When you go to 16 Mile Brewery you have to remember two things: ask what they’ve got brewing in the back and get some of their roasted soybeans to nosh on while you try their many brews.
Sure, there are plenty of choices on tap in their Georgetown, Del., tasting room — but the stuff in the back is where the experimentation is going on.
We got two samples — just little tastes, not full glasses. But it was enough of their crazy flavors. One was a bright Granny Smith apple, something hard cider drinkers might like. A second, slightly red brew featured cherry and beet. I drank cautiously but that cherry sang to me. Another, flavored with celery and basil, was dubbed “pot pie” for its herbal notes. And, yeah, I liked it.
Then you have to order some soybeans. This was a new one for me. I expected edamame and got something like a crispy peanut. Something nice to crunch while you’re tasting all the brews. On tap you’ll find six regulars, all available by bottle, too, as well as two limited editions available only in the tasting room.
Of course, we tried them all. And they ranged from light and crisp Responder’s and Blues Golden to dark Tiller Brown rich with coffee and chocolate tones. Personally, I fell in love with the Amber Sun, from its dark red color to its malty goodness. But I happily enjoyed all of them and wished I could take the 1872 imperial ale home.
But that’s why you go to craft brewery tasting rooms, isn’t it? I like the chance to see what’s going on behind the pretty labels, to taste what may appear at my favorite saloon or liquor store in the future and get a sense of the philosophy behind yet another craft brewery.
They all have their similarities — a passion for beer making, a desire to please their fans, a sense of adventure and fearlessness when it comes to the palate.
But they are all different, too. I’ve found myself at a lot of small breweries in the last few months. What a lot of different personalities, different flavors, different beers.
All of them fun.
16 Mile may be “16 miles from anywhere” — that’s what they say about Georgetown, anyway. But beer lovers can find it right off Route 113 — on the way to Delaware beaches and Ocean City. We will certainly find it again.
© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman