Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If a Storm's A-Brewin', See What's A-Brewin' at Cape May Brewery

A few weekends ago, my aunt and uncle from Indiana were in New Jersey visiting my parents so my sister and I journeyed home as well. The best part about heading home is of course the proximity to the beach. Unfortunately, this particular weekend only gave us a few hours of sunshine.

On a normal rainy day, we may have just stayed in the house, watching episodes of "Hey Dude" and playing Trivial Pursuit from 1981. But since we had guests, we tried to venture out a little bit. We went to some antique shops, my dad and Uncle T went to the airport museum, Aunt J & Uncle T climbed the Cape May Lighthouse, and we went over to Cape May Brewery to see what they were all about.

I came across Cape May Brewery (aka Cape May Brewing Company) while I was looking into Cape May Winery, another potential rainy day activity. I'm not the biggest *wino*, but I am a pretty decent *whiner* so everyone agreed when I suggested the brewery over the winery. What most interested me aside from the beer itself was the idea of a brewery tour at 3 pm.

Had I known the brewery tour was only a few minutes long, I wouldn't have pushed my family to make it there so quickly, but it was worthwhile. I still don't really understand how beer is made but I did find it interesting that most of the ingredients are locally sourced and once the brewery is finished with the grains they use, the grains are fed to animals at local farms. This made me wonder if the animals could get drunk from this, but I'm sure everyone involved knows what they're doing.

It sounds to me like Cape May Brewery is growing quickly. They make over 30 varieties a year and the brews can be found in stores, bars, and restaurants all over South Jersey. I envision them expanding the bar area and hope they put in some biergarten-style long picnic tables. The brewery was pretty packed with others who had the same idea on a rainy Saturday, so instead of staying for a few, we purchased two growlers for our dinner that night. I was part of the sampling team and we decided on Devil's Reach and The Bog.

The descriptions from Cape May Brewery's website:

  • Devil's Reach (Belgian Strong Ale) - ABV: 8.6% - A Belgian beast, this strong ale quickly became one of our top selling and most highly sought after beers. Coming in at a whopping 8.6%, it’ll creep up on you with its deceptively light body and easy drinking finish.
  • The Bog - ABV: 3.9% - A tart, cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade to create an uber-drinkable summer shandy. Perfect to enjoy on those sweltering days, this beer is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor. Drink it when you're at the beach....and all those days that you wish you were.

A growler is only $20 and can be refilled for $10. Everyone enjoyed the beer, but I think my sister and I may have accidentally enjoyed more than everyone else. I'm hoping that every time we are home, my parents have made the trip to CMBC to fill these puppies up. I promise next time I won't leave my mug of Devil's Reach on the floor for my dad to trip over and spill and that it won't leave another mark on the couch that my sister and I attempt to hide from my mom.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

You're Better than Buttered Popcorn

I'm not a huge fan of seeing movies in theaters. I don't like sitting still (especially with both feet on the floor) or being inside for too long. The main appeal of a movie-going for me is the opportunity to devour baked pretzel nuggets dipped in cheese during the previews. BUT I've just discovered, per recommendation by Aubrey, a theater that may change all of this.

Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg is a full-service bar and restaurant while you are in the theater enjoying a flick. There are tables at each seat, you write your order down, your server comes to pick it up, and he or she drops off the goods a little later. The menu includes some spins on traditional movie food (flavored popcorn and gourmet chocolates) as well as items you cannot find in your Regals and AMCs of the world - special cocktails, bottles of wine, meat and cheese plates, salads, quesadillas, fried chicken, burgers, crab cakes, and more.

Aubs and I went to see the Jenny Slate rom-com Obvious Child which was adorbs per our expectation. We ordered two Allagash Saisons and the Boyhood special, "Want Another Queso" - one queso for now, and one for later in the movie. Our waitress explained that Boyhood is a much longer movie than the one we were seeing so it would be two bowls of queso right in a row. Although that wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing, we switched to the regular queso, just delivered once.

Eating homemade queso on a table top out of real dishes rather than plastic and drinking a beer during the movie did make for a much more pleasant movie-going experience. I will definitely be hopping on the L train more frequently, especially when it gets cooler out and some of my other friends start wasting their lives away with football season. In addition to first-run indie films, Nitehawk Cinema has some interesting events coming up on the calendar - Sunday brunches with an all-you-can-eat cereal bar and cartoons, midnight showings of scary older films, and classic films with special curated menus related to the movie.

Bonus points to Nitehawk for being within walking distance of some pretty cool bars and a Pies 'n' Thighs.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The New Downward-Facing Dog: The Ocean-Facing Dog

Mornings are not my favorite. If I'm at my parents' house in South Jersey, I'm not waking up for less than the entire house smelling like bacon and homemade waffles. That is, unless it's the summer, then NJ Beach Yoga does the trick.

I've taken many a yoga class in my day, most at the gym at my work, some in Central Park, and some in my living room, but there's nothing like practicing yoga in front of my favorite ocean with some of my favorite people. NJ Beach Yoga is owned and operated by one of the most positive people I know, Teri O'Connor. Teri can wake you up in a way like no other, each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at JFK Boulevard Beach in Sea Isle City. Because it's during the week, I'm only able to attend a few times a season, but I'm always grateful when I can.

Yoga on the beach is definitely a challenge. The sand is not a flat surface like a studio floor would be, but this helps your body learn to balance a little better. It's important to find a good spot by the water where the sand is packed but not still damp from high tide. No yoga mat is needed for this class, a towel works just as well.

While practicing yoga on the sand is challenging, Teri stresses that you do what feels right for you. She lets you know along the way how beautiful and amazing you all look, saying that the hardest pose is showing up, and encouraging you to breathe in the salt air and listen to the waves of the ocean. You feel one with nature as you are planting your tree poses on the beach, doing sun-salutations to the actual sun, and gazing at the ocean or the boardwalk with a new viewpoint during your poses.

During Shavasana, a relaxation period at the end of class, it's easy to fall asleep for a few minutes to the sound of the waves crashing as you feel completely at peace with the world. NJ Beach Yoga always has shells with inspirational phrases to choose from as you are leaving to keep this peaceful spirit going for the rest of the morning.

If you find yourself on the Jersey Shore this summer (and you should), travel further down than you might normally and wake up earlier than you might normally to experience NJ Beach Yoga for yourself. Be sure to follow NJ Beach Yoga on Facebook if you're a local as there are sometimes special events at night (like Full Moon Beach Yoga coming up this Sunday!)


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