written by Matt Brasch, The Brewholder
When it comes to distinctive names of new craft breweries, Death of the Fox Brewing (“DOTF”) is definitely near the top of the list. The new brewery, poised to open to the public on August 14, is located in a new business complex in East Greenwich Township, New Jersey. According to Chuck Garrity, President and Brewer at DOTF, the name harkens back to the pre-Revolutionary War era when traditional fox hunts were held in the area. “We are named for the first organized hunting club in America – The Gloucester Fox Hunting Club, which was formed in 1766. They would come from Philadelphia, hold the hunt, and then go to a tavern which is less than a mile away called the Death of the Fox Inn.” The old tavern is still standing today but is now a private residence.
Garrity and his co-brewer Dan Natkin, are also celebrating its history in the names of their beers, like Hanging Tory Brown Ale, named for a British sympathizer who was hanged in a tree on the tavern’s property. “Part of this is bringing awareness of the rich colonial history of the area; you know, we have Philadelphia, but all the areas outside of Philadelphia also have unique colonial histories as well and we want to highlight ours.”
When it opens, DOTF will welcome customers with a combination tasting room and coffee house, designed as a modern take on a Revolution-era American tavern, or as Garrity described it, “a modern hunting lounge.” An 18 seat bar will hold 16 taps – 8 flagships and 8 seasonal/experimental rotating beers. There will be several couches and high tops throughout and space for live music. DOTF will be open 7 days a week, both day and night. As far as serving coffee, Garrity pointed out that they are neighbors with a gym (whose doors open at 5am) and “there isn’t a Starbucks for miles. So it made a lot of sense to offer coffee along with our beer.”
Garrity worked in the medical industry for over 20 years and focused on health care technology management, strategy and design. His experience with process improvement and efficiency helped fine tune his passion for homebrewing. Once he realized that homebrewing was more than a hobby, he enrolled in the Seibel Institute in Germany and earned his brewer’s certificate. Garrity explained that his time at the Seibel Institute reinforced his focus on brewing technology and quality control, and confirmed what his brewing mentor once told him, “‘Anybody can make a good beer once. But it takes a great brewer to make the same great beer 10 times.’ So that’s what I’ve focused on. Some of my recipes I’ve brewed 20 times.”
Along with Garrity, DOTF’s beers are brewed by Vice President Dan Natkin. Garrity explained that they are a great team. “We are both very passionate, but we are different. Dan is like a chef – he came up with the Mole Stout, the Ginger Snap Thai Saison, and other flavor combinations for the beer. Dan feeds me the recipes and then I brew it. Then brew it again and again. At the end of the day, the system we have is all about consistency.”
Garrity began home brewing 10 years ago, and was always annoyed at the process, “it just seemed clumsy. Especially the pumping of wort from tank to tank.” He thought “From a process perspective, there’s got to be a better way.” He learned in Germany that the better way has actually been around for a few years in Germany. Speidel developed a process by which the grains are steeped in the wort and instead of pumping the wort out of the grains, the grains are lifted out of the boil and the brewing continues in the same kettle,referred to as “brewing in place.” DOTF found a company in the U.S. that makes similar equipment as Speidel, and even more to Garrity’s passion, the equipment is controlled by a system in which all his recipes and temperatures are stored. He explained, “There’s no variability – it will be consistent every time.”
DOTF’s brew-in-place system includes a 5bbl tank, lovingly referred to as “Big Boy,” in which their flagships will be brewed. They also have two other tanks, each just under 3bbl’s, on which they will brew experimental new beers. Garrity said “The advantage of this system is that we can do about ten barrels at one time of three different beers.” They also have six fermenters and four brite tanks, as well as serving tanks that lead into the tasting room. And DOTF has plenty of room to expand – Garrity indicated that they could probably triple their production eventually because of the amount of space.
They developed the coffee house/brewery concept from ones that Garrity saw in Portland, Oregon. “We are going to be a production facility. We have agreements with a dozen restaurants already, but we’re not going to be competing for liquor store space. We will have crowlers (Dixie brand crowler machine) and we will fill growlers, but we will not offer our own for sale. They are just not an optimal vessel to store beer.” Not to mention the lines that form when filling growlers, “It just leads to a bad experience. So fresh crowlers will be available to grab and go on very busy days.”
DOTF is located in a new strip mall in a growing area. There are 130 new townhomes behind them, with another 130 town homes and another commercial center coming soon, all part of a “new town center” for East Greenwhich Township. Garrity feels strongly about the “drink local” concept, starting with using local contractors to build the brewery. “What we’re trying to do here is what I call the ‘Vermont model,’ small businesses helping each other and keeping it local. I believe in that with all my heart and that’s what we’re dedicated to doing.”
DOTF completed all their approvals in late June and began brewing in early July. On July 15, DOTF announced on social media that they would be opening to the public on August 14. However, Facebook and Instagram followers can request a special invitation to a soft opening between August 4 and 12. Garrity and the DOTF are excited to “embrace the chase” and bring their special brews, both beer and coffee, to East Greenwhich Township.