At the back of an industrial mall zone in a silver aluminum building, MISPILLION RIVER BREWING came into existence in the autumn of 2013 when married Delaware natives and co-founders Eric and Megan Williams hooked up with a few interested partners and brewmaster Ryan Maloney to spread their passion for well-crafted homemade beer.
Just beyond Milford’s quaint downtown, this unadorned (as of April 2016) brewery utilizes a rustic cement-floored tap room with 10 bar seats, wood tables, 2 TV’s, Christmas tree lighting, high barn-like ceiling and refrigerator with beer-to-go. Three 15-barrel stainless steel brew tanks are windowed behind the tap room and a few patio tables adorn the adjoining caged yard connected by overhead doors.
Developing over 100 small batch recipes since its inauguration, Mispillion River has continued to beat expectations by keeping the quality of varied suds at a high level. Expect fast expansion for the brewery since its most popular brews (Reach Around IPA, Holy Crap! Imperial Red Ale and Black Tie IPA) have started getting canned on-site and are widely available locally (and reviewed in full at Beer Index).
The lightest draft offerings on my April ’16 rendezvous were citric-splashed Space Otter Pale Ale, a tropical delight with lemony orange zest and light guava-melon-apricot illusions sprinkled atop dank piney hop bittering. Then there was spritzy Diddy Kong, a mild hefeweizen with lemony banana-clove sweetness grazing its oaks-flaked white wheat spine.
Nearly as polite, Reach Around IPA stayed stylistically moderate with its lemony grapefruit-orange bittering and Seltzer-like spritz softened by clean mineral-watered crisping.
A welcome hybrid, winter-spiced Sentman Apple Pie Apple doused its cinnamon apple piquancy with a lightly minted grapefruit-pineapple-orange tang.
Just a tad stronger, ESD Double IPA delivered floral-spiced citrus crisping to pungent pine needling, becoming sugarier as tangy lemon, grapefruit, orange, mango and clementine illusions ascend.
Maybe the finest offering, holiday-seasoned Miss Betty, an easygoing brown-sugared spice ale, gathered subtle vanilla bean, maple syrup and candied pecan adjuncts as well as wispy sweet potato hints.
Made for breakfast, Rise Or Shine Coffee Stout brought coffee-creamed espresso pungency and black-malted dark chocolate bittering to its sugary oats-flaked spine.
For dessert, milk chocolate-y Poundtown Imperial Porter sweetened over time as barley-flaked black malts drifted away to expose the delicious caramel nougat center.
Becoming the first onsite customers at Mispillion River since Covid-19 closed down the state for a few months, my noontime June ’20 venture with wife and dog would lead us to sunny Rehoboth Beach afterwards. But not before trying eight more sassy homemade suds at the rustic covered side deck (with stringed party lights, nautical metal art sculpture and salvaged furnishings).
Dry corn-buttered pale malts, raw-grained wheat straw rusticity and mild barnyard acridity ushered in pungently earthen Yard Bird, a Euro-styled light lager with hints of musky dried floral herbage.
Briskly floral rosé lager, Ladybug, a quirky hybrid enjoining mild raspberry-pureed rose hips to lemony sparkling champagne spritz, maintained its confectionery sweet-tart snap.
Sweet ‘n sour strawberry zing received hard-candied citric souring and lactic vanilla milkshake creaming for frosty cellar-funked Strawberry Jacuzzi Wild Ale.
A dryer take on a Belgian tripel, Deathly Hallows relegated candi-sugared banana-clove sweetness and peachy quince snips for black-white peppered herbage and musty Belgian yeast funk.
Sharp floral-tinged grapefruit rind bittering and zesty orange peel perfuming rubbed against pungently resinous piney hops for Z-J, a creamy crystal-malted Imperial India Pale Ale hopheads will devour.
Lemon-wedged coffee roast gained creamy vanilla spicing for Seven Swords, an amber-cleared white stout with latent dark-roast hop char crowding cocoa-nibbed dark chocolate malting.
A tad dryer stylistically, Hagrid Imperial Stout let milk-sugared coffee tones infiltrate dark chocolate, espresso and anise whims over maple-sapped oats.
Tarry Blackstrap molasses deepened the dark chocolate, medium-roast coffee and black licorice montage guiding oats-sugared Wonka Bar, a decadent milk stout evoking the toffee-nutted mocha candy bar its named after.