Atlantic City Weekly’s Weekend Hot Tub Party is kicking it back with more than just a few drinks this time around.
In celebration of this weekend's Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival — which is promoting craft beers and the brewers who create them, we’re going to hop back in our hot tub time machine and explore the start of micro brewing. From the 1920s Prohibition era to 1970s England, there’s a sudsy story that’s led up to this weekend’s Beer Festival.
So submerge yourself in the hot tub and crack open a cold one, or four, and join the buzz in this weekend’s hot tub party at the microbrewery. We’ve also compiled a delectable list of sweet brews for your drinking pleasure.
During the era of Boardwalk Empire, Prohibition caused smaller, regional breweries (which provided a local character to their products) to find it incredibly difficult to shift away from alcohol.
Thus, Nucky Johnson quenched Atlantic City’s thirst as if the resort town did not fall under the law of the land.
By 1935, after Prohibition, beer cans emerged, shifting the idea of drinking at the local tavern to drinking at home instead. National brands took the market and by the mid-1960s onward to the present, beers like Miller, Coors and Budweiser compete for our dollars.
However, it wasn’t long before drinkers began to look for something more unique in their beers and the result was a focus overseas, bringing about the prominence of “the import.”
The Europeans had been brewing long before Americans, so the fascination with craftsmanship began appealing to the beer-drinkers. Tired of weak-tasting major beers, alternatives such as Holland’s Heineken and Germany’s Beck’s and Lowenbrau were sought out. And thus, the hipsters of the 1970s were the first to jump on what was at the time, a new trendy niche market.
People began to rediscover the time-honored tradition of home brewing with a freedom to choose all the ingredients and brew outside corporarations. The term microbrewry spread to the U.S in the 1980s where it eventually was used as a description of breweries that annually produced fewer than 15,000 beer barrels.
Even today we see new home brews that are quite close to home such as the Cape May IPA, Tuckahoe Brewing, River Horse Brewing Co;, the Tun Tavern, and the New Jersey Brewing Co., among many others.
Now in its seventh year, this weekend’s beer festival here in Atlantic City is sure to leave participants acquiring a taste for celebration and discovery of what might become some of their new favorite drinks.
Here are some tasty microbrew favorites hand-selected by the ACW staff for your tasting pleasure:
Wild Blue: This blueberry lager is definitely a summer beer. Pours deep purple and smells like a blueberry pie. On the flavor side, this beer is a sweet one, so enjoy it icy cold. And at 8% ABV, it will treat you right.
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA: If you're not a fan of hoppy beers, turn back now. Definitely on the floral side of things, this one has some serious bite to it. Hazy and golden in color. ABV varies from 15-20% depending on the batch. A hop-lover's favorite. This is a hungry beer... it likes to be fed. Try it with buffalo wings or garlic shrimp for maximum appeal.
Philadelphia Brewing Company's Fleur de Lehigh: This is an odd one. Brewed like a Belgian white, but with a weird east-coast twist. Hoppier than one might expect from a Belgian, this ale tastes like spring flowers and citrus with a nice maltiness that lingers. And at 4.5% ABV, this makes for a great session beer.
Ithaca Beer Co. Apricot Wheat: A burst of apricot hits you at first sip and fades quickly into a clean refreshing finish. Not too fruity or sweet; well balanced. Great effervescence almost reminiscent of champagne. This is your girlfriend's new favorite beer. And nobody will judge you if you have one, too. Bring this 4.9%'er to a picnic and enjoy!
Victory Hopdevil: Very potent floral character. This one is like getting punched in the nose with a bouquet of daffodils. Thick body with loads of bready malty flavor and hints of zesty citrus. At 6.5%-ish ABV, it's strong and heavy for a session beer, but once you've tried it, it's hard not to keep these coming.
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Blithering Idiot: This is my personal favorite barleywine. Deep mahogany in color and sweet to the nose, this one is a real champ. Not overly sweet and fruity, nor is it hoppy. Hints of banana and marzipan. Definitely has a boozy warmth to it. This is the perfect chilly evening campfire beer. At 11% ABV, it will warm you right up.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Fade to Black Volume 3: This one is complex. It's an american-style porter brewed with black pepper. Smells of dark chocolate, coffee and cigars. Give this one a good swirl as you pour… the pepper lives in the bottom of the bottle. Taste is a bold mix of rich earthy malty flavors punctuated at the end by a surprising peppery bite. Yes, this beer is ever so slightly spicy. And yes, it's damn good. ABV is somewhere around 7%. Enjoy this bad boy with a grilled steak, mexican food, or even blackened ahi tuna.
Duvel: This, dear readers, is the gold standard. If you haven't had a Duvel, stop reading now and go get one. It doesn't get any more perfect than this. This beauty pours the color of a golden sunrise with a thick pillowy head that takes ages to settle. Once it does, it leaves a thick webbed lacing on the glass. The smell of green apple greets you first, followed by a pleasant bready-ness. The taste… is basically to die for. Clean and crisp with lemon and hops and a hint of clove. I doubt better balance has ever been achieved. 8.5% ABV. Bubbly like champagne and crisp like a steel chardonnay. This is bottled perfection.
“We started on a shoestring down in Cape May and started with one account,” says Ryan Krill. “That was it, and we called ourselves a brewery."
“There are about 16 or so companies that are in various stages of development in the craft-beer industry, the nearest to us being Millville."
Coinciding with the return of the Golden Nugget Craft Beer Festival, the Resorts Craft Beer Festival will debut on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The festivities include beer tastings and pairings, live music, beer-related specials at multiple venues throughout the property, and educational elements hosted by beer experts Gary Monterosso and Tara Nurin.
Golden Nugget partners with Paulaner, an ancient European brewery and originator of Germany’s Oktoberfest, for this year’s Craft Beer Festival.
“This is an aggressive beer,” he says. “You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an American strong ale of this quality and depth.”
"The book is the book, the show is the show, the book is what inspired the show and the show, with the benefit of some really creative people, is going to re-tell the story of Prohibition through the eyes of criminals. And the focal point of that is Nucky."
Think about it — our nation was still engaged in the Civil War when Renault first opened its doors in Egg Harbor City. By 1870 he had introduced his New Jersey Champagne. Renault Winery soon won prizes for its wines and became the largest distributor of champagne in the United States.
The seventh annual Celebration of the Suds will have an expanded lineup of Garden State-based craft brewers and bands .
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