Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rehoboth Beach, DE -- More Than Just Dogfish Head

Since 2006 we've made an annual pilgrimage to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware -- at first, solely to pay our respects to one of the most interesting breweries in the world, DOGFISH HEAD. DFH started in this beach resort town in 1995, in the back of a restaurant, with a 5-gallon system, and has since grown into a craft beer giant, cranking out over 150,000 barrels annually (according to our tour guide). The main brewery is located about 17 miles from the brewpub, in Milton, DE. We highly recommend a trip and tour there!

Though we've taken the big-brewery tour several times and gone there to see our pal Sam, we've discovered that there's more to Rehoboth than Dogfish Head. Of course, there's the beach, and we love us some sand, waves and warm end-of-summer salty water. And if the beach downtown is too crowded for your taste, the state beach south on Rt. 1 is a short bike ride down the coast, and offers a lot more room to stretch out -- same gorgeous water and pure sand.

On the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk there's Thresher's Fries. They rank in my top 5 fries of all time, and that includes fries in Brussels. There's Grotto Pizza -- not worthy of comparison to NYC pies, but damn good for a non-NYC slice. There are loads of beachy shops, ready and willing for some haggling. (I got a $30 beach umbrella for $20 with some simple post-season negotiating!) And all the typical beach resort stuff -- frozen custard, salt water taffy, arcades, skee ball, and so forth.
We also discovered everyday happy-hour $1 local oysters at FIN'S!!! Fin's has one of the best beer menus (and oyster menus) on the eastern seaboard. Their tap list is often great, but it's always been at the very least very good. And what they offer in the bottle -- very impressive, shockingly good -- really superb for a small town on the beach that probably sees Coors Light outselling Weston's Cider 10,000-to-1... (but if I was in the mood for something that wasn't beer, I'd pick Weston's over Coors all day long). And, yes, they do carry Weston's Cider, to their credit -- in fact we had it on draft for the first time ever last year at Fin's.

And their staff seems genuinely concerned about taking care of you (maybe too concerned!). The bottom line:  very good beer, addictive (and free) oyster crackers, delicious and well-priced bi-valves, and friendly service. Oh, and their regular dining menu boasts boatloads of fresh local fish.

We also rented beach cruiser bicycles, $20 each for 24-hours. There aren't many miles of off-road trails, but we made the most of what was available, and it was grand. We biked a few miles off-road on former railroad beds to Lewes. There, we didn't find much better than Paulaner and Yuengling Octoberfest at Irish Eyes, on the canal. But... we did travel through a gated community where the speed limit was 21.

21? 21 feet per second? 21 what?!? and 21?!? Not 20 or 25? Perhaps the sign was supposed to be for the drinking age? Anyway, we moved along before B.R. was towed away. (As you can see, she was in a tow-away zone -- and in a town with a speed limit of 21, you know that they tow bicycles.)

Not that one would be bored of the DFH brewpub in 3 or 4 days, but it's always nice to have another option. This is another option.
At Fin's, one of the surprising offerings was HIGH AND MIGHTY Purity of Essence from Central Mass. In the photo above B.R. is in a more of a Brig. Gen. Jack Ripper moment.
And then more like Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake. Unfortunately, the beer we love fresh in Central Mass was a bit oxidized in DE. But we soldiered on. Or piloted on, whatever the case. No atomic bombs were dropped, which is the important thing.
The moon does also rise in Rehoboth.
Going after Labor Day assures you of greater availability of rooms, a cheaper room rate and far less other visitors to get in your way. Five years ago when we went to Rehoboth Beach for the first time, it was a ghost town after Labor Day. This year, while still far from crowded, there were a lot more people, and not just the retiree set and young couples with infants. We always stay at the Cross Winds motel, which is clean, comfortable, friendly, inexpensive and, most importantly, 20 feet from the Dogfish Head brewpub! They'll give you a discount if you tell them that you're there from the brewpub, too.

And rise red, at that.

OK, couples photo with the rising moon.
Lifeguards... so bossy.
The sun sets in the west, as the moon rises in the east.
FACT: Rehoboth is reputed to be one of the most gay-friendly small towns in America.

There's also a sun rise, where the moon rise was just hours earlier.
We're going for breakfast now, right?
People in France are just an hour away from their 3-hour government mandated lunch "hour".
Add your own new age comment here.

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