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Celebrating Coastal Delaware lifestyle, Rehoboth Beach-bound THOMPSON ISLAND BREWING COMPANY is a fantastic fun adventure for family, friends and beer lovers alike. Specializing not only in a fine selection of well-balanced rotating beers, but also award-winning fried chicken and wood-grilled steaks, this copious grain-siloed Route 1 landmark (one mile off the beach) features a turf-floored partially covered front deck and barn-walled back deck beer garden (with 10-seat fire pit, bocce board and ping pong tables) that surround a spacious high ceiling interior.

Inside Thompson Island Brewing, a U-shaped bar centers the large dining space that includes an open kitchen partly covered by a center-walled US flag, enormous right side aluminum brew tanks and extra back dining area.

My wife and I get warmed by the heated and enclosed back deck patio next to the beer garden on this mild January ’20 evening.

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The fried chicken dish went well with the five rangy beers I imbibed.

Lemony mandarin orange and coriander brightened Wave Check, a snazzy light-bodied witbier with lemongrass herbage, light vanilla creaming and white wheat spine.

Ambitious New England IPA, Fresh: Passionfruit, Mango, Tangerine regaled pulpy mango, grapefruit and tangerine juicing for its lactose-aided passionfruit yogurt souring and mild oats base, sporting latent orange-peeled nectarine, peach, pineapple and papaya sweetness.

Perfumed floral fruiting contrasted dankly resinous piney hops for copper-hued Maximum Effort Triple IPA, leaving grapefruit rind, orange peel, pineapple and peach tones upon the spiced-up pale malt bottom.

Mildly creamed dark chocolate syruping drapes milk-sugared coffee and toffee-candied sweetness for Cosmic Cow Milk Stout, but its tarry wood-charred dried fruiting goes beyond stylish resolve in a good way.

Lovely digestif, Canyons Imperial Stout, brought Blackstrap molasses sapping to milked coffee and dark cocoa tones over its maple oats bottom.

Crisply clean Little Friday Helles Lager, easy drinkin’ Loblolly Blonde Ale and two sour ales were also available this calm winter night.

During early June ’20 dinnertime trek, discovered five more enjoyable libations, three of which were truly divine India Pale Ales.

Novel crushed ice grenadine-like cocktail, Fresh Double Caribbean Frozen Slushee (a nifty Caribbean Punch Fruited Sour knockoff), gathered zestfully tart lemon-limed pomegranate juicing and tangy pineapple-passionfruit-guava sweetness for its lactic vanilla yogurt milking in a dazzling frozen setting.

Just as unique, cookie-buttered maple honey pastry treat, Magnificos Belgian Waffle Stout, brought light-roast coffee-bound cinnamon, vanilla and anise illusions as well as Black Forest-caked bruised cherry, toffee and chocolate brownie snips to the accommodating surface.

As for the trio of IPA’s, briskly approachable Daybreak Hazy Double IPA retained cleanly crisp summertime sunshine, bringing tropical fruited Azacca-El Dorado hop zesting to the fore. Lemony grapefruit zesting gains peachy mango tang, snappy orange-candied tartness, sweet floral respite, mild pine bluff and zippy vodka nip above dry pale malting.

Norwegian Kveik farmhouse yeast and sharply bitter citric-pined hop resilience dealt bolder tropical fruiting to Clawback Hazy Double IPA, regaling mildly lemon-juiced grapefruit rind and orange pith bitterness as well as lactose-soured guava, mango, pineapple and passionfruit tartness to peppery juniper-spiced herbage atop rye-whiskeyed oats.

Lemony grapefruit zest and orange-candied pineapple tartness consumed dryly pale-malted New England-styled Good Times Double IPA, a more conventional stylistic pleasantry with underlying honeyed wheat sweetness.

I gobbled fried chicken and my wife enjoyed the hummus dish while consuming seven lucky suds during early January ’21.

Easygoing blonde ale, Loblolly, placed pale malt-sugared orange zesting next to lemony peach tones above dank grassy hop astringency – proving to be a fine, semi-sharp, assertive moderation.

