Blog by Nigel Walsh


Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside…

This is a relatively short post this week, as I am trying to type this on a laptop that is balanced on my knees, while travelling on a crowded swaying train (imagine a clown car on rail tracks), hurtling through swampland somewhere south of Savannah, on my way to South Florida for the week. (There will be a later report if I manage to get my hands on the good stuff in Florida, but I am not particularly hopeful)

But, what are the odds of stumbling over a cask or two, a little closer to home, down at the Jersey Shore?

Pretty good as it turns out.

A little over a week ago, my wife and I were invited to stay with friends who have a summer house in Cape May, and as much as I was looking forward to spending a quiet couple of days away from the Canadian bacon haze in NYC, I was a little concerned that I would be missing out on my usual four pints and a pie.

What is a cask enthusiast to do? Well, I did my usual desperate search thorough research into the various breweries that I was certain would exist in the Cape May area, and although I found several that all appeared to be great establishments with wonderfully varied beer options, I found no hint of any cask activity, no beer engines, no firkin Fridays, zilch.

In desperation, I just decided to search for “cask ale cape may” and to my utter surprise, out popped The Cricket Club.

Not only does it have cask, but it also has a proper cask program with four different casks, all from The Seed brewery in Atlantic City, and those are the only beers that it serves on draft… cask or nothing!

It also has the good luck of being located just three short blocks away from where we were staying, at the very end of the street, right in the middle of the Cape May historic district.

It opens at 4pm each day and appears to cater to the more gentle and genteel visitors to the town, but it is sophisticated not stuffy; it just happens to be far enough away from the beachfront to fly under the radar of the livelier visitors to this part of the Jersey Shore.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to convince any members of our party to step inside, but I needn’t have worried; I mentioned it, our hosts were instantly interested, and we ended up visiting on both days of our mini vacation.

They were brief visits, but long enough to down half pints of all four beers, and two pints of the bitter:

  • Unhurriedly – a 4.5% Ordinary Bitter.
  • Stay awhile – a 4.2% Dark Mild.
  • Can it be so simple – a 5% Euro Pale Lager.
  • After winter – a 5% Helles Kellerbier.

All were in excellent condition and perfectly poured.

It is obvious that they are serious about this program; all the bar staff appear to be well trained in pouring a proper pint, and the setup is very well thought out, with two large, dedicated refrigerators below the four handpumps, two casks to each fridge, with top pressure to keep any oxygen out of the precious beer.

But there is more…

Although we didn’t stay for food, the food menu was ambitious, and relatively inexpensive, with a wide range of meal options and price points. It all looked very tasty… but sadly, no pie.

They also have a regular live music program to provide entertainment for the punters; their Instagram feed is the best place to see who is playing on any given evening.

This was a very happy find; now we just need to get invited down to Cape May more often.


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