Inside a tan brick building at the light Industrial business mall, Branmar Plaza, BELLEFONTE BREWING COMPANY took the name of its north Wilmington section and celebrated its three year anniversary, May ’19. Its clean open pub space houses a backroom 4-barrel brewing system crafting a cornucopia of stylishly accomplished elixirs.

A cozy setup with six-seat mahogany bar sporting fourteen tap handles and a large brew-stickered refrigerator, the lacquer cement-floored Bellefonte’s cartoon-infested walls add a youthful touch. A semi-permanent right side red-couched TV area brings comfy elegance and two parking lot-bound bench tables under the green canvas awning provide extra seating.


My wife and I grab one of the mid-room barreled tables to enjoy fourteen fine offerings during hot July ’19 trip.

Musky rye-oats graining and pleasant fungi earthiness stabilized 4G LTE Four Grain Lager, a pre-Prohibition-styled lightweight that may’ve bested the fresh-cut grassiness and herbal lemon respite of equally light-bodied Particle Pilsner.

Honeyed banana and clove suited pastry-malted Hefenly Brew, an approachable hefeweizen with floral-wafted herbal nuances. Meanwhile, tarter banana-clove sweetened the orange-peeled coriander niceties of Monkey’s Gotta Go, a choice witbier.

Dry spritzy champagne-like Kiamensi Kolsch brought lemon-wedged orange rot souring to Noble-hopped wood mildewing and mineral grained pilsner malting.

Lightly sour Tart Passion Saison let salty passionfruit tartness snag zesty lemon briskness to counter its sweaty cheesecloth musk. Another similarly styled offshoot, Acai Berry Tart Saison shifted the focus to sour-candied blueberry-acai tartness, leaving oaken cherry wisps at the backend.

Pasty-like cream ale, Orange Street Ale, stayed soft-toned as lightly frothed honeysuckle wheat malting picked up a mild orange spritz above mild grassy-hopped astringency.

Meanwhile, honeyed yellow fruiting fronted bold (7.3% ABV) Belgian pale ale, Bellevue Blonde, stays crisply easygoing ’til the alcohol esters consume the candi-sugared Abbey yeast profile.

Straightforward lo-cal moderation, Small Wonder IPA, packed a juicy tropical punch complemented by delicate pine resin and dry pale malts.

Easygoing soft-tongued NEIPA, Oat-face Killah let grassy-hopped grapefruit, peach, mango and orange tropicalia soak into its light white oats malting.  


On the dark side, Lord Smokey’s Brown Ale draped bitter nuttiness upon dark chocolate malting and Band-aid-like smoked beechwood(?) astringency.

Peanut-buttered dark chocolate coated Diamond State Stout, a semi-rich dry body with black malt bittering receiving a slight earthen wood scorch.

Richest, creamiest and tastiest choice, Bean Laughing Black Coffee IPA, a black-malted Cascadian Dark Ale, maintained its treacly fudged cocoa-powdered coffee roast way above the ashen piney-hopped black grape and dried cherry pureeing. Its tertiary cola nut, molasses cookie, burgundy, raisin and grapefruit illusions filled out the robust digestif.

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Near the Little Italy section of Wilmington, TROLLEY TAP HOUSE opened up in 2014. Its greyish Trolley sign hangs from the tiki shacked burnt cedar planked roof top and two overhead doors lead to the epoxy-floored interior where stooled tables, left side booths, multiple Edison lights and pipe-exposed black ceiling provide a casual pub feel.

An L-shaped bar with twelve seats features a black-walled beer menu, thirty draught handles and TV’s all around. The caged-in, red paver-floored, side-walked front porch features six black metal tables where my wife and I (with dog Roscoe) settle in July ’19 as I quaff 2SP Baby Bob Stout (reviewed in Beer Index) while consuming hummus and a burger.

A fine neighborhood beer pub worth exploring.



A short drive East from Newark, headed to port town of Wilmington, February ‘06. Along the waterfront in large freestanding red brick building next to Big Kahuna and Joe’s Crab Shack is, in my opinion, the best IRON HILL BREWERY. Opened in 2002, its great Americana menu included succulent gumbo, cheese-thick French onion soup, and plentiful Cobb Salad. Brew tanks were staged left and multi-tiered and upstairs dining was available. Outdoor canvassed deck led to Industrial riverbank.