Sea-salted Three Day Weekend Peach + Pear Gose engaged prickly pear tartness with fuzzy peach tones for sour-candied euphoria, leaving wispy mango, guava and kiwi tropicalia upon the light coriander-spiced pilsner malt spine.

‘Fluffy’ tropical fruited Delirious Hazy Double IPA let brisk orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple tanginess pick up mildly creamed Pina Colada-like rummy coconut-pineapple cocktail likeness in a lactic-soured yogurt setting.

“Intense” Fabulous Tropical IPA stayed crisply clean as lemony pineapple, passionfruit and mandarin orange zesting gained herbal hop resin and a mild vodka whim.

Juicy tropical fruited masterpiece, Escapades Double Pineapple + Peach,  unleashed the tangiest pineapple-peach flurry upon polite pale malt sugaring in a smoothly clean-watered setting (with wispy mango, grapefruit and orange snips).

Luxurious holiday-seasoned brown ale, Comfy Pants Gingerbread Ale, doused ground cinnamon-smoked gingerbread cookie sugaring with dark chocolate-spiced cumin, cardamom and allspice notions.

Richly complex Imperial Stout, The Shoals, conditioned on cocoa nibs, plied nutty Guatemalan coffee-embittered dark chocolate intensity to wood-singed hop charring as glazed pecan, tart cherry, coniferous fern and tarry Blackstrap molasses illusions emboldened its back end.       

During fruitful November ’21 trip, sat in enclosed patio where newly installed L-shaped slate top bar (with 3 TV’s on NFL Sunday) was packed early evening. Enjoyed ten delightful (previously untried) elixirs.

Classic autumnal amber lager, Thompsonfest, allowed crisp sweet tea-leafed honey malts to engage herbal hops and spiced apple notions.

Dry golden lager, No Bad Days, let mild maize musk and perfumed herbal hops pick up a spritzy lemon fizz in light-bodied fashion.

Mellow pumpkin ale, Boooooo!!!, provoked its autumnal cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove seasoning with squash-like pumpkin meatiness, sharp citrus latency and leafy hop astringency.

Candi-sugared lemony orange tang lacquered honey-spiced peach, pear and apricot whims for Delaware Devil, an herbal-tinged, white peppered, fungi-cellared Belgian golden ale.

Tart kettle-soured Escapades Lingonberry Cherry, conditioned on brown sugar, maintained a sweet cherry pie piquancy and wispy lingonberry pucker.

Tarter kettle-soured Escapades Passionfruit Raspberry, conditioned on cane-sugar, brought raspberry-seeded passionfruit tang to oaken cherry tannins.   

Peachy mango and pineapple tanginess brightened lightly pine-toned IPA, Shoptalk: Door, a zestful tropical fruited delight.

More ‘intense’ IPA, Shoptalk: First Cut, let lime-peeled pineapple salting reach lemon meringued coconut sweetness and pleasant tangerine tang secured by herbal pining in gummy wheated oats setting.

Yet another IPA, Shoptalk: In The Weeds, contrasted peachy mango tanginess and creamy vanilla sugaring with steadily lingered resinous pine bittering over a biscuity wheat base, gaining orange-peeled grapefruit zesting.

Dry whiskey-toned Scotch peating (from Makers Mark aging), port-barreled wining and oaken vanilla tartness combined for Once Around The Sun, a second anniversary Imperial Stout with relegated roasted chocolate base.




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Right along Route 1 Coastal Highway at the mall-bound Rehoboth Beach strip lies BIG OYSTER BREWERY, a collaboration teaming Fins Ale House & Raw Bar with brewer Andrew Harton’s equally worthy pub. Inside a Wild West-styled Main Street re-creation, this seafood-related beer joint brings the best of both worlds since Big Oyster joined the fold June ’15.

