Mark Haynie

Mark Haynie, beer columnist for At The Shore

I suppose we have all survived Thanksgiving, so preparations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve should be well under way. Do not forget to include those big, full bodied beers of winter to keep yourself warm and comfy. To toast the New Year, there are even champagne-style brews that are certainly not Miller High Life. Smooth and effervescent, these tasty beers clean the palate, making it ready for the darker side of the cold season. Malheur Brut and Brut Noir are Belgian imports made in the methode champenoise imparting a dry, semi-sweet flavor with lots of bubbles. Bosteels Deus is also a great example. The American answer to these is a fairly new style, Brut IPA. Drier and with more carbonation, these beers are not aged or corked and caged, but you will find them on tap or in cans. No matter your preference, enjoy the beer experience.

Tomfoolery in Hammonton will be celebrating its fourth anniversary from Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8, at the brewery. Celebrate with Bromance Barleywine, St. Altieri XI Belgian Quad, Security Breach Russian Imperial Stout, Vaniljekranse Cookie Ale and several others to include Jalapeno Pale and a variety of hard seltzer flavors. The main event starts at 3 p.m. Friday, continuing until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Across the street, Three 3s launched Back to Reality IPA as a core beer recently. This Hazy/NEIPA won Best in its category at the 2019 A.C. Beer and Music Fest. Look for monthly can releases of this as well as other rotating beers in the tasting room too.

Somers Point Brewing is decking their halls with a few bigger beers this holiday season. Open Water Imperial Stout recently began to fill glasses at the brewery. This 8% dark brew brims with notes of coffee, dried fruit and chocolate. They have set some aside in some bourbon barrels from Pine Tavern Distillery for their April 2020 first anniversary. Gretel’s Kettle recently hit the taps. This 7% gingerbread beer brings the tastes and smells of the holiday home to you in a glass. You can find their beer on tap at Josie Kelly’s, the VFW and Passion Vines in Somers Point. Tap room hours remain unchanged: Thurs. 4-9 p.m., Fri. 2-9 p.m., Sat. 12-9 p.m. and Sun. 12-6 p.m.

COHO has some great beers planned for the season as well. COHO-HO-HO is a spiced peppermint porter and is available now to enjoy with your Christmas cookies. And soon they will be brewing their anniversary beer, a fruity, hazy IPA brewed with Lemon Drop, Sultana and Ekuanot hops. Fruit will be added to the batch after fermentation to accent the hops. Brewer Mike Johnson has some surprises coming too, depending upon ingredient availability. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. From 1-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, they will collect donations for Joey Strong, a member of the COHO family who is suffering from retinoblastoma. Any donations are welcome.

Slack Tide is putting out some amazing products. Their recent iteration of Haywire Twist is brewed with plums, currants and cranberries. Its bright red color and only slight tartness makes it a beer everyone will enjoy. Check out the Manatee Milk Stout also — dark and sweet. Congrats to the guys for winning medals at the Great International Beer, Cider, Mead and Sake Festival. The Manatee Milk won a gold and Bell Buoy got a silver.

Cape May Brewing will ring in the holidays with their annual Boughs of Barley. Celebrate the season in all its glory with this year’s rich and silky smooth Baltic Porter, carefully fermented with their house lager yeast. Released on Black Friday, you better check on availability before heading there. On January 9, their stellar Triple IPA, Snag & Drop, hits the shelves throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This lupulin-laden beast with hints of pine and orange citrus in the background is packed with some of the stickiest and most pungent hops.

Having just celebrated their second anniversary, some fall favorites will be reprised on the Bucket Brigade taps. You’ll see the Brother Hood Black Ale as well as the Fallfest, made with ginger snaps. A new New England Rye IPA and a light Gold Leaf Pale Ale will soon make their appearance also.

Lots of good beers will appear in Beach Haven at Ship Bottom Brewing. Cans of Sticky Fingers Salt Water Taffy IPA should be on the shelves now followed closely by Double Overhead IPA.

MudHen in Wildwood celebrates the holiday with their sixth annual Hospitality Night. While the adults enjoy fine brews and foods, the kids will be served hot cocoa and Christmas cookies while they await Santa’s arrival at 6 p.m. to light the Christmas tree. They will also collect toy donations for the Lynch Who Stole Christmas Toy Drive. Come out and support the community!

Head to Millville Airport on Saturday, Dec. 7, for Glasstown Brewing’s Annual Christmas Ornament Hunt. There will be thousands of ornaments scattered about the area for you to find and win prizes. Entry is $5 that benefits the Millville Police Unity Tour. Wear your fastest sneakers and sharpen your vision.

After completing their first successful year, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall still impresses the locals with lots of great events. On Thursday, Dec. 12, they will hold a Christmas Beer Dinner at 6:30 p.m. with five delectable courses accompanied by some amazing holiday beers. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at TennAveAC.com.

Want to sit back and relax while touring breweries? After success in many other metropolitan markets, City Brew Tours has come to South Jersey and will conduct local brewery tours from Toms River to Cape May to Camden. Local franchisee Lisa Lopez will conduct tours in different areas throughout the year as well as catering to private excursions for up to 14 people. Depending on the package, you can visit two or three breweries with tours and tastings at each one and either a snack or full lunch included. Lisa provides a history of beer and brewing while traveling and her knowledge is extensive. The tours will begin in various locations, including Atlantic City and Wildwood. Visit CityBrewTours.com or call 609-579-9379 for more info.

Happy Holidays to all!

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