The Local Tap: What’s going on at the 2016 Odessa Brewfest

It’s almost the end of Summer here in Delaware and that means beer events are dropping onto the calendar like leaves from a tree. And one event not to be missed is the Odessa Brewfest set on the grounds of the National Historic Register, 246-year-old Wilson-Warner House.

We’ve attended Odessa since its inception (this year will mark the 3rd year for the event),  and have never been disappointed in Jeremy Hughes’ ability to put on a great festival. The location is phenomenal and Jeremy and his team do a great job making sure that Odessa is more than a run-of-the-mill brewfest.

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And this year is no exception.

First, there will be awesome music throughout the event as jam band Rainbow Full of Sound (12-3pm) and three Odessa2014-8year returning raggae favorites Spokey Speaky (3-6pm), perform on the main stage.

After strolling around and enjoying the beers, wines, ciders, and spirits, take a break under one of the two shade tents and enjoy some of the food being offered by Cantwell’s Tavern and The Roaming Raven.

Worried it’s going to get hot? No problem, after you cool off under the misting tent, you can stop by the UD Creamery tent for ice cream.

After enjoying the main part of the festival, don’t forget to walk into the lovely back garden section (where more drink tents are available) and take in a set or two of Bruce Anthony‘s accoustic jazz/blues music (12-3pm) as well as Tony Mowen (3-6pm) on the garden stage. Perhaps some snacks from Delmarva Popcorn & nut Co. while you’re listening?

Odessa2014-5As with every year, the barn will provide an awesome backdrop for historian Rich Wagner. Make sure you grab a brew from one of the many breweries so you can sip on it while Rich and his wife demonstrate the art and drawbacks of brewing beer in the 18th Century.

Which beer? Well that’s up to you and there are plenty to chose from.

Delaware is again very well represented this year by breweries such as DFH, FoDo, Mispillion, Big Oyster, Blue Earl, 16 Mile, 3rd Wave and Twin Lakes.

Out of state favorites will include 2SP, Victory, Stone, Ballast Point (first time!), Bells, Evolution, Elysian, Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues and Green Flash just to rattle off a quick few.

Jeremy asked me to keep the beers being poured under wraps in case some last minute changes are made, however running down the list (and all things staying the same) I will say that you might want to make sure you make your way to DFH, Ballast Point, Duclaw, Shipyard and Two Roads-2Evil. But that’s just between you and me.

But of course, the ‘brewfest’ has never totally been about ‘brew’, so also make sure you check out what’s going on at Painted Stave, Dogfish Head Distillary, Harvest Ridge, Crowe Vineyards and (a favorite of ours) Paradox Winery.

When I first started covering Odessa, event co-ordinator Jeremy Hughes was very clear about the kind of event he wanted, “We wanted to create a beer festival that would separate itself from other beer festivals.  After attending quite a few of them myself, as well as many other types of festivals and events, I found that a beer festival can’t just be about beer.”

And once again Jeremy and his team have done just that.

….THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW: (Odessa Brewfest Press Release)….

Ticket Information:Odessa2014-4

$70 VIP: (still available!!) early noon tasting, access to limited-quantity beers, and a food voucher. VIP tickets can be redeemed for future tours of the Historic Houses of Odessa.

$50 General Admission: gates open at 2 p.m. for ticket holders. (General admission tickets will be $60 on the event date.)

$15 Designated Driver: access to food, music and vendors, includes free soft drinks. Designated Driver tickets are only available at the gate, day of the event.

Purchase VIP and General Admission tickets online, at www.odessabrewfest.com, or call 302-378-4119.

Time and Location:

12 p.m. to 2 p.m. – VIP Tasting
2 p.m. – General Admission
6 p.m. – All taps will close

Historic Houses of Odessa
Wilson-Warner House
202 Main Street
Odessa, DE 19730

Full Brewery List

2SP, 10 barrel, 16 Mile, 21st Amendment, 3rd wave, Allagash, Alpine, Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Bells, Big Oyster, Blue Earl, Blue point, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, Fordham & Dominion, Duclaw, Elysian, Evo, Firestone Walker, Flying Dog, Flying Fish,  Golden Road, Goose Island, Green Flash, Harpoon, Heavy Seas, Lagunitas, Long Trail, Mispillion, Neshaminy Creek, New Belgium, North Coast, Ommegang, Oskar Blues, Otter Creek, Rar, Rebel Seed Cider, Rogue, Sam Adams, Schlafly, Shipyard, Sierra Nevada, Six Point, Smuttynose, Southern Tier, Soudts, Stone, Troegs, Twin Lakes, Two Roads, Victory, Virtue Cider, Yards.

