Wilmington Beer Week continues through Saturday

The city billed as Photo: B.Kolesar/TheBrewLounge.com

WILMINGTON, DEL., July 14, 2011 — Wilmington is the largest city in the small State of Delaware and thirty miles south of Philadelphia, home of arguably the largest Beer Week. Delaware has one of the country’s largest craft breweries, Dogfish Head, within its borders and Wilmington, particularly, has a burgeoning beer scene.

Trying to find decent beer on tap as recently as a few years ago in Wilmington did not usually go much farther than pouring Dogfish Head, Iron Hill, Sierra Nevada, or Victory beers at any bar not named Iron Hill or Washington Street Ale House. That has changed quite a bit in 2011. A couple handfuls of city restaurant owners teamed up with Out & About and decided that this was the year in which to celebrate Wilmington Beer Week.

Tom Hudson, owner Domaine Hudson, and Burke Morrison, Divisional Sales Manager for Standard Distributing and a Certified Cicerone, hosted beer lovers for an afternoon of Belgian beers.

The celebration got off to a rousing start on Saturday night with what was reported to be a simul-toast across all participating establishments. No word on exactly how well it went, but Mat Falco, Founder of Philly Beer Scene magazine, reported that all was going quite well at Piccolina Toscana.

The Italian restaurant was hosting Evolution Craft Brewing of Delmar and its owner Tom Knorr. “He was pouring samples of all their core beers and people were lined up and seemed genuinely interested in what was going on,” Falco said. “I talked to a bunch of local beer lovers, industry workers and bar owners and the overall consensus seemed to be that everyone in the area is really hungry for good beer and more destinations.”

An event with Evolution was not the only scheduled event of the week certain to get beer lovers salivating. Celebrated brewer, owner, and TV star (Brew Masters), Sam Calagione, from Dogfish Head is scheduled to appear at no less than three events between yesterday and today. Tomorrow night, long-time supporter of the craft beer segment, Washington Street Ale House, will be pouring cask-conditioned beer from Evolution, Fordham, and Yards firkins.

And, this past Sunday, Domaine Hudson teamed with Standard Distributing of New Castle to present six interesting Belgian beers paired with cheeses, charcuterie, mussels, and bread. Tom Hudson got out of the not-quite-forty-hour-work-week of a CPA and into the not-quite-forty-hour-work-week of a restaurant owner six years ago. Nearly two years ago, Hudson began sharing some his bar space between his ample wine collection and interesting beer that customers were then beginning to seek out. Today, he stocks over 100 bottles of beers from around the world and presents them on a well-conceived menu in categories of Crisp, Fruit & Spice, Hop, Malt, Tart & Funky, Roast, and Reserves.

At the Belgian Beer Pairing event, the spectrum of beers showcased the varied flavors, aromas, and textures that delight many fans of Belgian beer. Pork made a very nice accompaniment for the Steenbrugge Blond as did the mussels with the always delightful Saison Dupont.

Cheese, charcuterie, and mussels filled the plate and made a perfect accompaniment at Domaine Hudson’s Belgian Beer Tasting on July 10.

Beer and cheese are often lovingly talked about in their pair-worthiness and this was none more evident than with the complimenting funky flavors in both the Le Chimay à la Bière cheese and Boon’s Oude Gueuze beer.

All by itself at the end with no food left on the plate to pair with was no problem for the Malheur 10, a Méthode Champenoise beer that has the ability to put many similarly prepared wines to shame.

Domaine Hudson wraps up its week of big events with a tutored beer pairing dinner that promises to be memorable and will showcase the likes of 21st Amendment Hop Crisis, Allagash Confluence, North Coast Old Rasputin, Malheur 10, Sly Fox/De Proef Collaboration ‘11, and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.

On Saturday, Wilmington Beer Week closes out with “Delaware Beer Night” where beer hunters will find local Delaware beer in a cooking class at Piccolina Toscana and dinners at Deep Blue and Harry’s Seafood Grill.

While on the surface, this year’s inaugural run at a Wilmington Beer Week may appear light to some, the enthusiasm for great beer in the First State is evidently alive and well and growing, particularly at some of these not-so-usual spots highlighted during Wilmington Beer Week.

The State counts 16 Mile, Dogfish Head, Evolution, Fordham, Iron Hill, Old Dominion, Stewart’s, and Twin Lakes breweries across its roughly 2,000 square miles of land. Based on the success of this year’s Wilmington Beer Week and in a city of at least a dozen neighborhood taprooms — and, not to mention, Iron Hill since 2003 at the waterfront as the city’s only brewery and brewpub — the future of drinking great beer in the Corporate Capital looks bright.

–For more pictures from the Belgian Beer Tasting, please visit TheBrewLounge.com

Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Bryan Kolesar

Bryan Kolesar has been tracking down great beer for over twenty years. From the most hard-to-find delicately balanced low alcohol beer to the big monsters weighing in at over 10% ABV, he has yet to find a style that does not have a story to tell and a taste to share. Though, when pushed, Kolesar has historically staked a claim to the Saison style as one of the most versatile and his favorite.

In 2005, Bryan co-founded The Brew Lounge blog/website as a canvas to illustrate the best of the craft brewing industry and to document his own travels within it. Though he has lived in Philadelphia and is currently headquartered in the city's western suburbs, Kolesar shares a wealth of information and images that he collects from his travels around the world and some of the best beers that he has tasted along the way.

In 2010, Kolesar came aboard the Communities section of The Washington Times to contribute stories from across the craft brewing industry as it continues more than ever its explosive growth amongst increasingly more of the mainstream alcohol-consuming public. 

While the beer - its tastes, aromas, and incredible pairing opportunities with food - is often the beginning of a story, he often finds it more interesting to dive into the stories behind the people, places, and events associated with the final product. 

Locally around Philadelphia, he has been named a Beer Writer of the Year finalist multiple times, hosted beer/running events during each annual Philly Beer Week, served as a Philly Beer Geek judge, paneled local beers for submission into the Great American Beer Festival competition, judged beer and food competitions, been featured in local publications chronicling the beer scene, and been named the "Best Beer Guy" of 2008. 

In addition to his beer-y pursuits, Kolesar works a professional career in the business world by day and dabbles in distance running, cooking, homebrewing, gardening, photography, and is a staunch advocate for animal rescue/adoption. He lives with his wife, Patty, of fifteen years and has been a long time, mostly suffering, supporter of local Philadelphia sports.

Contact Bryan Kolesar


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