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.
On New Years Eve, 2021, revisited Hangman to imbibe another four diverse brews.
Lemony raspberry spritz gained vinous green grape tartness as well as sour raw honeyed respite for Honey Raspberry Lemonade Sour, tendering a puckered sweet-tart finish.
Dryly soft-toned NEIPA, Frosty The Hangman, brought candi-sugared Belgian yeast to delicate mandarin orange, tangerine and tangelo tanginess for a lovely Belgo-American treat.
Dry English Brown Ale, Dark, let dewy brown leaf astringency pick up oily nuttiness above its burnt toast base.
Mild ancho-adobo peppering and lightly seared nutty dark chocolate swayed Hot Kat Porter, leaving wintry spices on the back end.