Atlantic City’s Tun Tavern was established by owner and fomer Marine Montgomery Dahm in 1998 in homage to the original Philadelphia brewhouse founded in 1681. It is attached to the new Atlantic City convention center’s Sheraton, a short walk (five blocks) from the Boardwalk. It is currently the city’s only microbrewery.
Marlton native Tim Kelly is the Tun’s current brewmaster – newjerseycraftbeer.com was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview him on a weekday evening and have him give us a tour and talk – and some beers. “Can’t do a tour without a beer,” he said as he handed tray holding six five-oz samples of the Tun’s mainstay brews. Then some history : he was assistant brewer at Flying Fish in Cherry Hill and was hired at the Tun in 2007 to replace Ted Briggs (after assisting for around 4 years), its first brewmaster, but eventually took over when Minnesota native Briggs returned to the Midwest. He brought plenty of craft-brewing experience and a strong scientific and empirical bent to his new position : Kelly recalls his last year of school at the University of Vermont’s Material Science program being basically, “graduate level chemistry.” His preferences for regional ingredients has been increasingly on display with some of his newer beers : spruce from his backyard for a past Spruce Ale, honey for a summer brew that will be in the works in a few weeks, and black walnuts for the special-edition limited-release Maple Black Walnut Brown Ale earlier this winter.
The Tun currently features its mainstays : an Irish Red Crimson Ale, the Leatherneck (oatmeal) Stout, Tun Lite and Devil Dog Pale Ale – the popular All-American IPA is unavailable at the moment. Seasonal selections include Santa’s Little Helper, a barleywine, and Kelly plans to sneak in a Kellerbier as a late-winter offering before starting his spring brews, a Farmhouse IPA featuring rustic grains, Saison hops and a touch of honey and a true German-style Maibock. Summertime will bring a Hefeweizen : “In the summertime, we always have a Weiss on tap,” Kelly said, and (maybe) a kvass-style beer, brewed specifically with rye, flavored with local herbs – the Tun’s version of a shout-out to the summer influx of Eastern European workers in local establishments up and down the Jersey Shore.
If you come early enough in the day, on a Tuesday or Thursday, Kelly (might) take the time out of his very busy brewing schedule to give you what he calls the fifty-cent tour. You’ll see the wort kettle, the fermenter, and the holding tanks where the finished product ends up before ending up in a tasting sampler, pint glass or growler. As Kelly says, “Doesn’t get any fresher than that.”
He’s a talented, careful brewer with a bright future – good taste and attention to detail matter. The Tun is a very cool side trip – have a couple of cold, fresh craft beers straight out the tank after a couple hands of blackjack or an afternoon on the beach. I finished the interview with a Leatherneck Stout – good maltiness, chewy, nice texture from the oatmeal.
Free parking is available across the street at the Michigan Avenue parking lot with a $10.00 Tun Tavern purchase and validated ticket. The address is 2 Miss America Way, Atlantic City and can be found online and on Facebook.
NJCB Members, save by flashing your cards. Check out the details aside from the $1 off beer online at our club page.