The Delmarva Peninsula is a land mass surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Three states have territory on the peninsula – Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia – hence the portmanteau. Amongst my vacation souvenirs from our trip to Rehoboth Beach were a few beers that are brewed on the peninsula. Two from Delaware and one from Maryland. That’s Rosie happily posing with this trio of Delmarva beer or she’s simply wondering when I was going to move the beer out of her way.
16 Mile – Inlet IPA
Tasting: August 10, 2012
This one is from a relatively new brewery located in Georgetown, Delaware — 16 Mile. I like the origin of the name as explained on the side of the six-pack holder. The first incorporated town in Delaware was Lewes which is located on the easternmost coast of Sussex County. In the 18th century, a petition prompted the county seat to be moved from Lewes to the centrally located Georgetown. It goes on to explain that the petition described Georgetown as the perfect location because it is “16 miles from everything” in the county. The brewery has adopted “16 miles from everything” as a marketing slogan. For a newer brewery, they’ve done a nice job of getting their brand out to bars, liquor stores — and even the ferry terminals in Cape May and Lewes. Their lineup looks fairly typical – five regulars and one seasonal. I assume it’s a start. My nephew mentioned that they were working on a hot fudge sundae beer. I’m not sure if someone was pulling his leg, but I’m sure it could be done.
Strong herbal, grassy and peppery hops up front — and some subtle sweet caramel malts. But a bit clunky throughout. Hops are simply unpleasant and lingering. I’m left to wish the malt was a bit more in focus and the hops weren’t just bitter for the sake of being bitter. A good IPA needs to have balance and a harmonious transition of flavor. On the plus side – mouthfeel is creamy and carbonation is subtle. I’ll put it at 79 points.
Evolution – Lot No. 3 IPA
Tasting: August 11, 2012
Hailing from Salisbury, Maryland is Evolution Craft Brewing Company. The name of this beer simply indicates that there were two “test batches” before they settled on the third as their “definitive IPA”. Frankly, I wish other brewers would go back to the drawing board with their IPA offerings (not so subtle jab at 16 Mile…). Like a lot of labels these days – this one gives a complete rundown of all the beer’s vital statistics. As always you can read about brewing terms in my glossary HERE . Let’s start with degrees plato, which is the original gravity (OG) of this beer. A highly dense beer (filled with ingredients fermentable or otherwise) should be about 18 to 20-degree threshold. If that’s “extra large”, I’ll put this 15.8 degree IPA as a “medium/large”. A high gravity number usually leads to a high alcohol by volume (ABV). Since our OG was medium/large – I’d expect the same in ABV and at 6.8%, it seems about right. Lastly, IBU — or International Bittering Units — this one is 60. I’d call that a medium in an IPA – but bitterness isn’t all a hop contributes. So the label tells me that I should expect a floral hop with a subtle bitterness and a fair to the subtle sweet base.
Actually, it doesn’t take more than a sip to find that this is a wonderful IPA. I compare the flavor to fruit loops. A wonderfully bright combination of tropical fruit and citrus from the hop and sugary sweetness of the malts. Has some interesting mint flavor tucked in the back as well. Perfectly balanced. Having this on the heels of the 16 Mile offering is like night and day. Smooth carbonation and creamy mouthfeel. I’ll put this one at 92 points — really nice. I’m glad I opted to buy the whole six pack instead of the single bottle.
Old Dominion – Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
Tasting: August 11, 2012
Style: Stout (Barrel Aged)
I thought I had the three state trifecta – but the name of the brewery confused me. I originally thought that it was a reference to Virginia — since the state’s nickname is Old Dominion. But this one is made right in Delaware’s state capital – Dover. A little research shows me that the brewery originated in Washington DC and grew beyond its capacity and relocated to their current site. This one recently became available in New Jersey – but I carted one home from Delaware nonetheless.
I had high hopes for this one. It said it was dry-beaned with vanilla beans and aged with oak chips — but this stout is quite watery, fizzy and lacking in complexity. Only a slight bit of roasted grain and some creamy sweetness. I’ll put it at an 80.