Just in case you needed a little help understanding the reference in the title. If you don't know what this is from, please do yourself a huge favor and rent "Wayne's World" immediately.
On our way to Boston, Casey and I had talked about trying not to rush to get from place to place, and decided we wanted to take our time getting from Boston to Asheville. We wound up doing the 13 or so hour drive in 6 days, with overnight stops in a handful of cities, and one two night stop in Lewes, DE. Aside from having gorgeous craftsman style homes and nice beaches, coastal Delaware also happens to be home to one of the biggest (13th largest craft brewery in 2014), and certainly one of the most innovative craft breweries in the U.S., Dogfish Head.
2015 marks their 20th anniversary, and during that time, they've opened a brewpub, a super fancy production facility, and most recently, the Dogfish Inn, a 16 room hotel/motel located approximately equidistant between the production facility and the brewpub. We headed to Lewes with the intention of having the ultimate Dogfish Head 360º experience, and that is exactly what we did.
When we got to Delaware, we stopped at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats for a much needed late lunch/early dinner and some beer. The brewpub is where Dogfish Head originated, and they still use the small batch system to brew experimental beers served exclusively in the brewpub. Our personal favorite was the Bloodborne- but I'm a sucker for an IPA loaded with citrusy hops that's made even more citrusy with the addition of actual citrus juice. We also tried the Mullet a Trois, which is a blend of beer, wine, and cider- I don't know if it was the unseasonably warm weather, but I wasn't a huge fan of the spice in this one. Still, I thought the blend was an interesting idea, and I really liked the name! The staff here was also super knowledgable and friendly. Phil, the brewpub manager, was kind enough to take us in back and show us the 10 gallon brew system Dogfish Head started on. We also did a small bottle trade, where we picked up some Dogfish rarities. We were particularly excited about the Pennsylvania Tuxedo, a spruce infused collaboration beer with Woolrich.
We heard through the grapevine that the brewpub will be closing to make way for a new high end seafood forward restaurant called Chesapeake and Maine. I hate seafood with every fiber of my being, but I will totally visit once it is open just to drink good beer and hang out with the fantastic people who will undoubtedly be working there.
- After late lunch/early dinner (linner?), we headed to the Dogfish Inn to check into our room.There was a large lobby with tables, chairs, a fireplace, free coffee and Dogfish merchandise available for sale. This is where we were greeted by the "inn mate on duty", Britt, who gave us our key and all the information we needed to have a successful stay.
The Inn definitely has a motel vibe (which makes sense, since it used to be the Vesuvio Motel). Adjacent to the lobby building, there are 16 rooms spread across two floors, with doors that open to the outside.
The rooms themselves are beautiful, with a minimalist design that is somehow manages to be both very modern and a total throwback (think family vacation in a cabin in the Poconos, only for people who have nice things).
In addition to the sleek furniture, the rooms are outfitted with Dogfish Head merchandise (beach chairs, bags, a Woolrich blanket) that is yours to use during the stay, and available for purchase in the lobby. I couldn't get over how on brand the inn was, without being cartoonish about it.
I mean, seriously! Even their trash vessels were on brand!
We spent the evening sipping beers around the fire pit (Yes, they have a fire pit, and yes, we were gathered around it in December!), and since it was slow, Britt was happy to hang out with us and talk about all things Dogfish. I spent the rest of our time in Delaware smelling like a campfire, and I was totally okay with that.
The tour lasted about an hour, and focused a lot on the history and philosophy of Dogfish Head. Our tour guide did talk about the brewing process, but the tour was definitely more anecdotal than technical, which I appreciated. We also had lunch at Bunyan's Lunchbox, the food trailer outside the tasting room at the brewery. It certainly wasn't the wurst sausage I ever had.
On our way back to the inn, we passed a small farmers market with some animals out front. I saw goats, lost my shit (as one does), and made Casey stop so we could say hi. It turns out the farm was much larger than it appeared from the road, and the owner let me go inside one of the barns to see some baby goats. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the beer at the brewery, but baby goats may have been the highlight of our time in Delaware.
Honestly, coastal Delaware wasn't entirely on the way from Boston to Asheville, but it was more or less in the right direction, and Dogfish Head is a brewery I have been dying to check out since I started getting into craft beer over a decade ago. Their 60 minute IPA is the first craft beer I remember drinking (i.e. the first craft beer I'll admit to drinking), and I've always appreciated the that they do some pretty intellectual and out there things with their beer. Stopping here also allowed us to embrace the free spiritedness we had aspired to when originally planning our trip, which was an added bonus.
We both enjoyed Lewes and the surrounding areas so much that I was looking for jobs on Dogfish Head's website (and wondering how quickly I could learn to become a video editing expert) while Casey perused Craigslist to scope out the cost of living. We are still planning to call Asheville home, but it was nice to know that if we unexpectedly hated it there, we had a solid plan B. At the very least, we will for sure be back for another visit.