Friday, May 20, 2011

Check out our write up on Beer-Stained Letter

Cape May licensed; another nano emerges

Just as Cape May Brewing scores its state license to begin making beer, another Cape May County nanobrewery is emerging, hoping to fire up a kettle in the fall and launch with an American pale ale in New Jersey's southern shore draft beer market.

Tuckahoe Brewing Company is a foursome of homebrewers from Atlantic and Cape May counties who have been brewing together since 2006. They established their company back in January and earlier this month leased a 1,000-square-foot building at 369 Woodbine-Oceanview Road in Dennis Township, about a 20-mile ride up Route 9 from Cape May Brewing, which just became New Jersey's newest brewery and the state's second nanobrewery (behind Great Blue Brewing in Somerset County).

State regulators gave Cape May the green light to strike a mash following an inspection of their facility on Thursday. (Federal regulators signed off on the brewery in early April.) Ryan Krill, one of the three owners, says they expect to begin brewing sometime next week.

Matt McDevitt, one of the guys behind Tuckahoe Brewing, says he and his partners – Tim Hanna, Chris Konicki and Jim McAfee – have filed paperwork for a brewers notice with the federal government and for a limited brewery license with the state.

"Our goal is to get started around October/November, depending on how that gets processed," says McDevitt, whose day job is teaching at Mainlaind Regional High School in Linwood. Hanna and Konicki are also teachers at Mainland Regional; McAfee is an architect in Cape May County.

Ahead of them now is the task of getting a floor plan together and turning that into brewing space.

"We all get out of school in mid-June, and at that point we'll do some work on it, make it brewery-ready," McDevitt says. "We looked around for about two months for different places down in Cape May County and found a place that has pretty much everything we need, as far as a new-enough building that we don't have to do that much work to it."

The four plan to brew two to three times a week on a 3-barrel set-up to feed an inventory of sixtels and possibly half kegs. If all their recent outreach to Cape May County bars and restaurants to generate interest leads fortune to smile upon them, they'll look to boost their brewing capacity.

"Once things start to move in the right direction, the next step will be a 10-barrel system," McDevitt says.

The partners have been looking at brewing systems from a couple of fabricators who have become central to the burgeoning nano sector of craft brewing.

"Psycho (Brew) is one of the systems we're looking at. Obviously money is a factor, and that's one of the more affordable systems," McDevitt says. "The other is, we've looked at a system from Premier Stainless, which makes another 3-barrel model and will custom-fabricate a system."

Long-time followers of New Jersey's craft beer scene may remember the planned Tuckahoe Malt Brewing Company, which failed to get off the ground back in the mid-1990s. McDevitt says he and his partners approached the owners of that name about opening a brewpub under that banner, but opted for a nanobrewery instead and formed their business as Tuckahoe Brewing Company.

On their blog site, the four say they intend to launch with four styles: pale ale, wit, porter and another ale or pilsner made exclusively with agricultural products grown in New Jersey.

The pale ale, hopped with Cascade, possibly Centennial, and finished with Mount Hood, will likely be the company's flagship brew, McDevitt says.

"That will be what we start with. It's going to be high production with that," he says. "The plan is, right now, to make two seasonals, like a Belgian wit in the spring-summer and a smoked porter for the fall-winter.

Locally made, locally served is a guiding light for Tuckahoe Brewing's business model. McDevitt believes that's something the buying public is keen on these days.

"This area for the longest time hasn't had any local beers besides Flying Fish (from Cherry Hill), but even that is, a little bit, a ways away," he says. "So hopefully, we can do some good for the Cape May and Atlantic County areas, hopefully get some people excited about drinking some locally made beer."

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