The annual Great American Beer Festival took place in Denver recently and two New Jersey breweries brought home the bling. Our local pride and joy, Cape May Brewing carried home a bronze medal for their popular Honey Porter, long a mainstay on their beer list. The other was a Silver medal for Bringin’ Da Heat(chili beer) from Devils Creek in Collingswood. Congratulations to them for once again showing the world that Jersey can compete with any brewery anywhere!

Now that fall is full upon us, the bigger beers are hitting the handles in more places. We will go to the darker side in the shorter days. Imperial porters and stouts, doppelbocks, and barleywines will make their presence known. Many of these beers are brewed to be enjoyed in moderation and sipped by the fire even accompanied by a dram of whiskey or a cigar if you are so inclined.

Wondering what to drink with Thanksgiving dinner? Of course that is a matter of preference, but my choice is always a beer that will complement and not overpower the feast. As with wine, poultry usually calls for a lighter beer though maybe just in color. I always choose a nice smooth saison or biere de garde to join me in celebration but even a low level IPA or pale ale will suffice. Dessert calls for a special beer, depending on your choice of sweets. Pumpkin ales are always a good choice, but a smooth vanilla porter or milk stout will also hit the spot.

Somers Point Brewing has been keeping up with seasonals and now we can taste their more creative products. Though light in color, a Belgian Tripel is not a beer to trifle with. Usually 8% abv or higher, this beer can creep up on you, so enjoy it responsibly. Another of their new offerings is an Imperial Stout that will be released this month. Black and deep with flavors of dark fruits, this beer lets you know its got some kick to it. Again usually 8% abv or higher, smaller servings are the norm and meant as a sipping beer. They are also barrel-aging some of it for their first anniversary celebration next year.

COHO in Cape May Court House has released their fall seasonals and their Objection: Overruled makes for a very tasty chocolate pumpkin porter. Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity is a big 10% spiced beer aged with rum-soaked staves. They also have a radler version of this that blends in their homemade vanilla soda, called Rum Me My Rights. Check out some of their other blends. The brewer, Mike Johnson tells me he has some interesting products coming out over the next few months.

Down the road is Bucket Brigade Brewery where they have amped up their taps and produced Five Bugle Belgian a 7.4% abv with lots of traditional Belgian flavors of fruit and sweet malt. They have also released a Scotch Bonnet Scottish Ale and, though not a pepper beer, it has lots of dark malt caramel sweetness and low hop rate. A nice beer to warm you up.

Another Cape May Court House brewery, Gusto Brewing will soon serve their Peculiar Sweet Potato Pieman spice beer at 7 % abv. Sounds interesting.

Over in Millville, Glasstown Brewing has a few seasonal beers to pique your palate. The Big Breakfast Maple Coffee Porter is a great complement to a nice stack of pancakes or a waffle. And at 7.2% abv, it will prepare you for a good day. The Clash of the Pumpkins is an outstanding version of this fall beer and 7.2% abv.

Up the Parkway in Beach Haven is Ship Bottom Brewing. A producer of some unusual beers, this brewery always seems to fascinate the beer geeks with something different. Recently released in cans and draft was the Mexican Stout, a chocolate pepper bomb that thrills the taste buds. Coming up soon is the Fluffernutter Stout draft release and on Nov. 27, Sticky Fingers Salt Water Taffy IPA will be available in cans.

Hammonton is becoming the brewing capital of Atlantic County. A fourth brewery is set to open soon and make this community a true beer destination. Chimney Rustic Ales is preparing to open this month. They plan to serve farmhouse ales and sours. Watch their Facebook page for the official opening date.

Down the street, Three 3’s is utilizing their expanded capacity to relaunch their award-winning Back to Reality IPA as a core beer. New can releases will occur every month as well as new product pourings in the taproom.

COHO Brewing will host author Raymond Rebmann to discuss his book, Prohibition in Cape May County. Enjoy their amazing beers and learn about local history.

Free Beer!! Make a stop at Passion Vines in Egg Harbor Township on Friday, Nov. 8, from 4-6 p.m. and enjoy the best of Founders Brewing.

Planning on attending the 2020 A.C. Beer and Music Fest on April 3 and 4? Visit Joe Canal’s in Egg Harbor Township on Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m. to purchase your early bird tickets for $50. Save money and enjoy beers? No need to think, just act!

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief,,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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