Time to say cheers and goodbye!

A final farewell. Cheers!

A final farewell. Cheers!

My journey in search of bars, restaurants and breweries in South Jersey has come to an end…

As I have stated on my “About” page, this blog was created and maintained for a class. And even though that was this blog’s original intention I have to admit – I’m going to miss it.

I really enjoyed finding places and meeting people that are so passionate about crafting beer and sharing what they have created. I wish that I could continue with this blog in order to find and taste new brews in South Jersey, but I must continue on a new adventure now.

Through this experience I have learned that beer is serious. It’s an art, it isn’t just something you drink. There are faces behind the beer you drink and lives of those who put their heart into making something delicious and enjoyable.

I have learned that beer contains a science that I can barely understand…and I have a better respect for those who choose to experiment with flavors to create their own take on beer.

Here is a list of the posts I am the most proud of during this semester:

1. 3 South Jersey Microbreweries You Should Visit

2. Tuckahoe Brewing Co. Representing South Jersey Craft Beer Pride

3. Sampling Spring Break Beer Tastings at Cape May Brewing Co.

4. Glasstown Brewing Co. Hosts First Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt

5. Cocktail Corner: The Amberlamps Turn It Up and Party Down at Margaritaville

Thank you to everyone who visited and supported my blog through it’s short life. Cheers everyone!

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A quiet Ugly Mug waits for the crowds of summer

The decorated sign alongside The Ugly Mug.

The decorated sign alongside the Ugly Mug. All photos by: Ashley Fryberger

Summer is coming.
But you would not know it by the vacant, silent walkway known as Washington Street Mall, located in Historic Cape May. Droplets of rain drizzled down on top of the awning encasing the Ugly Mug, hiding it away from the thawing winter weather.

Before entering the establishment, there was no one in sight – not a soul. You would not even realize the bar was open until you walked up, took a peek and noticed that the door was open in a warm welcome to all those who just so happened to walk by during the off season.

The Ugly Mug has been serving up food, beer, wine and spirits since 1926 in the heart of Cape May. The interior contains both old and new white mugs that are suspended form the ceiling. Fitting for the bar’s name. The mugs belong to the members of the Ugly Mug Club. Each member has his or her own mug and once they have passed away that person is honored by having his or mug hung in order to face the ocean.

Black and white photographs line the walls to showcase a special event that takes place on the last Sunday in August of every year. This event welcomes all Ugly Mug Club members to receive a glass of beer and whoever blows the most foam out of that single glass is deemed the “United States National Froth Blowing Champion.”

For locals, this bar and restaurant is known as an old favorite – and for tourists, perhaps it is a getaway during the summer season (but during the winter is it a completely different atmosphere). Historic Cape May is a widely known South Jersey tourist spot. The Ugly Mug is a bar and restaurant that literally feels the heat during the packed summer season, but in the winter they are given the cold shoulder.

“Around May 31st it’ll start picking up weekend wise, and then July 4th is when we really start kickin’ around here and we’re busy everyday,” said Kaitlyn O., a bartender that has been working at the Ugly Mug for about five years.

The Ugly Mug is open all-year-round and offers weekly specials, entertainment and events for those interested in the local nightlife; however, this does not bring in the weekly crowds.

“Weekdays aren’t really great in the winter, no matter how you look at it. But the weekends…the weekend is when we draw people in. It’s just nonstop every weekend because we’re the only [bar] open, so [people] need somewhere to go,” she said.

Visiting during a weekday around lunch or dinner may not be the ideal time or destination if you are looking for a loud and rowdy good time in the Historic Cape May area. In the winter, the Ugly Mug is  a quiet place that draws in those of an older generation rather than millennials searching for a place to get wild and crazy.

Before the summer storms upon us, stop by the Ugly Mug and you can experience popular, mainstream brews alongside those that you may not have heard of before in a quiet bar that still holds a great amount of history and old Cape May nostalgia.

The price is right, the food is filling and the beer cold (as it should be). And of course, this bar is host to one of Cape May Brewery’s IPA’s on tap. Talk about supporting local brews! Cheers!

Categories: Bars, Beer, Cape May, Dinner, Drinks, Food | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

3 South Jersey Microbreweries You Should Visit

This blog has taken me on an interesting journey so far. I have been to a handful of bars and breweries, some I have never visited before, while others are fresh and new. As I’ve searched for different places to experience new beer tastings and places to hangout and have fun while enjoying beer. I have found that some of South Jersey’s microbreweries are the most special places to end up.

