I recently went on vacation with my family to Ocean City, MD and in true Nagley fashion, my dad did his beer research before we went! He tried to get the two of us onto a tour at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE but that didn’t pan out. The days we were able to go were already booked weeks in advance :(
First on our list was Iron Hills Brewery in Wilmington, DE. They have quite a few locations around the East Coast, and I love seeing a once small brewery thrive! My dad took on the sampler, as he often does, which was a pretty good value — it included all 5 of their house beers, their seasonal Belgian, and your choice of another seasonal. I convinced him to get the Mahalo, Apollo! summer wheat (6.8% ABV) because it of course spiked my interest! It’s very citrus-y and refreshing, a solid summer brew, and is brewed with Grains of Paradise. I feel like that’s a buzz word in the world of beer, I seem to see that popping up in a lot of summer or wheat beers.
Blackberry Saison (5.5% ABV) was the Belgian beer of the month, and I LOVED this brew. I know, I’m biased — I love sweeter, fruitier beers. But this farmhouse ale had a slight tartness that balanced out the sweetness. A really great and complex combo. It was a little dry for me in the finish, but it didn’t take away from the flavor at all. They brew it with real blackberries, which I think makes a difference in the freshness and flavor. I’m still thinking about this beer and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve had it!
The only other beer I had a pint of while here was the Vienna Red Lager (5% ABV). I liked this brew but wasn’t blown away. It had a strong bread-y, malty flavor that was a little overwhelming to me at first. But I got more into this beer as I drank it. The hop flavor was great, and I really love a lager with a clean finish, such as this.
We also traveled to Delmar, DE to Evolution Craft Brewery. Evo is a small batch craft brewery with an even smaller tap room, but business was definitely booming the day we were there. Love to see people supporting their local brewers :) (And the head brewer is a fellow BU alum yeah!) My dad went for the tasting, which was more than reasonably priced, but I opted for a few pints. I tried the Primal Pale Ale (5% ABV), and I really enjoyed it a lot! It’s really balanced, and I loved that it had such a clean finish. Some PA’s are too bitter in their finish for me, but that wasn’t an issue here!
I also tried their summer seasonal, Summer Session Ale (4.6% ABV). It’s unfiltered and super light and refreshing. Nothing in particular really stood out to me, but it was a solid offering that I know I would love to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Before we left, my parents and I split a Rise Up Stout (6.7% ABV) to end our tasting. It’s a caribbean stout that’s steeped with cold organic coffee from a local coffee shop, Rise Up. It’s super rich and the coffee flavor is AMAZING. By far my favorite brew of the day. I’m usually scared of super dark beers and shy away, but this coffee stout really opened me up and I’ve been trying more dark beers made with coffee. That seems to be the trick for me!
Beers is better than beer!