Just outside of Wilmington in the sleepy village of Claymont, HANGMAN BREWING COMPANY sprung into action March ’20 after a years worth of delays. Inside a tan-bricked mall (with blue awning) at the Town & Country Shopping Center at a former lawnmower repair shop, Hangman’s founding manager Brad Wagner and head brewer Matthew Presley then had to shutdown due to Covid19 before reopening the tavern-like brewpub many moths hence.
A cavernous pipe-exposed ceiling provides airy spaciousness to Hangman’s otherwise compact one-room main space. An octagon-shaped, railroad tie-fronted lacquered wood bar (with 16 tap handles and 20 seats) spreads across one side of the cement-floored interior while high chair-bound seating and a cornered music stage fill out the rest. A mezzanine area and small outdoor caged deck provide further seating.
Local wines and spirits are available alongside a steady stream of fine small-batch ales emanating from the brew tanks hidden behind the bar.
My wife and I converse with bartender Mo Russ and proprietor Wagner while downing four rangy (generically named) IPA’s, a snazzy tripel, a fruited sour and flagship cream ale.
Basic maize-dried barleycorn crisping suited grassy-hopped Hangman Light, a dry cream ale with mild herbal snips.
Salted passionfruit tartness surfaced alongside sour lime for slightly acidic Passionfruit Sour, a mouth-puckering sucker given guava, gooseberry and white grape wisps.
A fulsome standout, Belgian Tripel loaded lemon-wedged orange peel zesting and banana bubblegum sweetness with spicy white-peppered Chardonnay buttering above honeyed wheat base.
Dewy compost earthiness sunk into the orange-tangerine oiling of Citra-hopped American IPA, an oats-based moderation.
A fruity bouquet propels East Coast IPA, leaving red berry, red cherry, navel orange and tangerine tanginess as well as perfumed grapefruit zesting to outdo its piney remnant.
Tingly sugar-spiced orange, pineapple and grapefruit juiciness sparked wood-dried West Coast IPA.
Floral-perfumed lemony orange spicing paced dry Hazy IPA, a vaguely New England-styled medium body.