Rehoboth Beach Delaware: Home of Dogfish Head Breweryby david daly on 01/25/12
I was watching Kathy Lee and Hoda on the TODAY show over the summer and they did a segment about the oceanfront town where Kathy Lee spent summers growing up, called Rehoboth Beach. To be honest, I did not know that Delaware had any noteworthy beaches but the segment sparked my interest:
A few months later I was looking into visiting the Dogfish Head brewery and learned that this award winning craft beer company had a brewpub in Rehoboth Beach! It seemed that Rehoboth Beach was calling for me to visit so I decided to make a road trip to Delaware for MLK weekend.
Rehoboth is like the slightly more mature and refined cousin of the Jersey Shore. It is popular with the DC crowd since it is the closet ocean beach to the nations capital 120 miles away. The main street is lined with shops and restaurants and bisects a beautiful boardwalk stretching for a mile along the ocean. The surrounding neighborhoods are lined with old Victorian homes that border the pristine Cape Henlopen state park- one of the first tracts of public land in the US. The family connection to the Jersey Shore is still apparent from the Hooters in town as well as the apparent lack of strict zoning guidelines for the waterfront hotels and high rise apartments.
We stayed at the oceanfront Atlantic Sands which is perfectly located a block from main street on the Boardwalk. The off season is exceptionally cheap at $108 per night, but during the summer rooms at this standard 3 star hotel run north of $300 per night with a 2 night minimum. There is no shortage of accommodation options in the area ranging from chain motels along the highway into town to quaint B&Bs and oceanfront resorts.
The main attraction for us on this cold January weekend was the Dogfish Head Brewery and Pub on the main street, a short walk from our hotel. Self-described as off-centered beer for off-centered people, Dogfish Head has amassed a staunch following of craft beer drinkers since it opened in 1995. The brewery has grown to over $52mm in sales in 2011 making it one of the top 10 craft breweries in the US. The brewpub features an extensive menu loyal to local dairy, fish, and vegetable suppliers with exceptionally reasonable prices ($9 for crabcake sandwich and salad or fries) that is perfectly complimented by the selection of craft beers. The best selling 60-Minute IPA (6% ABV) is a delicious ale with robust flavor that can be enjoyed all night. For more adventurous beer drinkers, the limited edition 120 Minute IPA (20% ABV) is sharp enough to knock your socks off. Thankfully its served in a smaller snifter glass. Friday and Saturday nights always feature live music after 10pm and there is guaranteed to be a good crowd, no matter how off-season your visit may be.
About 10 miles from Rehoboth in the town of Milton you can find the multi-million dollar brewing facility that Dogfish Head created to meet their exponential growth. Tours at this brewery are in high demand and must be reserved online well in advance. In addition to free beer, visitors also can view an 40 foot-tall iron treehouse created for Burning Man and was relocated to the brewery at a cost of $40,000 as a permanent and fitting home for off-centered things.
Another Noteworthy establishment in Rehoboth Beach is Go Fish, a fish-and-chips restaurant adorning the iconic British flag on its storefront, just steps from the boardwalk. Hungry beach-goers can dine on scrumptious seafood, wings, and even mushy peas at reasonable prices in a funky Anglophilic atmosphere. And like almost every establishment in Delaware- Dogfish Head beers are served.
I could only imagine how different Rehoboth Beach must be in the summer months when the hotels are full and the streets are packed with the sun worshipping crowds. I will definitely be returning for the high-season experience and to stock up on some more 60 Minute IPA.