A Change of Place...And a New Name

If you had a chance to read our last blog, you probably gathered leaving Delaware was one of the hardest, yet at the same time, easiest decisions we've had to make. Having an opportunity to keep a family tradition going, while exploring the Jersey countryside, shore towns, historic towns, and everything in between has allowed us to stumble up on new craft breweries, indulge in regional foods I've wanted to share with Eric for a while, and see sites around New Jersey that have been on our 'to visit' list for years. 

We've had a blast throughout the years, sipping on beers around Delaware, making new craft beer loving friends along the way; though as each day passes, we continue to realize that it's time to start sharing our adventures and finds with you on our new blog, Back in Jersey.  We hope you'll continue to travel along out next adventures! 

A Change of Place

Nearly 6 years ago (on March 24th to be exact), we launched a blog and social media to get the word out about the great things happening in the craft beer world around Delaware. That was the day Delaware Hop Scene was born. It seemed only appropriate to name it so specific to the state we lived in, as many of our adventures were around the state and around our love of craft beer. 

Living anywhere other than Delaware seemed unfathomable. Sometimes we threw around the idea of moving to a warmer climate, or maybe Philly, but we knew the furthest we’d probably move was North Wilmington. Delaware was home. 

Then sometimes an unexpected event leads to an even more unexpected change. Somewhere along the way, a surprise decision was made…we were moving. And we were moving back to New Jersey, a place I hadn’t lived in 18+ years. 

Family, tradition, and a giant tug on my heartstrings will make you do something so unexpected, and that’s what brought me back to the place I called home for nearly half my life. Thank goodness Eric was willing to come along for the ride. As we discussed the possibility of the move he couldn’t have put it any simpler when he said he couldn’t think of a reason not to make the move. 

Let me backtrack for a minute. 

As we were kicking of a weekend of celebrating the wedding of two dear friends, I found out that my grandmother, my Mimi, had passed away. 

Shortly after, as my family took the steps to clear out the home, I started thinking about the history of Mimi’s home. It wasn’t just the home that my father (and Aunt) grew up in, it was the home my great parents first moved into around 1900. It was a home where my grandfather and his siblings were born. And a home where my grandparents moved to when my father was a young boy. I realized with my Mimi’s passing, the nearly 120-year history of my family living in this home was about to come to an end. That’s when I knew that I had the opportunity to keep the home in my family. 

At first, I was still working in Delaware, spending at least 5 days out of the week in the place we called home for so many years. I thought the only thing that would change once we moved would be where we laid our head at night. That soon changed when an opportunity was soon presented to me and I started a new position in Conshohocken. At this point I quickly realized that it was becoming more and more difficult to give Delaware the focus we once had. 

Though we won’t be in Delaware quite as much, our love of craft beer, traveling, indulging in regional foods, and all the other things we’ve shared over the years, isn’t changing. You may notice a name change in the near future, but we’re still doing what we do, just with a slightly Jersey twist! 

We hope you’ll stick around to see where our newest adventure takes us. 

Lindsey and Eric

It All Started With Asheville - How a Trip to Asheville Turned Into So Much More: Asheville and Chapel Hill (and a few stops in between)

It All Started With Asheville
How a Trip to Asheville Turned Into So Much More:

Asheville and Chapel Hill (and a few stops in between)

Sometimes a trip starts with one destination and without much effort, grows into a bit of an adventure. That’s exactly what happened with our trip to Asheville

When it comes to firming up travel plans, I’m both a planner and a procrastinator. I’m often known as the friend that will plan a trip from A to Z and back again with little effort (and with complete enjoyment), but other times I can’t make a decision for the life of me, and procrastination tends to take over. That's pretty much how our North Carolina adventure began to take shape.

Of course, as most trips do, the planning started with researching travel options to and from Asheville since that was our primary destination. Somehow amid that research I had the idea to fly in and out of Charlotte so we could explore that area bit before or after our time in Asheville.  In a completely unrelated conversation Eric mentioned a band he wanted to see (Hippo Campus) was going to be in Philly during the time we were scheduled to be away. This made me think to myself, wonder where else they’re playing? As it turns out, they were going to be in North Carolina right around the start of our time down there. It wasn't going to time perfectly for our arrival into Charlotte, they were going to be there the day we were flying in, but they were going to be in Chapel Hill. I took a quick look and found that Chapel Hill was 2 hours to the east of Charlotte. So instead of heading 2 hours west once we landed, we were just going to take a slight detour to the east. And that’s how we decided to add Chapel Hill to our itinerary.

Now onto our time in North Carolina…

We landed in Charlotte bright and early on a Saturday morning and made our way to Raleigh to the North Carolina Museum of Art, because sometimes we throw a little culture into the mix to balance the copious amount of craft beer and brewery visits we tend to include on vacation. Especially when a museum was presenting the very cool exhibit Ansel Adams: Masterworks. When we pulled up to the museum we realized that this was a very neat way to start our trip. The Ansel Adams exhibit may have been one of my favorites I've seen in a while. Eric and I even found a print that we both completely love and know the perfect spot for it in our yet to be named 'room with no name' in the house project. Now if we can just find said print to purchase! 

In addition to two buildings filled with art works of several genres, the North Carolina Museum of Art also boasts the gorgeous Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, connecting “art, nature, and people to encourage creative experiences and human interactions.” We loved spending time wandering around the different paths around the park.     

If you know you're going to be at the museum around a meal, be sure to make a reservation at Iris, named from the museum's benefactor, Iris Cantor. This full-service restaurant is located in the West Building and is surrounded by works of art from artists in so many different genres including African, American, Modern and Contemporary, and Egyptian. The bright windows inside Iris provide you with pretty views of the outside surrounding gardens too. You can also grab your go-to coffee drink, tea and cookies at Sip Cafe, located next to the Museum Store, if you aren't down with a full sit-down meal. We also noticed a lot of people bringing picnics to the grounds of the museum. Not a bad idea when you're surrounded by so much gorgeousness. 


After spending a few hours surrounded by culture and North Carolina beauty, we made our way over to Chapel Hill where we visited Beer Study, located right in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill. We made our way inside to grab a couple of beers, and then headed back outside, as it was too pretty of a day to pass on the outdoor seating on a pretty afternoon. The tap list was impressive and their bottle selection was stellar - especially with the number of brews they had available from around North Carolina. If you get hungry, you can pop next door to Al's Burger Shack and order up some food to enjoy while you're sipping on your beers at Beer Study.  

A few blocks from Beer Study is the Chapel Hill location of Carolina Brewery. Can we talk about the size of the beer flight?! Yes, that's a total of TWELVE small pours on 2 boards, and yes, we split it! Carolina Brewery isn't messing around! As fun as the beer flight was, we got down to some serious business with our food decision, the Seasonal Dips, which includes a mild obsession of mind: pimento cheese. It only seems right to enjoy pimento cheese as often as possible when in the South. Accompanying the pimento cheese was a little hummus and a serving of shrimp and crab dip. When you indulge in a flight of this size, be sure to set yourself up with a hearty bit of food, like the dips! Especially when there's pimento cheese involved (can you tell I'm a bit of a fan?) 

Later that night was the Hippo Campus show at a neat little venue, Cat’s Cradle, in Carrboro, a town adjacent to Chapel Hill. When we got there, we parked near Steel String Brewery, so logically we went in there on our way to our dinner reservations at Milltown.

Here’s the thing, southern folks are typically pretty darn nice people, and from the time we landed in NC until we left, we ran into one helpful, sweet person after another, including while we were at Steel String Brewery. A guy we were sitting next to at the bar picked up on the fact that we weren’t local (guess the Yankee was shining through) and asked if we needed any suggestions for our drive to Asheville. This was the first time we heard of two places that were huge highlights of our trip: Haw River Farmhouse Ales and Fonta Flora Brewery.

I kind of love how Steel String Brewery describes themselves on their website: “Inspired by the agriculture of the Piedmont and the free-spirited vibes of Carrboro, Steel String adapts modern brewery styles to a unique NC vernacular.” With a mantra like that, we knew we needed to include that in our Carrboro portion of the itinerary.  

In addition to the eight brews they had on tap, Steel String also had a few cider from Citizen Cider in Burlington, VT on tap. Sounds like that's a pretty common thing too. As we were deciding on what we wanted to try, I noticed that there was a collaboration with Free Will Brewing on tap. Of course I had to go with that as my selection.

We noticed Steel String serves their flights in a pretty neat a guitar shaped 'tray' with space for 4 of their brews. Pretty cool. 

After our visit at Steel String Brewery, we headed over to Millsboro for dinner. This was one of our many Beer Advocate finds we've visited over the years when traveling. Before heading to a new destination (or even one we've visited several times before), as we're getting a game plan of what we're doing, and most importantly, what we're eating and drinking, I log onto beeradvocate.com and read up on what the destination has to offer. Of course we check in with friends or family that may live or visited to get their suggestions, but we have landed on some pretty cool finds thanks to the suggestions on Beer Advocate. Anyway, that’s how we found Milltown (and Beer Study). 

