For beer lovers at the Shore, there's only one place to be on Saturday, Sept. 25: the inaugural Beer on the Pier Festival, which is set to be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Belmar Marina, with a VIP tent open from 1 to 3 p.m.
Among the more than 25 craft breweries attending the festival will be East Coast Beer Co. of Point Pleasant Beach, which will be pouring Beach Haus, its debut creation.
"The Jersey Shore is the unofficial pilsner and lager consumption capital of the world, it might as well be official. ... Knowing that, we wanted our first beer to be reflective of that, that's the preferred style,'' said John Merklin, president and co-founder of the East Coast Beer Co., which was established in 2007.
According to Merklin, Beach Haus, which made its debut on Sept. 3, is a classic American pilsner, "taking old world recipes and using nothing but American ingredients, so you get a very unique taste to it compared to some of the European pilsners and lagers.''
Merklin, who lives in Brick, also explained that Beach Haus is not meant for solely summer consumption.
"Although the name kind of connotates a summery feel and all that, this is a regional style we're trying to make so when people come to the Shore, and a lot of them do, it's reflective of the region,'' he said. "So it's not a seasonal beer by any stretch, the style itself is not a seasonal style, it's meant to be enjoyed year-round.
"But definitely, almost like a good Beach Boys song that makes you think what it would be like to be a California surfer in the '60s, we want people to think, 'Hey, two guys from the Jersey Shore, this is the kind of beer they would make,' true craft style but it's definitely got that local regional feel to it, being a pilsner.''
Attendees of Beer on the Pier will also be able to experience a homebrewing demonstration by the Brewer's Apprentice, a homebrew supply shop where customers can also make their own beer, wine and mead on the premises.
The Brewer's Apprentice will also be holding a one-on-one question and answer session about homebrewing with VIP ticket holders at 1:30 p.m., according to manager Ron Mahler.
"Then at 3:30 p.m. we're doing the main event for everyone that's attending, where we're going to go through every single step and do little snapshots of the brewing process, taking them all the way from cleaning and setting up the equipment that's used, the ingredients that are used for brewing, and go through an actual brew process and then take them all the way through to the point where they're actually capping the beer,'' Mahler said.
According to Mahler, customers can replicate the taste of nearly any beer, either at home or at the company's facility. "We carry all the major grains and hops and yeasts that exist, so depending on the ability of the brewer they can brew just about anything that exists,'' he explained.
The Beer on the Pier Festival, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, with a VIP tent open from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Belmar Marina, located on Route 35. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 cash at the gate if available, and VIP tickets are $50 each. Click here to receive a Metromix discount on your ticket purchase. Attendees must be 21 with valid ID for admission, and designated drivers can purchase $10 tickets. For more on the festival, visit http://www.beerheads.com.