Recently I judged at a blind beer tasting featuring some of the best brews in the area. The beers up for the tasting were judge on aroma, appearance, flavor and adherence to style. Some of the locals came through with awards: Hidden Sands took best of the Coffee Beer category with their First Drop Maple Baltic Porter and 2nd place for their 800’ Pilsner. Glasstown took the third spot in Coffee Beer with Big Breakfast. Cape May took top honors in the Session Ale category for Always Ready, with Tuckahoe Brewing hot on their heels for Snack Session IPA. Pinelands Brewing took second in the IPA section for Swamp Donkey. Three 3’s caught the 3rd place for their Creamed Coffee Porter. Tomasello Winery grabbed the gold in the Cider/Mead category for its Artisan Orchard Pineapple Cider. Congrats to all the winners! Look for the complete list on AC Beer Fest’s Facebook page.
Looking forward, Cape May Brewing will can its favorite summer Belgian-style wheat ale, Summer Catch for the first time. This citrusy and refreshing brew is dominated by notes of orange peel and tropical fruits on the palate and is lightly dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo hops, giving it a distinctly American twist. Keep your eyes peeled for two new additions to CMBC’s lineup in April: Harmonic Rhythm, released to celebrate Cape May’s Exit Zero Jazz Festival, a cocktail-inspired fruited sour, and Beaches and Cream, an IPA with peach puree and lactose providing a hops fix while drinking your dessert and catching some sun.
At 7 Mile Brewing in Rio Grande, new shipments of 7 Suns, 7 Mile Pale Ale, Walter White IPA and Beach Bubbles will be packaged and available in the tasting room and retailers by mid-April.
Bucket Brigade in Cape May Court House utilized its supply of lemon snap cookies to add refreshment to its Spring Fest Ale. Having used ginger snaps in its Fall Fest, they figured it was worth a shot, and it was a success. Look for the Spring Fest Ale throughout the season. Also added to the beer boards is the Halligan Bar Hefeweizen and the Irish Brigade Dark Red.
Slack Tide has released a new beer recently. The Ridge is named after the famous A.C. Ridge, a great fishing spot, and is a New England IPA with lots of citrusy hops and a hazy appearance. Released at the AC Beer Fest last month, it will be on tap at the brewery for a limited time — certainly worth a visit. With their expansion in place, look for a lot more beer to come from these guys.