One thing you'll probably start to pick up on is that I'm pretty big fan of sitting outside as often as I possibly can. To me, there's nothing better than enjoying your beer and some food outside in the warmth of the sun or under the stars. Milltown had a great outdoor space for doing just that. I’m not going to pretend the food we had at Milltown was good for us. It was overindulgent and delicious. #sorrynotsorry. How can we be when we have a pretty neat appetizer called gnocchi tots and Carolina (BBQ) fries?


We love that more and more we're seeing concert venues, big or small, are focusing on serving craft beer. Cat's Cradle was rocking a nice selection, including brews from Foothills Brewing Company out of Winston-Salem. Seeing a show in a venue of this size - it holds 750 people, max! - is something we love doing. Sipping on a craft beer is a nice little bonus. And Hippo Campus put a pretty fantastic show that night. 


As we were leaving Cat’s Cradle, we noticed that they were like 2 doors down from a brewery. It was an unexpected stop, but YesterYears Brewery was our last stop on the Carrboro/Chapel Hill night of fun.

When we've visited the south in the past, we continue to find that the food is pretty amazing. I feel as though I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't continue to mention it. A lot of it is amazing, decadent, over the top, and unnecessary to indulge in on the regular, but when you're in the south, just enjoy it. How could I not mention the breakfast we treated ourselves to the morning after the Hippo Campus show. Something described as a Pineapple Basil donut topped with pistachios cannot be passed up. And when you’re at a place called Rise Biscuits and Donut, you can’t leave without having an egg sandwich on a biscuit (somehow passing on the pimento cheese option…). I swear there's egg and bacon under that massive slice of cheese (which was a local cheese of some sort...but we both may have been a bit too foggy that morning to remember what it was!) 

Totally fueled up and ready to conquer the day, we started our 3-hour trek to Asheville, making our first stop at Haw River Farmhouse Ales.

The way Haw River was described, our interest was totally piqued. What we stumbled upon was so much more than we expected. It was a beautiful setting, with a unique mix of shops and food and drink options. Because the setting was so awesome, we decided to head up to the outdoor deck of The Eddy Pub & Restaurant where we grabbed a round and snacked on pimento cheese fries. Let that sink in, and yes, they were as amazing as they sound.


After spending some time on the outdoor deck taking in the view of the Haw River, we made our way downstairs to Haw River Farmhouse Ales, where we were totally blown away. Between the flight, the house made kombucha, and the spent grain pretzels (which we saved for a post brewery visit to Fonta Flora); we could have easily spent a long afternoon here.


We had another lovely southern experience while we were at Haw River. We grabbed a spot at the bar next to the sweetest couple who gave us a million and one suggestions for Asheville and the surrounding areas, including a second suggestion for stopping at Fonta Flora before getting into Asheville.

Before we left Haw River we made a quick pit stop at Haw River Ballroom’s Cup 22, which is also the venue’s box office, a quick visit and a dose of caffeine. This is a neat little coffee shop/music venue that you should include when you’re visiting Haw River. The view from the second-floor seating area/balcony is another beautiful one!

We could easily see why Fonta Flora Brewery was such a highly suggested stop when we were chatting with our sweet North Carolina beer buddies. It’s one of the more unique breweries we visited, with funky brews and styles on tap, brewing what they call a North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer.  Fonta Flora “integrates the soul of agriculture with the artisanship of zymurgy to create a menagerie of rustic and savory libations.” Our visit proved that. As cool as the brewery’s building and artwork showcased was, the beers were pretty fantastical. This was a great little stop and a nice way to break up our drive to Asheville (and now that spent grain soft pretzel from Haw River came in handy!) 


After our visit to Haw River Farmhouse ales and Fonta Flora Brewery, we were so glad we had the time to wander around the North Carolina countryside. Yes, we had planned on visiting a state park or two on our way to Asheville, but I think we’re pretty okay with what we did instead. A bit of a bonus: as we got closer and closer to Asheville, the drive got prettier and prettier.



Next stop: Asheville.

One thing we love almost as much as craft beer is a fantastic cup of coffee (or iced coffee as the weather might dictate). Thankfully we found the latter in High Five Coffee. After fueling up on a rosemary hazelnut currant scone and cold brew, we made our way to The North Carolina Arboretum, and then the Biltmore. Add both to your itinerary when you visit Asheville.


The Arboretum and botanical garden is located in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. The views are incredible.

A trip to Asheville isn’t complete until you see the Biltmore. We stumbled upon a fun find while we were walking the grounds of The Biltmore. Tucked behind the Conservatory in the Gardens of the Biltmore was a little kiosk that served Biltmore Brewing Company Cedric’s Pale Ale, named after the “patriarch of the St. Bernard’s who shared Biltmore House with the Vanderbilt’s,” and Highland Brewing Company Gaelic Ale. The round of beers was a peaceful start to our time in Asheville and the perfect way to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before a storm rolled in.

Asheville completely indulged in my desire to sit outside as often as possible too. Asheville Brewing Company’s covered patio was a nice cover from the warm North Carolina sun, but open enough that a nice breeze made its way through.

Things we learned (or further justified) at Asheville Brewing: a flight, pint and a pizza to split is always a bit more enjoyable on a sunny Monday afternoon, especially when we’re both usually at work!

Thankfully we were in Asheville before THE Wicked Weed Brewing announcement. We can only hope that the brewery doesn’t do a thing to the tour at the Wicked Weed Funkatorium. I mean, we were surrounded by 500 barrels of aging beer and had such a great time with the tour manager, Jesse!

Easily visible from the Fukatorium is Twin Leaf Brewery, not surprising, another great find. Are you traveling to Asheville with your kids or dog? Twin Leaf is all about it. They aim to be your “friendly neighborhood pub” while sparing “no expense to make high-quality world-class beer.” We admire the brewery aiming “to be a community steward and meeting house.” How could you not want to hang here for a while during your visit to Asheville?


When we travel I try to find the cool, unique, local spots, and tend to ignore chains, unless they’re a more regional, special kind of chain, like Tupelo Honey Café, originally founded in Asheville. (They now have restaurants in Colorado, Georgia, throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia). We got the suggestion for Tupelo Honey from our friend Todd, who liked it so much during his time in Asheville he visited the restaurant twice! Though they have a house beer, Tupelo Honey Rye Ale, we were very quickly swayed to try Olde Hickory Brewery 2015 The Event Horizon, while Eric went with Highland Brewing Company IPA.

Eric surprised me with his lunch choice: Salt-Roasted Beet Salad with mixed greens, spiced pecans, goat cheese and a toasted pecan vinaigrette. I went with more of a brunch item, Southern Shakshuka: eggs, goat cheese grits, avocado and a creole sauce. I could have easily eaten that every day during our time in Asheville!

Between the top-notch service, awesome beer selection, and so good food, Tupelo Honey was such an awesome choice.

After getting to Buxton Hall BBQ to find that it was closed because they were already sold out for the day (talk about super sad face – all I wanted was a Cheerwine Bourbon slushy), we turned to the right, and there was Catawba Brewing Co., literally right next door, giving us a perfect opportunity to check them out - and to try their Peanut Butter Jelly Time. It was a bit crazy to taste a bit of the peanut butter on some taste buds and a bit of the jelly on others! 


We had read quite a bit about Burial Beer Co., and knew it was on our 'must-see' list while visiting Asheville. In addition to the awesome beers brewed here, they have a great food option, Salt & Smoke, and they have a mural on the outside wall of Sloth from The Goonies and Tom Selleck. Yes, you absolutely read that correctly.   

New Belgium Brewing picked a fantastic location for their brewery in Asheville; right on the banks of the French Broad River. The setting invites you to hang here for a while. The laid back, open air vibe of the Liquid Center, what they call the tasting room, fits in perfectly in Asheville. Grab your flight and pull up a seat on the deck and let the afternoon fade away. p.s. If you're "allergic to crowds" the brewery suggests visiting them on Tuesday :)  

Since we already visited the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, we couldn’t leave Asheville without a visit to the Wicked Weed Pub in downtown Asheville. You can grab lunch or dinner in the restaurant or head down to the Downstairs Beer Bar. Find something you want to take home with you? Check the Bottle Shop to see if they have it available! 

Take a short drive outside of Asheville, up a very long, winding driveway and you’ll land at the beyond impressive east coast brewing location of Sierra Nevada at Mills River. It’s massive, and I mean massive. The brewhouse was breathtaking. That copper though. I'm trying to decide if we can get a 'whirlpool' like Sierra Nevada's, and I definitely want to figure out a way to incorporate a chandelier like that one into our home! The brewery is surrounded by so my nature and prettiness, it was a really amazing way to end our time in Asheville. 


When it’s all said and done, sometimes there really is a beauty in being a bit of a procrastinator. Every once in a while, it’s fun to thinking outside of the box when it comes to your travel plans. Give yourself a little flexibility. Add a random stop along the way as something cool sounding pops up. Talk to the locals and see where their favorite places are. When you’re traveling, especially on a beercation, see as much as you can, without too rigid of a game plan (or without a driver or Uber!) You might miss a hidden gem or a neat attraction along the way if you do. Just remember, have fun and seek out some great craft brews along the way.


