It’s been a long time coming for my visit to Mispillion River Brewing in Milford, Delaware but I finally was able to stop in for some brews during my annual September at the Beach vacation. Last year, I had hoped to stop by but my schedule was just too packed. And, that was quite disappointing since I had been hearing tons of good things about the place.I did have a couple of their brews on tap at local restaurants we ate at and thought they were excellent.
So in 2015, I HAD to make time to enjoy more of what they had to offer. It was my top priority. Ok. Maybe relaxing on the beach was my top priority but Mispillion was next in line!
It was a downpour kind of a day when I decided to make the trek from Rehoboth Beach to Milford. The drive was about 40 minutes from where I was staying. I couldn’t sunbathe on the beach in the rain so I might as well keep dry in a craft brewery sipping on, well, everything they had on draft.
The variety of beer styles on the taplist was quite impressive, especially for such a young brewery; Mispillion has only been open since May 2013. Lately when I’ve been reading about or visiting new breweries it feels like it’s the same thing again and again and again: A malt-forward IPA, a coffee-flavored Stout, a standard Red Ale and a play-it-safe Pale Ale.
But check it out: there were 11 styles to choose from and I couldn’t wait to dig in. Thankfully, they offer flights for purchase at $2 a sample glass, so you can sample as much as or as little as you’d like. I went with the “as much as” path and ordered all 11.
Please note the draft list changes frequently so there’s always something different for you when you visit, which basically means, I’ll have to go back again and again to continue exploring some of Delaware’s finest craft beer.
You can count on experiencing their 4 flagship brews: Holy Crap! Imperial Red Ale, Space Otter Pale Ale, Reach Around IPA, Black Tie Black IPA. But beyond that, it’s an ever-changing, tasty lineup.
If I had to pick favorites from the flight, I’d have to say the Space Otter (Pale Ale), Tart Berry (Berliner Weisse), Belgian Gold (Belgian Golden) and Chupacabra (Mojito Blonde). They all received a 4.5 in Untappd from me. Everything else I rated between a 4 and 4.25 so really it was splitting hairs to choose the best of the list.
By the way, did you notice the giant glass full of goldfish crackers? Mispillion doesn’t have a kitchen to serve food but they do have snacks for their guests. The bartender asked, “Would you like Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar or Pretzel?” My answer: “Both!” It was lunch time and my husband and I were starving. There’s no doubt we ate an equivalent of two bags of goldfish.
You can find cans of Mispillion in various locations throughout Delaware. Starting this month, to celebrate Halloween, their flagship beers come in a slightly different can design. Each can mascot has been “zombified” by artist, Tom Ryan (who does all their can designs).
To the left is a photo that shows a six-pack of the normal, stylish Black Tie IPA bird on the top and on the bottom is the bloodied, crazed and zombified Black Tie IPA bird. (limited edition)
What formerly housed a blacksmith business, now is a beautiful, stylish taproom. The decor at Mispillion is a mix of raw industrial elements and natural pieces. From the concrete floors to the hand hewn wooden bar top, it just feels comfortable and unpretentious. There’s even board games for patrons on rainy days such as this when you can’t be outside on their patio to enjoy the fire pit.
Tasting Room Hours
- Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
- Monday 12 pm – 10 pm
- Tuesday 12 pm – 10 pm
- Wednesday 12 pm – 10 pm
- Thursday 12 pm – 10 pm
- Friday 12 pm – 12 am
- Saturday 12 pm – 12 am
While sitting at the bar area in the taproom, you can see right into the brewery through a large glass window. Currently, Mispillion River Brewing is producing 110 barrels a month just to meet the demand of Delaware’s bars, restaurants, liquor stores, grocery stores, etc.
Two more 45 barrel fermentation tanks are being installed so that more beer can go out beyond the state. The goal is to eventually distribute in Philadelphia, PA, New Jersey, Baltimore, MD, Northern Virginia and D.C.
While I was visiting, Eric Williams (Owner), Lauren Bigelow (“Sales & Marketing Ninja”) and Ryan Maloney (“Head Brewer/Everything Specialist”) took me through the brewery to show me around. Eric started by explaining how the team transformed the empty shell of a building into what we see today as the taproom and brewery that’s almost filled to capacity with equipment and supplies. They just keep growing by leaps and bounds – as I noted above more fermentation tanks are being installed.
Eric and Ryan noted that part of their success, beyond brewing really well crafted beers, is that they always want to try and brew new recipes; constantly keeping their offerings fresh and rotating. The bars and restaurants that they sell to love that there’s always something new to put on their taps, and they keep coming back because of the variety in beer styles. We can thank Ryan for that. He’s so incredibly passionate about beer, brewing beer and pushing his brewing skills. While we walked through the space, he gave me a sample of an American Wild Ale that wasn’t yet available in the taproom. OMG. This garnered a 4.75 on Untappd from me. It was ridiculously good. Sweet, tart with just a mild funk. Beautiful red color and a fizzy mouthfeel. Oh, did I mention it was 9% ABV? What? There was no booziness what so ever. An easy drinker. I wanted to drink the whole tank of Retox. This was hands down a solid sour.
After the tour, we headed back to the taproom for another treat. A fresh can of Threat Level Purple. It’s an Imperial IPA that comes in at a whopping 11% ABV. Now that’s a big beer! It had a malt-forward profile and a lingering, sweet dankness that reminded me of 3 Floyds Brewing Co. Zombie Dust (6.2% ABV).
Needless to say, I snagged a 4-pack to go home with me.
FUN FACT: When Mispillion River Brewing first opened its doors with 8 beers on tap, the support of the community was so strong that tons of folks showed up and drank ALL. THE. BEER.
Many craft brewers do the commendable thing and give back to the community and/or charities. Mispillion is no exception. In 2014, local police officers purchased one of the fermentation tanks in the brewery in honor of fellow fallen officer, Chad Spicer from Georgetown, DE who was killed in the line of duty in 2009. A plaque is proudly displayed on the top of the tank.
Each year, Mispillion will brew a limited edition batch of beer to be bottled and sold to raise money for the National Criminal Enforcement Association’s Officer in Distress Fund. In February, 2015, the first ten bottles were auctioned off with proceeds going to the charity. The remaining 90 were sold for $30 each with $15 of each bottle going to the fund as well.
FUN FACT: Word has quickly spread among police officers all over the country. Now when an officer visits Mispillion’s taproom, they leave a patch to be displayed and hung over the bar in honor of Chad Spicer.
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