1. The thirst for craft beer has inspired a connect-the-dot stream of beer-centric restaurants in the state. Two Stones Pub, for instance, has three locations (North Wilmington, 439-3231; Hockessin, 239-2200; and Newark, 294-1890). (There are also locations in Kennett Square and Jennersville, Pa.) The rotating selections include beers by 2SP Brewing Company, an offshoot, as well as breweries from across the country.
2. Ulysses American Gastropub (North Wilmington, 691-3456) took a chance when it opened in an established Brandywine Hundred strip center. It paid off. The ever-changing menu of drafts keeps customers coming back. The menu also changes, but the mussel pot has been a signature dish since Ulysses opened.
3. Traditional English pubs inspired gastropubs, and you can find the local version at Stoney’s British Pub (North Wilmington, 477-9740). Owned by Brit Mike Stone, Stoney’s is the place for bangers-and-mash, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, steak-and-kidney pie and a pint of Fuller’s London Pride.
4. Near the Wilmington Hospital, the late Darius Mansoory recognized the craft beer craze as early as 1997, when he opened the Washington Street Ale House (Wilmington, 658-2537). Beer-friendly fare includes burgers, ribs, fish-and-chips and hearty sandwiches.
5. With so many breweries in Sussex County, it’s not surprising that many restaurants focus on pairing food and beer. The Rose & Crown (Lewes, 827-4475) is the phoenix that rose from the ashes. The current incarnation in the swank Hotel Rodney took the menu and atmosphere up a notch.
6. On Del. 1, the Pickled Pig Pub (Rehoboth Beach, 645-5444) has happily embraced the gastropub concept with innovative fare and an impressive list of beers for its size. (Join the Pub Club to get 10 percent off all food from 5 p.m. to close on Thursdays.)