Small in size and packed with people who have a passion for brewing the best beer of their ability, these microbreweries are sheer artistry in the making. I have learned that you cannot be fooled by their size, façade or obscure locations. And believe me, the few I have visited have been interesting to find.

Cape May Brewing Company, Tuckahoe Brewing Company and Glasstown Brewing Company all have the obscure location trait in common. Each brewery sets up shop in a warehouse surrounded by either a municipal airport, industrial park, vacant lot or forest of some kind. So basically in the middle of nowhere.

What they also have in common: great beer and even better people. The owners, brewers and staff at these locations love what they do and you can taste it in every drop. Stepping inside each tap room almost reminds you of a local mom-and-pop shop: small, intimate and in this century sets off an atmosphere that is very hard to find and underappreciated.

Below I have created a map including the breweries I have visited so far (marked with a gold star), and the breweries I hope to visit in the future (marked with a blue label). If you zoom in, you will notice the breweries farther south are surrounded by very little, while the breweries farther north are more centrally located.

Categories: Beer, Drinks, Atlantic City, Cape May, Brewery | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasstown Brewing Co. Hosts First Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt

Glasstown Brewing Company Photo by: Ashley Fryberger

Glasstown Brewing Company
Photo by: Ashley Fryberger

A happy and belated Easter to all of you! On Sat. April 19, Glasstown Brewing Company, located in a warehouse on 10 Peterson Street in Millville, hosted their first adult Easter egg hunt. The warehouse is surrounded by Millville’s Municipal Airport, so do not be fooled if you think your GPS has taken you to the wrong place!

The hunt began at noon, with an 11:30 call for participants to arrive for the reading of proper Easter egg hunting regulations; however the brewery was already full and lively with a crowd of people before noon.

Guests lined up at the bar for samples and pints of Glasstown’s brews. There were six beers on tap to choose from that morning: Glasstown Founders Ale, Old 47 El Dorado Pale Ale, Lunch Pale Ale, Fortesque Fishermans Ale, Thunderbolt Pale Ale and Cedar Swamp IPA.

Available brews on tap at Glasstown Brewing Co. Photo by: Ashley Fryberger

Available brews on tap at Glasstown Brewing Co.
Photo by: Ashley Fryberger

I found that the Glasstown Founders Ale was my personal favorite with it’s sweet, dark-bodied malt flavor and bitter hoppy finish. The Founders Ale was actually sold out halfway through the event. Talk about a popular brew!

Everyone seemed eager to search for the eggs, so much so that pints were gulped dry when Paul Simmons, owner and brewer of Glasstown, made the announcement that the hunt was about to begin. Simmons and his wife, Jennifer, were surprised by the positive amount of people that came out to the event. They compared the tremendous response of the crowd like it was “opening weekend all over again.”

Google Maps printed copies were handed out to participants to follow in the area that the eggs would be located. Each participant would be allowed to collect two eggs, which contained one ticket per egg and piece of candy. (Might I add that the chocolate inside the eggs became an ooie-gooie mess after sizzling in a plastic egg out in the hot sun).

When the hunt was on, people shot out of the brewery and ran across the field to find the hidden eggs. After all, there were prizes to be won! The hunt was slated to last until 2 p.m., but many (if not all) of the eggs were found within the first 15 minutes of hunting.

Prizes such as free samples, pints, growler fills, discount coupons, coasters, car magnets, T-Shirts and hoodies were up for grabs. A grand prize basket was also available that contained a slew of the goodies already mentioned.

Needless to say, Glasstown is sure to treat it’s guests with this event again next year! Glasstown’s tasting room is open Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m – 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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Cocktail Corner: The Amberlamps Turn It Up and Party Down at Margaritaville

The Amberlamps take the stage at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

The Amberlamps take the stage at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.

It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere! Every Friday and Saturday night from 10pm to 2am, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Atlantic City becomes host to a variety of bands for a chance to catch some real entertainment.

On Saturday night, a local band from Cherry Hill called The Amberlamps performed a number of cover songs spanning today’s Top 40 hits and yesterday’s throwbacks. Don’t roll your eyes or sigh at the title of “cover band,” because (while I am a witness) these guys know how to rock!

Take the time and stop by Margaritaville on the weekend, you don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy some of the tastiest margaritas on the boardwalk and worthwhile live music. Cheers!

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Photo gallery created by Ashley Fryberger
 All photos taken by Ashley Fryberger
Categories: Atlantic City, Bars, Cocktails, Dinner, Drinks, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuckahoe Brewing Co. Representing South Jersey Craft Beer Pride

Photo Gallery Created by: Ashley Fryberger
 Photos Taken by: Ashley Fryberger

Craft beer is alive and thriving in South Jersey. On a quiet lot in Dennisville, Cape May County, the Tuckahoe Brewing Company is a small facility pumping out it’s own concoctions of craft beer specialties.