IPA Day 2017

Thursday, August 3rd is IPA Day 2017! Here's a look at what's going on around the state in celebration of the hoppiest day of the year: 

  • IPA Day at the Dogfish Head Brewpub: In addition to the Continually Hopped Flights (60 Minute, 90 Minute, Cask 75 Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute), Dogfish is offering 50% off all glassware (this discount is also available at the brewery and online at shop.dogfish.com). 
  • Two Stones Pub Wilmington IPA Day 2017 - they're pouring a ton of the hoppiest brews: 

- 2SP Haze Craze...Session IPA 4.2%    
- 2SP Bellcracker...DIPA 8.7%    
- 2SP Cali Coast...DIPA 9.0%    
- Big Oyster POW!...IPA 5.4%    
- Dogfish Head Lupu Luau...IPA 7.3%    
- Evolution Pinehople...IPA 6.8%    
- Founders All Day...IPA 4.7%    
- Otter Creek White...IPA 5.5%    
- Stone Mocha...DIPA 9.0%    
- Two Roads Two Juicy...DIPA 8.2% (unfiltered)    

  • Argilla Brewing Co. at Pietro's Pizza A Jazzy Type of IPA Day: Argilla is pouring beers inspired by jazz-influenced music, "especially the poetry and artistic visoins of Gil Scott-Heron
  • Tyler's is Celebrating IPA Day with a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Tap Takeover. Here's what's they'll have on tap:

- Union Jack
- Easy Jack
- Leo v Ursus Adversus
- Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 006

  • Vintage & Vinyl - National IPA Day at the Dogfish Head Brewery: Enjoy vinyl spinning and a few beers from the Vintage Stash. For IPA Day Dogfish is breaking out '07 120 Minute IPA, '09 Squall, '10 Burton Baton and '13 Hellhound On My Ale while DJ Gatz Brrrap Brrrap spins the vinyl.
  • Two Stones Pub Newark IPA Day 2017
  • Trolley Tap House is Celebrating IPA with a Summer of Sculpin Tap Takeover: They'll have these Ballast Point beers on tap: 
    - Sculpin
    - Grapefruit Sculpin
    - Pineapple Sculpin
    - Habanero Sculpin
    - Unfiltered Sculpin
  • Old Banks Craft Bistro is celebrating IPA with a few favorites from Otter Creek Brewing.

We'll keep this updated as we find more IPA Day events posted and shared! 

Around Firefly 2017

If you're a craft beer lover you don't have to put that on hold while you're at Firefly Music Festival - I mean, they have something called The (Dogfish) Brewery, for crying out loud! In case you missed our latest blog post, here's a quick catch up: Pairing Dogfish Head Beers All Weekend Long at Firefly Music Festival 2017.  

Past years at Firefly have been a blast, and every year they find way to make it a little more interesting, and in some cases, a bit more convenient. One update is Firefly Cashless, a very cool technology powered by Square. 

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

If you have your credit card, debit card, Visa gift card, or other electronic payment methods (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay), then you're all set. In reading more about Firefly Cashless on the Firefly's website, this sounds like a pretty darn great idea. Not only will you not have to carry cash (or get charged the crazy ATM fees if you need cash), but Firefly anticipates faster transactions. Can't beat that. We're also digging that there's no additional app to download (unless you're using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay). We're looking forward to seeing how much easier this makes the weekend. 

We all know that there's always a possibility that someone you're hanging out with isn't a total craft beer lover. For those folks, Firefly has put together so really cool partnerships to check out.

For the wine folks in your world there's a pretty cool situation happening at Firefly, the Dark Horse Wine Rose Lounge. 

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

As part of the Dark Horse Oh Hey Rose 2017 Festival Tour they're offering a full service wine bar, pouring two new comers to their list of wines, Pinot Grigio and Rose. And did you notice the rooftop deck you can head up to catch a pretty sweet view from? Very coo.  

Fan curation was the theme of Firefly 2017. The Fort, a 'fan-curated' bar, is all about sustainability, using tons of recycled materials. You can check out yard games, food trucks and another very cool upper-level deck to check out what's going on over at The Lawn and The Porch. 

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)


Looking for a little beach action at Firefly? Looks like Malibu Rum will have you covered! Stop by the Malibu Beach House  to relax with games or a frozen cocktail. This looks like a spot that will transport you to a tropical vibe right in the middle of The Woodlands.

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Everyone is going to need a little extra pep in their step as the days (and nights!) run longer and longer, that's when scoping out Confluence Coffee Co.'s The Nitro Firefly Cold Brew Coffee is definitely going to be worth it. You'll be able to find it canned AND kegged. Either way, keep an eye out for it around The Woodlands! 

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Ladies, when you want to get a little fancy swing on over to the Batiste Hair Dry Shampoo Braid Bar in the North Camping Hub. Now only will they create a new do for you, they'll have fun travel size goodies to pass along to you too. 

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

We're digging Firefly's partnership with Clif Green Notes, especially because they're all about reducing their environmental footprint. Just as important is raising awareness about the climate issues facing Delaware's wetlands. Green Notes also featured a very neat musical artists, a local hip hop group from Dover, Trio, who speak out about homelessness and hunger. Check out their Facebook page for more inspiring messages.

 Source: Firefly (Facebook)

Source: Firefly (Facebook)

When you a little extra time on your walk from stage to stage or when there's a little downtime to your day, swing by for another round of brew from The Dogfish Brewery and take the time to take in all the fun experiences Firefly has to offer throughout the next several days. With so much going on around The Woodlands there's no way you'll have time to be bored this weekend!

See you in Dover! 

Pairing Dogfish Head Beers All Weekend Long at Firefly Music Festival 2017

Have you seen what Dogfish Head is pouring at The Brewery at Firefly Music Festival?

    Read More

    Beers and Bands: Pairing Firefly Music Festival Bands with Hometown Beers

    Gearing up for this year's Firefly Music Festival? We've listed a few of the bands and artists we're looking forward to and paired them up with beers local to their hometown(ish). 

    Who are you most excited to check on this weekend?

    p.s. Want to see a larger version of the infographic? Click on the image below!

    How Can This Not Be Fun? There's a Man Dressed As a Cow

    Things we've never done (or at least we didn't realized there was a term for it): Live Blogging. 

    My first thought was, oh goodness, we were going to have to write a live blog post and people are going to critique us in real time?! Thankfully after attending the Beer Bloggers Conference last month in Tampa, we quickly found out it wasn't that at all! 

    At the end of the second day of sessions, we all loaded up into several Brew Bus Tampa rides and were whisked away to a local distributor, J.J. Taylorwhich by the way, was gi-normous, for our first ever live blogging session. We knew it was going to be a great time when we walked in and saw a man dressed in a cow costume. I mean, really, how can something not be fun when something like this happens?! 

     Sweet Brew Bus Tampa ride, huh?!

    Sweet Brew Bus Tampa ride, huh?!

    Onto live blogging. The premise for this very fun 50 minutes is this: our group (which included the very awesome Janelle from Dogfish and the super cool Jean from Devil's Backbone) was seated at a round table. When the timer went off, a brewery rep (or owner) stopped by our table with some of his or her beers to sample where they had 5 minutes to tell us about the brewery and about the beers we were drinking. It was a bit intense, but it was a blast. 

    Round 1 was a visit from Lagunitas where we got to sip on one of our go to favorites, their IPA. This is one of the beers we've both loved for as long as we can remember. Their entry into the Delaware market was quite the happy day for us.  

    Moving on from there, we were next introduced to the first canned beer from Salt Water Brewery, Screamin' Reels IPA, brewed in Delray Beach, FL. This brewery was super cool to chat with as they've partnered with WeBelievers to create edible six-pack rings. How cool is that?

    Round three brought a Scottish accent and St. Pete Brewing The McCracken. Thankfully the beer was tremendously better than my very bad attempt at a Scottish accent. 

    When you're in Florida, it seems to be a given that citrus beer is a must! Crooked Thumb Brewing Florida Grapefuit Gose fits that bill perfectly! 

    If you squeezed a watermelon into a beer can, I'm pretty sure it would turn into Terrapin Beer Company Watermelon Gose (so many gose!) 

    12.8 of double barrel aged coffee coconut imperial stout = Cigar City Brewing Decoherence. It was as awesome as it was described to us. And then some. 

    Sierra Nevada Otra Vez is something I can see myself enjoying on a hot summer day.

    When a man shows up at your table dressed up as a cow, it's a pretty good indication that he isn't taking life too serious and that the bee is going to be awesome. And all of these thing proved to be 

    Loved the New Belgium suggested blending Citradelic and Heavy Mellon. What an awesome suggestion during live blogging! Now, what to call it?!

    Hello, Florida Beer Florida Lager! This was a stellar way to end 10 beers of live Beer Bloggers Conference Live Blogging. One of the things I liked the most was having a change to  

    Loved trying old favorites and beers we were already familiar with, plus beers local to Tampa Bay and the state of Florida. 

    Hungry at Firefly? We've Got You Covered (and what Dogfish beers to pair with).

    So, we’ve figured out what beers to pair with some of our favorite artists performing at Firefly, now let’s talk about what’s going to keep you going throughout the 4 days of the festival…food and beer pairings!

    We're digging what Dogfish head will be pouring throughout the 4-day festival because now we can figure out what we want to try to pair up throughout the weekend. They’ve also announced some pretty cool additions to their usual beer offerings. Check it out. 

    Dogfish is rocking something a little different this year – not only can you check out their brews in The Brewery tent, but Friday through Sunday afternoon you can also grab a Festina Peche or Namaste Beermosa! Talk about a fun way to start your day.

    There will also be 3 special tappings throughout the weekend. On Friday at 4pm Dogfish is tapping Biere de Provence. On Saturday at 4pm it’s Alternative Takes #1 and Sunday at 4pm it’s Alternate Takes #2.

    In addition to Beermosas, Dogfish is selling 32 oz (filled!) growlers (for $20 each). You can fill it with Namaste, 60 Minute IPA, Festina Pêche or Firefly Ale. If you want one of the growler keep in mind there are only about 700 of them. Now to decide what we're going to fill ours with (cause that's going to be our first stop of the day on Thursday).

    Now back to the pairings.

    Last year we took advantage of a few unique food truck options that were set up next to The Firefly Main Stage. We noshed on things like a simple, old school grilled cheese from Between Big Cheese (which we paired with a Dogfish 90 Minute), Buffalo Chicken Nachos from Sum Pig, and carnitas tacos from Peace Love Tacos (we're excited to see Peace Love Tacos will be back at Firefly again this year).

    Two of the Dogfish Head Beer Pairings and the Foods of Firefly we suggested and had a chance to try last year was the idea of Firefly Ale and a slice of Grotto's cheese pizza (that was simple and yummy, cause pizza and beer, pizza and beer always works). We also went with a little Midas Touch paired with the Hawaiian-style Stir Fried Soba Noodles from Wok on the Wild Side. This year we need to try a few more fun pairings that we're about to suggest. 


    You can’t do Firefly without having at least one Firefly Ale. The fruity, citrusy aroma combined with the subtle and spicy finish of Firefly Ale makes this a great option to pair with a simple slice of cheese pizza from Grotto’s Pizza or Pizza Nova. Or go crazy and go for the Veggie Blanco at Grotto’s or the El Blanco from Pizza Nova. Another great pairing would be the Gangsta Wings and Wraps from Gouda Boys, tossed in Sweet BBQ, Korean Sesame Wook Sauce, or Maneater Buffalo hot sauce. Want to check out a little more unique twist on wings? Check out the Chicken Korma Wings served with a spiced coconut-yogurt sauce from Coriander Market. Local food spot, Doc Magrogran’s will have a Fish Tacos and Fish and Chips that would be great to pair with Firefly Ale, or you can grab the Crispy Beer battered Rockfish and Old Bay Fries from Bayside 30.


    (are you checking out the new 60 Minute label and CAN design?!)

    When pairing Dogfish 60 Minute look at foods that bring out the citrus and the Northwest hops used in this east coast style IPA. Think spicy foods, soy-based foods, pizza and vintage cheddar (the later possibly not something you might think about during Firefly weekend, but it's possible-ish!)

    With your 60 Minute in hand, head to Grotto’s, grabbing a slice of pepperoni pizza this time. Or you can check out Pizza Nova for the War Pig Pizza (pepperoni, sausage, bacon and jalapenos), Gouda Boys for their Road Warrior Pizza (pepperoni, veggies and meat) and Fresh Coast Kitchen for their Roasted Vegetable Flatbread (especially since it’s topped with fresh basil pesto – a suggested 60 Minute Pairing – roasted peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, carrot and a five cheese blend) or their Spicy Chorizo Flatbread ( topped with another pesto, a roasted pepper pesto, spicy chorizo sausage, sweet corn, black beans, peppers, onions and a five cheese blend). If you're more of a pizza purist, go right for a slice of Grotto’s Cheese Pizza. The aged white cheddar they use is perfect for 60 Minute.

    A few other spicy goodness options to pair with 60 Minutes is the from Chicken Chipotle Mango Sandwich from Mayhem & Stout , Doom Street Eats' Buffalo Chicken Street Tacos or Chipotle Beer Cheese Nachos with Jalapenos and Spicy Lime Crema, Roti Rolls Creole Mac and Cheese, Bayside 30 Old Bay Popcorn, the Non-Pacific Jerk Chicken Bowl, Caribbean Jack Fruit Bowl or the California Chicken Club Sandwich (with chipotle aioli). 

    Looking for a few other suggestions? 60 Minute also pairs nicely with soy-based foods like Wok on the Wild Side stir-friend soda noodles with veggies and grilled chicken or the their kabobs with teriyaki glaze, Doc Magrogan's cold noodle salad, the chilled miso noodle salad with crispy sesame pork or jack fruit from Miso Place, or the Hawaiian style wok-fired soba noodles (with or without chicken) from Island Noodles.


     Dogfish will be rocking a new Namaste Label Design too!

    Dogfish will be rocking a new Namaste Label Design too!

    As the weekend progresses there are times when we need something a little on the lighter side. Namaste is a great beer to pair with foods like Roasted Chicken and Quinoa Bowl from Fresh Coast Kitchen or the Sprouted Spoon Greek Salad with homemade dressing. According to dogfish.com, Namaste is comparable to a Gewurztraminer, so we’d also pair it with Non-Pacific’s Crispy Coconut Shrimp, Bayside 30’s Loaded Chesapeake Fries, the Shrimp and Noddle Salad from Doc Magrogan's, Roti Rolls Funky Farmer Roti, Foghorn Leghorn Roti or Rockin Rice Bowls (it's all about the curry), or the Chicken Tikka Masala or Chana Masala at Coriander Market.


    Festina Peche, a Neo-Berliner Weisse, is delicately hopped with flavors of peaches, green apples and raspberry syrup. It will be fun to pair Festina Peche with Gouda Boys Gangsta Steaks with grilled chicken, maybe even going crazy and ‘Make It Gangsta’ by topping it with mac & cheese (and bacon!), or Roti Rolls Mother Clucker Roti with grilled organic chicken, the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese at Between the Bread, the grilled chicken tacos with green chiles from Peace Love Tacos or or roll late night with the Grilled Cheesus from Sprouted Spoon. Since the wine comparable choice would be Pinot Grigio, let’s go out on a limb and suggest pairing Festina Peche with a slice of cheese pizza, as Pinot Grigio pairs nicely with mozzarella cheese.

    Though you’ll have to wait until 4pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get these special beers, let’s check out how to pair Biere de Provence, Alternate Take #1 and Alternative Take #2.


    On Friday at 4pm Dogfish is tapping Biere De Provence in The Brewery. While you’re sipping on this newly released brew, grab the Roasted Chicken and Quinoa Bowl from Fresh Coast Kitchen or the Chicken and Noodle Salad from Doc Magrogran’s. Other ideas to check out are the Crispy Belgian Fries from the Schnitzel Shack or go for the Cheeseburger from the American Grill, the Cheeseburger Sliders from the Slider House, Potato Curls from Taste of Philly or the Potato Pierogies with Dipping Sauces from the Sausage Haus.


    Saturday’s 4pm tapping in The Brewery with Dogfish brings Alternate Takes #1, a Double IPA with tropical fruits like pineapple, papaya and passion fruit in the aroma, and a ‘malty, apricot sweetness with each sip.’ Dogfish says it’s almost tea-like, which we're thinking is going to be pretty darn perfect for the warmer spring/summer days of Firefly.

    If you’re going to grab a bite to eat to pair with Alternate Takes #1 go for something like a slice of Grotto’s Hawaiian pizza to bring out the pineapple background of the beer, a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich or the Chicken Chipotle Mango Sandwich from Mayhem & Stout, the Vegan Bourbon BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders or Cuban Mojo Pulled Pork Tacos with Pineapple Mango Salsa from Doom Street Eats, Smoky Pulled Pork Carnitas from Sprouted Spoon, the Grilled Pork Bratwurst from the Schnitzel Shack, Pulled Pork Loaded Nachos from The Cheesy Pig, Island Slaw with Teriyaki Chicken from Island Noodles or the Florida Fries topped with cheese, peppers, onions, pork and garlic cream sauce from Butt House Smokehouse. A few other pizza options to try would be Pizza Nova’s War Pig Pizza (pepperoni, sausage, bacon and jalapenos), or the Spicy Chorizo Flatbread (topped with a roasted red pepper pesto, spicy chorizo, sweet corn, black beans, peppers, onions and a five cheese blend). Want to go the complete opposite direction? Grab a Mango Smoothie from Non-Pacific to work with the tropical fruit notes of the beer. 


    Alternate Takes #2, being tapped at 4pm on Sunday, is a ‘wild sour ale with a deep, dark and complex flavor’ that came to life as Raison D’Etre that was ‘end-fermented in a tank with a Belgian Abbey yeast’ before being transferred to a single-use red wine barrel. Pair this draft only brew with foods like Peace Love Tacos Beef Tacos, a Philly Cheesesteak from Taste of Philly, or, for a grilled beef alternative, the Portobello Mushroom Burger from The Burger Joint.


    Dogfish threw us for a loop offering Namaste or Festina Peche Beermosas (served at the brewery Friday through Sunday afternoon). To us, that’s the best excuse to indulge in some breakfast-y brunch-y foods like the Sausage Gravy over biscuits or fried doughnut with fresh strawberries at the Sprouted Spoon, the Breakfast Taco from Peace Love Tacos or the Chicken and Waffles Southern Soul is serving.  

    To say you won’t go hungry at Firefly is an understatement. Looking at all the yummy food options at Firefly this year we're digging the variety and food choices we'll get to pick from all weekend long. It’s going to be fun to try a few of our suggested beer pairings as we rock through the weekend. Cheers!

    Artists From Where? Beers From There Too. Firefly 2016 Artists and Beers From Their Home State (or Country!)

    It’s here. The week of Firefly 2016 is here. This makes us giddy. You may have heard me say it before, as much as we love craft beer; we love music, especially live music. Being lucky enough to live about an hour from the grounds of Firefly Music Festival, kicking off this Thursday (June 16th) and running through Sunday (June 19th), is something we love taking full advantage of.

    We have a hard time wrapping our heads around the acts that have passed through Delaware to perform at Firefly (Paul McCartney, the Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg…the list goes on and on). This year is falling right in line with more awesomeness coming through with acts like Kings of Leon (barring no insane storms this year), Trombone Shorty, Blink 182, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons and Grouplove.

    As Thursday nears we’ve started to think about what we’re packing for the weekend, including, of course, what beer we’re going to take along with us. That’s when I realized, how much fun would it be to find beers from the home states (or countries) of some of the artists we’re most looking forward to seeing? So I decided to put a list together for you to join in the fun.

    Ludacris hails from the peach state, Georgia. It’s a bit tricky to find breweries from the state of Georgia in Delaware, so we thought, let’s put Luda with a peach beer, like Dogfish Head Festina Peche, which if it’s like years past, we’ll be able to grab from The Brewery byDogfish Head


    Two Door Cinema Club hails from Bangor, Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland.  We’re thinking a Two Door Cinema Club should be paired with Mispillion River Brewing Holy Crap!, an Imperial Red Ale that we are going to make it a honorary Irish Red Ale for the weekend.

    Elysian Brewing Space Dust, Mens Room Original Red or Superfuzz Blood Orange are fun options when gearing up for Bellingham, Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie.

    Coming from New England, we’d pair Boston’s Guster with a little Samuel Adams Rebel IPA. Rebel and rock and roll seems like a good match, right?!

    Founded in Chicago in the 70’s, Earth, Wine & Fire should be enjoyed after sipping on Lagunitas Brewing Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale now that they’re brewing in the Windy City.

    Knowing that Chvrches hails from Glasgow, Scotland, you have to go with something from BrewDog or Innis & Gunn (though you have to hop over to NJ or PA for I&G) I’m using Chvrches as an excuse to suggest two different beers: BrewDog Punk IPA, because something punk seemed appropriate when it comes to a music festival, or Innis & Gunn Original, simply because we just like it. A lot.

    Finding a brew to pair with Nathaniel Rateliff was a little tricky since he’s from Herman, Missouri. My initial thought was something from Boulevard Brewing Co., like, the Ginger Lemon Radler, which you can find right over in NJ or MD (and soon enough, in Delaware).

    As we get ready for Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, and Mumford & Sons, this is a great time to break out 16 Mile English-style IPA, Inlet IPA or Tiller Brown, the brewery’s Southern English Brown Ale, English-influenced beers brewed right in Georgetown, DE.  

    Elle King, Fitz & the Tantrums, GroupLove, Major Lazer, and Silverspun Pickups all come from the city of angles, Los Angeles, CA. Of course California is the home to some seriously awesome breweries, but LA is a little trickier to figure out, at least with what’s available here in Delaware. What I did figure out is the state colors are blue (which represents the sky) and gold (it symbolizes the color of the precious metal mined by the forty-niners) so this is a good time to go with Blue Earl Brewing Walking Blues IPA (or maybe some 16 Mile Blues Golden Ale).

    Kings of Leon came to be in Nashville so I’m thinking, go big or go home with your favorite whiskey barrel aged brew. Or maybe you have one of 3rd Wave Brewing’s Big Barrel Beers (like the one we just picked up at the brewery a few weeks ago that was aged in Cruzan rum barrels for 6 months) or Dogfish Head Burton Baton, which is aged in oak barrels like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is.

    There’s one artist on the Firefly line-up that we’ve seen in some pretty cool venues – in a loft space on Market Street in Wilmington, on the rooftop of the Shoprite on the Wilmington Riverfront and at a regional arts center in South Jersey – now getting to see Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue on the Backyard Stage on Sunday is something we’re really excited about (I mean, have you seen Shorty perform live?!) Shorty grew up in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans so it seems only appropriate to sip Abita Purple Haze or Turbo Dog and let it transport us on Bourbon Street or the Garden District of The Crescent City.

    Tame Impala is another band that’s high on our list for Firefly. The band, who comes from down under, makes it kind of tricky to find a beer from their home country. But we know you can find one Australian beer here in Delaware, Coopers Brewing Sparkling Ale. Find that and you’re all set.

    A band that reminds me of my high school and college years is Blink-182. Blink comes from Poway, California, a suburb of San Diego. Of course San Diego is synonymous with Stone Brewing Co., so I’m thinking grab an Enjoy By 7.4.16 or the newly released Mocha IPA or Citrusy Wit. And remember, ‘nobody likes you when you’re 23!’  

    It’s pretty cool that you can find an Icelandic beer to gear up for Of Monsters and Men, who are from Reykjavik, Iceland. Einstok Icelandic White Ale or Pale Ale are exactly what you need while you listen to this band pre their Firefly Friday set.  

    If we can make it to 12:45am on Saturday night, we are definitely checking out Toronto’s DeadMau5. Though Unibroe is from Quebec, we’re still thinking making it to 12:45am on day #3 of Firefly is going to call for La Fin Du Monde, or “the end of the world” because it may be the end of the world if we can pull this one off!

    Build your Firefly beer packing list with some beers that will get you ready to see some seriously great artists as they roll through Delaware all Firefly weekend! It’s a fun excuse to grab some beers from local breweries and beyond to share with friends all weekend long. In the meantime, we’ll see you all there on Thursday! We have a feeling you’ll be able to find us at The Brewery by Dogfish Head not long after the gates open. Cheers to another awesome weekend of music in Dover!


    "Light lager is for the birds. Hearty seafaring folks prefer flavor-ful ales and spirits." ~ The Opening of Dogfish Head's Chesapeake & Maine

    When a “school night” invitation to Dogfish Head’s new restaurant venture, Chesapeake & Maine, landed in our inbox I immediately prayed that our 9-5 schedule was clear for the date and that some freak March snowstorm wouldn’t keep us from making that drive south. And thankfully, both of these things worked in our favor (though it did start to snow as we made our way back north).

    Combining the summers Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione spent in Maine, and the connection the brewery has to the Chesapeake region, the foundation and inspiration of the newly opened seafood restaurant, Chesapeake & Maine (located on Rehoboth Avenue, next to Dogfish’s existing brewpub) was formed.

    We've been keeping an eye on the progress of Chesapeake & Maine during our off-season visits to the beach and through social medial, anxiously awaiting the updates of when and where this restaurant was going to open. The updates peaked our curiosity for far too long, and as we walked through the front doors for the first time, to say we were wowed is a crazy big understatement. It was also pretty cool that almost immediately after walking through the front door we got to visit with Sam and Mariah Calagione.

    As you walk through the front door (and a palatial entrance, at that) a grand bar greets you on one side and a raw bar on the other. The bar was part of the structure during the previous ownership and has origins of Ireland, by way of Philly, before making its home in Rehoboth. It's now painted soft colors of the sea and adorned with mother of pearl tiles, tying perfectly to that raw bar area on the opposite side of the entry. The raw bar is airy and bright, accented with white subway tiles, pendant lights and some very cool artwork that Sam found in his travels in Austin, Texas. He added his own mark to the diorama, painting the quote, “Light lager is for the birds. Hearty seafaring folks prefer flavor-ful ales and spirits. Fish. Not fowl.”

    Walking through the other rooms of the restaurant we are immediately struck by the gorgeous oyster shell chandelier hanging in the room with whimsical wall art created by California-based cartoonist, illustrator and author, Tony Millionaire. When you visit the restaurant you'll notice both real and fictional points along the Chesapeake and Maine coastlines on the map. It was fun trying to figure out which are real and which are made up.

    Travis Louie, a New York-based artist, “brought Sam’s version of a Matriarch and her two sons – 19th century waterman who have the visible DNA of a Maine Lobster and a Chesapeake Blue Crab” to life. Sam’s vision for these characters were to connect them in “the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived.” Mariah told us that since Travis finished up this artwork for the restaurant he has since been hired by Disney to work on an animated film. My initial thought was, 'how cool would it be to somehow see these characters slipped into the design of the film he's working on?!'

    The artwork of Jon Langford was one of my favorite details in the restaurant. You might not pick up on it - the six paintings, designed specifically for Chesapeake & Maine, include the six artists who anchor the restaurant's playlist: Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Elvis Presley, Miles Davis, and Patsy Cline. We love this. Such a cool idea. Even cooler, check out the ChesandMaine Spotify Playlist.

     Paintings by Jon Langford, a reflection of the six artists who anchor the playlist at Chesapeake & Maine.

