Goin’ Down the Jersey Shore – Better with Craft Beer

Amanda at Tuckahoe, loving her job

Amanda at Tuckahoe, loving her job

It’s a blessing to have new craft breweries popping up all over Pa. and NJ, and you don’t even have to go out of your way (much) to visit them. If you are heading to the south Jersey beaches this summer why not stop for a fresh craft beer on the way?

One of the newest (and smallest) craft breweries is a stop about an hour south of Phila off route 55 in Millville NJ. “Glasstown Brewing” is located in an old local airport hanger, and opened in December 2013. Owner Paul Simmons and his wife open the door on the weekends and start pouring.

Pouring Pints at Glasstown

Pouring Pints at Glasstown

The locals like their “Lunch-Pale Pale Ale” as a go-to beer at 5% abv, light bodied but enough flavor to want more of it. I preferred the Thunderbolt, which was bolder but not over the top at 6.7%. The place was packed when I was there, and it’s fun to see a nano doing well. It looked to me that the original brewhouse was less than a barrel – but new, larger capacity equipment was being brought on when I visited.

Southward to Tuckahoe Brewing – about 45 minutes from Glasstown Brewing in Ocean View NJ. Tuckahoe has been around since 2011 as a packaging brewery – started by four school teachers with a passion for good beer. It’s been a slow growth plan for the owners of Tuckahoe – transitioning from mostly seasonal brewing to full year round. This year they hired their first full time employee – Amanda – who brews and works the tap room.

Matt proud co-owner of Tuckahoe

Matt proud co-owner of Tuckahoe

They didn’t plan on having a tap room, but customers demanded it, and I for one am glad they did. It’s a welcoming place, with happy beer geeks and locals enjoying some really good beer. Their ales have significant malty profile and the touch of smoked grain in the porter was just right.

They are having trouble keeping up with demand with their 3.5bbl brewhouse. Amanda says that this job is her dream – and her first job out of school. “I love coming to work every day. I’d really like to make a sour beer – we have captured some New Jersey yeast off of blueberries, so we can do something with that – but we have to be very careful with live yeast in the brewery.”

Finally, 45 minutes further is the Cape May Brewing Co. – one of the most popular new breweries in the state. Also located in a small local airport (craft beer really IS flying high these days!) Cape May has grown exponentially since opening in 2011 – and is now found in bars all over southern NJ.

CApe May 1 Ryan

Ryan at Cape May has a lot to laugh about!

Co-owner Ryan told me that they have out paced their plans, and are ready to quit their day jobs and just focus on the beer. Their saison was quite nice and the Centennial IPA (7%) was solid, and packed enough hoppiness to bring home the bitterness. That beer won Cape May the “best IPA” at the 2012 Atlantic City Brewfest.

Open everyday, you find a raucous crowd in the taproom – as it’s become a real craft beer destination for beach goers and beer appreciators alike. Their passion about beer and quality is obvious – reflected in the sheer variety of styles on tap at any time, and the line at the growler fill.

So, be careful having any beer and driving, but it’s worth a stop at a couple of these places when you go “down the shore”. More are opening now – “Pinelands” and “Ocean City” to name a couple. An embarrassment of riches for local Beer Appreciators – a great way to make the shore even better.

Cape door

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