Do not let the small exterior fool you, this brewery is successfully creating aromas and flavors that may just calm the pickiest palate.

Owners, founders and friends: Tim Hanna, Matt McDevitt, Chris Konicki and Jim McAfee share their pride for South Jersey beer culture and passion for brewing. Tim, Matt and Chris are all teachers who have been at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood for over 10 years, while Jim has been an architect for over 15 years in South Jersey.

I was able to meet with Tim and Matt in a building that I never thought I would enter again so soon: the high school. The students were milling about the halls, eating lunch and socializing. After finding a quiet place to talk I could not help but think, “Wow, what a strange place to talk about brewing beer.”

Tim Hanna at his laptop behind the bar.

Tim Hanna

Here I will introduce you to Tim, who seems to take more responsibility for backstage ordeals of keeping a brewery together. Responsibilities such as finances, paperwork, and continuously learning how to help the brewery thrive and grow.

Matt takes on a more personal and hands-on approach to his brewing. Here, he expresses his passion for creating aroma and taste for the brewery’s most distinguishing beer.

I strongly encourage that you visit! The brewery is open every Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The bar may be intimate, but the atmosphere makes for a comfortable drinking experience.
Photo Gallery Created by: Ashley Fryberger
 Photos Taken by: Ashley Fryberger
Categories: Beer, Brewery, Cape May | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philly’s Dock Street Brewing Co. Presents Brain-Infused ‘Walker’ Beer

dock-street-walker-label

Photo provided by Dock Street Brewing Company

As I am typing this I am gravely disappointed in the fact that I am unable to attend this most ghastly (in a good way!) event. In progress at Dock Street Brewing Company, located on 701 South 50th Street in West Philly, a new Walking Dead inspired beer is debuting. The beer is brewed with smoked goat brains and cranberries.

Yes…I said goat brains.

The idea was hatched by Head Brewer Justin Low and Brewery Representative Sasha Certo-Ware, both of whom are die-hard fans of The Walking Dead series. The beer is suitably named: ‘Dock Street Walker’.

“The Dock Street Walker (7.2% ABV) is an American Pale Stout, brewed with substantial amounts of malted wheat, oats, and flaked barley for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Fuggle hops provide delicate, earthy notes, while the cranberries create a sinister, bloody hue, and a slight tartness. The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes. In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.”

Dock Street’s debut event of the ‘Dock Street Walker’ brew started at 7 p.m. Any Philly locals? You still have time to make it over for a screening of The Walking Dead season finale on tonight at 9.  There will be live music from an acoustic funky filth band, Face and the Filthies.

So my questions is: Would you try a beer that is infused with brains? If it helps, I would yes! C’mon, release your inner zombie!

Categories: Beer, Brewery, Drinks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day: If You Cannot Pour It, Ignore It

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday this year; therefore, every pub crawl and celebration imaginable started this weekend. This post is going be meant as a bit of rant on my part. I found myself venturing out into Atlantic City last night and made my way to the Tropicana.

Thanks to 103.7 WMGM Rocks, I heard all week long about a pub crawl happening throughout The Quarter called The Running of the Leprechauns. The pub crawl made notable stops at Firewaters, A Dam Good Sports Bar and Ri-Ra’s Irish Pub.

The casino was flooded with the young and old, donning their green beads, tutus, head boppers and gaudy shamrock body jewelry. Mingling in the crowd of fake leprechaun wannabies were Hooters girls and members from Boogie Nights.

I will admit, I did not have a speck of green on me. No shamrocks in sight. I was here for the drink specials, after all…St. Patrick’s Day is nothing but a glorified drinking holiday.

I mistakenly made the choice of stopping at A Dam Good Sports Bar, minutes after the leprechauns invaded the space. The festive vibe was certainly intoxicating, but the beer was not. I wanted to get into the spirit of the holiday, so I squeezed my way through a sea of bodies and ordered a personal favorite: Guinness.

A Dam Good Sports Bar crowded after the Running of the Leprechauns in The Quarter, at Tropicana Atlantic City.