Broken up into six sections, Fins controls the left side barroom (with wood-top counters, 20 bar stools, 10 taps, tin ceiling and beer-bottled refrigerator) and beautiful brick-enclosed outdoor deck (with 10 tap lines). Meanwhile, Big Oyster runs the far right gift shop, adjoining dining area and rear silver-tanked brew room.

Customizing wide-ranging beer recipes, Harton got his start after college brewing at three different Iron Hill breweries (West Chester, Wilmington and Voorhees).

Fresh oysters were being shucked when I visited late-morning May 1, 2016.

On the light side, easygoing Kolsch brought zesty lemon, mandarin orange tartness and light herbal nuances to its gentle white-breaded spine. Using freshly-chopped ginger, the herb-enhanced Daywalker Kolsch gained a minty tingle to accent citric-perfumed hops and dainty pale malts.

Juicy fruited Session 5 – Pineapple ably combined its sweet-tart pineapple adjunct with yellow grapefruit pith bittering and steadily mild Mosaic hop tropicalia.

Utilizing Ardennes Belgian yeast to gain its barnyard-dried fruit spicing, Solar Power Belgian Blonde stayed crisply clean, letting coriander-spiced yellow grapefruit, peach and pineapple tones receive a brisk Seltzer-like spritz.

Bitterest selection, Hammerhead IPA, a West Coast-styled dry body, allowed yellow grapefruit, orange rind and pineapple to embitter moderated piney hops and mild herbal snips. Another West Coast-inspired medium body, Resistentialism (Imperial IPA) surrendered intense tropical fruiting for lightly creamed crystal malting, leaving grapefruit, mango, pineapple and sweet orange peel illusions on the tongue.

Creamy Big Oyster Stout conveyed a syrupy oyster-stewed brown chocolate richness and bitter dark-roast coffee streak over dried oats (with wavered black cherry nuances).

Best bet: Classic Belgian Tripel, Noir Et Bleu, a limited edition full body strewn with bittersweet blueberry lacquering, banana liqueur splendor, lemony peach tartness and dried apricot snips residing above its recessive black tea adjunct (and finishing with a fusel vodka-licked 9.2% alcohol whir).

On a windy November ’21 Saturday afternoon, revisited Rehoboth’s Big Oyster to enjoy six new libations at the newly furnished red brick-walled side deck.

Musky orange-oiled lemon souring softly settled into crisp Captain Kolsch, a mildly herbed light body.

Tart ‘coconut lime yeast-raised donuts’ were mashed into Donut Kill My Vibe, a kettle sour with coconut-watered Margarita liming and recessive glazed donut sugaring.

Heavily fruited lactose sour, Soft Serve Cherry Vanilla, brought sweet ‘n sour cherry puree to tart cranberry-strawberry musk in a creamy vanilla marshmallow setting.

Briskly sharp hazy IPA, Craig’s Secret, let tangy grapefruit, orange, mango and peach zesting reach creamy vanilla sugaring to contrast herbaceous pine resin.

Waxy floral fruiting coated double dry-hopped West Coast-styled IPA, Big Oyster Boom!, contrasting lemony passionfruit-gooseberry tartness and zesty yellow grapefruit bittering with peachy tangerine tanginess and candied orange licks as resinous pine seeped inside.

Sourly embittered NEIPA, Nectar From the Stars, provided grape wine tannins for Nelson Sauvin-hopped passionfruit tartness and Galaxy-hopped orange pith/ grapefruit rind bittering above soft wood tones.







Year-round beach resort, Rehoboth Beach, with its one-mile boardwalk, featured sundry boutiques, galleries, gourmet restaurants, and renowned brewpub, DOGFISH HEAD BREWERY (open since ’95 with bottling plant in nearby Milton). Three blocks from the ocean, Dogfish Head was absolutely packed upon two-day November ’07 quest.

Using converted dairy tanks for brew kettles, this row house-styled restaurant-saloon had quaint hop-vined beer garden with side entrance leading to 25-seat right bar, mid-size dining space, convertible left stage, wood-fired stove, ceiling-hung canoe and loft level with rum, vodka, and gin distillery plus billiards tables. Manager Jason Weissberg presented two non-bottled brews for premise consumption.

