You may think that good old American ingenuity is a thing of the past, but I’m happy to report it’s alive and well in Cape May, New Jersey. Or, Lower Township to be precise.
It’s manifested in the form of Ryan Krill, his father Robert, and Ryan’s college buddy, Chris Henke, who are the very personification of “re-purposing.”
For a tour of Cape May Brewing, you won’t have to go very far from the tasting room. The building itself is so small, I spent a good 10 minutes trying to spy the brew room but it turns out, I was standing in it.
Krill showed off with great pride the malt grinder built from scratch, complete with duct work feeding chute and scavenged motor cobbled together by Henke. Then there was the closet-size fermentation room equipped with a heater and air conditioner battling it out for the proper temperature.
Krill proudly shared with his audience “my dad built that in a day.”
Even their walk-in refrigerator was salvaged from a Quinoz.
Although it seems like a small operation, there is nothing small about the reputation that is beginning to grow for the Cape May Brewing Company beer.
I visited during their weekly Saturday tasting event which goes from 12-4 p.m. and for $11 you get a logo pint glass and 4 ounce pours of each of their offerings. On the day of my visit, it was Wheat, Honey Porter, Stout and Cape May IPA.
This is small batch beer at its best. They are all packed with flavor and are about as fresh as you can get. The beer we tasted on Saturday was deemed ready for consumption on Thursday.
Cape May Brewing is also working to foster a strong local connection within the community.
The brewery’s Honey Porter uses locally produced honey, and this year, they’ll be bringing in locally grown hops from a farmer who they provide with spent grain for use as feed. For Cape May Brewing, the rule of thumb is love the locals and they’ll love you back.
It’s karma, and I’m pretty sure they’re selling beer as fast as they can make it.
Cape May Brewing expects to take over two adjacent buildings in their little industrial center and add picnic tables for outdoor events. The brewery even plans to grow hop vines up the walls of their building. I certainly hope that kind of local support is going to become a trend in the Garden State.