an exciting new world of beer.  The beer that was made at the Tun Tavern was different, more flavorful, heavier, and had flavors that I had not ever had.

As time went by, people stopped looking at the Tun Tavern as a brewery, which was .  Not that they weren’t brewing beer, but sometimes the OG’s get overlooked by all of the shiny new breweries that were opening all over the area. They had continued to brew their staple of beers but, in the times we live in, you need to change it up.  Fast forward to now.  Tun Tavern is all in on the beer.  And Brad is the guy who is getting them there.

Brad began his brewing career a long way from Atlantic City on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua in the town of Popoyo.  Brad and his girlfriend (now wife) moved to Nicaragua 7 years ago to Surf and operate a Bed and Breakfast.  Brad and his expat buddies would often sit down and drink one of the local beers and talk about how it would be nice to have something different.  The solution was that Brad, who grew up in Voorhees and was an avid home brewer, was going to bring back the ingredients to make beer the next time that he went to the US.  He started brewing 5 Gal batches of IPA’s and they were a hit.  The next logical step was to build a brewery, right?  Brad and his partner Chris Harrison built a 3 barrel brewery and became quite popular amongst the bars, restaurants, and tourists in the area.  It was unlike anything else that was brewed there, very similar to the Tun Tavern’s roots.  Fast forward to today, and Brad, his wife, and kids are back here in the US and he was able to step in to the Tun Tavern’s role as the previous brewmaster was leaving for another opportunity.  Sometimes timing is everything.

In speaking with Brad, you can hear his eagerness to bring new flavors and styles to the Tun’s rotation of beers.  Brad loves IPA’s and we got to try his South Pacific Hop IPA, a 6.5% Hazy IPA that is brewed with Galaxy and Motueka hops.  Hopped in the kettle, then dry hopped after, this beer was really done well. We also got a preview of his Lager (this will be dry hopped as well) and a Pale Ale. Both were home runs and brings something to Tun’s taps for Craft Beer aficionados as well as casual beer drinkers visiting the tavern.

In addition to the great beer, Tun Tavern is offering great food, a full bar, and a really great VIP Program.  This VIP program is free for anyone that is local (within 75 miles of AC) and offers great discounts every day of the week.  More info on the program can be found on their

Thanks to Brad, Diane, K, and the rest of the staff for their hospitality!  Their enthusiasm for the restaurant is amazing and we loved just hanging out, hearing Brad’s story, and enjoying some great beers!

So run, don’t walk, to see the new beers that Brad is making and revisit one of the places that help blaze the craft beer trail here in South Jersey.  We think you will come back.



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Juggling Middle Management and Den Motherhood: The Life of a Tasting Room Supervisor With Kristen Wilson!

Juggling Middle Management and Den Motherhood:

The Life of a Tasting Room Supervisor

Before craft beer, my experience in the beverage industry was as front-of-house staff in various bars and restaurants throughout South Jersey.  The money was fast and there was little commitment; I tell everyone that if you can work in one bar, you can work in them all.  Being a ‘people person’ is a transferable skill that crosses all industries.  But what happens when you’re a people person, type-a, and painstakingly meticulous?  You end up in middle management!

Back in 2016, Eight & Sand Beer Co. posted to Facebook that they were hiring and my husband tagged me in the comments.  I studied the website and some craft beer blogs and nervously awaited my interview.  The tasting room was still under construction at this point, but I was assured that it was coming along quickly.  Despite swearing that I bombed my interview, I received a start date for training and I was pumped!  Our soft and grand openings came and went and the team was coming together.

As many places as I had worked prior, I had never opened a brand new establishment.  Getting to be part of a business as it grows has been really special.

I knew when I took the job that while both of my bosses had a wealth of knowledge and talent in their respective fields, they did not have bar/restaurant management experience.  I was so eager to learn and be a part of the process that I began offering to help, providing suggestions, and volunteering to take on more responsibility.  It was a few months later that myself and another server were officially promoted as Tasting Room Supervisors.  The role includes fairly standard supportive duties – opening and closing the tasting room, handling cash, and training staff, but it has been an ever-evolving position as we navigate the first years of business.

Fast forward to today.

Because we have a small staff and most of us have other jobs, all of our roles blend together.  Admittedly, this can be confusing, which is where my secondary, unofficial job title comes in: Den Mother.

Most of my week consists of communicating with everyone on some level.  This could be email, text, group chat, or Google Hangout.  It is usually all of the above, simultaneously, about different things.  I have a working knowledge of everyone’s position and act as a mediator across all levels, keeping track and collaborating with everyone.  I am responsible for scheduling our tasting room staff of about ten people, myself included.  That is ten different personal schedules and preferences, in addition to corresponding with the team for any reservations, on and off-site events we have planned – or that pop up last minute.  I often have reminders set to remind other people about things.

I am the gatekeeper of information.  The management team holds a weekly conference call to catch everyone up on the business.  It is then up to me to filter and disseminate information to staff, formally or informally.  This information-sharing goes both ways, as my staff confides in me things that need to be communicated to our bosses.  Part of this means advocating for staff on their needs.  If one of my staff members is frustrated or upset, it becomes my job to bring it to the rest of the team to figure out how to fix it.

Another layer of my role involves knowing non-work related things about my staff.  I know who is planning to have children, who definitely *does not* want to have children, I know who is getting engaged, and I know who needs tile work done in their bathroom.  If you were thinking that this sounds like normal friendship, I would say that you are absolutely right.  I can proudly say that I have formed friendships with everyone I work with on some level.  From my owners’ goal of having a successful business to my staff wanting to get more involved in craft beer, being a Den Mother means supporting everyone as they achieve their goals, whatever they may be and as much as they let me.

Some days are harder than others to carry the extra emotional labor that goes along with my role.  And while emotional labor is often an expectation of women in the workforce, this was not the case for me.  I nagged, badgered, and annoyed my way into this role because, 1) it is who I am as a person; and 2) because I believe in the value of being this person to an employer.  Any person with a high level of organization and empathy can help make a business successful.

I love craft beer.  I love the people in the industry and the people who enjoy it.  I never imagined that I could be considered “a voice for women in craft beer” – I am so new to this and I am not an expert!  Opening my own brewery or even home-brewing in my garage is not in my future, but what I will do is keep tasting new beer, talking to people about it, and supporting others in their journey in the industry – because that is what a Den Mother would do.