Cape May Brewing Company is thrilled to announce a second Jersey Fresh-certified brew: Beets By May. This innovative new beer was inspired by Farm and Fisherman restaurant in Cherry Hill, and contains a generous helping of Jersey Fresh beets from Formisano Farms in Buena, NJ, and will be available at the brewery’s Tasting Room at 1288 Hornet Road in Cape May beginning May 26.
“At Cape May Brewing Company, part of our mission is to keep things local,” says president and co-owner Ryan Krill. “Our first Jersey Fresh brew, our flagship Honey Porter, contains 90 pounds of local honey in every 15-barrel batch. This first 30-barrel batch of Beets By May has 250 pounds of locally-sourced red and golden beets.”
Formisano Farms in Buena is less than an hour from the brewery. “We’re always excited to use local ingredients,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “The beets were literally plucked from the ground the morning before we used them; it really doesn’t get much fresher than that.”
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher was on hand at the brewery to assist in the brewing process on Friday, May 20. The Secretary was “caught red-handed”, chopping beets and adding them to the beer.
“Cape May Brewing Company are great supporters of Jersey Fresh,” said Secretary Fisher. “It’s a true local economy, supporting each other at every level: farmers at the farm, on to the craft brewery, and then to the restaurants. It’s a circular flow of the economy.”
General Manager Ben Menk of Farm and Fisherman said, “It’s one of the main ingredients on our menu: the beet. And Cape May is a great brewery, their mindset is developing the local economy, working with local farmers and developing the community. With all of the great beers they’ve created, it’s a great partnership. It’s been a pleasure.”
In using such an unconventional ingredient, the brewery is excited in confronting the unknown, particularly in getting the proper color. Valm says, “We didn’t want a blood-red color, we wanted something brighter and more distinctive, a color that would still say ‘Pale Ale.’ So we ran a few trials to get a good balance using yellow beets and red beets that gave us the flavor as well as the necessary color.”
Head Brewer Brian Hink agrees with the challenges noted by Valm. “I feel anytime we play with a new ingredient there’s going to be unexpected hurdles to jump through, and oftentimes they don’t always react the way you would expect them to,” says Hink. “For Beets by May I honestly don’t know what the finished product is going to be. Super earthy? Hint of dirt? Musty? I’m not really sure, and that’s exciting.”
The crowd on-hand at the tasting room on Friday was able to find out exactly what the finished product would taste like. The general consensus was surprise: the finished brew is on the sweeter side, with the earthy hints of beet present, but not overpowering the underlying Pale Ale.
“You can’t beet this beer!” enthused Mark Haynie, The Beer Guy for The Press of Atlantic City.
Beets By May will be available starting May 26 at Cape May Brewing Company’s Tasting Room in Cape May, and at better bars and restaurants throughout the area.
For more information on tours, taps, and tastings visit capemaybrewery.com or call (609) 849-9933.
About Cape May Brewing Company:
Once upon a time, twenty-something Ryan Krill earned a six-figure salary working in finance and real estate development in Manhattan, while his college roommate, Chris Henke, designed satellites. During a summer weekend at the Jersey shore, they brewed a batch of beer with Ryan’s dad that wasn’t half bad. “Should we open a brewery?” Ryan asked, only half-serious. But, by the following year, the three guys had secured a space at Cape May Airport where they concocted a makeshift brew system and honed their beer-making skills. In 2011, they started with one client. Today, there are over 380+ accounts in Jersey and Pennsylvania proudly serving the guys’ award-winning recipes. And CMBC’s fearless leaders have never looked back.