Originally posted at South Jersey Beer Scene
by Tom Renzulli
This past week we had the pleasure of visiting Mudhen Brewing Co. in Wildwood, Cape May County, the latest venture of Brendan and Robin Sciarra who also own the Dogtooth Bar & Grill just around the corner. The name Mudhen takes its name from the nickname given to the first passenger train in Wildwood which started running in 1883. The train would have to take a bridge through the marshlands from Cape May Court House and was often washed out during high tide, thus the legend of the MudHen was born! We arrived shortly after they opened and the place was already buzzing with activity. As we walked up we were impressed with the transformation from what was once Harley Davidson of Wildwood to this impressive new brewpub. The outside of the building is emblazoned with a giant Mudhen sign that fits the Doo Wop atmosphere of Wildwood perfectly. The brewhouse itself is able to be seen from the street through glass garage doors which will allow you to watch Head Brewer Tony Cunha doing his craft.
We met with Marketing Director and Resident Artist Russ Simmons for our tour of the Brew House and restaurant area. Russ is also responsible for the impressive artwork for the labels on the crowler cans, and the original paintings can be found hanging upstairs in the 2nd-floor loft hallway. As soon as you walk through the door you realize a lot of thought and craftsmanship has gone into this establishment and as Russ walked us through the building he pointed out many details that were carefully selected to add to the overall theme of the brewery. From the reclaimed bricks and doors brought in from Philadelphia to the wall leading up to the 2nd-floor loft that is adorned with Oak Barrel Staves which give the wall a 3D effect, there is a stunning attention to detail and style that is truly remarkable.
The main room is large and has an industrial feel with high ceilings and rows of tables that remind me of a German Style Brewhaus, communal but far enough apart that you are not on top of each other. Although the high ceilings and big space may remind you of a lot of breweries you have visited, it’s clever use of large round lighting fixtures covered in fabric and a large wall hanging of a Mudhen that help deaden the sound and allow you to have a conversation is a welcome sight. The bar lines the entire West end of the brewery, just below the reclaimed brick wall with the initials MH smack in the middle.