A Dam Good Sports Bar crowded after the Running of the Leprechauns in The Quarter, at Tropicana Atlantic City.
Photo taken by Ashley Fryberger

Little did I know this Guinness would be served to me in the worst fashion possible: In a plastic cup with no frothy head in sight. That’s what you get for $5. I didn’t complain at first, until I started sipping it down. I was confused, actually, because this same bar is where I spent part of my St. Patrick’s Day last year where it was poured correctly AND into a glass for that matter.
I get it. People are out for the beer, no matter what it tastes like because they want to get wasted. I suppose I was the minority at this bar, because I actually wanted to taste the beer for enjoyment. Not to get drunk. Not to black out. But just to enjoy beer for it’s flavor.
And so ends my rant.
Here is a little something I found on YouTube on the perfect Guinness pour. Enjoy!
Categories: Atlantic City, Bars, Beer, Drinks | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sampling Spring Break Beer Tastings at Cape May Brewing Co.

Spring break is a time for vacations, celebrations and drinking galore. I chose to kick off my spring break, yesterday, with a visit to the Cape May Brewing Company, during the busy celebration weekend of St. Patrick’s Day.

The brightly lit sign of the brewery.

The brightly lit sign of the brewery.

Initially driving into the middle of nowhere in Rio Grande, the parking lot appeared to be quiet, but once I stepped through the brewery door the atmosphere changed. The tap room was filled with a lively buzz through a crowd of people. Some were dressed in the likey shamrock green, while others were simply present to enjoy beer despite the holiday cheer.

The tap room was small, which created an intimate setting for the crowd. The bar lined the entire side of the right wall that showcased a large blackboard of the beer available on tap. Surrounding the blackboard of scribbled selections are shelves of merchandising which, surprisingly, are quite reasonably priced.

Photo gallery created by Ashley Fryberger. 
Photos taken by Ashley Fryberger.

I purchased a beer tasting, which came with the option of your choice of glass with your purchase. They also give you four wooden chips that you use in exchange for your 4 oz. beer tastings. Out of the 16 beer selections that were on tap, I found it very difficult to choose only four. My carefully picked choices, including two suggested by the very friendly bartenders, were:

1. Honey Porter (ABV: 5.2%): “Dark, silky, smooth, sweet. Made with local Cape May honey, this English porter brewed with hallertau hops has restrained roasty characteristics that make it unique from stouts.”

2. Apple Bomb (ABV 7.8%): “Not a cider! A fan favorite and our most unique beer to date – just try it already!”

3. Joe RoggenBock (ABV 7.0%): “Deeply inspired by the great works of the TV personality Joe Rogan, we sought out to make a beer as an ode to the man who hosted Fear Factor. Just kidding. This is a German rye beer that is very thick, sweet and lasting.”

4. South Jersey Secession Session Scottish Ale (ABV 4.7%): “A malt-heavy and lightly hopped session ale that is full in flavor but easy-drinking and low in ABV.”

My favorites of the bunch have to be the Honey Porter and the Apple Bomb. The Honey Porter surprised me, because for a stout (which for my taste buds are usually bitter) this beer was sweet instead. The Apple Bomb was just as surprising because it wasn’t categorized as a hard cider: it’s beer. The flavor infusion was pleasant on the tongue and very easy to drink.

Let’s just say I’m already planning another trip back in the future. Cheers!

Categories: Bars, Beer, Brewery, Cape May, Drinks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Fat Tuesday at Gregory’s Cajun Festival

mardigraspost

Photo by Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau 
via Flickr

Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar has kicked off it’s Mardi Gras celebration on Friday, Feb. 28 and plans to party-down through Fat Tuesday and go out with a bang on Sunday, March 9. That means an entire week to drink, eat and let loose! Fat Tuesday is known as a Cajun and Creole celebration, traditionally held on Bourbon Street in the history city of New Orleans. Gregory’s is bringing a taste of New Orleans jubilation to 900 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ with food, drinks and good vibrations.

cajun-promo-2-19-14

Gregory’s has created its own take on Cajun cuisine with a special menu for the event, with New Orleans’ favorites to be served from 4 p.m. daily till March 9. Take a bite from the ‘Bayou Bounty’ entree section or sample an appetizer like the marinated gator bites or the shrimp and grits. Don’t forget about the gumbo! Gregory’s has that covered with the in-house-made ‘Joe’s Classic Gumbo.’

The Cajun Festival also includes Gregory’s weekly specials like Taco Tuesday and Thursday, which features specials for Mexican-style food and drinks. It is $1.50 for two tacos, $2.50 for Dos XX’s pints, and $3 for 12 oz. Corona bottles (among other Mexican favorites).

Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar is open every day from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. with free parking available.

Categories: Bars, Beer, Dinner, Drinks, Food, Somers Point | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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