Firstly, tangy orange-centered, grapefruit rind-soured, floral hop-embittered, candied malt-thickened Fed Ex Mild. Then bourbon-burgundy-etched Baltic Porter, a superb full body, matched sticky wood-smoked tar-embittered molasses malts, pureed cherry-raisin-prune tartness, and sweet whiskey whir to black chocolate-y French roast coffee finish. Bottled selections could be found in Beer Index.

During April 2016 dinner revisit, tried 2014-vintage 18% ABV version of Dogfish Head Raison D’Extra, a richly creamed pureed raisin elixir that gained a crystalline brandywine likeness above the prune-stewed chocolate sweetness and mild cognac elegance.

Brought the wife and dog to Dogfish Head January ’21 to taste seven more previously untried variants as night fell at the covered wood-tabled side patio.

Sessionable ‘super gose,’ Super Eight, combined dry tropical fruiting with Hawaiian sea-salted toasted quinoa herbal graining, bringing lemon-limed prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry and kiwi juices to the delicate surface.

‘Approachable sour ale,’ Sultan Of The Aviary, anchored demerara-sugared pineapple to oaken cherry and raspberry rhubarb tartness, leaving sharp cinnamon spicing and slight botanical florality in the recess.

Herbal black peppered lemon spicing and zesty orange whims crept thru Re-Gen-Ale, a complex saison with pithy lemongrass, sage and allspice illusions dotting the banana rum-sugared honeyed wheat spine.

Laidback mimosa-styled champagne spritzer, Sunday Feels, sparked peachy orange tartness by spritzy lemon-limed green grape esters.

Tropical low calorie IPA, Slightly Mighty, a flavorful (despite meager 4% ABV) monk-fruited moderation retained spritzy lemony grapefruit bluster, tangy pineapple-mango salting, mild coconut whims, latent gooseberry snips and crisp cucumber watering above a delicate barley base.

Lactic cocoa-powdered Porter Pounder sidled dried milk chocolate tartness with vanilla-creamed pistachio, pecan and almond sweetness with fine resolve.

Bittersweet dark chocolate glazed Scorcher Selector, a Jamaican-styled Export Stout utilizing vanillin Tonga ginger to upend its walnut-seared hop char (and resembling a molasses-sapped gingersnap cookie at times).

During November ’21 sojourn, re-revisited Dogfish Head, Rehoboth, on a chilly Sunday at noon, grabbing seats on the covered left side beer garden to eat delectable perogies and crab-corn chowder while enjoying eight previously untried brews.

Dry wet-grained lager, Snappers For Buttons, let corny pilsner malts surface next to orange blossom honeyed florality as its herbal-hopped lemon spritz provided snappy fizz.

‘Toasty’ amber lager, Binoculager, let nutty sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeding gain peated whiskey tones as well as orange-oiled tartness and delicate peppery herbage.

Sessionable English-style pale ale, Firefly, retained a buttery citrus spicing for guava pureed coconut palm nectar above mildly sweet Maris Otter malting.

Tart session sour, Whoa, That’s Tangy, let salty lemon liming influence its tropical passionfruit, gooseberry and naranjilla pucker.

Fruitful Berliner Weiss, Daily Serving: Pomegranate & Blackberry, brought Concord grape tannins to blackberry-seeded pomegranate juicing before sour cherry and cranberry tartness contrasted sweet grape soda spritz.

A soft-toned double dry-hopped collaboration with Trillium, Tru-Action IPA allowed subtle lemony orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering and passive pineapple tanginess to receive sharp piney hop insistence above delicate floral-spiced pale malts.

Another Trillium IPA collab, murkily hazy golden Double Past Present Pretzel, placed limey mango, guava and pineapple tropicalia atop pretzel-salted multigrain breading.

Lactic nitrogenated milk stout, Nitrochargedturboblaster, plied dry cold-brewed coffee to tarry black chocolate nuttiness for a relaxing moderation.