 Sponsors

The presenting sponsor for the third annual Odessa Brewfest is Wilmington Trust. Event and in-kind sponsors include Crouse Brothers, National HVAC Service, State Farm, Patterson Schwartz, Patterson Price, Delaware Today, and Dover Rental Tents & Events. Sponsorship opportunities are available and interested parties should contact the Historic Odessa Foundation for more information.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Since not every brewery will be able to send a representative to pour beer, and help will be needed to keep the historic site clean, HOF and Cantwell’s Tavern are looking for volunteers for the day’s festivities. Prospective volunteers can call Cantwell’s at 302-376-0600.

Links

For general and ticket information, as well as news and regular updates on participating brewers, visit or follow the Historic Odessa Brewfest at:

Official website:          www.odessabrewfest.com
Facebook:                    www.facebook.com/odessabrewfest
Twitter:                        www.twitter.com/OdessaBrewfest

Established in 2005, the Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates The Historic Houses of Odessa, a 30-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the town of Odessa, just two miles from DE 1 and just off U.S. Route 13 in southern New Castle County, Del. The historic buildings and gardens along with a well-documented collection of more than 5000 objects and furnishings offer a unique picture of Delaware’s colonial period in a rural village that played a vital part in America’s commercial history. The original town of Odessa, originally known as Cantwell’s Bridge, has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark,and two National Park Service Network to Freedom sites. http://www.historicodessa.org

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The author would like to thank Jeremy Hughes for his time and information concerning this year’s Odessa Brewfest.

All Photos : The Dogs of Beer.

Disclosure: The author was compensated for this article with two VIP tickets. However, since Tracey and I believe in supporting our local festivals and their causes, we’d already purchased ours. The tickets will either be given to friends or used as give-aways on the blog. This compensation in no way influenced the content or tone of this, or future, articles.

The Local Tap – What to Look For at the 2015 Odessa Brewfest

You still have time to pick up general admission tickets for this Saturday’s Historic Odessa’s Brewfest, the second iteration of last year’s newest beer festival to attempt to make a splash on the festival scene.

And believe me, it did. Situated on the on the grounds of the National Historic Register, 246-year-old Wilson-Warner House, the festival presented an amazing backdrop for the over 45 breweries and the over 1400 who walked pasted the volunteer manned entrance tables to experience the up to 6 hours (depending on the level of tickets purchased) of craft beer, wine and spirits that the festival was offering.

A couple of ladies chatting at the Odessa Brewfest.

Of course, the goal of any great festival should be to always improve upon the previous year which might be hard to do considering how good last year’s festival was, but event co-ordinator Jeremy Hughes and his team were up to the task. So let’s run down some of the highlights that this year’s attendees have to look forward to.

First the festival has increased it’s participation to over 55 breweries from around the US. Local favorites 16 Mile, 3rd Wave, Dogfish, Dominion, Evolution (Evo), Fordham, Frozen Toes (Pizza By Elizabeths), Mispillion River and Twin Lakes will be in attendance as well as US craft beer favorites 21st Amendment,  Allagash, Bells, Elysian, Evil Genius, Flying Dog,  New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Southern Tier, Stone, Victory, Weyerbacher, Yards and many others.

For those looking for something new locally, Smyrna’s Blue Earl Brewing, who attended last year only in a meet-and-greet capacity as Warlock Brewing will be attending this year pouring samples of their awesome beers.

On the national front, Delaware new comers Alpine Beer Company and Firestone Walker will also be pouring beers at their first Delaware beer festival.

And if you have not had a chance to try the continually sold out Not Your Father’s Root Beer, then Odessa will offer you a chance as well as the new addition to the alcoholic root beer craze Coney Island Root Beer.

James (C) and the folks from DOPS working hard as always.

If wine and spirits are more your thing, Odessa will have you covered again this year with Delaware Distilling, Harvest Ridge Winery, Painted Stave, Fenwick Wine Cellars, and Philadelphia Distilling.

