It’s time that I right a great wrong that I’ve done to an establishment that at one time, I literally lived within a stone’s throw from – Jessop’s Tavern and Colonial Restaurant (Website : Facebook) in Historic New Castle. In my younger days of working at my now 25+ year job, I lived in Historic New Castle in an old theatre that had been converted into condos (the old Earl Theatre for those who are familiar with the area’s history). Back then the tavern was named The Green Frog, and many a night I would take the two minute walk from my condo to share a few beers with other locals and watch Jeopardy on the TV (yeah, we were a rocking town back then).
After several years, the Green Frog closed and reopened as Jessop’s Tavern and I moved to a house a few miles down the road. You would have thought that after years of forming such a tight bond with an establishment that I would have continued to frequent it even though it was now a two minute drive from me instead of a two minute walk. But for reasons I can’t explain, that didn’t happen.
Oh, I would always tell people about it. The nice tap list. The crock pots full of warm apple cider that would sit on the bar in the winter time. The occasional live music. But for some reason, the fondness that would resurface as I waxed poetic never translated into a trip back into town. Well that all ended the other night when Tracey and I strolled into Jessop’s Tavern after a beer and wine event at the Court House Museum and were blown away.
Do you know who has the biggest selection of Belgian beers in the state of Delaware? Well, according to proprietor and beer manager, Justin Day, Jessop’s Tavern does. And with a selection that includes multiple varieties of Affligem, Rodenbach, Gouden Carolus, Malheur, Petrus, Delirium, Chouffe, Chimay, Straffe, Hendrik, Westmalle, Kasteel, Steen Brugge, as well as American Belgian-style brewers Ommegang (Jessop’s has 36 beers on their Belgian list, most in bottle by a good number on draft), we’re hard pressed to argue. Along with their draft Belgian selections, Jessop’s also has a fine selection of non-Belgian beers on tap from such breweries as Blue Point, New Castle, Guinness; along with local boys Twin Lakes and Dogfish Head. We started the evening with a couple of Delirium Tremens as we talked to Justin about how things were going with the tavern and of course, beer.
We were on the fence about food (only because we’d eaten at our previous event), until Justin said “mussels” and the next thing we knew, we had a bread bowl of Jessop’s crab dip and an order of “Halve Maen Mossels” (one pound of mussels steamed in Belgian Beer, garlic and West Indies spices). The crab dip was very good, but the mussels really stole the show here.
Jessop’s has a mussel/Belgian beer special, if you order an order of mussels and a bottle of Belgian beer, they’ll give you $3 off. You can’t beat that.
The crowd in Jessop’s was pretty lively the night we were there. Patrons filled the dinning room and the floor was buzzing with waiters and waitresses in colonial garb serving from a menu that reflects the English, Dutch and Swedish history that is rich in this area. From their website:
Our kitchen strives to maintain authenticity in our Bill of Fare; you will see Dutch cheeses. English pub fare, Swedish sauces, & old American dishes. Our Chef hand selects all of our seafood to assure freshness. All of our sauces & dressings are made in house & much of the baking is done here, as well.
We’ll definitely be returning more often to this lovely little tavern. It truly is a unique little spot in our neighborhood with a quality menu (reflected by it’s 2012 “Best of Delaware” Best Restaurant in New Castle award) and a must visit for any beer lover (especially Belgian) in the state of Delaware. If you visit, all you have to do is remember a few simple rules:
The wine and beer event at the Court House Museum? Well, you see….oh, but that’s another post.
Time for another beer….