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Sunday, 02 March 2014 16:57

Strong turnout for Pinelands Brewing public opening

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Pinelands-Opening Taplist
Grand opening is right.

Tiny Pinelands Brewing opened its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, March 1; a flood of beer enthusiasts lined up to check out the brewery tucked into a small business park in Little Egg Harbor and sample a lineup of five ales.

The turnout was impressive – with a strong showing of local residents – and it’s another sign of craft beer’s still-rising profile and widening reach in shore areas like southern Ocean County, where the big macro brands still sell a lot beer.

Pinelands-Opening PourPinelands-Opening PintGlassA back patio was put into use with a propane heater to warm the crowd occupying picnic tables beneath a tent. Out front, there was a steady line of folks showing up for the tour. Inside, taps at the cold box filled glasses and growlers; a bar toward the front poured pints and samples.

“You can say I’m shocked. I did not expect this many people,” says Jason Chapman, who founded the brewery with his friend, Luke McCooley. “I expected a crowd, but (not) this intensity, nonstop.”

The grand opening followed a family-and-friends gathering the weekend before.

Even with the previous event, Jason was still able to stockpile 8 barrels of beer – pale ale, IPA, stout, a witbier and porter – for the public opening. (Pinelands brews in 1- and 2-barrel batches and began production at the end of January.)

Halfway through Saturday’s opening, the stout kicked, though a cask-conditioned version of it still poured on firkin, a surprise offering, only hinted at in the brewery’s promotional efforts for the opening.

“We wanted to do something cool for this. I’m going to keep that thing going. I think I might do a dry hop, like dry hop an IPA,” Jason tells Beer-Stained Letter.

State regulators licensed Pinelands Brewing in late January. John Kugler, Sean Collins and Nick Brown are the additional partners in the brewery.

Tasting room hours are for now Saturdays only, noon to 5 p.m.

Pinelands-Opening CrowdA


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