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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:14

Pinelands Brewing sprinting toward finish line

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Pinelands Brewing is winding down the buildout in its space in a southern Ocean County business park.

Over the past few weeks, founders Jason Chapman and Luke McCooley, joined by three new partners, have been putting the finishing touches on the 3-barrel brewery in Little Egg Harbor, about a 20-minute drive north of Atlantic City.

Walk into the place now and it will look a bit chaotic. But there's a clear image of a brewery amid that disarray: A complement of fermenters lines a side wall, and the brewhouse (a brew sculpture consisting of a 140-gallon kettle and slightly smaller pot for a mash tun) sits along the back wall, just off a cold box with 1- and 3-barrel bright beer tanks inside.

Pinelands Brewing3The first Tuesday evening in December 2013 found the five guys doing sundry tasks: installing a three-basin sink, assembling shelves, and connecting and testing the gas to the brewhouse burners.

Within days, the fivesome hope to have officials from Little Egg Harbor and Ocean County come in for inspections, followed by regulators from the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control around mid-month.

"It's crunch time now, the juices are flowing, and everything is rolling good now," Jason tells Beer-Stained Letter.

Pinelands Brewing6The target date for opening is early January for the brewery, an idea born nearly four years ago from homebrewing in Jason's back yard in Hammonton, an Atlantic County town known for its acres and acres of blueberry farms.

A quartet of flagship beers – American pale ale, IPA, witbier and vanilla porter – are still planned. But since its inception, Pinelands Brewing has evolved slightly – a larger brewing capacity (a pair of 3-barrel fermenters) to start out with, and the addition of partners John Kugler, Sean Collins and Nick Brown to help keep the project going financially and divide up more of the workload for people already busy with their daily lives and obligations.

"It's what we needed. It's part of assembling the right team. We're all really comfortable that now we can do it," Jason says. "We all work; we all have small children, and families come first. This is a side project – a worthy side project."

Read 7713 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:52

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