I would drive a long way to taste a damn good brew, but fortunately I do not have to,
We have the best beer in the state right here in North Cape May. Cape May Brewery is really, really good. Gusto Brewing Company is even better.
Our merrie crew hunkered down on Sunday, and despite the delightfully cool and dry climate inside the brewery, opted to drink outside in the garden. (OK, don’t get overly romantic here, you want lush surrounding and Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, go to Cold Spring Brewery, but know you’re going for the scenery.)
I brew beer, My son and his girlfriend brew beer. My daughter and my son-in-law brew beer. We used to brew because we wanted exactly what we wanted. Gusto makes a good case for letting someone else do the work.
We tried several brews, all of them excellent, but two stood out, one for its cleverness, the other for its skill.
The Inside Joke: Tangerine+Peach Créme is a fruited sour with a creamy, rich mouthfeel and a complex (in a good way) estery swirl of flavors, but to describe it that way makes it sound too serious. It’s fookin’ good without being cloying.
The Real Fake Doors is a better bitter, done exactly right. The Fuggle hops were spot on, balanced perfectly by the crystal malt. I felt like I was back in London, experiencing the sounds and aromas near the Thames. It is not hard to make an ESB, but it’s difficult to make it just right. This was a fookin’ home run.
We also had the Slam Poet, a classic IPA that shows off by not showing off, and the Little Spoon oatmeal stout, also good stuff.
The menu varies, as it should, and the staff has always been nothing but friendly. Our first visit was four years ago, when the tour consisted of a card and a formal signing in a composition notebook acknowledging you took the tour, but now a quick glance at the wall (and the merch) suffices.
But don’t tell anybody, The Atlantic City Press damn near ruined our beach a few years ago, and things got pretty crowded for a bit. The beer here is as good as beer gets. My fear is Gusto gets too successful. Until then, we’ll keep sharing our oasis with folks who stumble down the shore, as long as they keep it semi-secret.
If the place is too hoppin’ (it is summertime, no?) grab a 25 oz crowler of a 64 oz growler. They also carry 4-packs.