Taking Maryland by storm, EVOLUTION CRAFT BREWING COMPANY quickly became a staple in the Eastern Shore’s biggest city, Salisbury, when it opened for biz during 2012. An aluminum-sided industrial edifice houses the spacious microbrewery, which includes high ceiling restaurant-bar area (with 2 TV’s, booths, tables and exposed ducts), gray-bricked storage room (with oak tables and retired wood barrels), far right tasting room and roomy front deck.
My wife and I grab a seat under one of the deck’s red umbrella-covered tables during a sunshine-filled Sunday afternoon in April ’13. Two guys on acoustic guitar are playing the Grateful Dead’s “Eyes Of The World” as we get ready to order. On top of the incredible in-house tapped choices (crafted in the large silos and silver tanks in the rear), Evolution’s bottled and kegged product has made quite a splash in all local craft beer stores sojourned across the Old Line State.
Alongside French onion soup and crab cakes, I settle into Evolution’s four flagship beers. First up, sessionable Exile ESB spread dry-hopped dark crystal and caramel malts atop honeyed whole grain breading, wispy plum-date spicing and herbaceous floral resin.
Next up, dry-bodied Primal Pale Ale laced wet-papered citrus tones with light mineral-watered pine hops. More aggressively hopped, piney citrus-spiced Lot #3 India Pale Ale loaded grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering with crystal malt-sugared peach, melon, pineapple, mango, papaya and passion fruit tropicalia.
On the dark side, dry Lucky 7 Porter plied dark-roasted chocolate malting to mild peat-smoked coffee, toffee and molasses illusions as well as tertiary black grape, green raisin and dark cherry undertones.
Nearly as popular as the flagship offerings, elite Rise Up Stout drapes subtle organic roasted coffee bittering above generous Baker’s chocolate, dark cocoa and espresso notions for a perfectly relaxing after dinner treat.
Another mocha-bound offering, Prelude Black Ale, saddled freeze-dried coffee overtones with molasses-draped dark chocolate and Belgian-malted rye wheat.
I got to try my wife’s red-peppered provolone and fontina grilled cheese sandwich while quaffing two Belgian-styled ales. Witbier-like Incubator #1 splotched orange-peeled coriander spicing across dry grassy hops and white wheat graining.
Better was wildflower honey-spiced Special 608 Belgian Amber, a lemony grapefruit-influenced medium body with perfumed hops and wood-dried mildewing.
Before taking the short 4 PM brew tour, dipped into mild citric-soured maibock-like Summer Session, where wood-oiled floral hops seeped into lemon-rotted orange and grapefruit bittering as well as black-peppered peated rye.
On my second stopover, April 2016, my wife and I grabbed a few seats across from the bar to munch on delicious Evo Dip Sampler & Pretzels (with crab, onion and beer-cheesed dips) alongside five previously untried brews.
Light-bodied springtime blonde ale, Sprung, brought its tangy apple-peach-orange-cherry cluster and floral-perfumed chamomile honeying to leafy hop resin.
Part of Evolution’s Migration Series, well-defined Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale caressed its vinous white-wined champagne sourness with acidic lemon pungency, oaken vanilla tannins and acrid barnyard funk, leaving a silken Chardonnay warmth at the mellow finish.
Emphatic pineapple-juiced Pine’hop’le IPA brought tangy grapefruit and orange zest as well as ancillary mango-papaya-passionfruit tropicalia to piney hop dryness (without losing its sharp pineapple overtures).
On the dark side, fantastic Prelude Black nestled dark-roasted mocha malts with molasses-sapped brown chocolate sugaring and mild vanilla sweetness atop mildly spiced dried fruiting.
Before exiting, Cathy (Russian Imperial Stout) jammed brown chocolate creaminess and burnt coffee bittering into burgundy-licked dried fruiting.
Stayed at La Quinta Inn across the street from Evolution to try three more previously untried libations, June ’16. Must admit, the food’s dynamite as well. My wife and I shared a flavorful ricotta-cheesed Kale and Quinoa Grain Salad (with beets and walnuts). And the fresh tuna entree truly delivered.
As for the yellow suds, light-bodied blonde ale, Summer Session, brought lemon-seeded wood tones, mandarin orange zest, sweet barley-oats, dry maize and delicate spicing to its white-breaded bottom.
Equally as sessionable, Czech Pils-styled Delmarva Pure Pils draped floral citrus zest and sugary spices above dank earth tones and dainty pilsner malts.
Bets bet: Special 608 Belgian Amber, a dazzling candi-sugared dark ale, gained a syrupy dried fruiting over mild floral spiced hops, leaving honeyed fig, raisin, banana and overtones to sweeten the finish.
Once again ventured down Delmarva’s Route 13 to grab lunch at Evolution, August ’17. Wife and I enjoyed flat-breaded vegan dip sampler (with hummus, cucumber bruschetta and olive tapenade) alongside three previously untried beers.
An unnamed summer ’17 Belgian Ale hybrid brought raw-honeyed herbal funk and cereal grained grist to sweet ‘n sour orange spicing.
Then, lime-fronted Hops Limon IPA gained a zesty edge as cologne-perfumed grapefruit and orange rind bittering bested grassy-hopped lemongrass herbage.
For dessert, dry Roasty Oats Oatmeal Stout draped milk-sugared black chocolate across musky German hop pungency and raw molasses bittering.