The beer scene continues to boom at the beach, but the craft beverage movement isn’t limited to IPAs and pilsners. Sussex County is the setting for Delaware’s first winery, and now craft spirits have bellied up to the bar.
Consequently, many visitors to the resorts come for the breweries, wineries and distilleries. Now, sitting on the sand is secondary in the off-season. If you’re putting together your own tour, here are some suggestions.
Find out more by visiting the state’s Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail at visitdelaware.com.
Big Oyster Brewery
Part of the Fins Hospitality Group, Big Oyster initially started brewing next to Fins Alehouse & Raw Bar on Route 1. Now there are brewing operations in a dedicated restaurant in Lewes. Designed to resemble a renovated barn, the brewery has an outdoor dining area and bar that faces the brewing operations. Try the tomato soup with mini grilled cheese sandwiches and the oysters, of course.
1007 Kings Highway, Lewes • 644-2621
Brick Works Brewing & Eats
Long Neck and Millsboro residents now have a nearby brewery, thanks to the second location of Brick Works. (The first is in Smyrna.) The draft selection changes but might include Drop Trowel, an American-style IPA, or Citrus Mistress American Wheat.
36932 Silicato Dr., Suite #1, Millsboro • 287-0077
Crooked Hammock Brewery
Since opening in late 2015, this brewpub has proven popular with families. Credit the spacious enclosed beer garden, which sports a playground and games. There’s also live entertainment.
36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes • 644-7837
Dewey Beer Company
Those in the know say this small brewery has some of the best products in town. Like your beers sour? Recently there were six on tap. While the menu features items that pair well with beer—think burgers and crab cake sandwiches—the bestseller is actually the lo mein.
2100 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 227-1182
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Dogfish Head, which opened with a Rehoboth brewpub in 1995, has expanded multiple times. Today, the Milton headquarters is a destination. Try a flight in the tasting room, order a calzone from the new kitchen and play bocce ball next to the steampunk treehouse. Tours run from the 25-minute Quip Sip to the hour-long Off-Centered.
6 Cannery Village Center, Milton • 888-8dogfish (888-8364-3474)
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
While Rehoboth is the birthplace of DFH, the building that housed the nascent brewery is no longer. In its place is a new contemporary building where fans can try experimental beers brewed on site, as well as the popular DFH selections.
320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 226-BREW (2739)
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
The Rehoboth restaurant in this Delaware-based chain shows off the open floor plan that is the model for locations to come (Atlanta is next). Try the Sante Fe turkey burger with pepper jack cheese, bacon and guacamole.
19815 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 260-8000
Mispillion River Brewing
This rebel brewery—whose products have included Holy Crap! And Not Today Satan—is a refreshing pitstop on your way to and from the beach. It’s right off Route 1 in Milford.
255 Mullet Run St. • 491-6623
Revelation Craft Brewing
The little brewery that could is still cultivating fans in its West Rehoboth location just off the Junction and Breakwater Trail. DaNizza Pizza provides the food. The owners have purchased the old 16 Mile Brewery site in Georgetown, so big events are on the horizon.
19841 Central St., Rehoboth Beach • 212-5674
Brimming Horn Meaderyâ€‹
Giving truth to the phrase “everything old is new again,” mead is an ancient beverage made by fermenting honey. Brimming Horn, located a few miles inland from Lewes, also sells fruit wines and ciders.
28615 Lewes-Georgetown Highway, Milton • 664-1188
Nassau Valley Vineyards
Sussex County native Peggy Raley-Ward founded this winery in 1993 after successfully battling the Delaware General Assembly to allow farm wineries in the state. Since then, Nassau Valley has won multiple awards. Although a short ride from downtown Lewes, you’ll feel as though you’ve arrived in a pastoral paradise. There’s a farmers market on Sundays.
32165 Winery Way, Lewes • 645-9463
Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery
Located near Bethany Beach, Salted Vines is an offshoot of Fenwick Wine Cellars. The 26-acre site offers more room for vines and events. At any given time, there are 14 wines on the menu.
32512 Blackwater Road, Frankford • 436-1500
Dogfish Head’s spirits line is just as eclectic as its brews. Consider Barrel Honey Rum, Roasted Peanut Vodka and Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks. Located on the same Milton site as the brewery, the distillery is open for scheduled tours.
6 Cannery Village Center, Milton •â€‹ 888-8dogfish (888-8364-3474)
Beach Time Distilling
The new Lewes-Georgetown Trail has brought more awareness to this operation, which offers tours at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. In addition to bottled spirits, Beach Time sells Beach Ready cocktails, including Dark & Stormy and Gin & Tonic.
32191 Nassau Rd., Lewes • 644-2850