We sat down with Jeff Plate, owner of Asbury Park Brewery, to talk about the early stages of hip hop culture, his hometown, love of music and love of beer.

Asbury Park. Home of music on the Jersey Shore. It has fostered musicians from back in the jazz days on the west side of town, to Bruce Springsteen in the 70's at the legendary Stone Pony, to a thriving punk scene in the 90's, a community of hip hop artists and producers to all kinds of musical genres having a place to play original music here today.  There is no other place like it on Earth, with the beach, the unique old buildings and the kind of rugged integrity that produces artists like the ones who make their home here.  

Photo Credit: En Route Traveler

Photo Credit: En Route Traveler

Punk rock and hip hop will always be inextricably linked because of their common roots in 1970's NYC. Jeff explains, "essentially both kinds of music were born as an expression against establishment culture, and both used whatever tools that were available to those pioneers to voice that expression.  Hip hop artists used turntables and mics, punks used cheap guitars and secondhand amps. Both needed to create their own space to exist, and almost immediately collaborations between punk bands and hip hop artists started jumping off." Blondie and Fab 5 Freddy, Sonic Youth and Chuck D, the list goes on.  Jeff adds, "similarly in the UK, bands like the Clash collaborated with reggae artists all the time, creating a culture where punks and rude boys packed the same clubs."

Flash, Fab 5 Freddy + Blondie via  flickr

Flash, Fab 5 Freddy + Blondie via flickr

Growing up in the Asbury Park area, Jeff began playing music here when i was about 13 years old doing punk shows, all ages matinees, VFW shows. After living in NYC and the Netherlands for a little while, he moved back to Asbury Park in 2005.  Almost immediately after that, he had the idea to open the Asbury Park Brewery.  The laws were different at that time, and at a much younger age, Jeff found it was difficult to get it going.  He still loved the idea though and held on to the name while pursuing other projects.  In 2014, New Jersey changed their laws and made it easier for microbreweries to open and actually make money, so Jeff revisited the business plan. 

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Jeff was able to get a local business owner and friend, Mike Pimco, to invest some seed money and introduce me to Bob McLynn, founder of Crush Management (Lorde, Weezer, Green Day, Fall Out Boy).  Bob is also a New Jersey musician with a passion for beer, and we hit it off immediately.  Fast forward to August 2016 and our 20 barrel brewhouse was complete and we opened our doors for the first time.  We featured our core four products (Blonde Lager, XPA, Roasted Stout and 4/4 Session IPA) and were able to explore some other cool flavors like smoked beers and sours.


Fast forward to today, Asbury Park is releasing it's first ever wheat beer. The new release is a smoked wheat beer, which is a traditional Polish style, that combines the earthy flavors of a hefeweizen and subtle smokiness from beech smoked malt.  A very cool flavor profile! As huge hip hop fans at the brewery, we could only think of one thing to call it "Smoked Wheat Everyday" (RIP Nate Dogg). The beer is now available in the Asbury Park Brewery tasting room and will have a limited distribution after that, so get there now to try it:





Susanna Arntzz