What's HappeningBrew Day with Cape May Brewing Co.

April 27, 2018

Our friends from Cape May Brewing Co came down from the Jersey shore last week for the first of two fun-filled collaboration brew days. They share a bit about the impetus of the partnership and the resulting beers on their Straight to the Pint blog (reposted here with permission):

Remember what life was like when you were seven? (No? Was it that long ago? We’ll help….)

All of your friends were seven, too. Eight-year-olds seemed like they were old enough to run for governor and six-year-olds were entirely too juvenile to hang out with. You rolled your eyes at five-year-olds and nine-year-olds…? No. Zero commonalities.

But other seven-year-olds were right up your alley. They were mature enough to understand your seven-year-old hopes and dreams, such as they were, but not so mature as to make you feel like a baby.

That’s kind of how it is in the brewing world. Cape May Brewing Co. is about to hit our seventh year in July, and along the way, we’ve been lucky enough to forge some serious friendships with other breweries from the Class of 2011.

DC Brau — the District’s first modern packaging brewery — is one of those serious friendships.

IMG_8870We’ve got a lot in common with DC Brau: we were both founded by two friends from college, we have a lot of the same values, we’re both about the same size, and we’re both committed to experimentation and innovation.

And we’re both fiercely proud of where we’re from. We’ve got “New Jersey Proud” emblazoned on each of our cans, and these guys are District proud, with their flagship Public Pale Ale bearing the DC rallying cry of “Taxation without Representation.”

“The folks at DC Brau are great,” Ryan said. “They’ve got similar values to us and make some great beer, so there are a lot of similarities between us.”

And the feeling is certainly mutual.

“DC Brau has always had a connection with Cape May,” says DC Brau CEO and co-founder Brandon Skall. “Our friendship with Ryan and his team has always been natural and effortless. We really just get along and we respect what Cape May does in both their beer and their culture.”


Ryan’s known DC Brau’s Chief Community and Culture Officer Mari Rodela and owners Jeff Hancock and Brandon Skall for awhile, running into them at conferences and festivals over the past few years.

At the end of last year, Ryan posed the idea of collaborating to the team at DC Brau, and the ideas really started flowing.

“Lots of ‘yes, ands’,” he says. “They’re doing a lot of great stuff, and we can learn a lot from each other by doing a really great collaboration. And have a lot of fun.”

There are a lot of people who come to Cape May from DC — if you hop the ferry, it’s not a long trip at all. So, collaborating with a brewery in DC was a no-brainer, and since we had an existing relationship with the best brewery in the District, it was just a matter of putting all of the pieces into place.

They finally fell into place this weekend. Ryan, Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm, and Social Media and Design Alchemist Courtney Rosenberg took a whirlwind trip to DC to brew up Rosé du Gose.

“This weekend was an insane amount of fun!” Jimmy said. “The DC Brau crew was fantastic, they really know how to take their beer seriously, work hard at it, and also have a ton of fun while doing so. I hung out for a majority of the weekend with them and loved every minute, even the hangovers — yes, plural — were worth it!”

Jimmy was impressed with the brew system they’ve got down at DC Brau.


“They’ve got a great new system,” he says. “They’ve had it since October. It’s a semi-automated, 4-vessel, 30-barrel, GEA system. It was pretty sweet.”

Nonetheless, when all is said and done, we’re two breweries committed to experimentation and innovation. And, with Rosé du Gose, fans will get both.

This is a gose — a salted sour — with added fruit flavors reminiscent of a rosé wine. These flavors — strawberries and peaches — don’t only come from the grapes: the entire process of producing a rosé generates these flavors. It’s the yeast, the aging time, the barrels, and so on.

“Since we really wanted to make a beer with Rosé-type flavors,” Jimmy says, “we had to figure out how to do that for a beer, so we analyzed a few Rosés and pinpointed some of the key flavors and went to the drawing board to decide how to get those into a beer. When we did this with strawberries and peaches in a gose, it seemed very good and also wholly unique.  It all just came together!”


Wine-inspired beers have become relatively popular over the past few months: our Harvest Ale with merlot must is one of them. Part of it has to do with the joy of experimentation — pushing the envelope and trying new flavor combinations is half the fun of being in this industry — but, essentially, it’s about introducing non-craft drinkers to the possibilities that exist.

“It’s just fun to experiment and try new things,” Jimmy says, “but pushing the boundaries a little bit more and changing what people think beer can taste like is always fun for us. That’s what this beer is all about, there are plenty of wine drinkers who think all beer is either Lite Beer swill or a bitter-bomb IPA, we want to show them that’s not the case.”

Everyone involved is particularly psyched about this beer.

“I am super stoked for Rosé du Gose to hit the market in DC,” Brandon says. “The beer marks a first for us as we have never produced a full batch-sized sour. I think the DC market is going to love it, especially with an early June release date. Perfect beer, perfect place, perfect time.”

IMG_8769Ryan agrees.

“The beer will be great,” Ryan says. “It’s gonna be delicious, and I can’t even wait.”

Rosé du Gose is the first half of this collaboration — the DC Brau guys will be in Cape May next month to help us brew up L’attitude, an experimental IPA.

Brandon might have to miss the brew day due to a 500-mile cross-country bike ride.

“I really hope I can make it up,” he says. “I’m pretty sad about that, but I know that Jeff is planning to head up there with Mari and they are excited to check out the facility, get their hands dirty and their feet sandy!”

And we can’t wait to have them. Remember when you had your first sleepover at seven? All you wanted to do was play with your best toys — we expect this meeting of the minds will be much the same.

Rosé du Gose releases on May 31, 2018, in the DC area — you’ll have to make a trip to our nation’s capital to get a taste. L’attitude releases toward the end of May here, as well, and we’ll have more information as it comes about.