Local Brewers Bring Craft Beer To The Jersey Shore
Location is everything when you’re drinking wine, but few people think about where their beer was brewed. Just like Garden State wineries are bottling the finest grapes in their area, a wave of breweries throughout the area are creating delicious craft beers with an emphasis on local flavors.
Kane Brewery in Monmouth County’s Ocean Township is one of the local breweries that are calling the Shore “home”. The idea for the business started over twelve years ago when owner Mike Kane began home brewing in college, traveling to Europe to taste some of the best beers abroad, and wanting to replicate that same quality back at home.
“I came beck here and at that time the craft beer movement was starting, especially in the Vermont and New England area.”
Kane left his job in finance, began devising a plan and fundraising, and in the summer of 2011 opened Kane Brewery on Bloomsbury Avenue.
The decision to settle along the shore was a decision that came naturally to Kane, a native of the state for most of his life, he briefly lived in other parts of the country but knew that he wanted to live close to the water.
“I knew I wanted to open a brewery someplace where I wanted to live, and settle down and raise a family, and the natural place was on the coast where we love the people and love the area.”
Similar to wineries often being a family affair, Kane says his brewery’s operation is done with the support of his family.
“My family is here on the weekends working in the tasting rooms.”
Even the 7,000 thousand square feet, twenty barrel brew house, was done thanks to the help of Kane’s father who is an electrical contractor.
Kane Brewery produces primarily American and Belgian style ales, Kane citing the reason being “it’s the type we like to drink and we like to brew.”
Kane defines “American Style” beers as the “hoppier” and dryer style’s of beer, noting they produce of IPA’s, Pale Ale’s, and Double IPA’s. While their “Belgian Style” selection is more varied with a much more seasonal selection as well.
“Right now we have our Summer Seasonal which is a Belgian Style blonde, we do a Belgian wheat beer made with orange zest, bitter orange, and coriander.”
Living in the Garden State Kane says it’s important to take advantage of the resources made available to them, especially the great seasonal fruit’s, vegetables, and other products.
“Different seasonal beers go with different weather obviously in New Jersey so we try to brew to that. We try to incorporate as much local ingredients as a possible. We’ve use local yeast, and we’ve done beers with local honey, and local apple cider.”
Though New Jersey might not be known as a “Beer State”, Kane says consumers are becoming more educated about what makes a good brew.
“The consumer’s and bar and restaurant owners have come a long way in the past ten years.”
So with the summer heat expected to come in, what does Kane recommend you have ice cold in your glass?
“Belgian Blonde or Belgian Wheat are nice, kind of crisp dryer more refreshing styles of beer. Lower alcohol so you can drink one or two or three without feeling the effects of the alcohol too much.”
Kane Brewery along with Point Pleasant Beach based East Coast Beer Company will be representing the Shore at Six Flags Great Adventure during the Brew Ha Ha Festival (editorial note: the comedy portion of the Brew Ha Ha festival is sponsored by NJ 101.5 ,which is owned by Townsquare Media, as is WOBM and WOBM AM)
“It’s a more beer focused event, which we look for.” Says Kane.
He adds one of the best things about being a brewer in the Garden State is the community that exists between all the beer companies.
“The communities is really strong, we all know each other. There is a guild, the Garden State Brewers Guild.”
Kane Brewery does tours and tasting, every Friday from 4 to 7. They are also available in 100 bars and stores throughout the state.