    Paintings by Jon Langford, a reflection of the six artists who anchor the playlist at Chesapeake & Maine.

    Now that we had time to explore some of the décor, because it was hard to talk about Chesapeake & Maine and not talk about how awesome it looks, it was time to enjoy the cocktail we were welcomed with and check out a sample of a few different menu items including Smoked Oysters (more on them in a sec), Lobster Sausage (LOBSTER SAUSAGE! Yes, it's was as good as it sounds.), Warm Maryland Crab Dip served with Toasted Bagel Chips (the bagel chips were genius!), Sweet & Spicy Hushpuppies (hushpuppies have a special spot in my world), and Lobster Rolls created with fresh Maine lobster, Lemon May, Fines Herb and served on a Buttered Toasted Roll. All lobster rolls in our future takes note, you have a lot to live up to now that I've had this lobster roll. I think we could have easily eaten the equivalent to a whole lobster roll without even thinking about it.

    Now, a little spotlight on the fantastically refreshing Moscow Mule we were handed upon entering Chesapeake & Maine. The recipe for the keg conditioned Moscow Mule, which is served on tap right next to Dogfish Head beers, mixes Dogfish Distilling Co.’s Analog Vodka, Housemade Ginger Beer and Fresh-squeezed Lime Juice. The bite of the ginger and tartness of the lime juice is perfectly balanced with the Analog Vodka, all while making its home in a Dogfish Distilling Co. copper mug. It was also very cool to learn that the cocktails at Chesapeake & Maine were crafted by celebrity bartender, Mia Mastroianni, who just happens to be Sam’s cousin.

    After finishing our last sip of the Moscow Mule we knew it was time to find out what was on tap. This is when the true beer geek in me popped out. The very patient server barely got the words “Squall IPA” out when I pretty much did a happy dance because I was so excited to not only have Squall again, but to have it on tap. Thankfully I let him finish the list as he told us about the Chesapeake & Maine exclusive brew, Sequenchale, an experimental brew combining the three traditional German styles of Kolsch, Berliner Weisse & Gose into ‘one unique, thirst quenching beer.’ Or as Sam described it, a beer margarita! Thank goodness Eric was with me so that we could try one of each of the beers.

     Dogfish Head Squall IPA and the Chesapeake & Maine exclusive brew, Sequenchale.

    Dogfish Head Squall IPA and the Chesapeake & Maine exclusive brew, Sequenchale.

    What was really fun about the night was getting introduced to both the leadership team of the restaurant and the suppliers and farmers of various items, like the very unique, very Dogfish, oysters. One of our favorite stories of the night was how, by no surprise, Sam wanted to find a way to hop-infuse the oysters at Hooper’s Island Oyster Company. Turns out, oysters don’t like hops added to their water, but they do like culinary smoked salts. And with that, the oysters are “smoky but not too smoky – really unique, earthy and oceanic at the same time, keeping with Dogfish’s long history of wood-grilling and wood-aged beers.” Chesapeake & Maine are calling these oysters “Smoke in the Water.’ A raw oyster with a smoky taste about it? Wonderful!

     Hooper’s Island Oyster Company "Smoke on the Water" Oysters  

    Hooper’s Island Oyster Company "Smoke on the Water" Oysters

    Throughout the rest of the evening we were treated to the Lobster Bisque (uniquely served on top of a white chocolate gellan and fine herbs), Seafood Pho (brimming with lobster, clams, mussels, shaved beef, rice noodle, bean sprouts, lobster dashi, and cured egg yolk), and Seared Jumbo Day Boat Scallop (served on and with Maine Bean-Hole Cassoulet, RAPA Scrapple, Lobster, Lobster Gravy and Fines Herbs). They said they wanted to make the focus the ingredient, in the most natural and beautiful way. Nailed it.

    We also were treated to a trio of dessert options: Cookies & Milk (chocolate Chicory Stout whoopie pies with peanut butter filling paired with malted milk), Mini Delmarva Strawberry Pretzel Salad (pretzel crust, mascarpone cheese cake, strawberry gele, fresh strawberries), and Mini White Chocolate Lobster Crème Brulee with Red Velvet Biscotti. Seriously. So. Good. We especially love their twist of the regional delight, pretzel salad. Such a fun thing to have on the menu.

    Executive Chef Kevin Downing, who most recently was a chef at Walt Disney World for 8 years, is in his second year with Dogfish Head, having “reinvigorated the Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats menu” before bringing the Chesapeake & Maine menu to life. You can easily taste the passion that Chef Downing has in the dishes we sampled throughout the night.

    Here are a few other interior shots:

    The seafood, music and art of Chesapeake & Maine are woven together like the waves of the ocean. As you can expect the food and drink are outstanding, leaving us anxious for an excuse to make a return trip. As amazing as the food and drink were, the interior is hard to ignore. It's gorgeous, uniquely different, yet flowing and cohesive. The restaurant was likened to the interior of a lobster trap in its designed, and as Sam joked, much like a lobster pot once you come in, you can't get out. I think we may have to test that theory on our next trip to the beach. Cheers!

     Snow fall as we left Chesapeake & Maine.

    Snow fall as we left Chesapeake & Maine.

    Chesapeake & Maine Info:

    The restaurant is open from 4pm-7pm, 7 days a week, year round.

    They're closed on the following days: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the Tuesday after Labor Day, their annual Beer & Benevolence Day, and the evening of their annual holiday PARTAY.

    Address:    316 Rehoboth Avenue

                         Rehoboth Beach, DE

    Phone:        302-226-3600

    New Year's Eve Around The Small Wonder

    New Year's Eve is nearly upon us and there are so many fun ways to ring in 2016 happening around the state this year.



    Two Stones Pub Wilmington, Two Stones Pub Newark and Two Stones Pub Kennett Square are accepting reservations for their New Year's Eve three course prixe fix menu. 

    Spend New Year's Eve at 33 West Ale House and Grill. They are accepting reservations for a night to include a "special dinner menu, champagne, fireworks." The kitchen will be closing from 4-5pm in preparation for dinner, but don't worry, the bar will still be open.

    Dogfish is having 20 Beers for 20 Years! New year's Eve Celebration at the Brewpub (though it's sold out...). Downstairs Tweed will be playing starting at 10pm.  p.s. The Brewery is closing early for New Year's Eve. The last tour of the day will be at 3pm and the Tasting Room and Merchandise Shop will close at 5pm. They'll also be closed on New Year's Day.

    Crooked Hammock Brewery is hosting a New Year's Eve Keg Drop to celebrate 2016. The night will include open bar, food stations, and live music from Universal Funk Order. Planning on having dinner at Crooked Hammock before their Keg Drop? Last dinner seating will be at 7pm.

    The Town of Georgetown is having their New Year's Eve Celebration at The Circle and will host a variety of vendors, including 16 Mile Brewing. 

    Iron Hill Brewery Newark and Wilmington will both have special New Year's Eve menus and reservations are encouraged (thank you, OpenTable!) 

    Argilla Brewing Co. is doing a little New Year's Eve Celebrating the Future with Xtra Alltra

    Stewart's Brewing Co. will have "special dinner features to celebrate the arrival of 2016," plus they'll have their New Year's Day Breakfast Buffet and $1 Stumblin' Monks starting at 9am on New Year's Day.

    Trolley Tap House is celebrating New Year's Eve with a Craft Beer Paired Three Course Prix Fixe Dinner. They're also serving Sierra Nevada Celebration for your Midnight toast.

    Fin's Fish House & Raw Bar is serving up a New Year's Eve Chef's Max Tasting Menu

    There are three options for Nage Rehoboth's New Year's Eve Menu: a la carte from 4pm until 5:15pm, reservations for the Four Course Chef's Dinner starting at 5:30pm, and for reservations after 9pm you'll also receive post-meal bites in the wine bar, live music by Bruce Anthony, take home cake truffles and a free glass of bubbly at Midnight.

    UPDATED 12.28.15:

    Chelsea Tavern is having a New Year's Eve celebration and they're offering three different packages: 
    - Everyday Package: cash bar, a la carte menu and the Joe Daphne Band
    - Tavern Package: open bar, Joe Daphne Band and champagne toast at Midnight
    - Chelsea Package (reservations required): 4-course dinner, open bar, cocktail hour + heavy hors d'oeuvres, Joe Daphne Band and champagne toast at Midnight

    Plus, the Doubletree Hotel Downtown Wilmington is offering discounted room rates when you mention Chelsea Tavern when making your reservation. 

    Arena's Newark is having a New Year's Eve Kick the Keg with discounted draft beer and a free champagne toast at Midnight.

    Check out Grain's No Stress NYE Menu with James-N-Matt Acoustic starting at 9pm.

    UPDATED 12.29.15:

    Fordham and Dominion is celebrating New Year's Eve at the brewery from 5-9pm on NYE with live music from The Justin McNatt Band.

    UPDATED 12.30.15:

    2SP Brewing will be open on New Year's Eve from 3-9pm and New Year's Day from 12-9p. 

    Ernest & Scott's New Year's Eve Dance Party includes 4 hours open bar, complimentary Midnight champagne toast, 2 hours of heavy hors D'oeuvres, 1 hour midnight dessert bar, balloon prize drop at Midnight and DJ Phatboy spinning all night. You'll also receive a discounted rate at the Double Tree Downtown Wilmington when you mention Ernest & Scott when making your reservation. 


