Ludlam Island Brewery head brewer Joe Laluk of Gloucester City mans the taps at the new Cape May County craft brewery in Ocean View, Dennis Township.
DENNIS TOWNSHIP – More than a year after Sea Isle City shot down his proposal for the first craft brewery in a Cape May County coastal community, Bill Topley has opened Ludlam Island Brewery 10 minutes away from the resort.
The brewery, with eight beers on tap, opened June 30 at 9 Stoney Court in Ocean View.
“I thought it would be the greatest thing in Sea Isle, with people biking up and walking in,” Topley said. “It’s still the same thing, with considerably more space.”
The location, on a side street off Woodbine-Ocean View Road, features a tasting room on the ground floor adjacent to the brewing facility, where patrons can learn about the eight-step process that produces Ludlam Island’s signature beers. The tasting room is open noon to 8 p.m. daily with scheduled tours conducted at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
The second floor features another tasting room that can be rented for private parties. This is where Topley keeps a bottle of his first-ever home brew, Lar and Bill’s Irish Red, a 1995 vintage, merely for nostalgia.
Topley, whose hobby as a home brewer led to the creation of Ludlam Island Brewery in 2012 when New Jersey began permitting such enterprises as a way to prevent commerce from leaving the state, originally wanted to open in Sea Isle City, where he works and lives. But a town ordinance that prevents competing interests from opening within 1,000 feet of one another was upheld in early 2015 when he sought to locate in the Townsends Inlet section of the resort, forcing him to look elsewhere.
“Sea Isle is still in my heart,” Topley said. “I named it Ludlam Island with the expectation it would be on Ludlam Island.” Ludlam Island refers to the barrier island that Sea Isle City, Townsends Inlet and Strathmere rest on.
The brewery’s logo, an old diving helmet that Topley said reminds him of the tops of the brewing silos, features the initials SIC. One of his beers is named for Fish Alley, a historic section of Sea Isle City located on Park Road. And one of his slogans is, “Getting voted off the Island since 2012.”
Although Topley left his heart in Sea Isle, he took himself and his head brewer, Joe Laluk of Gloucester City, on a 10-day tour of Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany during Laluk’s first week of work to learn about beer the way they want to brew it.
From that trip came the inspiration for Ludlam Island’s East Koast Kolsch, a beer brewed in the style of Cologne, Germany.
To learn about the seven other brews currently being offered at Ludlam Island Brewery, stop by between noon and 8 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.ludlamisland.com or call (609) 263-6969.