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Moving to the dark side

Moving to the dark side

As the sunshine fades earlier and earlier, the chill is in the air and thoughts of several more months confined to the residence appears a little less daunting. Getting the fireplace/woodstove ready for the season and breaking out the decorations for the upcoming holidays helps to ease the pain of the lost summer.

As the plethora of the light summer beers slowly changes over to the dark side, you will be seeing more porters, stouts, doppelbocks and barleywines populating the shelves and taps. Even the pumpkins and Oktoberfests will soon be a memory (unless you squirreled some away for the winter).

Over at Chimney Rustic Ales in Hammonton, a lot has been going on. New tanks are being installed so they can expand the canning operation and also get back to doing draft-only products. Look for more of their canned products at your local outlet. Plans are being considered to work indoor service into their schedule, but right now they’re not opening the taproom. Look for expanded outdoor hours to seven days a week with Monday-Wednesday hours from 4-8 p.m.

Three 3s in Hammonton has shifted their beer production to more packaged products for distribution and onsite purchase. They updated their hours for their beer garden and limited indoor seating: Thursday 5-8 p.m., Friday 3-9 p.m., Saturday 1-9 p.m. and Sunday 1-7 p.m. Come in and enjoy their recently released Oh Fest!, a traditional Festbier; Bugg Juice, a bold IPA hopped with Citra; Mosaic; Azacca; and Centennial and Exhausted From Human Interaction, which is an IPA conditioned on coconut and pineapple.

Down the street, Vinyl brewed up WEISSE, a German-style wheat beer and Destino, a dry-hopped sour ale with mosaic, simcoe and galaxy hops. And don’t forget their third anniversary celebration October 7-11.

At Cape May Brewing Company the return of Devil’s Reach in cans is imminent. One of my favorites, it became a tap offering to make some shelf space for the summer brands. Fruity and light with a complex character from its robust Belgian yeast and at 8.6% abv, it will be welcomed back for the colder weather. We will also see the return of a fan-favorite double IPA, White Caps, a 7.5% abv DIPA featuring Mosaic and Citra hops.

And let’s not forget about Mop Water! This long-loved beer will be back this autumn for wide release in 12-ounce, six-packs. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and a load of real vanilla and an abv of 7.3%, CMBC combined these spices with the flavors of German malts to create a brown ale perfect for cool autumn evenings and bitter winter nights.

Later in the fall, another seasonal hits the market, Cape May Coffee Stout, a dark, roasty, and slightly malty stout conditioned on the choicest medium-bodied Latin American and Indonesian coffee blend. Certainly a delightful dessert beer or a rousing breakfast beer and at only 5% abv, you can enjoy it all day.

Garden State Beer Co. in Galloway Township looks to continue canning into the fall and also hopes to continue to serve beer outside in the beer garden as long as the weather cooperates. Look for their autumn release, Oktober Ale, a German altbier with lots of malty sweetness. If you can catch a taste of their newest NEIPA, it’s worth the trip for a hophead. Brewed with lots of Citra, Centennial and Amarillo both in the kettle and dry-hopped, it will hit the palate with big citrus notes.

Up in Manahawkin, Manafirkin is moving forward with its barrel-aging program. Look for these amazing brews: New Age Old Fashioned with Subtle notes of caramel and smoke from the applewood smoked malt and hints of whiskey from the Dad’s Hat Rye barrels that it was aged in. Rounded out with a late addition of orange peel, this beer is a fun representation of the cocktail it is named after. Skull Chalice brings back the super popular heavy-hitting plum stout from last year, this time aged in cognac barrels. Oh Dear Gourd is a Pumpkin dunkleweis beer that is making it’s return after spending the spring and summer aging in Laird’s Applejack Brandy barrels. You’re The Apple Of My Pie is a delicious apple pie beer that finds its way out of the fermenter every year at this time.

On the dark side, they will be serving Barbel Stout, a Belgian stout; Midnight Barrels, a Russian Imperial Stout; and Wake the Firk Up Oatmeal Coffee Stout that will be released in two versions: one aged in Lairds Applejack Brandy barrels and the other in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels.

Gusto Brewing in North Cape May is reprising a few of its most popular beers. The Inside Joke series with Pink Guava and Sea Salt is back on tap. Also hitting the handles is their newest stout, My Other Car Is The Death Star, a bold Imperial Stout with additions of brown sugar and cinnamon.

A few other new beers coming out locally: 7Mile in Rio Grande is serving up Another One, an 8% abv hazy IPA. Slack Tide in Clermont is pouring Neutral Buoyancy, a NEIPA available only at the brewery.

Like to homebrew? South Jersey Beer Scene will be hosting its first annual Homebrew Harvest Competition. A charity event to benefit the Brewerystrong initiative to help brewery, bar and restaurant workers who have suffered greatly during the pandemic.

The categories will be Stouts and Porters (seven styles), Winter Warmers (six styles), Ambers (nine styles) and English Ales (eight styles). The winner in each category will go into a Grand Championship round and the winner will brew at Garden State Beer Co. Entries accepted until Nov. 1 and judging will be the 16th or 17th. Check their Facebook page for more details. Happy Brewing!

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