    A Quick Rundown of Holiday Hours Around The State

    Here's a quick rundown of holiday hours around the state.


    Blue Earl Brewing has extended holiday hours this week:

    • December 22nd: 12pm - 9pm
    • December 23rd: 12pm -
    • December 24th: 12 pm - 9pm
    • December 25th: CLOSED
    • December 26th: 12pm - 9pm
    • December 27th: 1pm - 6pm

    Kennett Brewing Company will be opening at Noon on both December 22nd and December 23rd.

    Dewey Beer Company has updated holiday hours:

    • December 22nd: open at 3pm
    • December 23rd: open at 3pm
    • December 24th: CLOSED
    • December 25th: CLOSED
    • December 26th: open at 11am
    • December 27th: open at 12pm

    The Pig + Fish will open at Noon on both December 22nd and December 23rd and closed on December 24th and December 25th.

    The 16 Mile Brewing taproom will open early on December 24th. They'll be open from 10am-3pm.

    Arena's Newark will close at 9pm on December 24th and will be closed on December 25th:

    Fordham and Dominion Brewing will be closed on both December 24th and December 25th.

    The Dogfish Head Brewery and Brewpub will be closed on both December 24th and December 25th.

    Grain Craft Kitchen + Beer will closed at 5pm on December 24th and reopen on December 25th at 7pm.


    Crooked Hammock Brewing  will be open on Christmas Eve.

    Goat Kitchen & Bar will have the following hours:
    - December 24th: closing at 3pm
    - December 25th: Closed (they're closed on New Year's Day too)

    Trolley Tap House is closing at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

    Crust & Craft will be closed on both December 24th and December 25th.

    2SP Brewing will be open from Noon until 3pm on December 24th and closed on December 25th.

    The Pickled Pig Pub will be closed on December 24th and December 25th.

    Atlantic Liquors will be open from 9am until 8pm on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.

    Xtreme Brewing will be open from 10am until 4pm on December 24th and closed on December 25th.

    Two Stones Newark will be open from 11:30am until 4pm on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.

    Throwbacks Sports Lounge is closing at 7pm on December 24th and reopening at 7pm on December 25th.

    Kelly's Logan House is open December 24th from 12pm - 8pm and will be opening at 4pm on December 25th.

    Newark Bottle Shop is open until 10pm on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.

    Christmas (and Beer) Is The Reason For the Season - Last Minute Beer Gifts to Give This Holiday Season (Or To Get!)

    Whether you're looking for a gift for the fellow craft beer lover in your life, or need to add a few more things to list for Santa, here are our suggestions of the coolest craft beer gifts from around the state (and slightly beyond).  We're all about shopping local, or at the very least, shopping small, so we're giving you a run down of what we'd love to give (or receive!) from the breweries around the state.

    16 Mile has Love, Byrd. Soaps made with their Tiller Brown Ale and Old Court Ale. We're thinking pairing the soap with the appropriate shower beer is totally acceptable when you're giving this gift.

    3rd Wave Brewing has not one Beanie options but two Beanie options to keep your craft beer lovers noggin warm this winter.

    Make a quick stop into 2SP Brewing and pick up one of their pre-made gift baskets. Each basket has a $50 gift card, 2 pint glasses, stickers, lip balm, a bottle opener, and an (empty) growler. That's $100 worth of goodies for $75. Nice.

    Give the gift of pizza and beer with a gift card from Argilla Brewing Co. Who doesn't love that combo? 

    Big Oyster Brewery has new trucker hats for the dude or dude-ette that can rock a hat like a boss. 

    A Blue Earl Brewing gift certificate paired with with a 6-pack of the brewery's newly released Walking Blues IPA is a darn good gift to give, if we do say so. 

    Head into Crooked Hammock Brewery - or hop on their website - for everything from tickets to their New Year's Eve keg drop and gift cards to super cool merchandise. We're digging the Beer Mug ($22). 

    Gift a Dewey Beer Company gift card for your craft beer loved one to use at one of their Monday Night Four Course Dinners or for Sunday $3 Beer Day.

    Love the Dogfish Head Woolrich collaboration, Pennsylvania Tuxedo? Then you'll totally dig the Penn Tux merchandise available at the brewery or at dogfish.com. They have pint glasses, koozies, coasters and a hat in a great red and black Woolrich pattern. p.s. ordering from Dogfish.com? To ensure delivery in time for the 25th be sure to select Next-Day shipping when you check out. 

    Down at the Dogfish Head Brewpub you can stop in and pick up one of their Holiday Variety Packs that includes 2 pint glasses, a keychain bottle opener, a tote and 1 bottle each of Namaste, Sixty-One, 90 Minute, Piercing Pils, 60 Minute and Indian Brown Ale. 

    Get the Fordham and Dominion FoDo Hoodie for your gift getting buddy can rock it all winter long. Staying warm while looking cool? Definitely a good thing. 

    Iron Hill Brewery Newark and Wilmington have several different gift ideas you can pick from like Bottled Reserve gift packages, growler gift packs, gift cards and King of the Hill memberships. Need a quick gift? The Iron Hill Growler Pack ($30) comes with an (empty) 64 oz. growler, two Iron Hill pint glasses and a $20 gift card.

    Jessop's Tavern can put a little colonial spirit into you beer lovers Christmas with Grandville Hollow Pottery mugs, growlers and gift cards. 

    A ticket to Kennett Winterfest, with at least 50 breweries attending, is always a good idea. Maybe it'll even feel like winter by the time the fest rolls around! 

    Swing by Mispillion River Brewing to pick up a 6-pack, a growler (they just got them back in) or some Mispillion gear for your Christmas buddy to rock.

    Buy a ticket for Stewart's Brewing Co.'s Beer Dinner with Painted Stave, a bottle of 20th Anniversary Ale or a gift certificate for a growler fill. 

    Two Stones Pub Kennett is also offering Christmas Baskets. The Small Basket has 1 large format bottle, 2 brewery glasses, and a $50 Two Stones Gift card for $75. The Large Basket has 2 large format bottles, 2 brewery glasses and a $50 Two Stones gift card for $100. 

    The Two Stones Pub Mug Club card ($35), good to use at both Two Stones Pub Newark and Two Stones Pub Wilmington, is a nice one size fits all kind of gift. 

    For the literary craft beer drinking historian on your list, order a signed and personalized copy of John Medkeff's "Brewing in Delaware." Such an awesome book! 

    Want to get the ball rolling on a trip on the Delaware Brew Bus? They're offering gift certificates in the amount of a Brew Tour ($55) on their website. 

    2016 is year number 5 for Firefly Music Festival here in our great state. Want to really make the craft beer, music loving person on your gift givings list? Take advantage of the Early Bird pricing ($279 per ticket), or even better, take advantage of the EZPay Payment Plan they're offering this year. Six payments, no interest. Nice. 

    What did Delaware? Her New Jersey? Nope, FreakerUSA says, 'I don't know, Alaska.' Good stuff. We're digging the Early Bird 1st State Freaker they have available.

     Photo credit: www.freakerusa.com

    Photo credit: www.freakerusa.com

    So there's no need to panic that Christmas is less than a week away. These awesome last minute gifts will knock the socks off any craft beer lover in your life. But make note, any one of these gifts will set the bar (no pun intended) VERY high for next year's gift! In the meantime, have the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest New Year! 

    In case you miss the link on where to purchase these items, we've got your covered:

    16 Mile's Love, Byrd. Soaps: http://on.fb.me/1Uh86Pv

    3rd Wave Brewing's Beanie Option #1: http://on.fb.me/1TW0Ac0 and Beanie Option #2: http://on.fb.me/1UNNRJL

    2SP Gift Baskets: http://on.fb.me/1NZm8o7

    Argilla Brewing Co. Gift Cards: http://bit.ly/139MDn3

    Big Oyster Brewery Trucker Hats: http://on.fb.me/1NZoPWS

    Blue Earl Gift Certificates: http://on.fb.me/1QAacLM or Walking Blues IPA: http://on.fb.me/1OCqZYH

    Crooked Hammock Website: http://bit.ly/1YnRYl6  

    Dewey Beer Company Gift Card: http://bit.ly/1wij9AH

    Dogfish Penn Tux merch available: http://on.fb.me/1NMyrUx  - Check it out on their website too: http://bit.ly/1YaI7K3

    Dogfish Head Brewpub Holiday Variety Pack: http://on.fb.me/1T8kjW3

    Fordham and Dominion FoDo Hoodie: http://bit.ly/1k8CuP5

    Iron Hill gift ideas: http://on.fb.me/1QkZetB and Iron Hill Growler Pack: http://on.fb.me/1RvyEhE

    Jessop's Tavern goodies: http://on.fb.me/1J0C2hK

    Kennett Winterfest tickets: http://bit.ly/1zevgwu

    Mispillion River Brewing 6-pack, growler and gear: http://bit.ly/1xT4vyj

    Stewart's Brewing Co. Beer Dinner with Painted Stave: http://on.fb.me/1YgY32N

    Two Stones Kennett Christmas Basket: http://on.fb.me/1J0zlww

    Two Stones Pub Mug Club: http://bit.ly/1hBvs49

    Personalized and signed copy of Brewing in Delaware: http://on.fb.me/1FMskOK

    Delaware Brew Bus Gift Certificates: http://bit.ly/1NizJGm

    Firefly Music Festival Tickets: http://bit.ly/1Ikqtvj

    Freakers USA Early Bird Sweater Koozie: http://bit.ly/1QaxhEW

    Black Friday Shopping and Deals, Craft Beer Style

    The madness of what's typically associated with Black Friday can easily be classified as insanity. Instead, bypass all the malls and big box stores and go directly to these awesome craft beer locations who are offering our kind of Black Friday specials, beer related specials.

