NORTH CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY
Taupe mall-bound GUSTO BREWING COMPANY began its journey December 21, 2018. Since then, the venturesome seven-barrel/seven-fermenter nano beerhouse has turned out over 75 different brews in fifteen short months ‘keeping it small and keeping it weird.’
Gusto head brewer Dan Petela began experimenting as a homebrewer for seven years, bartending at nearby Cape May Brewing before manning Gusto’s tanks. His glass-encased brew room turns out surefire suds for the ten draught taps at the fifteen-seat, concrete-topped, glass-crushed serving station in the brown vinyl-floored, baby blue-outlined pub. A mezzanine provides grain storage and a mill room.
I surveyed nine fine offerings during my one-hour, chilly afternoon perusal late February ’20.
Sunny lemon zest adjoined lightly spiced grapefruit and orange briskness, winey green grape tartness and herbal wood tones for oats-based As The Crow Flies Pale Ale, the most approachable brew on hand.
Precariously offbeat pale-cleared turnabout, Soft Handshake Lager, a dry-hopped moderation, soaked Merlot grape esters in sour gooseberry-guava tropicalia, limey lemongrass herbage and harvested dill over its gentle white wheat bed – going way beyond stylistic tradition.
Mossy earthen dew gathered musty cellar funk to contrast the toffee-like Maris Otter malting of Cool Hand Lucas ESB.
Dewy English IPA-like rye malting advanced Switch Pop Shove-It , leaving earthen herbal fungi and minor pine resin upon zesty orange, dried lemon and melon rind.
Dryly citric-piney Slam Poet IPA scattered spritzy lemon zest across yellow grapefruit and orange rind bittering as well as salted mango tanginess, relegating its honeyed oats spine.
Sugar-spiced citrus juicing paved the way for Said The Joker To The Thief IPA, scattering lemon peel bittering across mild grapefruit, navel orange and clementine tanginess as well as wispy herbage.
Dried fruited candi sugaring gave cilantro-seeded Blackbird Fly Dark Saison the appeal of a Belgian dubbel, posting prune, plum, raisin and currant notes for its dewy peat bottom.
Decadent chocolate and ‘sultry vanilla’ headlined Little Spoon: Swoon Edition, a mocha-creamed oatmeal stout with Bakers chocolate, cocoa nibs and light-roast coffee tones settling atop caramel-burnt maple oats.
Dark maple syrup coated wood-burnt black chocolate and dark-roast coffee for Oliver Bright’s Maple Caper Imperial Stout, a hazelnut-glazed barley roaster with black cherry snips.