More than 30 seasonal releases, events and promotions for your summer explorations into beer, wine and spirits
With a sense of elation and excitations, summertime is upon us.
‘Tis the season of backyard BBQs, beach bocce tournaments, and campfire cookouts in the great outdoors — all which pair nicely with a refreshing cocktail or two.
While the beer sector continues to trend toward lighter beers, more options continue to arrive in almost every category of the market.
To help sort things out — and perhaps assist with planning — we’ve put together a list of 31 releases, events and promotions in the area.
Read on and… cheers!
Tuesday nights at Wilmington Brew Works
“Weird and rare stuff is a plus,” is the mantra to this weekly bring-your-own-vinyl request night. Grab a beer and some pizza from Metro next door, and kick back for the deep cuts that DJ Sudz spins from 6-9pm.
More at WilmingtonBrewWorks.com.
BIG OYSTER’S SMALL-ABV BEERS
Our beer-brewing friends down at the beach have introduced three summer beers, all 4.5% ABV or under. Both their Tea Time tea-and-lemonade sour ale and Salty Jawns salt-water lime gose ale (a collaboration with Yards) are derived from English ale yeast and Hallertau hops. So is their Atlantico Mexican lager, which also adds Tettnang hops.
IRON HILL’S SLICE OF MEXICO
Iron Hill is also reaching south of the border with their latest release, Lemon Cervesa, a Mexican-style lager that lists lemon juice and peel as key ingredients along with American malts and Bravo and Saaz hops. It clocks in at 5.0% ABV.
SMYRNA CRAFT BEVERAGE FEST
Saturday, July 16 in Smyrna
No other business in Northern Delaware has promoted homebrewing more than Newark’s How Do You Brew. This month they are promoting a large contingent of the First State’s craft breweries at the Smyrna Craft Beverage Fest, which will also feature live music, food trucks and a disc golf course.
Proceeds to support Help Restore the King! Tickets and more info at HowDoYouBrew.com.
THE BAR CART FROM DOGFISH
Dogfish Head’s line of canned “culinary-crafted cocktails” are now available in a boxed Bar Cart Variety Pack. Each at 7% ABV — and boasting two shots in every can — the 8-pack includes Gin Crush (lemon & lime), Vodka Crush (blood orange & mango), Vodka Soda (blueberry shrub), and Vodka Lemonade (strawberry & honeyberry).
A HAZY & CRUSHABLE HARPOON
Perhaps it’s no surprise to see “lobster rolls” listed as a pairing suggestion to a New England blonde ale, particularly one brewed by Boston’s longest-operating contemporary craft brewery (since 1986). Harpoon Brewery’s Summer Style is inspired by the classic Keller Kölsch, which is described as “one of the original hoppy hazy beer styles.”
MOVIES ON TAP’S BIG NIGHT
Thursday, July 21 at Penn Cinema Riverfront
Merging classic movies, craft beers and charitable causes, Movies On Tap continues its seventh season with the perfect pairing of The Big Lebowski and Big Oyster Brewery — with all funds going to Boys & Girls Club of Delaware. Tickets and more at PennCinema.com.
Devils Backbone hit gold with its Orange Smash over the past few years. More recently they expanded on the Smash series of canned cocktails with Smash on the Beach, a mix of vodka, real orange, cranberry juice, and peach flavors. The Sex-on-the-Beach tribute scores a 7.5% ABV and should be a hit down in Dewey and Rehoboth.
THE SIPPING SERIES
Thursday, July 21, 5:30pm at Columbus Inn
Columbus Inn has partnered with Branmar Liquors for this quarterly series that launched in May. Their summer edition focuses on female winemakers and owners with more than 25 wines available for sampling with a complimentary wine glass. Light appetizers, suggested food pairings and raffle prizes will also be available. The $50 tickets benefit Child Inc. More at ColumbusInn.net.
BOURBON LOVERS UNITE!
Look for seven new barrel selects from top whiskey producers arriving soon at Tim’s Liquors in Hockessin and The Wine & Spirits Company of Greenville. That brings the count to more than 20 barrel selects this year at the two locations. Among the new arrivals: Jefferson’s 100-proof high rye bourbon (aged 7 years); two Smooth Ambler 120-proof cask-strength bourbons (one 5-year, the other 6-year); and an Old Forrester bourbon at cask strength.
SURFS UP THIS SUMMER
In the way that Heritage Beach Shop began carving out a reputation for itself more than 50 years ago along the South Jersey Shore, Yards Brewing has been embraced by Philly beer lovers for a quarter of a century. With the collaborative Heritage Surf IPA, Yards goes the distance, steeping each batch with Kaffir lime leaves.
CAPE MAY GOES HARD
Cape May Brewing Co. dove into the hard lemonade market this spring with their simply-titled Hard Lemonade. Blended with all-natural cane sugar and lemon juice, this beverage eases in at 5.0% ABV. Defined as “Boardwalk-Style,” it sounds like a perfect fit for the beach.
SIP & STROLL AT THE BRANDYWINE ZOO
Wednesdays July 27, Aug 31, Sept 14 & 28
Celebrate Hump Day Happy Hour at the zoo from 5-7pm with cold craft beer from Bellefonte Brewing. Plus, get a chance to meet the zoo’s newest and happiest couple, Haechan and Clover, two pudus, which are the second smallest deer species in the world. It’s PUDU LOVE! More at BrandywineZoo.org.
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS
July 29, Aug 26 and Sept 30 at Peco’s Liquors
This long-standing series’ success may be due to its peanut-butter-meets-chocolate simplicity: Match quality area food trucks with free in-store samples and pairings. On the last Friday of each month, guests can choose from some of the best trucks around such as Burgers By Wildwich, Delaware Provisions and Kapow!
IN THE BUFF & WITH THE BARD
To help beat the heat, Wilmington’s Stitch House Brewery is now serving Bare Wittness, a liberating 3.8% ABV Belgian witte. Meanwhile, headbrewer Drew Rutherford is creating a new saison for the Delaware Shakespeare Festival (July 15-31). It has yet to be dubbed officially, but as the poet would say: “What’s in a name?”
SUNDAY FUNDAY AT TSOH
The freshly squeezed crushes at Trolley Square Oyster House have always lived up to their name. But now all day on Sundays, all six flavors of these fruit-juice-meets-booze concoctions are just $6 each (normally $9). Try their Creamsicle, made with Captain Morgan, orange liqueur, club soda and freshly-squeezed orange.
NEWARK FOOD & BREW FEST
Saturday, July 30 at Newark Eateries
Now in its 18th year, this annual festival celebrates “the unique relationship between the culinary arts and the brewing sciences.” More than 50 beers will be paired with creative food offerings from more than a dozen Newark restaurants. Beer tastings and special menus begin at noon and run until 7pm. More at NewarkFoodAndBrewFest.com.
SUPER SPECIFIC SELECT
Last year, Kentucky’s Stellum bourbon took in a monster haul of national and international awards, including double gold at the world-renown John Barleycorn Awards. At Kreston Wine & Spirits, you can discover their single-barrel Lyra series — which is just one of the names Stellum gives to each hand-selected group based on the specific time the bourbon was distilled and the percentage of its ingredients.
FROM MAINE WITH LOVE
Blonde Ales have made a resurgence over the past year or so, and, on cue, Allagash is asking you to try a Floating Holiday, brewed with lemon peel and a pinch of sea salt. Cascade and nugget hops bring breezy flavors to this 5.2% ABV blonde.
HAGLEY’S BIKE & HIKE & BREWS
Wednesdays through August
With 235 acres by the Brandywine, Hagley offers a lot of outdoor space to enjoy the summer weather — and this series offers another reason to explore. Presenting partner Dogfish Head brings the brews and Woodside Farm Creamery dishes out the ice cream. The evenings also include food trucks, special guests and select dog days. More at Hagley.org.
MORE THAN JUST GREAT BEER
The Two Stones Pub family of restaurants may be the OG of craft-beer-centric pubs, but they’ve widened their appeal beyond hop heads. At their Middletown location, the beers share the spotlight with their latest crowd-pleasing craft cocktail, the Strawberry Mint Mojito, which mixes Bacardi Rum with fresh strawberry puree. In Hockessin, the lastest craze is the Blueberry Lemonade Crush, with Stoli Blueberry. GM Shaena Orr says, “We literally went through a case of blueberry vodka the first week it was on the menu.”
