Hop Sauce Brings the Boldness to Beach Haven

Jun 07, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

As the beer kept flowing, so did the crowd at the Hop Sauce Festival in Beach Haven on Saturday. It seemed people couldn’t help but have a good time with hot sauce, beer, food, and live music from local and national acts. The festival attracted locals and out-of-staters to participate in the fourth annual charitable event.

Jetty, Spice It Up and Shore Point Distributing Co. sponsor the festival, and a portion of the proceeds goes to The Jetty Rock Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve and help the community through projects and initiatives that enhance business, arts and culture. The foundation has donated around $300,000 since June 2013.

“The Jetty Rock Foundation was actually originally founded after Hurricane Sandy in order to help with relief efforts and since then molded into more of a community effort,” said Anthony Hediger, manager for Jetty’s flagship store and sales representative for Jetty Ink.

Hediger said now proceeds support such efforts as helping local high schools to fund technology advancements and certain types of classes and courses. The foundation helps promote and raise money for individuals who might be struggling with illnesses such as cancer or have fallen on hard times.

“Really, any which way we can help out someone in the community is kind of where we gear The Jetty Rock Foundation,” Hediger concluded.

Festival volunteer Darcy Kolodziej said she donates her time to Jetty because four months after Sandy hit the shores, her house burned down and Jetty right away presented her with a $5,000 check. She believes the Jetty folks “do give directly back to the community.”

Even though most people at the festival were there to enjoy drinking beer, eating LBI’s finest foods and trying hot sauces from different parts of the country, there were some who were passionate about the Island and its integrity.

“I think it’s great. It’s important to rebuild LBI to what it was before (the storm),” said Maggie Scache of Philadelphia. “I just love LBI.” Even after Superstorm Sandy, she said, the Island stands much the same as she remembers it from her childhood.

The event also brought the heat with sauces and condiments from 23 vendors, including Boss Saucery and Laio’s Food, based in New Jersey; Puckerbutt Pepper Co., the creator of the Carolina Reaper, based in South Carolina; and Little Bird Kitchen, based in New York.

To wash it all down were 30 breweries that allowed people to try their crafted beers. Some of the breweries were local, such as Ship Bottom Brewery of Beach Haven and the brand new Manafirkin Brewing Co. of Manahawkin; the newly debuted Jetty Session from the North Carolina-based 3rd Rock Brewing. Other out-of-state breweries had come from California and even France – Kronenbourg from Strasbourg, France; Brooklyn Breweries from Brooklyn; Harpoon Breweries from Boston; New Belgium Brewery from Colorado; and Sierra Nevada from Chico, Calif.

Local restaurants served up their most popular menu items to attendees, from mouthwatering chicken wings from The Chicken or The Egg to pulled pork from Shore Fire Grille. Country Kettle Chowda was there, serving creamy, savory clam chowder. For the vegetarians, Living On The Veg offered raw tacos and black bean sliders.

From the bandstand, music roared through Bay Village and Beach Haven as people were bouncing their heads, swaying their bodies back and forth and tapping their feet in the green grass that was covered with listeners and fans crowding the stage to be close to the action. Following the opener, LBI-based band Double Negatives, the stage welcomed hip-hop group Hardwork Movement out of Philly, SUSTO out of South Carolina, ELEL from Nashville, and Lee Fields and the Expressions as the headliner, ending the festival with soul and funk.

“Mix hot sauce, food and beer together, and friends, and you’re going to have a good time,” North Jersey visitor Timmy Bogert said. Bogert said he attended not only for the beer and hot sauce, but also to support the good causes.

First-timer Tatiana Gonzalez loved the clam chowder and the salsa verde from The Whitehouse Station Sauce Co. Gonzalez added the beer and hot sauce are complementary.

Danielle Greene of Philadelphia, enjoying her third consecutive Hop Sauce, said, “The music is what brought us. The beer and the hot sauce is what makes us stay.”

Shoppers delighted in The Mod Hatter’s clam-shaped hats and TechMedic’s Frisbees. Art lovers appreciated artwork that will be in the Makers Festival in September. Cookbook author Deborah Smith was there to promote her Jersey Shore Cookbook featuring restaurants from Keyport to Cape May. Alliance for a Living Ocean, which helps promote and maintain clean water through research, education and participation, supplied attendees with fresh drinking water.

The music, sunshine and excitement in the air, the plates full of flavors and 5-ounce mugs in people’s hands, gave the event an overall happy vibe. Festivalgoers played Corn Hole and chatted away while dogs ran and children played. Hop Sauce once again achieved its mission to bring people together to share their love for beer and hot sauce as well as to help a community and its people.

— Kassandra Hagen

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