A bunch of years back my brother Mike started a new business, called New Jersey Craft Beer. It’s an annual membership for people to explore craft beer in New Jersey, and get a discount at the same time.
Every year NJCB partners with breweries throughout New Jersey to collaborate on a unique beer. This year, 2017, he has done it twice. I attended the beer release event of one of them, and I want to share the story.
My brother makes delicious butternut squash soup for my sister-in-law. It’s vegan and tasty. But she doesn’t like spicy food. So he made another batch (about 5 gallons worth) and brought it to his friends at Icarus Brewing in Lakewood, New Jersey. The crew there loved it, and that’s when the idea of Build My Up Butternut (Beer) was started.
They poured the 5 gallons of soup into the brewing tanks and started the process. Once it was ready, the chili squash porter was born. Yes, it’s beer with butternut squash, chiles, and chipotles in it. It really does taste like the soup.
The beer launch event was in the brewing room of Icarus, and two bands played. But one of them was important to me to see. My friend James Menefee has been in many bands, including Fun Size and River City High. I met James while he was in River City High, and I believe I put on their first or one of their first shows almost 20 years ago. James is in a new band, called Long Arms. They’re similar in sound to River City High, which is awesome.
It was a blast to taste the unique beer, to see James and to photograph him playing again after all these years.