Kane. Turn the Tide. That’s Kane Brewing’s bold motto. This brand new upstart brewery in the heart of Monmouth county is ready to storm the beaches of the Jersey Shore and beyond. In fact, the first wave has already landed. A quick look at their blog will give you an idea of the objectives they’ve already taken. Taste their beer and you will see that victory is in their grasp.
Ok, that’s a little dramatic for a low key Jersey Shore guy like Michael Kane. He’s a mild mannered finance guy whose home brew hobby went haywire. The laid back surfer vibe that is their marketing angle belies the hard work attitude that made this brewery a reality (their blog chronicles the saga). Don’t expect them to just ride the successful wave of their first three brews either. This is a brewery that is going to find the best ingredients that New Jersey has to offer and produce quality beer for the local market. When I paid a visit, they were experimenting with local apples (attention Laird’s! Can you spare an Apple Jack barrel?) and the head brewer, Clay, told my they use yeast strains produced here in the Garden State. Even the names for each beer reflect their Jersey shore groove.
Now to the beers. Head High IPA, which is a surfer term to describe wave height, is actually a West Coast style IPA. Is there an East Coast style? I don’t think so. In any event, it was my favorite. A healthy dose of Citra hops gives Head High that grapefruit smack that you also get from Sierra Nevada Torpedo. An extremely close second is the Single Fin Belgian Style Blonde. It is born of a Trappist yeast strain now grown, as I mentioned, right here in New Jersey. You could actually call Single Fin a Belgian Single that is flirting with a Belgian Pale Ale. It has traditional Belgian fruit and sweetness up front but finishes bone dry and hoppy. The final offering is Afterglow Rye Pale Ale. It’s proof that Kane isn’t just slinging hops around without thinking. The orange color is a little lighter than you’d expect from a rye because they backed off on the rye but augmented the spiciness with Hallertau hops.
At Kane, they’re smart about their ingredients and about everything else. They picked a space big enough to allow them to self-distribute. There’s state-of-the-art equipment designed to be energy efficient. They’ve left plenty of room to expand production. Even the marketing materials are well thought out and produced. In another smart move, they plan on bolstering their draft only sales with some 750ml Cork-and-Cage offerings of more eclectic brews. I can’t wait.
If you want to find out more about Kane Brewing, I’d suggest a trip to their Ocean Township location between 12 and 5pm on Saturdays for their weekly tasting event. You can fill up a growler, get a tour or buy some glassware. You’ll probably see Michael behind the bar, so bring your questions too. Trust me, you’re going to want to learn more about Kane Brewing.
Peter Culos is the editor of “Beer Bites,” a new monthly feature about breweries, bars and good beer in the garden state. A graphic designer by day, and a life long New Jersey resident, Peter was first introduced to the novel idea that beer could actually have flavor during several visits to the UK. He’s been riding the craft beer bus ever since. It has been called the ultimate social lubricant and Peter’s philosophy on beer is, “I’d rather split my last good beer with a friend than drink the whole thing by myself.” Besides beer he also likes history, dogs, Jeeps and painting. In the past, he has written a History and Art blog for the Weider History Group and occasionally contributes to his own blog, history-geek.com. Life is short. Drink good beer.