Community News

Growing beer in the Garden State
6/30/2016

New Jersey’s nickname “The Garden State” is well earned. This state we’re in is famous for all sorts of crops, from blueberries and cranberries to Jersey tomatoes. But you may not know that microbreweries are cropping up all over the state, producing a wide variety of new brews!

Since 2012, thanks to legislation that eased sales restrictions on beer, microbreweries are booming. Today there are 57 breweries or brewpubs – mostly small – 27 soon-to-open breweries waiting for full approval, and another handful in the early-stages of startup. And many of these brewers are going the extra mile to form a connection with New Jersey’s land and its beer drinkers!

Gene Muller of Flying Fish Brewing Company moved his brewery to Somerdale in 2012 to craft his beer in the most environmentally friendly way possible.  The facility has solar panels, rain water collection, and energy-efficient boilers. The “Exit Series” of beers, which pay homage to the NJ Turnpike, uses local ingredients like honey, blueberries, coffee, and even oysters from the Delaware Bay! “Using local ingredients gives the beer a sense of place,” Gene explained. “It’s also part of our mission to support the producers in our local communities.”

Last summer Gene visited New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s Franklin Parker Preserve as part of the “Beers Made By Walking” program, which encourages brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes. “I think the big takeaway our team had on the hike was that the Franklin Parker Preserve was this amazing gem,” Gene said. “It also highlighted just how much diversity there is in the Pinelands. A lot of folks think it’s just sand and pine trees but each area has its own unique characteristics.” In September Flying Fish will release Exit 5 Pinelands Sour Forage Ale, which will be brewed with pine needles, goldenrod, and wintergreen.

Another brewery, Screamin’ Hill in Cream Ridge, has a much more tangible connection to the land – it overlooks the Bullock family farm! The 100 acres of preserved farmland is owned by the same family that runs Screamin’ Hill Brewery, and many of their ingredients come straight from fields only a few steps from the tap room. Their pumpkin ale, for example, uses the same pumpkins grown on the farm for close to 20 years. Fresh hops come from vines out back, and eventually the barley, wheat, and rye from the farm will be used to make their own base malt for brewing.

New Jersey’s brewers aren’t just relying on the land for their hops, grains, and water. They’re even turning to preserved land for their yeast – the ingredient in beer that converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Tuckahoe Brewing of Egg Harbor Township recently released “Silience”, a wild ale made using 100% wild-NJ-captured microflora from the Pine Barrens. The process produces beers that vary in taste but usually have a distinctly sour or “funky” quality. “It was humbling to watch a small conglomerate of microorganisms, that are floating around us at any given moment, transform a sugar water solution into such a complex and elegant beverage,” said Sean Towers, one of the brewers.

But making all of these delicious beers isn’t the only product of New Jersey’s growing microbreweries. According to the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, craft beer provides 9,500 jobs with an annual economic impact of over $1.2 billion! Brewers also support other local businesses, and each year they recycle 4 million pounds of spent grain to New Jersey farmers for high-quality animal feed.

If you’ve tried craft beer and it’s just not your thing, don’t fret! The Garden State is producing hard cider too, thanks to places like Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick. John Melick, a 10th generation farmer, teamed up with cider maker Scott Wyant to turn some of the farm’s apples into three different varieties of the trendy libation.

So the next time you’re scouring the store shelves for a picnic, party, or date night, why not try a Jersey craft beer? Or better yet, visit one of the many breweries across the state. Find a listing and map on New Jersey Craft Beer’s site at https://newjerseycraftbeer.com/new-jersey-breweries/

And for more information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

Cheers!

POSTS

Protect New Jersey's Pine Barrens

Enjoy New Jersey's forests!

Maine-to-Florida urban trail celebrates 25 years

Rare plants and animals need help!

Ban offshore drilling and seismic testing off NJ coast!

Summertime and the digging is easy

Is the elusive bobcat here to stay?

NJ water supply plan rings alarm bells

NJ's Piedmont: Formed by volcanoes and erosion

Defend public health and safety in state budget

'Magical' early 17-year cicadas

June and open space: Perfect together

Hit the trails on June 3, National Trails Day

Socializing with nature

Preserve land - and state's in lieu of taxes program

New Jersey's 'marl' pits yield dinosaur discoveries

Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force

Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!

Energy efficiency saves money and land - and creates jobs!

The Pines of March

Trees are more social than you think!

New Jersey's geological 'layer cake'

Keeping the 'great' in Paterson's Great Falls

Some good news!

Take action to defend and protect land and water

Interested in ecology? Become a Rutgers Environmental Steward

2016 wins and losses for New Jersey's land and water

Kick off a healthy New Year with First Day hike

Energy infrastructure: the new sprawl

Two great books for connecting kids with nature

Why do some trees stay green while others lose their leaves?

Melting ice, rising seas, hotter planet

Our forests never sleep, even in winter!

Documentary brings Great Swamp battle back to life

Defending the land they loved

Four years after Sandy, rising sea levels predicted

New Jersey: Small state, big diversity

10 great natural areas for enjoying fall colors

Removing obsolete dams brings rivers back to life

Humpback whales a welcome sight off NJ coast

NJ wine industry boosts agritourism

For good health, bathe in a forest!

Let's NOT make a deal!

New Jersey's spectacular waterfalls

ARCHIVE

August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011

CLICK FOR RECENT POSTS