Looking for a new place to try a variety of beers produced by breweries from all over? Here’s a look at some of our local favorites, and the reasons we think they’re worth a try.
Washington Street Ale House
“The Ale House” had been off my radar in terms of finding beers I want to try, but since the somewhat recent ownership change, it’s been catching my attention. There are more local options as well as a few notables from a little farther away. While I was there, I enjoyed a Burley Oak IPA and Dewey Beer Co.’s Secret Machine fruited sour, exceptional beers that are hard to find in our part of the woods. If you’re a beer nerd like me, and haven’t been there in a while, I recommend stopping by for a least a pint or two soon.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
Stone Balloon Ale House
If you’re in search of a bar that features local breweries, look no more. Here, the tap rotates often but local always takes precedence. They’ve got options from all over Delaware, branching out to Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown and Philadelphia’s Evil Genius. Delaware staples include Big Oyster Brewery, Mispillion River Brewing Co., 16 Mile Brewing Co., Revelation Craft Brewing Co., Dewey Beer Co. You get it—pretty much all the companies. As far as ambiance, the vintage lightbulbs and leatherback bar stools are an aesthetic touch.
— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Digital Media Manager
Open for their third summer season, Constitution Yards is a seasonal outdoor beer garden filled with activities and fun! With games for children and adults alike, the views of the Wilmington Riverfront set the mood, while the ever-changing rotation of craft beers combat the summer heat. The upscale BBQ fare completes the experience and there’s plenty of room to lounge and relax with friends and family.
— Matthew Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager
Two Stones Pub
As unlikely as it may have seemed at the time, when the owners of Two Stones Pub opened their first location in a somewhat quirky spot in Newark’s Chesmar Plaza, they were exactly at the right place—perhaps more so in their state of mind.
By focusing on a wide selection of beers from around the country and tavern food that is both delicious and distinctive, Two Stones quickly built a reputation for being a fun and novel place. That success fueled their expansion to five locations (with a sixth Middletown pub on the way).
But it’s not fair to say that Two Stones Pub simply rode the recent craft-beer wave at the right moment. It’s more the case that they helped lead the way for craft-beer awareness in New Castle County. If there is a chain of bars in the state serving more craft beers from all over—along with tasty nibbles—I’d like to know who and where they are.
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications
Trolley Square Oyster House
Over the course of the three years I was fortunate enough to live in Wilmington, my local watering hole of choice was always Trolley Square Oyster House. It’s exactly the kind of place to be during happy hour, especially in the summer months, when the patio is in full swing.
With 11 beers on tap and a laundry list of canned or bottled options available, Oyster House has a robust selection of fine pints both local and imported. The food is also exemplary as well as the service.
— Mathew Brown-Watson, Intern
OK, so this popular Centreville watering hole is on my way home, but convenience does not guarantee variety. Buckley’s offers an impressive draft menu with 24 taps that it rotates regularly. The tavern’s large u-shaped bar is home to an eclectic mix of patrons, from locals to business travelers to tourists visiting the nearby cultural attractions. And when good weather hits, a bar stool is easier to come by as many head upstairs for Buckley’s unique rooftop bar and grill.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
One thing Ulysses Gastropub has done right since it opened in 2012 is to keep its craft beer-lovin’ customers informed on what the pub has on tap, and what’s next. The list of 25 drafts and the next 25 that are planned always keeps me coming back. And with a rotating bottle list of about 90 beers from all over, this Branmar Plaza bar and restaurant is a destination worth the drive.
— Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer
Trolley Tap House
Once, I was coerced by my coworkers to visit what the locally prevalent bipeds call a “bar.” Apparently what people pay money to do at these establishments is consume ethanol that has been produced by letting the seeds of various grasses ferment. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the solvent consumed was typically only around six percent pure! I was pleasantly disoriented after drinking several fluid ounces of many different varieties of this diluted alcohol, and made a note to return to what I later learned was named “Trolley Tap House.”
— David Hallberg, Distribution
When Chelsea opened in 2010, it was an instant game changer for beer nerds in Wilmington. With 20-plus taps, rare and sought-after beers (Dogfish 120!) and fun tap takeovers, there was nothing else like it. Chelsea continues to hold its own in the craft beer explosion that is still growing in 2018, and regardless of your palate you are likely to find something delicious there, along with solid food offerings to pair with it.
— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer