From the Associate Editor: Craft Craze
A deeper dive into our state's unique beer, wine and spirits selection.
Brewing beer in America is a time-honored tradition. D. G. Yuengling & Son in Pottsville, Pennsylvania—the oldest operating brewing company in the United States—has been doing it since 1829. It is best known for its traditional lager, a medium-bodied beer with a taste that could be described as straightforward and, well, not overly complex.
But Americans drank it—along with the handful of other similar beers on the market at the time. They swigged ales and pilsners, and eventually light beers that wouldn’t fill them up or weigh them down. And a distinct cultural divide seemed to develop between beer drinkers and wine drinkers—the coarse versus the cultured.
But more than a century later, the craft-beer boom has blurred that line; almost shattering it altogether. As new breweries pop up all over the First State, each with its own unique flair and flavors, patrons are stepping out of their comfort zone to sip and sample what else is out there. Sure, we are loyal to our favorites, but trying a new beer—especially a local one—has become an experience. It’s the creativity of craft brewers—from the ingredients used to the look and feel of the tasting rooms—that continues to draw drinkers to their doors.
Take the legendary Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, for example. This local favorite started out brewing a handful of traditional beers with a twist long before breweries and gastropubs began popping up on every corner. But now—boasting over a dozen locations throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania—Iron Hill continues to adapt its beer offerings (have you tried the immensely flavorful Tropical Blast Gose yet?) to appeal to what today’s customers covet: variety.
And no matter what your palate is longing for—a stout, a pale ale or a hoppy IPA—you can find a local beverage that will not only quench your thirst, but also most likely make you say, “Wow.” Like Blue Earl’s Jingo Loba Imperial Stout, which gets its flavor and kick from ancho chilies, chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon. Or Mispillion River Brewing’s smooth Space Otter American Pale Ale, which you’ll want to try based on the adorable can design alone. And then there’s Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA, which, despite all of the other fun and flavorful, off-centered beers to come off the Dogfish assembly line, is one we keep coming back to time and time again.
Writer Roger Morris took on the daunting task of researching our state’s extensive, wonderfully unique selection of beer, wine and spirits in his story, "Your Guide to the Best Beer, Wine and Spirits in Delaware." (It was a tough assignment, but someone had to do it!)
But enough already—I’m getting thirsty.