Local artist Russ Simmons has since the conception of MudHen Brewing Company,
captured the essence of the MudHen culture and history. A history enthusiast combined with his painting and illustration talents, Russ creates custom paintings for every MudHen beer brand that reflects its local history. Each MudHen beer name derives from a local historical moment, place or has roots from the Brewers own personal experiences growing up on the 5 Mile Island. Each original painting can be seen hanging throughout the Brew Pub.
What's the process like?
After lengthy conversation with Brewmaster Tony Cunha, gathering information about basis for the name, hops to be used, style of beer and how it may be relevant to the Season or region, or possibly a moment in Tony's life that influenced his direction in Brewing. After much laughs and a no holds barred detailed story, its back to the canvas to bring history to every sip.
History in every Sip
In 1883, the West Jersey Railroad carried passengers from Cape May Court House to Anglesea over ramshackle, problematic tracks through marshlands that washed out so often the train was nicknamed the MudHen.
In the late 1880’s, the Baker Brothers from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, had made a name for themselves as successful merchants from farm communities in Vineland, New Jersey. When they got wind of Aaron Andrews, a property developer, had begun to focus his sights on a small uninhabited patch of forest by the Atlantic Ocean, Latimer Baker went all-in and became a founding member of the Holly Beach Company in 1882. The following year, Latimer’s brother Phillip came to visit. Inspired by the success of his brother, Phillip went on to explore other inaccessible parts of the island.
In 1883, the West Jersey Railroad Company had an unreliable train running from Cape May Court House to Anglesea. The ramshackle tracks were washed out so often the train was nicknamed the “Mud Hen”, the namesake of our Wildwood Brewery. Literally, the little engine that could which brought throngs of prospective buyers to the newly founded borough and they snapped up property quickly in search of a new life by the seashore.
In 1895, Latimer joined Phillip and they formed the Wildwood Beach Improvement Company. Expanding their South Jersey empire, they developed what is now Wildwood Crest. The first four streets were completed and the first house was built in 1906. By 1910, Wildwood Crest was a thriving community with people seeking the health benefits of a life surrounded by ocean breezes and a brighter meaning to existence.
Not only did the Baker Brothers vision establish what we know now today as Wildwood, but Philip Baker also went on to be elected to State Assembly and Senate. He was the first Mayor of Wildwood Crest, the first President of the Fire Company, the first President of the Fishing Club, and a Trustee of the Presbyterian Church in Wildwood, and participated in many other organizations.
MudHen Brewery’s Bakers’ Double IPA is a toast to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bakers’ Brothers. Where most people see salt marshes and impassible forests, it takes a true visionary to see a thriving community.