Bruce Springsteen Music Inspired Beer by Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing
Forgotten Boardwalk Brewery, Cherry Hill NJ
Written by Jamie Queli, Owner & CEO
Meet: The Cops Finally Busted Madame Marie, a Lime Lager Inspired by The Boss
Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing does a series of music inspired beers and collaborates on making beers alongside musicians and bands. This is the story behind of one of these beers, inspired by a favorite New Jersey musician.
It’s hard to know what to say about Bruce Springsteen, never mind trying to figure out how to design a beer can label inspired by him. In fact, I pushed off the daunting task of designing a Bruce Springsteen beer for my entire career. How could I choose just one concept? I have more concepts in the trash than my fragile ego cares to admit. His musical catalog crafts and weaves so many tales of New Jersey that are hidden inside his compositions – it proved to be difficult to pick just one that one story that fully accurately captures the legend of this larger than life figure giant.
I was working on a completely separate project, Unsavory, with Steve Moore. Steve is an exceptional animator that has worked on story boards for Caroline, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Despicable Me and Sing and more. He’s even got an Oscar Nomination under his belt for Redux Riding Hood. Steve and I were revisiting those classic Boardwalk and Sideshow characters with obnoxiously shady personas. We were creating pick pocketing Magicians, rethinking the Strong Man, and rewiring the Tightrope Walker. I knew that I wanted to do an iteration of a Fortune Teller.
I knew that one of these characters was going to be a Fortune Teller and I instantly thought of Madam Marie. I rushed to my records and threw on “The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle” for the 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). I squealed with delight hearing those lyrics again “Did you hear the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin’ fortunes better than they do” and told Steve, “This is it! You need to animate this line. Paint a picture for everyone to see that musical lyric, visually.” At least that’s what I said telepathically.
Steve understood the assignment and really knocked the artwork out of the park. There is a great illustration of Madame Marie, seated at her Temple of Knowledge table with her hands up in the air in mid-surrender. Her hands are perfectly manicured and revealing third eyes tattooed on her palms. Placed in the center of the table is a crystal ball, with an illustration of a cop being squished inside the globe and busting Madame Marie from underneath her table. There are so many little details in the work that you will notice as you explore the beer can design in your hand. Everything from draped beaded curtains, the police officer wielding a shield that states “POPO”, and shadows of police entering the fortune telling booth all together encapsulate the visual story of the song.
There is another lyrical reference at the bottom of the beer can that Mr. Springsteen croons in the song Jersey Girl: “Sha la la la la, baby!” Fun fact, this song was composed and originally sung by Tom Waits. Another fun fact, Tom Waits is from California, but he fell in love and married a Jersey Girl. (Can’t blame ya Tom! Jersey Girls are awesome!). However, the Springsteen version of the song has been tightly associated with Bruce and New Jersey since its appearance on his b Side to Cover Me in 1984.
Bruce Springsteen has a profound impact on New Jersey, Asbury Park, and our community's music scene. The legacy that he instilled exists in our culture & venues - I don't just mean music venues, I am referring to every venue, business, boardwalk and beach that he visits and how it has its own unique Bruce story. His songs captured a moment of what it means to be alive and have fun at the Jersey Shore. He taught the shore its quintessential swagger. And yet, there are so many tales within his lyrics and stories that a lot of people have forgotten and some people never knew.
Madam Marie, Marie Castello, was an actual Fortune Teller in Asbury Park. She began telling fortunes in her booth on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in 1932. She remained the longest running tenant on the Boardwalk for over seven decades. During her tenure she read the fortunes of celebrities from Judy Garland to Bruce Springsteen. She famously told Bruce Springsteen that he was going to be a huge success. Although Bruce says that she peddled that fortune to all the musicians, it didn’t stop him from making her an icon in his songs.
As the story goes, Bruce continued to visit Marie throughout the years whenever in Asbury, supposedly always popping by to say Hi. Marie passed away in 1993 but her booth, and the legacy of Madam Marie’s Temple of Knowledge still remains a fixture to this day on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The clairvoyant-in-charge who carries on the tradition is Sabrina, Marie’s Castello’s granddaughter. I recently chatted with Sabrina about the project, and I’m trading her a case of beer in exchange for her telling my fortune. Maybe a part two blog on how that goes?
(Bruce Springsteen visiting Madam Marie on the Asbury Park Boardwalk circa early 1970's)
As for the liquid inside the can, I picked a lager because there are plenty of songs with references to drinking beers and in all likelihood, those beers were in fact an easy-drinking beach lager. I decided to create a lager with lime zest as a nod to the lime you shove into your beer, that is as Jersey Shore as listening to Bruce Springsteen while you visit. Admit it, you have drunk more than your fair share! I wanted something classic in taste - like a classic hit song that you keep coming back to. The ABV of the beer is low but we use high quality ingredients and malts to keep the flavor profile robust but still thirst quenching.
The beer will launch at the Forgotten Boardwalk Tasting Room in Cherry Hill, NJ on March 16th, 2023, just before Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band tour comes to Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey. We will be releasing the beer to our retail partners so you can find it in all your favorite stores before Bruuuuuuucccccce comes to town. For specific locations, visit forgottenboardwalk.com/distribution
If you want to read more about Bruce & Madam Marie, visit