BrewVue: Cape May Brewing Company

Cape May Brewing Company, located in multiple buildings on the grounds of the Cape May Airport, is certainly seen as the big brother of the craft beer boom hitting that particular part of the Jersey Shore.

Cape May Brewing Company recently underwent a rebranding, including all new logos and designs.

Cape May Brewing Company recently underwent a rebranding, including all new logos and designs.

This is the third time I've been to CMBC, and while still a solid visit, it was a bit underwhelming. For starters, Cape May County is performing extensive renovations and upgrades to the grounds of the airport. At the particular time I visited, this included extensive road renovations and closures, resulting in a less-than ideal parking situation that included trudging through a muddy field around the industrial building to get to Cape May Brewing Company's main entrance.

Cape May easily has the most impressive factory/production floor tour of any in the area, with an extended walkthrough area with videos and interactive exhibits with an opportunity to pick up a beer list or flight selection card before heading into the tasting room and outdoor beer garden.

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The production tour (top) and the brewery's outdoor seating area (bottom). Courtesy the Cape May Brewing Company Facebook page.

The production tour (top) and the brewery's outdoor seating area (bottom). Courtesy the Cape May Brewing Company Facebook page.

At this particular visit, Cape May had 10 different beers on tap. While a fine number, and the most of any brewery visit so far, this is actually a low number for Cape May. There have been prior visits where they've had nearly double that number of beers on tap. To their credit, they continue to have their in-house non-alcoholic sodas on tap, as well. The root beer is excellent, and tastes similar to commercially-produced root beers, but with the flavor intensity turned up to 11 or 12. They also make a ginger ale which is very good if you can stand the intense taste coming from the ginger root used. It can be overwhelming to some people.

Really, you can't go wrong with anything in their line-up. Truly, one of the things that impressed me about this brewery in the past was the ability to have such an extensive tap line-up of 15-20 beers and have every one be of decent quality at minimum. Some of the more notable beers include the namesake IPA, the Honey Porter (which can be found on Nitro), and Apple Bomb, a fruit beer that'll knock you on your butt if you aren't careful--it's 8% ABV, but doesn't taste it. Arguably their greatest offering is The Bog, which is a super-tasty cranberry shandy. It's highly accessible for just about anyone to drink and absolutely perfect for being near several beach towns. Cape May calls The Bog a seasonal, but it seems to have a wide length of availability.

Cape May is still tops in the area's craft beer scene. But it is quickly being caught up to by a few breweries, especially one I'll be telling you all about next week.

Beers in Review: A Love Letter to Cape May Brewing Company

This particular blog has been around for nearly a year now, but before Pourly Reviewed Beer got off the ground, it was called Inside the Keg, and at this point, I can't even remember if I did any work for it. Regardless, the real big take-off was going to be the 2015 version of this particular entry: my (and my family's) 3rd annual visit to Cape May Brewing Company. This brewery and their tasting room is located in warehouse spaces at southern New Jersey's Cape May Airport, and has been producing beer since 2011.

After a self-guided tour (required by state law) at their taphouse, customers enter a tasting room serving up usually 12-15 different beers along with house-made root beer and ginger ale. As I mentioned in Sunday's video, I find they don't make a bad beer--much of their line-up is really solid, with a few stand-outs. One such stand-out is their summer cranberry shandy, known as The Bog, as well as one other beer I'll review later.

I had the opportunity to try several of their beers at this year's stop, starting with another of their seasonals, a Belgian-style Witbier called Summer Catch. Pouring a hazy, pale yellow, this nails the crisp, clean summer beer category. Citrus notes with a hint of grain provide a nice flavor profile for this light summer offering.

Next up was something unique, a Sour IPA called Corrosion. It poured yellow and very hazy, and wasn't quite as extreme as I was expecting for the style. I feel like the sourness was well-cut by the hop profile, which provided bright orange and grapefruit notes. The flavors overall were relatively mild, but the beer was very well-balanced, and one I'd recommend to craft beer drinkers, even if they are not big on sours.

Next up was one of Cape May's flagship beers, their namesake Cape May IPA. The beer has a nice orange-gold hue to it, and brings decently-powered citrus hop notes, along with a hint of earthiness or spiciness. Some dark fruit notes also come along later in the drinking experience.

Their Honey Porter was one of my favorites, with this offering being offered under Nitro. A very dark brown color with a silky smooth texture in the mouth, the Honey Porter featured the expected sweet notes that were very much present, but not overpowering. I think the honey additions blended with the standard Porter notes to generate some delightful cocoa notes. A really delicious porter.

The final beer I had I tried on a whim, and proved to be the most enjoyable of the bunch. I don't normally jump at fruity beers, but an apple-based wheat that checks in at around 8% ABV drew my interest. Quite simply, Apple Bomb lives up to its name in a big way. It brings tons of balanced sweet-tart apple flavor with some bready malt hints for depth of flavor. The tartness does nudge up a bit towards the end of the drinking experience. An absolutely delicious beer that CAN be dangerous, because in no way can you detect the 8% alcohol (if I recall, the brewery limits customers to 2 pints of this and their other high-alcohol beers). Apple Bomb was easily the highlight of this year's visit to the brewery.

Three years of visits to Cape May Brewing Company, and I have yet to have a disappointing beer. Keep up the great work, guys!