The Local Tap – Argilla Brewing Company

[Edit:  Not long after I posted this I checked up on Argilla’s social media and found that they were hustling to make more beer because their initial demand was so great.  Way to support a local brewery Delaware!  Keep it up!]

[Edit: Thanks for stopping by.  If you want to see my review of our most recent stop at Argilla’s, you can find it here.]

I’ve talked a couple of times on this blog about how some things go well together but one of the best pairings I can think of is pizza and beer.  So when I found out that local pizza maker Pietro’s was opening another location (2667 Kirkwood Highway Newark DE, the site of the old Gray Fox) in my area AND that they were dropping in a 1.5 barrel brewery named Argilla Brewing (Facebook : Twitter), well of course I kept my eye open.  After several miscues Tracey and I (along with my daughter) finally got a chance to stop in and check them out.

The day we showed up at Argilla they had three of their own beers on tap; an IPA, a cream ale and a rye stout.  First, let me say that I found all the beers clean with no off flavors.  It’s important with a place first starting out that their process is tight and clean, and at this point Argilla’s seems to be.  There’s also nothing earth shattering here.  The beers were good, straight forward interpretations of their style, none of which blew me away.  However, I won’t take that as a negative.  They’re just starting out so brewing consistently clean beer is the goal at this point.  They can tweak and play with the product later, once they’re comfortable with their new set up.  And with a 1.5 barrel system, I hope they tweak and play often.

The IPA I ordered was cloudy (expected, Argilla isn’t filtering at this point) with a nice hop aroma but could have benefited from a little more bite in the back end and a tab bit more carbonation I thought.  Normally I believe nitrogen should only be used for stouts.  However the cream ale Tracey ordered reminded me that it works very well with that style as well.  The ale definitely had that creamy, smooth mouth feel and tight head that you’d want in a cream ale plus a nice flavor.  Of the three, the rye stout was my favorite.  The brewery describes it as having chocolate and coffee notes, and indeed they’ve hit that perfectly. I don’t like coffee, so I normally don’t want big coffee flavors in my beer but this wasn’t over powering and played well with the chocolate.  Like I said; three decent, clean beers with not a clunker in the bunch.  Good first impression.

My daughter gave the pizza thumbs up.  She ordered a meatball, roasted garlic and spinach pizza and it arrived promptly and hot.  She thought the sauce was good and that the crust had a nice crunch to it.  But she also felt the pizza was a little thin on the toppings.  What can I say, my daughter loves her toppings, lol.

Sadly this was just a quick stop.  I hope to get back in there soon and hang out a little longer and maybe get a look-see at their set up.  If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.  In the mean time if you’re in the area, give Argilla Brewing Company a try.  Watching a young brewpub grow into its own is one of the fun things about watching the craft beer scene.  Having one growing in your own backyard is really fun.

Time for another beer….and maybe a slice of pizza….

The Dogs of Beer. That’s our in-house pizza reviewer in the back.


GABF Results – Delaware

The old adage is Location, Location, Location.  And although that phrase was coined for business real estate, it definitely can be applied to other aspects of life.  And since this is a beer blog (for the most part), I’m sure you can already see where this is going.

If you locked 50 beer lovers from around the country in a room and asked them where is the hub of craft brewing in America you’d likely get 52 different opinions.  That’s the level of debate that can run wild when you get beer lovers together arguing over where the best place to live is if you want to best experience the craft beer revolution.  And most of those people arguing the virtues of their selected area would have valid points.  Let’s face it, when it comes to craft beer there are a lot of amazing cornerstones around the US.  People from Seattle, Portland, Boulder, NY, etc can all easily argue how special their place in the craft beer world is.  That’s why I always get strange looks when I tell people that I feel lucky to be enjoying the craft beer growth from – Delaware.

Yes, Delaware.  Definitely not the first place that jumps into your mind when you think of the craft beer revolution, but I think the thought has merit none the less.  First, I’m only two and a half hours or less from NYC, Baltimore and Washington DC.  Places like Rattle N Hum, Blind Tiger, Max’s Taphouse, and Bier Baron (the former Brickskeller) are just a day trip away.   Also, brew establishments such as Stoudt’s, Sly Fox, Yards, Nodding Head, and Triumph are within a reasonable car drive away.

As far as Delaware itself, well everyone knows Dogfish Head, but we have some other breweries doing some amazing things as well.  The Iron Hill chain, with locations in Newark and at the Wilmington Riverfront (as well of their locations outside Delaware) are pushing the limits of craft beer by allowing the brewers at each location free rein to create beers that they find interesting.  And of course there is Stewart’s who make solid beers and build a clientele that enjoys what they have to offer.

But it’s not just the brewpubs that are doing well.  Brewer’s Twin Lakes showed up a few years ago as well as the new kids on the block Evolution Brewing and 16 Mile Brewing.  All which are brewing beers that are beginning to gain tap room at local bars.  And then there’s Fordham, who when their brewery in Maryland got to small they pulled up stakes and moved to Dover, DE where they’ve flourished quite nicely.

So with that in mind I’d like to salute my state’s metal wins at the 2011 GABF.  Congratulations guys, can’t wait to be at the bar tasting your metal winning beers!  And to all the other GABF winners who are just a day drive away – I’ll be seeing you all sometime soon as well.

Congratulations to the  2011 GABF metal winners from Delaware! :

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant:
Bronze    Vienna Red Lager             Vienna-Style Lager
Bronze    Grand Inquisitor              Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Silver      Russian Imperial Stout    Imperial Stout

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery:
Silver      Chateau Jiahu                     Specialty Beer
Bronze    Midas Touch                       Specialty Honey Beer

Stewart’s Brewing Co.:
Bronze     Maibock                               Bock

Time for another beer!  Maybe a metal winner!

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