The craft beer industry is on the rise in Delaware. Breweries are moving, shaking and blending up some unique beverages for your summer enjoyment.
Ocean View Brewing Company is one of the newest on the scene. SoDel Concepts, which owns Thompson Island Brewery in Rehoboth Beach, opened its latest 180-seat restaurant and brewhouse in February.
“We wanted to come to Ocean View because there wasn’t a brewery here, plus we had staff already based in this area, so it was a win-win,” says beer director and marketing manager Lauren Bigelow.
What you’ll find at Ocean View is completely different from Thompson’s. Ocean View has a wide range of brews, from an American lager to a fruited sour to a traditional stout. “We want to have something for everyone and focus on beer that pairs well with our food,” says head brewer Taylor Smith.
An industry veteran, Smith trained for five years at OG brewing phenom Dogfish Head. Ocean View’s offerings currently include 14 beers, with the OVB New England-style IPA serving as the flagship. An easy-drinking slightly hazy beer with a crisp finish, it’s easily paired with the restaurant’s signature Duck Confit Egg Roll appetizer.
The menu also features fried chicken, which is becoming a staple at several SoDel locations. Pair it with the lager for a laid-back summer entrée.
Desserts, made by pastry chef Brielle Curtis, are not to be missed. The Smores cake is a towering masterpiece of graham, marshmallow and chocolate. Pair it with the stout—you won’t be sorry.
85 Atlantic Ave., Ocean View | 829-1530
Revelation Craft Brewing Company is growing, and plans to open in the former 16 Mile location in Georgetown are in the works. Revelation’s flagship brewery in Rehoboth Beach continues to pull in crowds with new events like Sippin’ with Sloths and Firkin Fest, which highlighted cask-style beers from many Delaware brewers.
Revelation’s Beer Garden at Hudson Fields near Milton is an ideal summer hangout with its open-air taproom, picnic tables and rotating food trucks. The former airplane hangar is perfectly placed to enjoy some brews before a Highway One concert at adjacent Hudson Fields. Coming up this summer are the return of Milton’s own Jimmie Allen, Eli Young Band and Justin Moore.
Favorites on beer list are Memento Mori, a West Coast IPA; Downtown Donut Brown, an Imperial brown ale; and Irish Copper Ale. At the Rehoboth location, try the Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pizza from the DaNizza wood-fired pizza truck.
19841 Central St., Rehoboth Beach | 212-5674
29763 Eagle Crest Road, Milton
coming soon: 413 S. Bedford St., Georgetown
Big Oyster Brewery is small but mighty in the summertime with its back patio drawing locals and visitors alike. Play cornhole while listening to local favorites including Rick Arzt, Dustin Showers and Jason Wilcox, who can often be found performing when the weather is nice, says Emily Vachris, spokesperson for Big Oyster.
New beers are also coming. Look for Atlantico, brewed with pilsner malt and flaked maize for a crisp, clean and slightly “corny” finish. Round things out with B.O.B.’s Pretzel, a soft pretzel served with a delightfully flavorful beer cheese, queso blanco and honey mustard, or go for the Diablo Flatbread with spicy chorizo, jalapeño and mozzarella.
Oyster Stout, a take on a traditional 1800s recipe, uses oyster shells during the brewing process. Big Oyster’s version uses local oyster shells to add a salty flavor to the beer, which also has hints of dark chocolate and toasty bread. Pair it with a half dozen oysters on the half shell from the raw bar or try the Buffalo Blue Cheese Tots from the happy hour menu.
1007 Kings Highway, Lewes; 644-2621; bigoysterbrewery.com
At Wilmington Brew Works, housed in a charming 1917 Spanish Mission–style building, try one of the ales, lagers, sours or even a cider, all on tap.
As Dan Yopp, experienced brewer and production manager, pours a beer at the recent Firkin Fest in Rehoboth Beach, he shares his excitement for the coming summer, highlighting WBW beers at Wilmington Blue Rocks (baseball), and later this fall at Wilmington Blue Coats (basketball) games.
One recent partnership includes a Ukrainian Imperial Stout. “When Russia invaded Ukraine, Pravda Brewery, a Ukrainian beer company, released some of its recipes online so others could brew them,” Yopp says. “The idea is that we brew Pravda recipes and then donate the proceeds back to Ukraine.”