    Here's a look at who's offering what on Friday (and in some cases, slightly beyond):

    • 16 Mile Brewing: Oyster Stout t-shirt and a 6-pack for $25 - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY
    • 16 Mile Brewing: Buy $50 gift certificate, get a $10 gift certificate free  - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY
    • 3rd Wave Brewing Co.: Purchase a bottle of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Quad and a snifter for $20 or one of their merchandise packages they've put together for $26
    • Chelsea Tavern: Buy a gift card in any denomination, get one free - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY 
    • Crooked Hammock Brewing: Buy 1 ticket for their NYE  Keg Drop, get on free - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY for the FIRST 50 tickets sold
    • Crust and Craft: Buy a $100 gift card and get a $50 gift card free - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY, from 11am-4pm
    • Doc Magrogan's Dover: 50% off Gift Cards - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY, from 7am-10am
    • Dogfish Head: 2016 Mug Club Memberships go on sale at the Brewpub - only 300 are available
    • Dogfish Head is offering free shipping on merch (not beer!) on orders of $50 or more on Dogfish.com November 27th through November 30th
    • Ernest & Scott Taproom: Buy a gift in any denomination, get one free - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY
    • Hakuna Hospitality (Santa Fe Wilmington, Santa Fe Newark, Del Pez, La Taqueria, La Bodega and Mi Ranchito): Buy a $75 gift card, get a $25 free
    • Harry's Hospitality Group (Kid Shelleeen's, Harry's Seafood and Harry's Savoy): Buy a $100 gift card, geta $20 bonus gift card (up to $200 back) - Now thru November 30th, 2015
    • Stewart's Brewing Company: Buy $50 a gift card, get a $50 gift card free or buy a $100 gift card, and receive a $10 bonus card - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY
    • Ulysses American Gastropub: Buy a gift card and recieve 20% back on a gift card for yourself - ALL OF DECEMBER 
    • Untappd: 15% off pint glasses when you use the code PINTBF - BLACK FRIDAY ONLY
    • Washington Street Ale House: Buy a $100 Gift Card and get $20 gift card for yourself or buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card for yourself


    Daydreaming of Firefly 2015...C'mon Firefly 2016!

    Yesterday, as I as driving from Point A (an early morning meeting) to Point B (back to my office), I realized a most important notification popped up on my phone: the 2016 Firefly lineup was announced. And it’s good. Real good. Then I had to check, it's November, rght?! We were really finding out the lineup for June 16th - 19th, 2016? Indeed we were. It was like Firefly just gifted us all an early holiday gift!

    Read More

    Guide to Kennett Brewfest and Cheesetoberfest at Fordham and Dominion Brewing

    Heading to Kennett Brewfest or Cheesetoberfest at Fordham and Dominion Brewing? Check our tips and suggestions on how to make your day just plain awesome. Cheers!

    Read More

    Firefly Music Festival: Dogfish Head Beer Pairings and the Foods of Firefly

    Photo Credit: Dogfish Head's Twitter Page
    It's Firefly week, and we couldn't be more excited! To spend 3 1/2 days listening to amazing live music on the grounds of The Woodlands while sipping on brews from Dogfish and munching on local foods from around the state (and beyond), this is one of our favorite weekends of the year.

    If you're like us, you'll head straight to The Brewery immediately upon walking onto Firefly grounds to start the festival off right - with a Dogfish in hand - especially since The Brewery will be open on Thursday this year! Dogfish will be pouring Firefly Ale (of course!), 60 Minutes, 90 Minute, Namaste, Midas Touch, Aprihop, Festina Peche, and for those gluten intolerant Festival goers, Tweason'Ale.

    Photo Credit: www.fireflyfestival.com 
    As we're packing up and getting ready for the weekend ahead of us, we got thinking, wouldn't it be fun to play with beer pairings while we eat our way around The Woodlands? We can create mini beer lunches and beer dinners throughout the three and a half days of Firefly. Thanks to the Dogfish website we found plenty of suggestions of how to pair their beers. We came up with so many fun ideas of what to eat and drink through Firefly weekend!

    The Pairings
    You can't have Firefly Music Festival without Dogfish Firefly Ale! The fruity and citrusy aroma combined with the subtle and spicy finish of Firefly Ale make for great pairings with the Cheese Pizza at Grotto Pizza and All Gourmet Catering. Dogfish suggests that Chardonnay is the wine comparable to Firefly Ale, and we're thinking give the Crabcake Sandwiches from Sherri's Crabcakes or the Chicken Kabobs from Doc Magrogan's, the Chicken Pita from Hamilton Gyro or Hamilton Wrap's Chicken Caesar Wrap.

    When pairing Dogfish 60 Minute we took at look at foods that would bring out the citrus and the Northwest hops used in this East Coast IPA. Think spicy foods, soy-based foods, and pizza. With your 60 Minute in hand, head over to Grotto Pizza and grab a slice of their simple Cheese Pizza. The aged white cheddar they use is perfect for 60 Minute. Feeling a little pepperoni pizza? Try the Spicy Pepperoni Pizza from All Gourmet Catering. Wash down the spiciness of the Jambalaya from Phat Daddy's Creole Eats with a little 60 Minute too. Working on the soy-based side of things, pair the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl from RC Thai or the Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Teriyaki Glaze from Wok on the Wild Side with a 60 Minute.

    Though not a food pairing, the grassy notes of 60 Minute are perfect to pair with the bands playing on The Lawn stage. Grassy? Lawn? Seems like a good fit to us!

    Dogfish is bringing another continuously hopped treat to Firefly, 90 Minute. For this beer we're looking at the the malt background and the flavors of the raisins and citrus to shine through. The Pepperoni Pizza from Grotto Pizza or the Meat Lovers Pizza offered by All Gourmet Catering would fit the bill. The Fish and Chips from Doc Magrogan's would work mighty fine too and the Jambalaya at Phat Daddy's Creole Easts would too.

    For the lighter foods of Firefly, Namaste is a great choice. The dried organic orange slices and lemongrass make this Witbier a great pairing with the Turkey Pita from the Pita Station or the Chicken Caesar Wrap from Hamilton Wrap. Dogfish suggests that Namaste is a beer comparable to Gewurztraminer. Taking a cue from that, we like the idea of pairing Namaste with the Crabcake Sandwich or Cream of Crap Soup from Sherri's Crabcakes or a Chicken BLT Wrap from Hamilton Wrap.

    It's really interesting to see that one of the most pair-able beers at Firefly is one of the brewery's first Ancient Ales, Midas Touch. The rich and colorful background flavors of the brew will pair well with the Cold Noodle Salad with Veggies, Chicken or Shrimp from Doc's Magrogan's, the Hawaiian-style Wok Fried Soba Noodles from Festival Island Noodles, the Asian Lettuce Wrap from Hamilton Wrap and the Stir Fried Soba Noodles with Vegetables form Wok on the Wild Side. Grad a Midas Touch and go on a little culinary adventure!

    Festina Peche, the brewery's Neo-Berliner Weisse is delicately hopped with flavors of peaches, green apples and raspberry syrup. We're liking the idea of Doc Magrogan's Chicken Kabobs to compliment the flavors. Taking a note from Dogfish likening Festina to Pinot Grogio, check out Festina Peche with the Pita Station's Tuna Salad Pita or the Crabcake Sandwich from Sherri's Crabcakes.

    Go a little heartier to keep you energized for the full days of music ahead with Aprihop and food pairings to bring out the apricot, fruit, citrus and cedar. These notes will work well with tacos and burritos from Tica's Tacos, the BBQ Pork, Beef or Chicken Sandwich from Outlaw BBQ, and the BBQ Chicken Pizza from All Gourmet Catering.

    Though you may not have a gluten intolerance to encourage you to try Dogfish Tweason'Ale, these food pairing suggestions may! The Tuna Salad Pita (available on a gluten free pita) from Pita Station will be a nice compliment to the molasses, strawberry and buckwheat honey you'll find peaking through the flavors of this beer Another suggestion is the kettle corn or movie popcorn from Bunting's Popcorn Station. Not quite a food pairing, we're liking the idea of creating a beer cocktail with the Strawberry Lemonade from Hamilton Gyro and a Tweason'Ale!

    If you're camping at Firefly, be sure to stop by The Hub and check out the food trucks hanging out there for the weekend. We saw that both I Don't Give a Fork and The Roaming Raven will be there representing Delaware love!

    And now, 5:30pm on Thursday afternoon can't come soon enough. See you at Firefly!