Beer fest

Wildwood hosted it's first ever beer fest this Saturday and Sunday at Fox Park.  Steve Wilson, Catherine Behrens, and Chris Markham, of the Cape May Brewers Guild, discuss how they brew beer. T

Michael Martin

WILDWOOD — Brewers from across South Jersey poured the perfect pints Saturday for hundreds of beer aficionados at the inaugural Wildwood Beer Fest.

The pints — actually just 4-ounce steins — seemed to satisfy the crowd that milled under tents out of the sun at Fox Park.

The tasting festival coincided with Atlantic City’s own suds-soaked boardwalk festival.

Wildwood organizer Julie Musser said consumers have a growing appreciation for good, locally made beer.

“It’s a foodie thing. It’s for people who like to explore new tastes,” she said. “It’s kind of like a game. People like to post pictures of their beers on social media. Most of my news feed is people posting pictures of their beer. Craft brews are expanding so fast.”

Among Saturday’s participants was Tuckahoe Brewing Co., based in Upper Township. The brewery is growing so fast it will be moving this year to a new, larger facility in Egg Harbor Township, co-owner Jim McAfee said.

“I still see a lot of growth in craft beers,” he said. “Educating people is what it’s all about.”

Tuckahoe had a “tap takeover” Saturday at Wildwood’s Cattle & Clover Restaurant to introduce customers to its brand.

Several home-brewers demonstrated how to make beer in the garage or basement.

“To make good beer, you have to drink good beer,” Middle Township home-brewer Chris Markham said.

He makes batches such as apricot ale for his friends for special occasions and parties.

“The waiting is the hardest part. It takes a couple weeks,” he said.

Steve Wilson, a home-brewer from Cape May, said his fiancee got him his first starter set five years ago. Now, it’s become a fun hobby.

“She used to wake up to take a shower and find all my empty bottles soaking in the tub,” he said.

Now he has a more refined system to clean his empties.

Festivalgoers sampled the different varieties and stood around in groups like a large tent party. Point Pleasant band That’s What She Said entertained the crowd with a mix of alt-rock covers from Green Day to No Doubt.

“I liked the Melovino,” Frances Odoy, of Egg Harbor Township, said of Melovino Meadery’s mead. “It’s very fruity, refreshing — a good summer drink.”

“We’re going to try Tuckahoe’s next,” said Mike Kalman, of Egg Harbor Township.

Would he consider making his own home brew?

“No, thank you,” he said. “I’ll leave it to the professionals.”

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