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Beer styles change as summer fades into fall … and Oktoberfest
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Beer styles change as summer fades into fall … and Oktoberfest

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Summer is ending already, and I hope everyone made up some of that lost time and traveled to see the sights the Garden State has to offer. With over 130 breweries open now, I hope you checked a few off your list no matter what part of the state you are in. Pretty soon the traffic will be gone, and we will rule the roads once again. Be sure to visit your local breweries, distilleries, bars and restaurants to keep them open through the off-season.

Upcoming EventsComing up on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18 and 19, is The Downbeach Seafood Festival at Ski Beach in Ventnor Heights. This event is a fun family event with lots of music, food, games, vendors and, of course, my favorite, the Great Brews of N.J. Tent! Enjoy the variety of local beers. Tasting tickets are 10 for $10. Admission to the Fest is $10, and tickets can be found on Eventbrite.com.

That whole weekend, Mudhen from Wildwood will celebrate their Annual Oktoberfest with German cuisine and activities for all ages starting at 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday night.

That same weekend is Brotherton’s first anniversary for their new digs in Atco. Closing off Atco Avenue to celebrate from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the brewery will feature live music, crafters, vendors, food and a beer garden with special release beers.

That very busy weekend also includes Pumpkinpalooza at Axe and Arrow in Glassboro. Pumpkin beers of all styles on tap all weekend.

The next Saturday, Sept. 25, is the Annual Glassboro Craft Beer Festival from noon to 5 p.m. at the Glassboro Town Square. Tickets available at bfest.in.

And Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall’s Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3. The Beer Hall’s outside Beer Yard will host live Oktoberfest polka music with Tony DeLuca and Friends 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, and famed Philadelphia area accordionist Don Bitterlich 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Beer Hall will feature Oktoberfest and German-style beers from Germany, as well as German styles from local breweries, as well. You will also find plenty of pumpkin options, too. Go to TennesseeAvenueBeerHall.com for more details.

Brews and NewsCape May will releasing a flurry of seasonal beers this month. Captain May IPA will be hitting the taps and shelves. This 6.4-percent ABV IPA is named after Captain May, the namesake of Cape May. A big fan favorite, Mop Water, will also be reprised in September. Their contribution to the seasonal spiced beers, this popular brew is made with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and real vanilla. Though the name can be a put-off, it does not seem to deter the fans from drinking it. A collaboration with Great Notion Brewery in Oregon began in 2018, and a version was then brewed in Cape May in 2019. This beer, Strawberry Taffy, will have a limited release this month at the brewery. It’s brewed with local Cape May Sea Salt and fermented with strawberries.

Just up the road, Gusto Brewing has been brewing up a storm, producing new beers constantly. Newly released is DDH Cashmere, a big brother to Of Course Its Cashmere, amped up with Simcoe to blend with the Cashmere and El Dorado. Malted white wheat smooths out the mouthfeel and makes it an easy-drinking, 8-percebt abv beer. La Vie En Rose is also on tap. This Golden Ale is hopped with a light French hop variety, Barbe Rouge. The 5.2-percent abv brew tastes of sweet bread and melon, a great summer refresher. Look for an upcoming lager hopped with Perle named Suddenly Beautiful, as well as a Festbier next month called Schunkeln Like Nobody’s Watching.

In Cape May Court House, Bucket Brigade is looking forward to its big brewery expansion. They recently released a Smoke Damage Black IPA with a fruit sour and Cherry Wheat on the way. For Oktoberfest they will be pouring a Marzen and a Kolsch.

Slack Tide has reprised its popular Headshake Milkshake Double IPA brewed with lactose and aged on Madagascar vanilla beans and pineapple puree. Also find their Slacktoberfest in cans and on tap throughout the area. Even before their huge expansion, distribution is spreading into PA.

Pinelands in Tuckerton came out with a hardly seen style recently. Alterior Motives is a German-style altbier with a big malt backbone and light hop palate. At only 6.1-percebt abv, it is a crisp and easy-drinking beer. While you are there, taste their Oktoberfest Marzen brewed in the traditional way with Munich and Vienna malts.

Bonesaw in Glassboro has released its contribution to the Fall beers with its Pum-Queen, a cream ale brewed with pumpkin spices.

Joining the pumpkin club is COHO in CMCH releasing an Imperial Pumpkin Pie Ale named Mischief Night. Brewed with real cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, brown sugar and vanilla extract and enough pie filler in each batch for 50 pies. Available now in cans and on tap. Up next will be their popular fall seasonal Apple Cider Marzen, as well as the Toasted Marshmallow Blonde following up. Bottles of the excellent Cabernet Belgian Tripel are still on sale at the brewery also.

Out in Hammonton, Chimney Rustic Ales brewed a collaboration with Last Wave Brewing in Point Pleasant Beach. The two owners were college buddies, and they reconnected via the brewing industry. They produced a sour ale with coconut, lemon and lime. This purple beer called Wave Water is being served at Chimney and will be at Last Wave 9/14.

Out in Williamstown, Cross Keys Brewing is releasing their Green Jumpsuit IPA, which is double dry-hopped and brewed with fresh lime.

Eight and Sand in Woodbury will hold their fifth anniversary celebration noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. There will be special beers, games, prizes and food trucks. Grab some of their Somethin’ Pumpkin that was just released, too.

Neck Of The Woods in Pitman just added a new member to the family. Ben Gresh returned to N.J. to become the head brewer. Late of Blewett Brewing in Washington State, Ben decided to reclaim his roots in the Garden State. Coming up is Strawberry Rhubarb Sour at 5.5-percent abv with lots of strawberry and a light rhubarb bite. Following up is Raspberry Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA at 6-percent abv brewed with a boatload of puree and hopped with Enigma, Citra and Mosaic.

Brewery UpdatesHeading north in Waretown, Oyster Creek took the plunge and opted for a 5bbl system to increase their production and distribution. Look for more beers at your local outlets throughout the fall and winter.

Behr in Cape May is still contending with red tape, and Zappy in Ocean View with getting equipment set up.

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