Back in July I posted a poll on the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine Lovers page asking the group where they’d like to go for our next event. My only caveat for this poll was that it had to be some place the group had never been before. I gave the group a handful of opinions and encourage people to add any I’d forgotten. The winner of the poll was the Dogfish Head Brew Pub.
In hindsight, this was probably not the most well thought out poll result we could have had. For us living in Northern Delaware, the trek down to DFH is a long one. As a matter of fact, according to Google Maps it’s ~16 miles farther from my front door to DFH than to Max’s Taphouse in Baltimore. Add to that the summer beach traffic, and this had all the possibilities of being a total mess.
However, the appeal of getting the group to DFH, along with the anticipation of possibility meeting up with some of our down state members was too great. So on a hot summer Saturday, we hopped into the car and prepared to brave the traffic. Of course, Tracey and I had a plan to maximize our journey. We left early, determined to make our lunch stop a place we’d heard a lot about, The Pickled Pig Pub.
Although I’d never set foot in the place, it’s easy for me to consider “Da’ Pig”, my sister bar in the south, if you will. Co-owner and former Pickled Pig chef Michael Stiglitz was making quite a name for himself at the restaurant and indeed, in the industry in general, when he left the Pig kitchen to start some beer bar wanna-be, northern Delaware establishment called Two Stone’s Pub.
Now I have to admit, when I walked into The Pickled Pig, I was a little set back. I’m not going to lie; this place doesn’t look like anything overly amazing. The thin long dinning room screams “beach, strip mall establishment”, and the bar is a bit on the small side. Ah but my friends, grab a seat and let the staff show you that there’s way more to this book than just the cover.
The menu has a wide array of flavors, including mussels, pub pretzels, salads and sandwiches, plus a couple items I recognized from the menu at Two Stone’s, “hog” wings, and the Foie Gras Burger. It also contained an item Tracey can’t resist – deep fried pickles. And these are not little pickle circles either, no they’re big sliced spears deep fried in a light batter that’s so good you probably could sell it on its own.
For lunch Tracey ordered the pulled pork sandwich that had an amazing flavor to it, and I had a “chipotle burger”, a sausage patty topped with a spicy slaw that was very tasty. And although we agreed that we had enjoyed our meal, be both agreed that we’d have to come back down in the future for the Chef’s Cheese Board.
If the Pig is known for its rotating taps, it should also be known for its rotating cheese board. Approximately 13 cheese are highlighted regularly all of which are available separately for ~$5 each (there are even suggested drink pairings), a $15 “Build Your Own” option, or you can get a sample of every cheese on the board, plus meats, jam and a toasted French baguette for $40. That’s something we can really get into!
The beer? Oh yeah, they have beer! Fourteen rotating taps plus a very nice bottle selection that represents a nice cross section of the craft beer scene. Local breweries such as Twin Lakes, Evolution and Old Dominion are represented, along with some foreign exports. For those people who have issues with gluten, there was a gluten free option from New Planet, and for those who have issues with good beer, there were products from Bud, Miller and Coors. Ha! Just teasing you non-craft beer drinkers!
The day we were there some of the taps were off, as they were still trying to recoup from National IPA Day, but there were still good things to find. Tracey started off with a Paulaner Hefeweisen which she enjoyed very much. I started with an Evolution Brewing Lot 3, which was solid as always. I then went for a Heavy Sea’s Loose Cannon, but finished it up back in state with an Old Dominion Double D.
I’ll leave the Dogfish Head side of the trip for a later post. Once I got over the initial confusion that the appearance of the Pickled Pig wasn’t what I was expecting, I found it to be just what people have been saying, an excellent haven for lovers of great food and beer. And as such, I believe it absolutely deserves to be highlighted in its own post.
We’ll definitely be back. Time for another beer.