The Brew Blast took place aboard the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden Waterfront on Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2021. It’s been long since we’ve been here… wait… no it hasn’t. If you feel this is a glitch in the Matrix, you are mistaken. We were at the New Jersey Brewers Association Beer Festival on the Battleship last month!
Even though I was there just a few weeks prior, there was absolutely no hesitation in coming back for this event. I always love my visits to the battleship, and wandering around the self-guided tour, I can’t help but learn something new.
I’m not the most gung-ho military type, but as a engineering school graduate, I have a great amount of reverence and respect for the craftsmanship that goes into a battleship. It’s quite spectacular in person. Instead of just a basic introduction about the battleship, as we did in our last event post, I thought we would dive in with some interesting tidbits about it’s origins.
Before the new battleship New Jersey could be built, the slipway in Philadelphia had to be lengthened by 325 feet and reinforced to accommodate the New Jersey which was 12% longer and 30% heavier than anything that had come before.
In September of 1940, with war in Europe spreading, the Battleship New Jersey finally had it’s keel laid down at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Charles Edison, son of the famous New Jersey inventor Thomas Edison, and now the former Secretary of the Navy, welded the first two keel plates together.
In order to build the Battleship New Jersey, over $100 million dollars ($1.8 billion in 2020 dollars) and 32,800,000 man hours were needed. The design and construction of the battleship provided work to laborers and engineers from 34 states across the country.
Between 1939 and 1946, employment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard rose from 4,500 to 47,000 civilians.
The Battleship New Jersey was serving it’s nation long before it was completed. The increased spending and employment in order to gear up for World War II is the final push that helped end the Great Depression.
Constructing the New Jersey in the Philadelphia Navy Yard also bolstered support for Roosevelt in the 1940 election, when he won his third term in office. Charles Edison was elected as Governor of New Jersey in the same year.
Back to the Event!
There were a lot of participating breweries, with festival standouts like Conshohocken, Great Barn, Ommegang, Spellbound, Tuckahoe, Blue Point, and Victory Brewing, among the over 40 breweries in attendance.
It was smiles from stem to stern, as people were happy to blow off steam and get the party started early. Our Instagram buddy Rudy (@brewsinreview) was on hand to show off his chugging skills as well.
As people sampled more, it was like the floodgates of fun were opened, and people were spilling out onto the deck to grab some food and listen to some music.
The Launch, WMGK’s very own House band, were rocking out on deck all afternoon.
The band was getting people moving, with guests happily listening to the best of classic rock as they tried samples of their favorite craft beers, and a surprisingly large group of brave souls dancing their hearts out all afternoon.
Neon Giants Hazy IPA
Haze for days, golden-straw colored. Nice cap with film and lacing on the glass. Pineapples, mangos, and limes spill out of the glass, when you finally taste it, you can tell how wonderfully balanced it is with the malts. Just enough bitterness to remind you that this is an IPA, not a wonderful glass of fresh-squeezed ripe tropical fruit juice. Smooth and creamy on the tongue, medium bodied without too much carbonation.
Strawberry Fennel Hefe
Great Barn Brewery
Ah, Great Barn Brewery. You are always keeping me interested. I really have to get down and visit the brewery in person, because I love their farm-to-glass mentality, with many of their beer ingredients grown right on their own farmland.
I’ve had a strawberry hefeweizen before, but the fennel is really what made this one stand out, adding an earthy bite to the brew. Smooth-drinking, medium bodied, and at 6.4%, it makes itself known without ever knocking you down. Delightfully funky and herbal with a wonderful wheat finish.
Brew Free! or Die Tropical IPA
21st Amendment Brewery
A subtly hazy golden pour, with fluffy white head that slowly recedes to leave sticky lacing on the glass. Tropical citrus fruits on the nose. The citrus and stone fruit notes combine in the taste, with peaches and apricots poking through, and a subtle caramel malt flavor as well.
This one finishes juicy and dry, sticking to the tongue and just asking you to drink some more. The perfect balance of bitter and sweet here. Medium bodied, slightly creamy and incredibly smooth drinking. This has alcohol in it? I’ll have another 4 please.
Beerbarian Finnish Sahti Juniper Ale
Great Barn Brewery
Again, your eyes are not seeing double. Great Barn Brewery has the rare distinction of getting TWO callouts in an event post here at The Craft Beer Diaries. I love their experimentation, they are always bringing out something new, and I definitely fell for this one.
One of the oldest continuously-brewed beer styles in the world, the Sahti is a Finnish type of farmhouse ale made from malted and unmalted grains including barley and rye, brewed with additions of juniper berries and branches. It is an unfiltered, unpasteurized, top fermented beer with a cloudy disposition.
This one, specifically, was quite delightful. Earthy and dry, but sweet, with no bitterness to speak of. The juniper and sweet honey notes blend together harmoniously. It’s no wonder this style has been around as long as it has.