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Dewey Beer Company

/ Updated on May 4, 2016

If last year's late-summer crowds at the fun hi-tops and counters were any indication, Clinton Bunting, Brandon Smith, Scott Kaufman and Mike Reilly's open-concept Dewey Beer Company brewpub is a success. This upbeat beer hall/eatery replaces the long-gone Bubba's at the corner of Saulsbury Street and Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach. It's a summertime dream-come-true with big garage doors that bring the experience right out onto the sidewalk. Welcome to the Dewey Beach Way of Life.

Listen to beermeister Mike Reilly and co-owner Brandon Smith on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie!

The menu serviced by the bright and open kitchen is rather unusual, with delights like scrapple empanadas and plantain nachos (more about those later). There are a number of hits on the menu, and a couple of misses. We've been there 4 times, so there are finally some pretty good photos in the gallery. If you like burgers, get the House Burger made with Wagyu beef, shredded bacon (cute idea – like pulled pork, but bacon…) and a shallot confit. It's particularly nice if you ask them to hold the truffle mayo and sub regular mustard. You know how I am about truffle oil: If I wanted to pour perfume on my food I'd buy a bottle of Jean Naté. So there. I said it.

One of the absolute stars on the appetizer menu is the Plantain Nachos. Crispy fried plantains (more healthy than corn chips, not that that's the clincher) are the vehicle with which you transport cuban picadillo beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, sour cream and shredded cheese to your mouth. The plantains are out of this world, and the beef mix is quite good. Sort of like a tasty chili. Trust your Foodie on this one: Get this dish at Dewey Beer Company. See it in the gallery. (By the way, there are a few of last summer's menu items that are MIA (like the DIY Chix & dumplings). In hopes that these (and the fried okra!) might make return appearances, I have left them in the gallery.

On our last visit we ordered the Coffee Stout Marinated Pork Loin. As good as the menu description sounded, the pork was disappointingly dry and rather tasteless. The accompanying sauteed spinach, however, was moist, still firm and delicious. The roasted potatoes looked great, but definitely needed seasoning. I hope the DBC boys get this one right, as it sounds like it could be a good entree. While we are talking about taste, the Scrapple Empanadas were also rather bland. Interestingly, on our very first visit last summer, they were brightly spiced with a savory sage/pepper bite. There was no doubt that it was stuffed with Delaware's favorite meat. The ones we had last week were not like that. The filling was OK, but it's like they wimped out on the personality. Guys! Let's scrapple again like we did last summer!

The Wild Salmon dish bordered on perfect. A generous portion of fish sported tempting grill marks and was presented with some of the best broccolini I've ever had: firm, not flaccid, and appetizingly green. House-made Tater Tots were also quite good and reminded me of the signature Potatoes Dauphine from the Clydes Restaurant Group.  (About those ‘Tots: I wonder how long it will be until they get a letter from H.J. Heinz Co., parent of Ore-Ida and owner of the Tater Tot trademark. In fact, those letters will go out to several local eateries!) OK, enough unsolicited legal opinion. What the heck do I know! Just get the salmon.

We started with the Lobster Fritters during two of our visits to the Dewey Beer Company, and they are quite tasty, though they don't really taste much like lobster. The promised chunks were few and far between, though the fritter mix was quite good. I know these can change depending on the individual mix and how well it's blended, so I'm willing to chalk this one up to a fluke. Post your thoughts below and let me know what you think.

Another star of the show is the Roasted Beet Salad. (It also made for a nice photo in the gallery.) The chunky root veggies are accompanied by a generous portion of romaine, chevre, spinach, and crowned with cool and bracing pickled carrots. A bright beer-mustard vinaigrette kept it all moist. (This is Elaine Benes' “big salad” if there ever was one.)

Another winner on the menu, the Steamed Mussels, play very politely with pancetta, shallots, roasted garlic and cabbage; all sauteed in the very beer I ordered last week, the Blonde's Blond Ale. The slight fruitiness of the BB Ale worked perfectly in this dish (and also in my pint glass, by the way). I wouldn't call the BB Ale sessionable (the taste is complex and intense), but I urge you to get it (either in a glass or on your mussels) as your first beer of the evening.

Of course I had to try the lobster roll. Unlike many local restaurants, this one was actually served in true New England style with the toasted and buttered split-top roll (or as close to that roll as they could get here in the deep South). The roll was overstuffed with lots of chunky claw and body meat. I could have done with a bit less wetness (mayo), but I would order this one again in a second. And at only $20, it's more generous than some more expensive rolls around these parts.

The Mediterranean Chicken with a balsamic glaze and orzo is also a winner. The little crown of olive tapenade makes for a happy bouncy castle in your mouth, as you scream “Opa!” Spinach, tomato, onion, peppers and garlic make for a nice platform. Check out the gallery, including a particularly good pic of the broccolini and string beans. Still firm, bright green and with lots of taste. These guys know how to do veggies.

On our last visit, the Dewey Beer Company had both Lemon Chess Pie (a Kentucky favorite) and Pecan Pie on the menu. We got both, ostensibly to share. Well, that well-meaning thought resulted in several fork wounds, as our party of 6 descended on the slices like the roast-on-a-rope scene from Jaws – minus the music. Take a look at the photos. If we could eat pixels, we'd eat these.

The beers stand out, and as of winter 2016 they have begun to distribute their product to local restaurants. The first shipment from the stainless steel 7-barrel brewing system went out Jan. 15, 2016. Mike Reilly, co-owner and head brewer, along with co-owner Brandon Smith, said the brewpub shipped three styles, starting with the aforementioned Blonde's Blonde (a single-hopped Citra white ale – and part of the mussels app). Also shipped were Social Kolsch, a classic style German kolsch, and Mo's Jo Stout, an oatmeal stout blended with cold-infused Sumatra coffee. Smith said the distribution will target Sussex restaurants that serve craft beer, and that expansion out of Sussex will take place soon.

Plans are to keep the 110-seat Dewey Beer Company open throughout the year. On our last visit it was bitter cold outside on a dark February night, and the place was packed. Heck, we had to park all the way up by the ocean and walk back while the crashing surf sparkled in the moonlight! (See how we suffer for you?) So the guys must be doing something right. Check it out while you still can. Once summer comes, parking will be much more of a challenge (of course, there's always the J'Trolley), and Dewey aficionados will certainly latch onto this place.

Check out their Facebook page here.

See a sample menu here.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

2100 Coastal Highway, Dewey


Open noon to 9
Open noon to 9
Open noon to 9
Open noon to 9
Open noon to 9

Open noon to 9
Open noon to 9
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

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  1. Avatar Rebecca Winant says:

    Went to Dewey Beer with friends and based on a waitress recommendation ordered the escargot. Wow! Standout dish. I thought la Fable might have the lock on that, but No!! Agree that mussels are excellent.

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