However, when Jeremy was scouting other festivals in preparation of organizing his own, he noticed that the best ones offered more than just alcohol, “We wanted to create a beer festival that would separate itself from other beer festivals.  After attending quite a few of them myself, as well as many other types of festivals and events, I found that a beer festival can’t just be about beer.” [Quote from my review of last year’s Odessa Brewfest]

So of course, he was keen to improve upon those aspects of the festival as well.

To that end, Jeremy has upped the live music at the festival to two stages and four live bands including returning reggae evangelists Spokey Speaky, the contemporary country stylings of The Hung Jury, acoustic jazz and blues artist Bruce Anthony, and acoustic modern rock musician Bob Stretch.

Rich Wagner, colonial brewing historian and presenter will be one hand to demonstrate the art of brewing as it was in the 18th century.

Food will once again be an important part of the festival with Cantwell’s Tavern and The Roaming Raven food truck providing food to the attendees as well as cheese pairings from Fromage a Cheese Boutique, and ice cream from Hy-Point dairy.

The guys making the food happen inside the Roaming Raven.

Local artisans will also be a big part of the Odessa Brewfest including fine kitchenware from Paul Schiffelbein Woodworking and beer bottle crafts from Bottle Slumpers; Guy & Lady Barrel Cigars offering premium cigars from the Dominican Republic, and homemade jams and jellies from Fairview Farms.

Sound like a great time? It should. So if you’ve been on the fence as to whether-or-not to attend the Odessa Brewfest – hop off. Great music, food and beer are waiting for you.

THE INFORMATION YOU NEED:

For general and ticket information, as well as news and regular updates on participating brewers, visit or follow the Historic Odessa Brewfest at:

Official website:          www.odessabrewfest.com
Facebook:                    www.facebook.com/odessabrewfest
Twitter:                        www.twitter.com/OdessaBrewfest

Time and Location:

12 p.m. to 2 p.m. – VIP Tasting
2 p.m. – General Admission
6 p.m. – All taps will close

Historic Houses of Odessa
Wilson-Warner House
202 Main StreetOdessa, DE 19730 [MAP]

Ticket Information:

$70 VIP: SOLD OUT
$50 General Admission: gates open at 2 p.m. for ticket holders.
$15 Designated Driver: access to food, music and vendors, includes free soft drinks.
Designated Driver tickets are only available at the gate, day of the event.

Purchase General Admission tickets online, at www.odessabrewfest.com, or call 302-378-4119.

Along with the participating breweries, distilleries, wineries, artisans, musicians and festival attendees, Jeremy Huges and  his staff would like to thank:

Wilmington Trust – The presenting sponsor for the second annual Odessa Brewfest.

Event sponsors – Main Line Today and Delaware Today, Dover Rent All Tents & Events, SFG –Stecher Financial Group, National HVAC Service, Universal Mortgage and Finance, Inc., Mix92.9, WDOV Newsradio, WILM Newsradio and 94.7 WDSD.

The Historic Odessa Brewfest Benefits the Historic Odessa Foundation:

Established in 2005, the Historic Odessa Foundation owns and operates The Historic Houses of Odessa, a 30-acre enclave of 18th and 19th century structures located in the town of Odessa, just two miles from DE 1 and just off U.S. Route 13 in southern New Castle County, Del. The historic buildings and gardens along with a well-documented collection of more than 5000 objects and furnishings offer a unique picture of Delaware’s colonial period in a rural village that played a vital part in America’s commercial history. The original town of Odessa, originally known as Cantwell’s Bridge, has retained much of its 18th century charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to a National Historic Landmark,and two National Park Service Network to Freedom sites. http://www.historicodessa.org

The author would like to thank Jeremy Hughes for his time and information concerning this year’s Odessa Brewfest.

All Photos : The Dogs of Beer.

Disclosure: The author was compensated for this article with two VIP tickets. However, since Tracey and I believe in supporting our local festivals and their causes, we’d already purchased ours. The tickets will either be given to friends or used as give-aways on the blog. This compensation in no way influenced the content or tone of this, or future, articles.

