Coastal Delaware - Fenwick, Bethany, Dewey, Rehoboth & Lewes - Vacation Travel Guide

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Coastal Delaware Area Features

Sampling Southern Delaware’s Beer, Wine and Spirits

  By: Jacquelyn Eurice

For adults seeking to explore the array of beverages that are being brewed, distilled and fermented in Delaware, a number of opportunities are close at hand. Small vineyards and breweries and even a distillery or two are popping up in the state. Within a half hour of the beaches, you’ll find a quaff that quenches your thirst.

Wineries

The first winery in “The First State” was Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes. In actuality, in order to become the first vineyard, the owners had to revise Delaware’s legislation by writing proposed changes to the law and petitioning the General Assembly. Fortunately, they found success and created an award-winning business. On their farm, well-known varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are harvested and bottled. In addition to wine sampling their wine, Nassau Valley Vineyards has an on-site museum that illustrates the history of winemaking. Take the self-guided tour through their five galleries to learn more about the ancient beverage.

West of Bethany Beach lies Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery. On its 26 acres, Merlot and Cabernet grapes are being grown with more to come in the future. Salted Vines opened in 2016 on the former site of Fenwick Wine Cellars. The new owners built a new and larger tasting room, and welcome you to enjoy their wines. The Blackwater Red is a delightful blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Meanwhile, the white blend, Reflections, combines Vidal Blanc and Riesling grapes.  Other varietals you may taste include Chambourcin, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio. Sample all of their wines for a small fee and receive a complimentary glass to commemorate your visit.

Breweries

16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown was named because its location was known as “16 miles from anywhere,” and the owners wanted to be a hometown brand where its patrons are never far from good beer. If you’re in Rehoboth, you’re pretty close. Their hundred-year-old farm building was painstakingly converted into the tavern that stands today. On tap, you’ll find an assortment of beers such as the Blues’ Golden Ale (which pays homage to Delaware’s Revolutionary soldiers), Tiller Brown Ale, and a dark pale ale—the Old Court Ale. Sample a flight at the brewery or take some to-go in your growler to have a taste of Georgetown on your Delaware vacation.

In addition to its original Rehoboth location on Coastal Highway, Big Oyster Brewery opened a new location in Lewes in the fall of 2017. It’s recommended to try a flight to see which of their many beers—you’ll find nearly 20 on tap—you like the most. However, the beer list alternates with favorites and new small batches. Maybe try a honey Belgian Golden, a hoppy IPA, or their Big Oyster Stout on your visit. The food menu is incredible too and utilizes their beers in the recipes. Try B.O.B.’s Nachos with a flat iron steak and a jalapeño beer cheese sauce or create your own seafood-based steampot. The food is just as delicious as the beer!

From Sours and Märzens to American IPAs and Brown ales, Revelation Craft Brewing Company has a healthy variety of over a dozen fantastic beers to choose from! The lineup changes often, which practically guarantees you a quality beer you will enjoy. Sometimes they even collaborate with other breweries to produce a unique and tasty brew. Plus, it’s not far from downtown Rehoboth Beach—less than a mile away on Central Street. Stop in to try one of their beers—or a bunch of them.

Upon visiting Crooked Hammock Brewery, you’ll find a chill, relaxed atmosphere with a vibe that’s similar to hanging out in your own backyard. While lazing around a fire-pit or playing an outdoor game such as cornhole or ping-pong, try sipping some of their beers with names and tastes inspired by the local area. Mootzy’s Treasure IPA is named for the famous WWII era “monument man” from Sussex County, DE, Richard “Mootzy” Mootz. The easy-drinking Shoobie Belgian Blonde Ale is perfect on a hot day. The term Shoobie is presently taken to mean “beach tourist”—Crooked Hammock describes it as someone who wears socks and sandals together on the sand. In the past it referred to anyone who traveled by train to get to the Delaware seashore. The brewery has many other ales on draft as well as plenty of seasonal beers. Overall, it’s a great place to come for terrific beer, food, and fun!

If you are in the vicinity of Dewey Beach, it is recommended that you stop at the local brewery. Dewey Beer Co. Brewery & Kitchen is just a block away from the beach on Coastal Highway. Here, you’ll find approximately six varying beers on tap. The flavors are unique and at any time you could discover a sour with tropical notes, a Belgian Wit made with citra hops, or even a smooth nitro stout infused with a sweet and hot cinnamon-chili flavor. Their menu should not be overlooked as it complements the beer perfectly. Classic American cuisine is offered, such as steaks, seafood, burgers, wings and more. Try the clams or shrimp steamed in beer brewed on the premises.

Of all the places to sample local alcoholic quaffs in Delaware, none has captured the national spotlight quite like Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Started in Rehoboth Beach, the demand for their award-winning beers quickly proved that their original brew house was too small to keep up with the public’s need. Now, their beers and liquors including vodka, “jin” and rum are all made in neighboring Milton, DE. It’s worth the short drive to tour their facility, but if you are just looking to sample their wares, the shabby-chic Rehoboth Beach location is a fun place to sip (among others) Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA, Namaste—a witbier, or Midas Touch, first of their ancient ale series.

Spirits

Beach Time is the best time. It’s all about a leisurely day, relaxing and letting things come and go as they may. Beach Time Distilling in Lewes uses that philosophy in the rums, gin and vodka it distills. Yes, there are many different types of rums—try the spiced rum with ginger beer in a cocktail they named the Stormy Beach, or for a completely new taste, sample the Beach Plum Rum. It’s their silver rum infused with locally sourced plums for an unusual fruity flavor. Visit their tasting room to try some of their smooth, “leisurely refined spirits.”

Please be safe while enjoying these Delaware beverage destinations. There are always bottles for sale, growlers to fill and other to-go options so you can sip these beverages safely at home or at your hotel. Plus, these items also make great gifts and souvenirs. Cheers!

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