You're not likely to get the pickle smell out. You have the right idea, though. There are other food-grade buckets available used from restaurants that will work. The 2 gallon buckets that held whipping cream or fruit puree are great. They come completely clean and odor free.
I do have an old pickle bucket that I use - lined with a trash bag or 2 - to store grain.
drinking, and judging for that matter, is about one person's perception of a given beverage in their glass. a beer in a competition does need to fit general style parameters, but winning beers often push those parameters.
I actually spent a lot of time in OCNJ when I was in college. I really like the beach and it is definitely family-oriented. In fact the town is "dry". Your last chance is the store before crossing the bridge. But I doubt their selection, and high prices, have changed much since then. I would find a shop in the Philly area.
the part of this that the original post stated- and mentioned again later- that no one has commented on is the key in my opinion... "that guy" HADN'T EVEN TRIED THE EFFIN' BEER!!! People are so quick to pass judgement and give advice on beers they haven't even tried. That just kills me. STFU, drink the beer, then discuss.