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May 11, 2023 • Deep Dive

The 2023 Cape May Brew Cup

Do you have plans this weekend? If not, the annual Cape May Brew Cup is this Saturday, May 13th in Galloway, New Jersey!

Come watch the Jersey Shore Sharks battle it out against the Jersey Devils. The prize is no other than bragging rights, along with the Cape May Brewing Company Cup!

If you’re not familiar with the local Rugby teams, we’ll fill you in. We caught up with Alex Brigden of the Jersey Shore Sharks and Sean O’Mara from the Jersey Shore Devils to talk about two very important things: rugby and Cape May beer!

Interview with Alex Bridgen:

Q: Why is CMBC beer a great partner for the Cape May Brew Cup?

A: For starters, beer and rugby go hand in hand. After every match there’s a “drink up” where the teams get together with one another for food and, you guessed it, beer. CMBC is one of the best breweries in South Jersey (and NJ as a whole to be honest) and we are the only two teams that call South Jersey home so it is a natural fit for both clubs. Not to mention, I’ve personally been a fan of CMBC from the start. I’ve been driving to the brewery for beers since they opened in the one tiny space at the airport.

Q: How long have the teams been playing the Cape May Brew Cup for?

A: The Cape May Brew Cup has been contested two times since Cape May became the match sponsor. The match first occurred in 2019, then COVID prevented the match from happening in 2020 and 2021. We picked up again in 2022 so this year will be the third edition. Both matches have been won by The Devils. Last year’s match was very close and the 2019 match… not so much. The teams have been playing each other for many years though and the match has been called different names over the years. The Bayfest cup used to be played in Somers Point (hence the name) dating back to 2007, but it eventually was no longer played there and the name changed. It was then called the South Jersey Rugby Championship. It was played most years but not every year. Which brings us to The Cape May Brew Cup.

Q: What is your favorite CMBC beer and why?

A: There are quite a number of beers I enjoy from CMBC. Coastal Evacuation, Devils Reach, Key Lime Corrosion IPA and The Grove (with a shot of Little Water Distillery Rusted Revolver Gin) come to mind. My all time favorite goes back to the beginning with the Honey Porter. It’s still my favorite after all these beers (years)!

Q: What should fans expect when they come out to watch the 2023 Cape May Brew Cup?

A: Fans should expect a hard fought match between two quality teams that have a lot of pride in the clubs they play for. There’s a definite dislike for each other while on the field but that disappears immediately as soon as the final whistle blows. It’s a match both teams circle on their calendars and it’s the season finale for both clubs as well. More importantly the fans can expect to see some entertaining rugby being played while enjoying some CMBC beers in the stands.

Q: Are there any post-game traditions the team has?

A: As mentioned before, the teams enjoy the drink up post match where they can relive the game and catch up with each other over some beers and food. We award a man of the match to the most outstanding player on the day and they get to retain the man of the match belt (like a WWE wrestling champion belt) for the week. Some rugby songs have been known to get sung as well.

Interview with Sean O’Mara:

Q: Why is CMBC beer a great partner for the Cape May Brew Cup?

A: Completely agree with Alex – beer and rugby are practically synonymous. When this partnership was founded, it turned out both of our clubs had the same idea independently to work with CMBC and we had no idea. I went to high school with one of the original founders, Chris Henke, and tossed the idea out to him that maybe we could re-brand the rivalry match between our two clubs. It had been called The Bayfest Cup, but it wasn't held on Bayfest weekend at least since I've been with the club (first SJ vs JS game for me was in Spring 2011). So it just fit to have the top brewery in South Jersey put their name on the cup. Henke agreed and I reached out to Jersey Shore to make sure they were okay with changing the name and turns out not only were they okay but they were actively talking to them as sponsors as well. It was simply meant to be.

Q: What is your favorite CMBC beer and why?

A: Considering that I almost always have at least one Cape May beer in my fridge at any given time (currently Divemaster), you'd think this would be tough but there is a clear standout with the Triple IPA, Snag & Drop. Combine the fantastic flavor and hop profile with that ABV and that becomes my first (and sometimes second) beer during any session when it is out. The last few years I've stocked up on it when it hits, buying at least two cases worth so it can get me through longer than the availability window. It's easily my favorite beer, not just my favorite Cape May beer.

Q: What should fans expect when they come out to watch the 2023 Cape May Brew Cup game?

A: Great, hard fought, smash mouth rugby. And if rugby isn't one of your go to sports, it's a rivalry like any other great rivalry – Eagles v Cowboys comes to mind. It's a game both squads build towards all spring season and is always close regardless of where the two teams stood in the standings or divisions that year. When I first started with South Jersey, Shore was Division 2 and we were Division 3. That has since flipped after a number of years we were both in Division 3. We've both been playoff teams, and at times missed playoffs. But this game is a game purely for pride and to decide who is the top team in South Jersey, so everyone brings their A game.

Q: Are there any post-game traditions the team has?

A: Like Alex said, the post game drink up is the biggest tradition all teams have. As is Man of the Match. We don't have that belt they have (and honestly, I've pitched it) but have a green sports coat for our MOTM (when we remember to track it down). Another top tradition is to "shoot the boot" which is chugging out of a clear, usually for your first try for the club. When we designed the trophy for the Cape May Brew Cup, shoot the boot was in mind, hence the bronzed cleat affixed to the top of a sixtel. The original trophy was actually designed to perfectly fit a can in the boot. The new one that debuted last year doesn't have that luxury but the winning team for our rivalry match has always drank from the Cup and now we shoot the boot from it.

Along with the rugby songs known to all ruggers, we Devils have a fight song specific for our club. The lyrics aren't exactly fit to print, but anyone coming to the game will likely hear it at some point, win or lose.

Stop by to grab an incredible CMBC brew and get ready to see a great rugby match this weekend! The match is located at 636 South New York Road, Gallaway New Jersey 08205.