I had an amazing, glorious birthday weekend. Despite the fact I am a little under the weather, the experiences I was able to share with my husband and close friends were untarnished. Sunday, we went to Milton, DE for the Grain to Glass tour at Dogfish Head Brewery. The primo shit. We talked about doing this from our first sip of Dogfish Head beer in December, and my birthday seemed like the perfect time.
We arrived a little more than two hours ahead of our tour time to visit their new onsite Kitchen and drink a shit load of exclusive beers. They are set up to be a hangout spot before or after a tour, thankfully. There is a ton of outdoor seating and games to be played. You were allowed to take your drinks outside among the fun after ordering.
One thing to keep in mind if you plan a visit is that the kitchen is not a restaurant in the traditional sense. No one seats you. No one comes out to take your order. It’s a walk up window that totally fits with the laidback vibe all around the brewery. Their menu is constantly shifting between a variety of quick cook, delicious foods. I ate so much. I drank so much. The brewery itself is an out of the way destination that unfolded in three pars.
The Kitchen itself may be small, but it’s treats are mighty. Cumulatively, our party must have ate our way through the entire menu. They produced everything from Calzones to pulled pork sandwiches at lightning speed. It was something to watch. We got the food faster than we could get inside and fight the other patrons to order a flight of beer.
It was all delicious, but the pulled pork sandwich was the star of the show to me. The spent grain bun cradled pork in a flavorful sauce perfectly. A minimal slaw at the bottom added a much needed crunch. The sauce never intermingled with the slaw below or soaked the bread, a problem I find on a lot of barbeque sandwiches. It’s thickness kept it firmly on the pulled pork, and it added a soft heat to the meat that could be amplified by the hot sauces available at the counter.
Their calzones were a gem of the menu as well. They served cheese and meat varieties, both of which packed unique flavors. Much to my husband’s delight, the cheese variety did not contain tomato sauce. The filing had a nice, stringy pull when you bit into it. The garlicky sauce inside was enough that you did not miss the marinare.
When I did get a marinara sauce inside the meat calzone, the sauce brought a ton of flavor to the sausage they packed inside. It mingled with the melted cheese, adding on what I believe to be the same cheese blend used in the dedicated calzone. I could write about every damn item, but then we would never progress to the good stuff.
The Kitchen is a reasonable upgrade to the food truck set up that the brewery ran with prior to its opening. It can serve as quickly and do a little bit more creative food out of the set location, for which I am most grateful. I look forward to visiting it in the future with beer drinking family.
The Tasting Room
The actual bar of the brewery was incredible. It was standing room only with very few seats, but with the seating outside, it did not matter. For one thing, they had a number of exclusives available from their R&D brewing department that you can’t get anywhere else but that very spot. The classics, of course, were also available alongside the exclusives and seasonals. It was all too much beer for one trip, but there was something for everyone to try. Beer flights went for only six dollars, and you get a free one at the end of the Grain to Glass tour. Plenty of chances to try at least half of what they have available.
The staff is awesome. Everyone acts like they really want to be there, and they give you a suggestion as to which order to drink the selection for your flight. They didn’t do this for me when I got a flight at Brewings and Eats, not that I mind. The suggestions did make for a more enjoyable tasting experience, however.
I drink a lot of beer when I go out, usually all Dogfish Head, so there seemed to be few items I needed to focus on. The real discoveries came during the actual tour when I was offered samples outside of my normal wheelhouse. I want to discuss those, however, in a separate article for the tour itself which will come this weekend.
Even if you can’t make it out for the Grain To Glass tour or any of their other cheaper and free options, the Kitchen and the Tasting Room are a fun place to go if you are looking for good, cheap food and drink to share with a party. I can’t imagine just going with my husband, but it was so much fun with my friends Josh and Amanda.
Keep an eye out for my article about the tour, coming Saturday, July 21.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
Pledge monthly to our patreon!
Or, you know, support the mission with caffeine! Buy me a coffee through Ko-Fi.