Above: Live music and a robust calendar of events have made Newark’s Twisted Irons a popular gathering spot.

By Matt Morrissette
Photos courtesy Joe Hoddinott/Twisted Irons CBC 

Launched in early 2021 with the tongue-in-cheek slogan “your game deserves a better beer,” Twisted Irons Craft Brewing Company represents the culmination of more than two decades of dreaming, planning, and friendship between its founding partners, David Markle and head brewer Matt Found. 

As coworkers in information security at a bank in the late 1990s, the two men bonded over a love of craft beer and a mutual interest and frustrating lack of skill at golf (hence the ironic name of both the business and its slogan). They began discussing opening their own brewery as early as the mid-2000s as Found’s brewing was coming into its own, but they deferred their dream until their life and financial situations aligned to make the brewery feasible. 

Though opening during an unexpected and sustained Delaware craft beer boom, Twisted Irons has managed to find its niche among its friendly competitors and neighbors in Newark (including Midnight Oil Brewing Company and Autumn Arch Beer Project). Though quality beer is the priority, the brewery has gained attention through its robust calendar of events, which leans heavily on music.

“Twisted Irons focuses on creating well-balanced beers of many styles – ‘many styles’ being the key,” Markle says. “The experience of going into a brewery with 12 beers on tap and seven are IPAs will never happen here. 

“Here, you’ll find various stouts (including a dry Irish, an oatmeal, and a Russian imperial), a doppelbock, a Belgian wit, a tripel, and a golden strong ale.  We also have various IPAs (including a true West Coast-style), a dunkel, a selection of lagers and pilsners, an Oktoberfest, a few sours, and even an English bitter on nitro (why… just because no one else has one!).”

Twisted Irons founders Matt Found (l) and Dave Markle are enjoying their venture into the craft brewing industry. In the background is Twisted Irons bartender Eddie Kowalski.

In their brief time of being open, Twisted Irons has already developed several flagship beers that keep their regulars coming back and the Delaware craft beer community buzzing. 

“We do have several flagships,” Markle says. “Our first was and still is Flyover State of Mind IPA. This is our “Midwest” IPA that combines the best parts of an East and West Coast style creating a malt-forward beer that perfectly balances the bitter and aroma hops. 

“Our second is our Pinipple NEIPA (it’s pale, hazy, and delicious with tropical and citrus hop aroma as well as a subtle amount of pineapple puree for good measure). This is our cancer beer where we donate a dollar per pint sold to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. A few other fan favorites include I’m a Little Teacup Short and Stout and the Bitter End (a great ESB).”

Twisted Irons Craft Brewing Company has also tapped into the local music community to build its audience. Several nights a week revolve around music along with a variety of local food trucks. In addition to featuring live bands most every Friday and Saturday night, the brewery hosts weekly music video bingo on Wednesdays and a growing open mic on Tuesdays hosted a pair of popular local musicians, brothers Tony and Carlos LaBoy. 

The open mic features players and singers of all skill levels and styles and something of a house band to flesh out the sound. Attendees can expect to hear everything from grunge to bluegrass and both originals and well-worn classic rock covers in a genial and supportive atmosphere. The open mic has quickly developed a beloved cast of regular participants and fans. 

“We were delighted when Tony and Carlos approached us about hosting the open mic night,” Markle says. “It’s been a great fit for our schedule, and the musicians and fans seem to really enjoy the time to get out and just play. It was always a goal to have music as a big part of our draw.”

Flyover State of Mind, a “Midwest” IPA, is one of Twisted Irons’ flagship beers. And the original can illustrations by marketing director/artist Joe Hoddinott have become so popular some customers are collecting the cans.

When asked about the success of the open mic, the LaBoy brothers are quick to give the credit to one another with Carlos describing himself as a “stagehand” and calling Tony, “the brains of the operation.” Both agree that Twisted Irons is the perfect place for the weekly event and see nothing but growth potential. 

With a successful year under their belts and the pandemic mainly in the rearview mirror, Twisted Irons Craft Brewing Company is focused on the future with big plans for the fall and winter months. In October alone, they have an outside movie night, a Halloween party, and a children’s trunk-or-treat event in their parking lot planned beyond their usual stacked event lineup.

More importantly, the brewery has a myriad of seasonal beers ready to hit the taps. 

“We are so excited about fall and winter beer releases like our Russian Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter Lager, a new Christmas beer called Noelle’s Noel, as well as a Belgian Dubbel,” Markle says.

Though it may be too late for their golf games, by building a community around Found’s brewing skills and local music, Markle and Found may have figured this whole brewery thing out. 

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