The Local Tap – Cantwell’s Tavern

Cantwell's Tavern

On Saturday the Delaware Craft Beer and Wine group was supposed to meet for a tour of the Old Dominion Brewery in Dover.  Unfortunately, Tracey and I got caught in a traffic jam due to an accident that ended up actually shutting down the road we were on.  Forced to turn around, and knowing we’d missed our tour we decided instead to take advantage of the situation and (finally) stop in at Cantwell’s Tavern in Odessa, Delaware.

Cantwell’s Tavern (Web, Facebook, Twitter) opened in December 2011 promising delicious farm-to-table food which included house made sausages, bacon, bread and sauces; as well as an upscale tap list.  As soon as we heard about it we put it on our list of places to try, but sadly the couple of times we tried to dial it into our schedule something else popped up.  But thanks to a well placed traffic jam (well, I probable shouldn’t say that; we really did want to go on the brewery tour) we were finally sitting in the barroom of this 19th century style tavern.

Cantwell’s resides in the historic Brick Hotel that was established in 1822.  The barroom and dinning room have been given a look that suits this time period (having once lived in Historic New Castle I really love this type of décor), from simply dressed dinning room tables to a bar with old time swing-down ceiling gates.  The barroom is accented in period pieces and populated with simple high-top wooden tables and stools along with a few booths in one corner.

Lunch! Yummy!

We claimed a booth and eagerly scanned the tap selection.  I was surprised to see Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum on the list and thought I’d get a sneak peak of it before I did a review on the bottle that’s in my fridge.  But sadly the keg had already kicked, but Evolution’s Lot 6 had replaced it so I ordered one.  Tracey didn’t find anything on the draft list that spoke to her, so she turned her attention to the ample bottle list and found one of her favorites, Allagash White.

Beer decided, we turned to the menu.  We immediately realized that this was not going to be easy.  The menu was full of excellent sounding choices keying on terms like “grass feed Angus beef” and “house made bacon and sausage”.  I was pleased to see andouille sausage sprinkled through out the menu and the grilled BBQ wings definitely caught my eye.

In the end though it was the steamed mussels that won out.  You can order them cooked three different ways and it was nice to see that each contain a signature base liquid; one used beer, the second wine, the third cider.  Having never had a cider based mussel dish before, I selected the chipolte cider mussels.  Tracey ordered a side dish of the deviled eggs, and Carolina pulled pork sandwich.

The eggs must have been good because Tracey finished them quickly.  She thought the pulled pork was a little on the sweet side, but loved the flavor.  I thought the sweetness was ok, and thought the pork was well done.  The mussels were on point (to quote Mr Fiere), plump and perfectly cooked.  The broth had a slight smokiness from the chipolte but didn’t mask the subtle flavors of the cider. The real kicker however was the tangy cheese that was sprinkled on the dish. It perfectly paired with the mussels to bring the dish to another level.  And it all went perfect with my second beer choice, Allagash Four.

Finishing up, I ordered a Taylor’s Grog to end the meal.  Taylor’s is a specialty beer brewed by the guys out at Twin Lakes Brewing.  It’s sort of a marker beer because if you see it on tap, you know you’re in a bar that’s owned by the same group that owns McGlynn’s, The Deerpark, and of course Cantwell’s.

Cantwell’s beer list consists of twelve taps and as I mentioned before an extensive bottle list.  The taps run north to south, with macros like Miller and Yuengling mixed in with local boys DFH (90 Minute IPA, Red and White) and Evolution(Lot #3, Lot #6).  The rest of the taps are rounded out with breweries like Allagash, Stone, Troegs, Goose Island and Yards.  The taps rotate, so check the website frequently.

The Bar at Cantwell's

If the rest of the menu is as solid, then Cantwell’s is indeed doing it right.  As for the beer, no complaints here, a nice mixture of macro and micro that should guarantee that anyone who goes there should be able to find a beer they enjoy.  Cantwell’s runs daily specials, so check out their website.  They had mugs hanging which leads me to believe they have a mug club, but I didn’t ask.  They also appear to be running some interesting events like the Stouts and Stogies dinner coming up.  Three food courses and 1 cigar, each paired with a different stout; Yards Love Stout, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout and Schlafly Reserve Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout (a recent tweet or facebook post suggests that this is the one that’s being paired with the cigar).

Believe me, it won’t take another traffic jam to get us back to Cantwell’s Tavern!