New Jersey has a long history of brewing beer, distilling liquor and aging wine. Now, it also has its first craft hard seltzer.
Forgotten Boardwalk in Cherry Hill released J’aime Sparked Seltzer on Tuesday at a limited number of bars and liquor stores throughout the Garden State.
The first flavor launched is Tangerine Rose with Hibiscus and White Tea, which head brewer Evan Wasylyk worked on with New York-based Tavalon Tea’s sommelier Chris Cason.
“When hard seltzers started to hit the market, I was super intrigued by them. I found most of them cloyingly sweet, but I’m a huge non-alcoholic seltzer drinker. I was trying to make a beverage closer to what we all know as refreshing,” said Forgotten Boardwalk founder Jamie Queli.
The process took about a year and a half.
“It was everything from figuring out how to get clarity to how to brew it to how do we make it taste right. It was a lot of trial and error. Our beers are a little more straightforward because it’s a process we know well and we kind of have a working base for the stuff we do,” Queli said. “A beer would go through one or two iterations before we make the jump [to market]. This went through at least four or five iterations on the small [brewing] system and another couple on the large system.”
What they ended up with was a product that drinks really nicely, she said.
“You’ll get some great big apple and pear notes off of it. It reminds you a bit of a wine or champagne as well, so I think we’re going to get some hybrid drinkers out of this,” Queli said.
The hard seltzer has been available in the Cherry Hill taproom only for about two months. In that time, it’s remained in the top three most popular drafts, appealing to beer drinking regulars and their non-beer drinking friends.
The can artwork was done by local artist Chris Lands, who runs online short-themed art print shop Local Summer Co. The name, J’aime, is French for love, and Lands came up with the tagline “the spark you love” to then emulate in can artwork. (The logo is adorned with sparks.)
“One on one working with Chris was so cool because it was the first time I could go over prints and concepts and circle things and work face to face. It was really important for me to work with a local artist on this one, and it really nice,” she said. “Plus, he comes here a bunch, so it’s cool to see him drinking the seltzer.”
For now, Forgotten Boardwalk is keeping J’aime Sparked Seltzer to limited release so that it can keep up with establishments that it does well at.
It’s available on draft at the following locations: Farm and Fisherman in Cherry Hill, Wingcraft in Atlantic City, End of Elm in Morristown, The Mohawk House in Sparta, Midland Brew House in Saddle Brook, and The Office Beer Bar & Grill in Ridgewood.
J’aime Sparked Seltzer is available in cans at the following liquor stores: Bottle King in Glen Rock, Livingston, Wayne, Hillsdale, Glen Ridge and Ledgewood, Morris Plains, Ramsey, Chatham; Wegmans in Cherry Hill, East Hanover and Montvale; and Joe’s Canal Egg Harbor at Fire Road and Black Horse Pike.