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Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:16

Early glimpse inside Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing

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FB JQ Jan2014
A glimpse inside start-up Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing’s takeover of the Cherry Hill building that was Flying Fish’s founding location.

Last week, concrete pads for Forgotten Boardwalk’s brewhouse and fermenters were poured, while work on the brewery tasting room buzzed away on the other side of a wall.

FB Ferm PadForgotten BoardwalkLate spring is the production brewery’s current forecast for opening. But there’s still plenty of construction work left to do and a brewer to be hired. Plus, unexpected delays in building a brewery in New Jersey aren’t exactly unheard of.

So stay tuned.

The brewing equipment (a trio of 60-barrel fermenters, a 30-barrel brewhouse and 60-barrel bright tank) is expected to arrive in March, possibly April. A 1-barrel pilot brewing system is also coming; that set-up will help feed tap rotation in the tasting room with beers brewed specifically for tours, not distribution.

Late last summer, Forgotten Boardwalk grabbed the Jersey craft beer spotlight for a bit when owner Jamie Queli and a business partner leased the industrial park site to launch a new brewery where Flying Fish got started in 1996 and brewed for 15-plus years, becoming the state’s largest craft beer-maker.

Flying Fish, of course, moved on to bigger digs in Somerdale two years ago. But the design plans the company filed with Cherry Hill back in the 1990s stayed at town hall. Cherry Hill officials suggested them to the new tenants of the end unit of 1940 Olney Avenue, thinking the plans could serve as some guidance.

They did.

Forgotten Boardwalk’s brewery-space configuration will look a lot like Flying Fish’s.

FB Pad Brewhouse“I made sure to keep the fermenters where the fermenters were and the brewhouse where the brewhouse was,” Jamie tells Beer-Stained Letter, “because that’s where the plumbing and electricity probably were.”

Still, there are some key design changes, such as the main entrance being moved around the side to a south-facing wall. It will open into the brewery portion of the building, giving tour patrons a glimpse of the production area before they pass through new double doors to the tasting room. That arrangement is a smart adaptation to state rules that require craft brewery patrons take a tour of some kind before enjoying pints in the tasting room.

The tasting room, at 1,800 square feet, will be twice the area Flying Fish dedicated to serving samples throughout its run in Cherry Hill.

FB Taste RoomForgotten Boardwalk’s plan is to trick out the tasting room in the motif of a timeless boardwalk, with arcade amusements like funhouse mirrors and skee ball. A wheel of fortune, with a spin, will help indecisive tour patrons pick beers to sample. The wheel’s being custom made in Asbury Park.

A patio is also in the works, another sign that tasting rooms have become a key stream of income for Garden State craft brewers and craft brewers looking to offer more with the tour experience. 

“I want this to be a really cool date spot, a really great third or fourth date spot where you come and see how something is made, play some skee ball, and you try the beer,” Jamie says.

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