First State Brewing Company in MIddletown nears opening


Inside a grey aluminum Industrial warehouse with large black-lettered FIRST STATE BREWING insignia, this spacious northern Delaware pub opened for biz, December 2020. Crafting a diverse range of stylishly ‘classic’ brews, First State concentrates on delivering a host of IPA’s alongside several charming one-offs and a few recurring faves.

A pristine high ceilinged watering hole at Middletown, Delaware’s Levels Business Park (a few miles from Crooked Hammock), this freestanding brewhouse boasts an elongated 25-seat bar with glass-encased tanks, a stainless steel kitchen (serving fine pub fare) and several metal chaired tables.

There are 20 taps along the tiled backbar while exposed pipes line the walls and white hop coned lamps light the bar. Three TV’s show college football bowl games and the electronic beer menu lists today’s fare.

A black metal-furnished side deck offers further seating.

On New Years Day, 2022, I imbibed seven sundry suds.

First State Brewing — Marshall Adams

Crisply dry helles lager, Downright Upright, plied raw-honeyed mineral graining and hay-like barnyard leathering to mildly perfumed herbal hops over bready pale malts.

Sedate lemon-candied banana and clove entry gained floral cologne fragrance for Lucid Refraction, a doughy-bottomed hefeweizen.

Zesty orange-peeled grapefruit tang gains mild herbal-tinged piney hop dankness for double dry-hopped IPA, Mystic Illusion, leaving white peach, pineapple and cherry illusions in its wake.

Better still, resonantly soft-toned Mosiac-Citra-Galaxy-hopped tropical fruit spicing sent lemony orange-peeled grapefruit zesting across tangy pineapple, peach and tangerine sweetness contrasting guava-passionfruit sour end of Persistent Illusion, a delightful oated wheat sugared India Pale Ale.

Tripel Beaming - First State Brewing Company - Untappd

Interesting off-dry Belgian-styled moderate-medium body, Beaming Tripel, brought light black peppering to floral lemon-licked honeysuckle adjunct slightly sweetened by beet-sugared dextrose malts as tart Lemondrop hops glisten for bitter herbal cellar funk.

Stylishly a tad dryer, Quadratic Quadrangle, let candi-sugared plum, fig and cherry tartness seep inside tobacco-roasted cocoa malting.

Penetrative Nicaraguan medium-roast coffee overtones punctuated by tarry walnut-seared dark chocolate bittering and wood-burnt hop char of dry Black Lotus, letting silky lactose creaming envelop its bold java theme.



A funky aluminum-topped farmhouse shack with rounded tin grain roof silo, Middletown’s CROOKED HAMMOCK BREWERY became the franchise’s third location autumn 2019. The rustic 7,000 square-foot pub boasts a hammock-packed backyard and slightly upscale pub menu to go alongside the varied proprietary beer.

A family friendly brew-centric sportsbar, its cement-floored multi-roomed interior features a separate left side dining area and tree bark-enclosed backspace. Large exposed pipes cover the low ceiling and an overhead door leads to the large turf-grounded back deck (with strung Edison lights, covered tiki bar, bocce court, horseshoe pit, cornhole boards and a tiled sequoia firepit lounge).

Plastic chaired tables crowd the outside deck area where my wife and I (plus Roscoe the dog) grab a cranberry pumpkin ricotta dip to go alongside nine delicious brews.

Vintage clear purple-bronzed Delaware Punch sour ale knockoff, Wonder Punch, offered sweet-tart grape soda sugaring to just a hint of lemon lime souring.

Salty strawberry toaster pastry, Tardy Pass, an Imperial Sour Ale, hoisted lemon-limed brining and oaken vanilla into tart orange-juiced strawberry rhubarb.

Arguably the best fruited sour, pink magenta-hued FrankenBooBerry let milk-sugared blueberry-strawberry tartness gain aspirin-like cherry buffer, wispy cranberry-guava souring and mild oaken vanilla tannins.

Lactose-heavy Berliner Weiss, Brand New Day: Pomegranate Plum Vanilla, coalesced lime-salted pomegranate with plummy guava souring to contrast sweet vanilla resilience.

Crisp cucumber-salted watermelon rind earthiness contrasted lesser cantaloupe sweetness for fruited kolsch, One In A Melon, leaving cologne-wafted floral spicing on the dry finish.

“Bright” hazy pale ale, Sultana Sun, let mild juniper hop bittering affect juicy pineapple tang and mixed berry tartness over subdued pine resin dankness.

Juicy pink guava picked up grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and dank wood tones for briskly clean tropical IPA, Bless Up – Pink Guava, combining hard-candied El Dorado, citric-acidic Cashmere and passionfruit-tinged Zappa hops.

Floral-daubed citrus zesting paced Party In The Back, an earthen-bottomed Imperial IPA plying yellow grapefruit bittering and lemon sourness to orange peel sweetness.

Cherrywood-smoked pumpkin salting seeped into the freshly ground black coffee entry of autumnal Jav-O-Lantern, a peppery soy-sauced dry body.