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The New Kids in Local Beer Brewing

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Whether he was playing bass for local rock legends Rocket 88 or pouring a fresh pint of his homemade ale, Ron Price loved devoting his free time to entertaining crowds. But life kept getting in the way. Finally, on Aug. 7, 2012, he came to a realization. “I really felt my heart wasn’t in my day job anymore,” he says. “After 27 years of working at a desk, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was an epiphany. A time warp. I wanted to start a brewing business.”

This year, Price joined a growing club of passionate Delaware home brewers who ditched the daily grind of desk jobs and corporate tedium to open up a brewery. His Smyrna-based Warlock Brewing Company joins Mispillion River Brewing in Milford and 3rd Wave Brewing in Delmar in Delaware’s latest class of craft brewers.

 

What: 3rd Wave Brewing Company (501 N. Bi-State Blvd., Delmar, 907-0423, www.3rdwavebrewingco.com)

Who: Owners Lori Clough and Suellen Vickers; brewmaster John Panasiewicz.

What to drink: Big Reef Porter, Wave Ryed’r Rye IPA, Paddle Out #7 Crab Beer. Vickers, a pediatric dentist, and Clough, a UPS driver, always talked about opening a brewery together. Says Clough: “We’d been home brewers for a couple of years and thought we were making good beer. We imagined and even had a name for our backyard brewery, but we weren’t really serious.” Early in 2012, when the pair learned that Evolution Craft Brewing Co. was vacating its Delmar brewery for a larger site in Salisbury, Md., their dream suddenly got serious. “Talked about it for a while and bought the place,” Clough says. “I retired from UPS on the Wednesday before we opened.” The new owners inherited a good chunk of Evolution’s brewing equipment, which helped get them off to a running start. In September, 3rd Wave celebrated its second anniversary. Clough’s and Panasiewicz’s recipes include an impressive roster of pale ales, seasonal fruit-inspired wheat beers and even a crab-flavored beer. The owners hope to begin bottling and canning by 2015. For now, grab 3rd Wave straight from the tasting room or from your local bar or growler station.

 

What: Mispillion River Brewing (255Mullet Run St., Milford, 491-6623, www.mispillionriver-brewing.com)

Who: Owners Eric and Megan Williams, partners Scott and Tammy Perlot, Don and Marti Brooks and brewmaster Jared Barnes.

What to drink: Naughty B English Brown Ale, Beach Bum Joe Belgian Pale Ale, Miss Betty Sweet Potato Ale. On the morning of his 40th birthday, Eric Williamsawoke with a jolt. “I sat up and said, ‘I’m opening a brewery,’” he says. “Of course, my wife just rolled over and said, ‘Sure you are.’” It took some convincing—and a well-timed trip to the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego—but both Williamses were soon ready to start a business. Eric had been brewing beers at home for several years, and had grown disenfranchised with his day job. “I thought that I could create something better than this, a place where people would want to come to work.” After composing a business plan, hunting down investors and bank support, and consulting with the nonprofit business counseling group SCORE Delaware, Williams brought Mispillion River Brewing to life in November 2013. Today, it features a 700-square-foot tasting room with 10 taps and open sightlines to the brewhouse. Nary a year into action, Mispillion has gained a reputation for its head-spinning variety—with more than 130 batches and well over 80 different styles.

 

What: Warlock Brewing Company (210 Artisan Drive, Smyrna, www.warlock-brewing.com)

Who: Owner Ron Price.

What to drink: in the works (Price anticipates hoppy, American-style beers, Belgian ales, plus German ales and lagers).Ron Price isn’t bragging when he refers to himself as a Delaware home-brewing legend. He’s instrumental in clubs like the Delmarva United Homebrewers and the First State Brewers. He founded and serves as the judging director for the “Battle of the Brews” at the Delaware Stare Fair. He’s certified by the National Homebrewers Association to judge beers, and holds a degree from the Siebel Institute’s World Brewing Academy. His English bitter beer even won a silver medal at the National Homebrew Competition in Minnesota in 2010.“If you ask them, all the home brewers in this region know Ron Price,” he says. Price spent most of 2014 ensuring his call-up to the big leagues is just as legendary. With the backing of eager local government officials who led him to the Smyrna Business Park, Price hopes to open Warlock Brewing Company by December—complete with a 15-barrel brewhouse, bottling production and a tasting room with live music.

Photo by Kevin Flemming

​From left: Lori Clough, John Panasiewicz and Suellen Vickers of 3rd Wave Brewing Company in Delmar.

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