SUMMERFEST AT BREWERS OUTLET
Saturday, August 13
Just over the Pa. border on Route 202 is a goldmine, where beer lovers can find stuff not available in Delaware. For Summerfest, Brewers Outlet will be hosting a sampling featuring 15 breweries, plus offering hot dogs and other specials.
TRULY YOURS THIS AUGUST
The popular Truly brand of hard seltzers expands it lineup this August with the Truly Vodka Seltzer series, made with vodka and real fruit juice. Flavors include Blackberry & Lemon, Pineapple & Cranberry, Cherry & Lime, and Peaches & Tangerine. These 5% canned cocktails carry just 110 calories each.
DELAWARE BEER, WINE & SPIRTS FESTIVAL
Saturday, August 27, 4-7:30pm in Dover
As the only statewide celebration of the craft alcohol industry, this annual festival celebrates producers on the Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail. Continue the tradition at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village with a wide selection of tastings, live music, food trucks, and fun festival games. More at DEBeerWineSpirits.com.
TWISTED IRONS GETS LIGHTER
Relatively-newer brewer Twisted Irons took lighter to a new level last month when they introduced their Lawn Chair Lightweight light lager (3.5% ABV, pictured) and Finkle is Einhorn Kölsch (4.8% ABV). The two new additions join Twisted’s Helles Yeah helles lager (5.1% ABV) in the Newark brewery’s line-up of light and refreshing summer brews.
A FAIRE, BALANCED BEVERAGE
In May, Faire Café reopened on Wilmington’s 9th Street with a new look and an enhanced menu, including some one-of-a-kind coffees. Naturally, they look to be cornering the market in coffee-themed cocktails such as their Havanna-Club-Rum-meets-espresso Carillion and The Conservatory, which mixes Tito’s and cold brew. But their most popular is the Italian Water Garden, featuring Espolon, Bebo Coffee Liqueur and Aztec chocolate bitters among its ingredients.
ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE!
Towards the end of last year, Wilma’s made a healthy racket when the duckpin bowling venue opened, unexpectedly unveiling a full menu of Cajun and Creole cuisine. This summer they have added Frozen Hurricanes to the offerings, making this downtown Wilmington destination perhaps the only place in the area to enjoy a slushy version of the New Orleans classic cocktail.
HISTORIC ODESSA BREWFEST
Saturday, Sept 10, noon-5pm in Odessa
As a festival that celebrates both history and beer, it feels like the Historic Odessa Brewfest has earned its own place in the books. Each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day, some of the best craft breweries in the region come to show off tasty brews. Proceeds support the Historic Odessa Foundation. More at OdessaBrewfest.com.
HELLO BEER, MEET COCKTAIL!
The trend of combining beers with various cocktails continues this season with three area highlights: (1) The Repeal of Prohibition, with Bulleit and 21st Ammendement’s Hell or High Watermelon Wheat served at Tyler’s in Pike Creek; (2) The Delaware Margarita, also with Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, but mixed with Dano’s Dangerous Tequila; (3) and The Aperol Spritz at Dorcea, a combo of Brooklyn Brewery Bel Air Sour and Aperol.
THE GEM OF SMYRNAN HOSPITALITY
may be behind us, but
there is plenty of stretch ahead to enjoy the southern cocktail classic known as the mint julep. Smyrna’s craft distillery Painted Stave has their own version utilizing 2 ounces of their Diamond State Bourbon, ½ ounce of simple syrup, and 3-4 fresh mint leaves (more for garnish). Add the mint and simple to a rocks glass, muddle lightly, add a scoop of crushed ice, then pour the whiskey and garnish.
LAST SIPS OF SUMMER BREWFEST
Sunday, Sept 18, 1-4pm
Over the past two years, FranksWine expanded its offerings with outdoor events. On the last Sunday of the summer, look for them to throw another big outdoor celebration of Delaware-based craft producers with food trucks, music and other goodies thrown into the mix. For more go to Frankswine.com.