For the past two decades, Geoff Bado has spent his free time outside of work thinking about beer. The former advertising executive and his wife Lori would spend their vacations going on beer excursions to destinations such as Ireland, England, Germany and the Czech Republic. At home, he toiled over beer recipes that won him medals in homebrewing competitions.
Now, free from corporate life, Bado is using his passion for beer as the inspiration for a full-time career.
With that, we bring you Zed’s Beer. The brewery is the first of its kind in Marlton, thus entering the South Jersey town into the ever expanding beer and craft brews scene in the Garden State.
The Sept. 8 ribbon cutting brought friends, family members and local government officials together to welcome the Bado’s into the business community.
Evesham Township Mayor and Baltimore Ravens kicking consultant Randy Brown was on hand for the ceremony, and to jokingly scold the Bado’s for the Pittsburgh Steelers banner that hangs near the bar.
“I’ve won a Super Bowl and you’re hanging a Steelers banner on opening day. Who does that?” Brown joked.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Bado said after the ribbon cutting ceremony. “Tomorrow when we open to the public, it’s going to be a bunch of strangers drinking my beer, so it’s going to be interesting.”
The obvious question that will come up during their first months of operation, “Who’s Zed?”
Hint: It’s not the character from Pulp Fiction.
All you have to do is look behind the wall of photos to see an old man from the 19th Century holding a cane. That’s Bado’s great-grandfather, Zed. He worked as a coal miner in Hungary, but also brewed his own beer to share with the village.
The brewing tradition came to America when Grandpa Red settled outside of Pittsburgh and opened a beer garden and, with the opening of Zed’s, it continues.
The beer line-up that Bado will produce reflects his international beer travels, while paying tribute to his forefathers. As you might suspect, Zed’s in Ireland is Bado’s stout recipe that utilizes Baker’s chocolate and coffee to create a full-bodied brew.
“We went to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and got a lesson in pouring a proper pint and what goes into making a great stout,” Bado recalled.
Zed’s in London honors one of the gifts that England gave to the world, the English Mild Bitter. The pub staple is a malt-focused body that’s light on the ABV (3.9%) with a light hop touch.
For those who want that injection of hops, there’s the Zed’s on the West Coast. This 6.0% ABV IPA uses a blend of Nugget, Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops to create a flavor of pineapple and mango with just enough bite to satisfy hop geeks.
For more beer travels, Zed’s in the Pacific is a vanilla porter that’s created by soaking a porter in a pound of vanilla beans for weeks.
To experience all these fun places at once, Zed’s on a Plane is a cross between a German-style Berliner Weisse and an American Pale Ale — a citrusy, tangy and easy-drinking beer.
While Europe is great, sometimes you need a staycation. In that case, you’ll want to try Zed’s in the Orchard, which is a homey brew. Utilizing a heavy handful of peaches from nearby Cheyenne Farms, this golden ale is for those still in a summer state of mind.
For more Jersey goodness, Zed’s in NJ is a Blonde ale perfect for the Jersey Girl in all of us.
And, rounding out their debut line-up, is Zed’s in the Backyard, a cream ale with a copper hue that comes from the dark malts and Zed’s at Brunch, an alternative adult beverage similar to a mimosa with sweet orange peel for flavor. Thus, its nickname — the beermosa.
Located in a shopping center on North Maple Ave. in Marlton, the tap room is one of the more easily accessible in the state and this also means you can grab food within walking distance.
Inside the tap room there are tables, a long bar and an even longer bench seating area for stretching out and watching the beer you’re drinking being made just feet away from you.
“For me, I want the beer to bring people together. It’s what Zed and Red did in their time,” Bado said. “I’m making craft beer that’s accessible to everyone so that you can sit down with your neighbors and get to know them.”
- Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Chris Castellani