Cedar bar served specialty-seasonal beers previously unfound at other Iron Hill brewpubs. Fizzy bitter-hopped Munich Dunkel offered cinnamon-clove snip to raisin-fig-date conflux. Dryly lactose Nitrogen Poured Pig Iron Porter merged black chocolate with espresso while delicately creamy Russian Imperial Stout juxtaposed soft cherry-berry conflux against burnt-toasted black coffee. Superfine Iron Hill Rauchbier, $16 per bottle, went well with dessert (see review in Beer Index).

Acquainted myself with Iron Hill-Wilmington’s Brian Finn, one of the more affable and unconceited brewmasters, during November ’07 Wilmington stopover. Quaffed four diverse libations. Dried fruit, sugared fig, and dark cherry oblige earthen vegetal midst of lightly watered Altbier and pumpkin puree astringency exhausts herbal-hopped allpsice-nutmeg-cardomom spicing and nutty caramel flicker backing moderate-bodied Pumpkin Ale. Better was well-rounded Hopkowski Double American Ale, coating bittersweet bruised orange, cherry puree, and stewed prune with luring chocolate-caramel malting to appease imminent candied medicinal warmth.

Highest recommended goes to Bourbon Porter, the nitro-injected Pig Iron Porter offshoot aged in Four Roses whiskey barrels. Its pronounced bourbon-dried sweet whiskey entry garnishes chewy chocolate-vanilla-caramel malting plus cherry puree, sugar plum, syrupy liqueur, creamy éclair, hazelnut, and marshmallow illusions for perfect wintry nightcap.

During August ’08 journey to University of Delaware, ate delicious salmon spring rolls and Mediterranean wrap alongside honeyed corn-malted lemon-bruised juniper-grapefruit-embittered white peppercorn-finishing Saison Belgian Farmhouse Ale. After lunch, quaffed washed-out banana-orange-licked clove-spiced lemon-wedged dry-hopped Hefeweizen (which sacrificed honeyed creaming for mere carbolic fizz).

Finally got to revisit fantastic riverfront brewhouse again after Outer Banks voyage, July ’18, taking seats outback at one of the aluminum-roofed metal-furnished tables . Most of this evening’s previously untried fare leaned towards the light summery side.

Delicate Witberry Witbier scurried tart raspberry passed spritzy orange-peeled lemon misting and wispy wheat sweetness. Mellow Watermelon Wit needed deeper coriander-spiced watermelon tartness and tangier mandarin orange subtlety to overcome herbal cellar funk.

Zesty white-peppered lemon-juiced Mahalo, Apollo!, a hybrid Belgian wheat ale, utilized subtle lemongrass and passionfruit adjuncts to retain its sparkly understated wanderlust.

Also on the pallidly fruitier side, approachable Mango IPA thrust forth with sweetly tanged mango essence before its bitter orange rind-infused hop pining ascended.

Soapy farmhouse-desiccated Saison retained a cidery lemon souring and black-peppered musk that undermined its spicy orange tartness and sourdough malting.

Perfectly centrist India Pale Ale, Crusher, brought sharply bittersweet tropical fruiting to the fore, loading pineapple-grapefruit-tangerine tanginess atop lightly pined grassy hop astringency and mild biscuit base.

Better still, tropical New England-styled Chewy IPA brought sunshiny orange-peeled yellow grapefruit tanginess to crisply clean mineral graining and resinous pine hops.

Piney orange rind moderately embittered Hopicana IPA, an otherwise sweet Orangina-like soda pop with tangible tangerine tang.

Lemon-limed Citra IPA rallied with brisk orange, peach, mango and pineapple tanginess over lightly sugared pale malts.

As a dusky nightcap, sharp citric hops endowed Honey Cash Hops, a West Coast-styled India Pale Ale with sun-glazed yellow grapefruit, orange rind and pineapple tang.

During sweltering July 4th, 2019 visit, tried five more sound suds.

Subtle spicy yellow fruiting consumed soft-toned Belgian pale ale, Skinny Blonde, leaving banana, lemon and mango illusions upon its funky Belgian yeast herbage.

Lemon-candied raspberry rasp greeted light-bodied Witberry, blessing its stylish orange-peeled coriander sweetness with soap-stoned herbal wisps and delicate floral nuances.

Lactic kettle-soured Watermelon You Lookin’ At relegated its salted watermelon candied tartness with lemony melon rind snips and yogurt-like milking.

Herbal lemon tartness contrasted creamy pale malt sugaring for Ore House IPA, plying grapefruit-peeled pine needling to the brisk finish.

Citric-spiced piney bittering led Smash Series 10 IPA, a dry Eldorado-hopped medium body with frisky grapefruit, peach, orange and mango juicing coating its sugary pale malt spine.