This summer, check out Turntable Tues-day in the brewery’s Alamo Room where staff spin their vinyl favorites. Walk over to the taproom to try Superfluous Pineapple with three types of hops—amarillo, citra and nugget—which are magnified by fresh pineapple during the brewing process. Pair your beverage of choice with pizza from La Pizzeria Metro next door or bring your own nibbles.
You can also find WBW at Bellevue concerts, the Clifford Brown Jazz festival and the People’s Festival, a tribute to Bob Marley.
3129 Miller Road, Wilmington; 722-4828; wilmingtonbrewworks.com
First State Brewing Company is another brewery helping Ukraine with Pravda beers. The team named their beer Putin Huilo, which, loosely translated, means “eff-off Putin,” explains Paul Hester, First State’s founder.
The Newark-based brewery, taproom and kitchen are perfect for an after-work happy hour or a fun night out with the family. It offers a bright, open bar and the ability to expand to an outside patio, where there will also be live music this summer.
Try the Conscious Observer, a raspberry and lemon sour, paired with Korean Bulgogi tacos topped with pickled cucumbers and carrots. Or dive into the Delaware Cheesesteak with shaved rib-eye, Cascading Reactions witbier-braised onions and sautéed mushrooms. This would be perfectly paired with Monolithic Memories, a Czech dark lager with notes of caramel and toasted almond.
This season, First State will also host beer dinners, all-day happy hours, team trivia nights and can releases.
109 Patriot Drive, Levels Business Park, Middletown; 285-9535; firststatebrewing.com
Midnight Oil Brewing Company came onto the Delaware beer scene four years ago when they opened their doors in Newark. The tasting room menu rotates but generally features about 10 beers, plus hard seltzer and a nonalcoholic kombucha by partner Musings Fermentation Underground.
Beers to try: Subspace Anomaly, a hazy IPA brewed with four types of hops; Momentum, a West Coast IPA with hints of pine; or Midnight Porter, their flagship brew with subtle notes of coffee, chocolate and toffee. During a recent visit, the Orion IPA with flavors of grapefruit and pine paired nicely with the smoky ribs from Ennis’s BBQ food truck that was on site that day.
“We say we started brewing as a reward for hard work and now we love to share that reward with our friends and family,” says Bill Livesey, who works at the brewery, as does his wife, Kathy.
Many of the events are fundraisers for community organizations. “We are part of the community, and we love to give back wherever we can,” says Kathy Livesey.
Fun story: Kathy and Bill showed up to take a beer-making class at Midnight Oil and were hooked. They haven’t left since and are often front-and-center at events.
Join the VIP Text Club to get exclusive offers and any pint for only $2. Food trucks are on site.
674 Pencader Drive, Newark; 286-7641; midnightoilbrewing.com
Chef Michael Stiglitz of Two Stones Pub and Two Stones Brewing Company recently launched 2SP Tap House in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.
This summer, try the Voluptuous Fuzz, a new seasonal peach-wheat beer that is almost addictive with its crisp taste and pops of peach and apricot.
Pair it with 2SP’s signature appetizer, Beerscuits, which are made in partnership with a Delco baker who uses the spent grain from the brewing process mixed with smoked cheddar and topped with hot butter. Try it dipped in the house-made Old Bay hot sauce for a satisfying bite.
Meet your crew at this gastropub to share jumbo chicken wings with sweet garlic or hot sauce paired with Up, Up & Away, the flagship hazy IPA with a deep malt flavor.
Or tuck into the Sausage & Shrooms toast with spicy salami spread, truffled ricotta and roasted maitake mushrooms on ciabatta. Pair it with a Delco Lager, their signature amber, which goes with just about anything.
The new taproom features aged wood, cushy booths, a small bar and an intimate setting. A big draw is the 40-seat patio with a fire pit. The entire restaurant can convert to open-air, thanks to large garage-style doors that were added during the pandemic when so many customers wanted to sit outside.
This year, another new Two Stones concept will be coming, which Stiglitz hopes to launch on Main Street in Newark. Stay tuned for more details!
2SP Tap House, 95 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Chadds Ford; 484-840-8736; 2sptaphouse.com