South of Wilmington, inconspicuous town of Bear boasted sturdy blue-collar hangout, STEWART’S BREWING COMPANY, visited February ’06, November ’07, and August ‘08. In Governor’s Square Mall behind Mc Donald’s, its brick façade entrance opens to central bar sidled by right-left dining areas. Multi-televisions plus darts, video golf, and trivia contests provide sports bar atmosphere.
Right-sided brick-enclosed brew kettles served cereal-grained woody-hopped softie Governor’s Golden Ale, dry red-fruited India Pale Ale, sticky caramel-malted red apple-candied Irish Red Ale, and meagerly dark-fruited crystal-malted date-fig-tinged Big Bear Amber Ale, February ’06.
Better were alcohol-smitten, piney hop-embittered, floral apple-orange-cherry-centered, brandy-candied Lockjaw Double IPA (propelled by grapefruit peel surge), biscuit-y raspberry-seeded sweet-corned Wacky Wheat Ale, dry wood-smoked espresso-linked black coffee-like Pacific Coast Porter, and sugary citric-tart lemon-curried alcohol-sharp Stumblin’ Monk Triple.
November ’07 offerings included wood lacquered twig-leafed grapefruit rind-embittered Rocky Mountain IPA, pumpkin pie-crusted, cinnamon-allspice-clove-spiced, hop-tingled Mischief Night Pumpkin Ale, and Band-aid-wafted, wood-smoked, tobacco-chewed, Belgian chocolate-sopped, black coffee-finishing Smoked Porter.
Best bet: black chocolate-y hop-toasted nut-roasted coffee-beaned softie Highlander Stout.
August ’08, enjoyed Maryland Crab Bisque after soaking up oaken vanilla-softened bourbon-blustered hop-roasted firewood-charred Bourbon Stout (with its black cherry, white grape and green raisin souring).
For dessert, thoroughly enjoyed Cherry Dubbel, a Belgian-styled Abbey Hoffman Dark Strong Ale re-fermented with raspy sour cherries. Its smoothly medicinal cherry-ripened surge received candi-sugared cranberry, mulberry, and red grape tartness.