This past Saturday Patrick’s (Beer Delaware) Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers Meet Up group got together at Ulysses American Gastropub (24 rotating taps, Map, Twitter, Facebook) in Wilmington. It’s fairly new in the beer scene, having been opened by the same group that owns Six Paupers in Hockessin. For those who are not familiar with the term gastropub, let me break it down for you: Gastro = high quality farm to table food. Pub = beer and flat screen TVs. Sounds like our kind of place.
Ulysses looks really good with a good-sized square bar and a row of tables in the front that are surrounded by high back chairs and love seat/couch type upholstered benches. The dining room is in the back and is pretty open except for a large screen that splits part of the room. A good number of TVs dot the walls, making it easy to catch whatever is on regardless of where you’re seated in the front barroom.
When we arrived the place was crazy packed, and a few in the group were running late so we found a crack in the crowd through which to order some beers and I went to put in a table reservation since it was apparent that “occupy the bar” wasn’t going to be happening any time soon. It’s here that I’d like to say a few words about the staff. They were great. When I put in my table request I firmly expect to be laughed at. I was asking for a table for 6 in a packed dining room that had about 4 parties waiting in line for tables – with only an hour’s notice. But instead, the host looked at the table plan, politely took my name and said that he’d see what he could do. When I came back 50 minutes later and informed him that we’d be 7, not 6, he simply said no problem, if I could give him an extra 15-20 minutes. Gladly. Once seated our waitress was greeted by 7 people who got a little out of sync with the ordering. But she took it all in stride, doing a great job with the appetizers and food while juggling beer requests.
I heard nothing bad about the food from anyone in the group. Tracey and I had eaten before hand so she got a house salad with an apple/walnut vinaigrette that she said was very good. I had spotted on the bottom of the beer menu a suggestion to try something that they call “roulette wings”. The waitress informed me that they were just as they sounded. There are 8 wings on the plate, 7 of them have the normal house wing spice on them, and the eighth is wicked hot. Sold. And let me tell you, I’m not a sissy when it comes to spicy food but yeah, it was hot. Four to six guys (or girls) sitting around a table playing roulette with orders of these wings would be a hoot.
As for the reason we came, this place is definitely doing the beer right. The beer menu is an easy read in that it’s laid out in a table type format. Each beer’s ABV is listed as well as the serving size and price. On the night we came they had such beers on draft as Dogfish Head Namaste, 21st Ammendment Lower the Boom, McNeil’s Dark Angel, Troegs Nuggat Nectar, Elysian Idiot Sauvin along with beers from local boys Evolution, 16 Mile and Twin Lakes. What made me laugh (in a good way, I think it rocks) was that tucked into all that beer goodness was PBR for $3 a 16oz serving. While they are serving some pretty killer beers, there’s also clearly a beer on the list for everyone. Ulysses also sports a pretty good bottle list, as well as some specialty beer “cocktails” which, beyond black and tans aren’t usually my thing. But some of them did sound interesting like the Dirty Orchard a mix of Strongbow Cider, Bulleit Rye, and Ulysses’ house spice mix.
Sadly, Ulysses is directly on the other side of Wilmington from us and we don’t get to that area of Marsh road very often so I don’t think we’ll be stopping in as much as we would like. If I did live close by however, I’d definitely frequent it with its combination of great food and killer beer selection – once I found a night that it does not get so crowded (what can I say, I’m a sit at the bar type guy). I could easily see this as a “two craft beers, then an order of roulette wings with a PBR” regular stop.
Also sadly, I don’t have any pictures from that night. My Blackberry and me were at odds because once again I couldn’t get a GPS location for my Untappd check-ins (god forbid I would want to do that in a bar with a roof over it!) and wasn’t having any better luck the one time I walked outside to try. So I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. My cell phone’s retaliation for this dissing was to shut down all network connections the other night during a time when the track ball was not working in the “down” direction. This left me no way to get down to the button to turn the connections back on. My retaliation for this rebellion was to trade the ungrateful thing in for a new HTC 4G Rezound. Problem solved.
Time for another beer…. and to figure out how to get the Untappd App loaded on my phone…