Ye olde Hops Honey is *very* nostalgic, and *loves* tradition… and one of my FAVORITE traditions in the whole entire world, is my family’s annual beach vacation to Cape May, NJ! My first time there was when I was 9 months old… and since then, there have only been 2 years that I have NOT gone to Cape May for a summer beach vacation!
Anywho… last year, Southern New Jersey welcomed its first and only craft brewery in… yup, you guessed it – Cape May!!!
Cape May Brewing Company opened in March of 2011, and started selling beer a few months later. It’s a small operation for now, run by Ryan Krill, Chris Henke, & Bob Krill, and is very clearly a labor of love! Last summer when we were in Cape May, my step-dad and I got to meet Ryan and have a beer with him at Cabanas, a local bar. The brewery was having an event there that night, and we were two of the only people who came out for it… I dunno, something about a chick named Irene kept people home… 😉
I can’t remember why exactly [either the brewery wasn’t offering tours/tastings yet, or our vacation didn’t coincide with when they were open], but while we did go to their event at Cabanas last summer, we didn’t visit the brewery itself. This year, it was one of our “musts” for our annual visit to Cape May!
The brewery is currently open on Saturdays, from noon-4pm, offering tours and four, 4oz tastings of their beers, in accordance with current state laws. For $3 you can sample their beers in a plastic cup, and for $11 you can do the tastings with a pint glass that you can take home – I opted for option #2 🙂
And so it was, that this past Saturday, my mom, step-dad Timmy, and I made our way over to the brewery!
The first thing that we noticed was the line out the door! Clearly, they’re doing a steady business on Saturdays! Inside the entrance they had a child’s blackboard easel set up, announcing the beers they were pouring that day!
Just inside, hanging off a staircase leading up, there were ‘beach bags’ for sale, made (by the brewer’s mom!) from empty grain bags! What a great idea for recycling/re-using the bags! (They were even padded inside, and had a velcro closure!)
Once we got up to the register, we paid our tasting fee and picked up our glasses. Timmy wanted to get a growler, so he paid for it with his tasting, and they ‘held’ his growler behind the counter so that he wouldn’t have to carry it around while hanging out & sampling the beers – what a great system!
As we got in line to get our first tasting, we took in the overall set-up. Out back they had a canopy set up, along with a large grill/smoker where pulled pork & sausages were being cooked for purchase! They recently expanded to take over two additional spaces next to their original one, and within those they’ve set up picnic tables so that people can hang out while enjoying their snacks & beer! They even have a foosball table outside 🙂
The lines were kinda long, but just about perfect in terms of being able to drink one sample by the time you got back to the front to re-fill with your next one!
And then here’s the whole fan-damily… mom likes to bring her knitting with her wherever she goes – how cute is she?! 🙂
And how adorable is their brewing set-up?! So cute & efficient 🙂 However, they’ve recently gotten approved for a new loan to facilitate the purchase of a larger-capacity brewing system! YAY! More beer!
Ya know the whole thing about babies being a chick-magnet for guys? Ladies, how’s about a guy with a baby in a sling… at a brewery?! They’re never too young to start learning about craft beer 😉
It also looks like they’re making good progress on setting up a tasting room… in anticipation of NJ Governor Chris Christie signing off on a bill that would allow NJ breweries to provide full pints and sell kegs!
In the end, we really enjoyed our tasting—not surprisingly, their IPA was my favorite of the four—as well as our visit overall! I bought a fun t-shirt as well as a sticker, and *love* my new glass… which is shaped like a beer can!
Here’s all the info you’ll need if you want to swing by & pay them a visit – I highly recommend it!
Cape May Brewing Company
1288 Hornet Road
Lower Township, NJ
Tasting Room Hours
Saturdays, noon – 4pm