Mark Haynie

Mark Haynie, beer columnist for At The Shore.

Vernon Ogrodnek//////

Labor Day has come and gone, marking the official end of crowded beaches and boardwalks and the beginning of school bus slowdowns and weekend-only trips. But don’t despair, lots of great events are coming up to bring those beer smiles back.

The annual Atlantic City Seafood Festival returns on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9 and 10, but this year it will be held outdoors at the Showboat. The hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults and free for children under 12. Parking will be on the surface lots across the street. Jon Henderson and crew at Good Time Tricycle Productions have a ton of activities planned besides the usual spotlighting of local restaurants. The Chowder Cook-Off will return this year, benefiting the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Last year a $10,000 donation was made, and hopes are high that that amount will be surpassed this year.

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Of course, there will also be wine seminars and tastings available. But my favorite is the the Great Brews of New Jersey tent, showcasing the rocketing growth of the industry in the Garden State. Many of the new breweries in the area will be in attendance to convince you that a trip to their brewery is worth your while. Locals like Garden State, Cape May, 7 Mile, Three 3’s, Tomfoolery, Slack Tide, Ludlam Island and Tuckahoe, along with Bolero Snort, Brotherton, Cypress, Devils Creek, Dark City, Flying Fish and Two Ton, will pour their best to wow you. While you are enjoying the beers and Garden State wines, the kids can be kept busy with sand sculpting, bouncy houses, giant Jenga and more. Don’t miss this amazing annual event.

Speaking of new breweries, I told you about Hidden Sands in EHT last month, and I’m happy to say they’re preparing to christen their beautiful system with their first brews. All will be ready for a grand opening in October. The facility is huge and will accommodate lots of visitors, so be prepared to make that trip and welcome them to the area.

At about the same time, Bucket Brigade Brewing will hit the taps at their own place in Cape May Court House. Not as grandiose, it will be a comfortable venue with tons to look at while enjoying the beers. The time is now to join their Charter Member Club, where you’ll get member perks at the brewery. Check the Facebook page for updates.

A great place to enjoy football, food and beers is Tailgaters in Galloway, and now there is even more reason to stop by. Owner Ari Frangias tells me they will be infusing some of the drafts with fruit or coffee on a regular basis. Football fans, ATTENTION! A big screen NFL kickoff party will be held on Sept. 18, with free wings on Sundays throughout football season!

On Sept. 16 the Physick Estate in Cape May will hold its 3rd Annual Harvest Brew Fest from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Admission is free, and there will be plenty of fun for the whole family, with games and crafts, as well as craft beers, wine and great foods. It will be sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Arts and Humanities.

The Mad Batter will host a craft beer dinner 7 p.m. Sept. 22, as part of the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration. It features four courses, each paired with a craft beer. The price is $65 and limited to 60 people. For reservations, call 609-884-5404 or go to Planning ahead for Oct. 7, there will be a NJ tap takeover at the Mad Batter with 19 Garden State beers on the handles and at least one cask. Starting at 1 p.m., brewery reps will be there to discuss the beers.

Slack Tide has just received a delivery of a 10 bbl system, which should be up and running by next month. Expect a lot more great beer from these guys. Congratulations!

Have a great month! Salud!

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