Crock Pot Sunday Adds Flavor to ManaFirkin’s Lineup

By DAVID BIGGY | Oct 04, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy Tara Rudd digs into a Crock Pot of meatballs during her visit to ManaFirkin on Oct. 1.

Nursing a fractured fifth metatarsal bone in her left foot, Tara Rudd didn’t have much interest in doing anything elaborate for her 30th birthday party on Oct. 1. So for her, the next best thing was a short trip to the downtown section of Manahawkin.

“I have this boot on my foot and this leg scooter, so I didn’t feel like getting dressed up and going anywhere serious,” said Rudd, whose husband, Stephen, and five friends helped Tara celebrate at ManaFirkin on East Bay Avenue. “Steve had been here before and he told me it was a great place to relax and enjoy a beer, so I figured I’d give it a try today, and we told our friends to meet us here.”

And the Rudds – along with David and Zaylee Vander Vorst and Mark and Sara Targett – picked the perfect day to give the local brewery a try. It was Crock Pot Sunday, a new addition to the fall events lineup in which craft beer aficionados can bring with them a slow-cooker’s worth of something delicious to eat and take in some NFL football.

“I love football, and growing up, my family and their friends gathered on many Sundays over the years,” said Heather Committee, wife of co-owner Mick Committee, who along with Michelle Hunt developed the idea for Crock Pot Sundays. “We used to fill our crock pots, bring some beers and have a good time while we watched some games on TV. So when we were thinking of ways to appeal to our customers here, this seemed like a natural fit.”

And it is. Football, food and beer have been a natural fit at stadiums across the country for decades. Throw in a fall classic like the slow cooker, and it all blends together like a fantastic recipe.

“Having all those elements together definitely creates a festive atmosphere,” said Mick, who said the first couple of Crock Pot Sundays were a bit slow but the past couple of weeks have been much better as word continues to spread. “We’re very community-oriented here, and this kind of thing helps foster that philosophy of community. It started kind of slowly and organically, but now I think people are starting to say, ‘This is where we want to go and hang out, so let’s bring a crock pot of food and enjoy a great beer while we’re at it.’ And that’s exactly why we’re here: for everybody to enjoy themselves and relax.”

On Oct. 1, which was Week 4 of the NFL season, ManaFirkin hosted and served more than 100 customers between 2:30 and 7 p.m. Not surprisingly, the biggest crowd arrived for the pair of 4 p.m. games featuring the Philadelphia Eagles, who edged the Los Angeles Chargers, and New York Giants, who lost a two-point game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The previous week, the Eagles and Giants played each other in a tight battle.

“We’re expecting that when the Eagles and Giants are playing, those will be our big crowds,” Mick Committee said. “And we’re probably going to keep seeing our bigger crowds later in the day, but who knows? We have beer tapping all day from 12 to 8 p.m., so it would be great to see more people consistently throughout that time. But we just started doing Crock Pot Sundays, so it may take some time to catch on.”

While the Rudds and their friends were in the house, six slow cookers were plugged in along the north wall of the brewery. Last week, the Committees said a maximum of 10 crocks were on hand, with anything from barbecued ribs to chili to meatballs and more.

“One of these Sundays, I’d love to see 20 crock pots and a bunch of snacks lined up here,” said Heather Committee. “But more importantly, we just want people to come here and enjoy the afternoon and become friends with each other, and become part of our Firkin family.”

It’s important to note that if you’re going to show up for Crock Pot Sunday, you must be aware of two things. First, bring enough food to share with others, as well as enough plates, bowls and utensils. And, secondly, first-time visitors are required by law to go through a brief tour of the brewing process.

“I don’t know much about football, but I like beer and crock pot food,” Rudd said. “I’m very picky with my beer, but I had its Flannel Season, and it was really good. And for my first time here, I think it’s a great place to go. I really like the architecture of the building and the atmosphere.”

In case you didn’t realize it, there’s still plenty of time to make your way to Suite 2 at 450 East Bay Ave. for Crock Pot Sundays, since the NFL will run into February. But even beyond that, the brewery expects to continue the Sunday tradition well into the spring. So any time will be a good time to stop by, say hello to Committee and co-owners Todd Hunt or Donn Hoosack, and be prepared for a good time with any one of the 16 beers currently on tap.

“Beer, food and community is what it’s all about,” Mick Committee said. “The football is like the cherry on top of the sundae. And while you’re here, you can try our Cherry Poppin’ Porter to go along with it.”

Additionally, ManaFirkin has two other special days on the calendar for October. “Firktoberfest” from 2 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 8, features a new fall beer release, a German food vendor, live German music until 5 p.m., commemorative steins and several giveaways. Black and Gold Day on Saturday, Oct. 21, features a special Black & Gold Ram special beer to celebrate Southern Regional High School’s Homecoming weekend.









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