Out & About has informed our audience of entertainment options in Greater Wilmington through a monthly variety magazine. Today, that connection has expanded to include social networking, a weekly newsletter, and a comprehensive website. We also create, manage, and sponsor local events.
Twin Lakes Brewery and Out & About staff members compete in The Firkin Face-Off for Wilmington Beer Week
As this month’s Winter Brews cover clearly illustrates, Rob Pfeiffer is a man who loves his job.
Those who know the head brewer at Greenville’s Twin Lakes Brewery can attest that Pfeiffer emanates a joyful energy.
It’s exactly this type of enthusiasm along with his natural approachability that encouraged the Out & About staff to contact Pfeiffer to discuss an idea that had been long fermenting in the O&A offices: to brew a collaboration beer with Twin Lakes beer and then write about it.
Why not? Two staff members—creative director Matthew Loeb and graphic designer Tyler Mitchell—have several years of experience with home-brewing. And just about everyone in the office is a big fan of drinking the stuff.
Why not get together with Pfeiffer and the folks at Twin Lakes and simply make a beer?
Turns out it wasn’t so simple. The idea of brewing from scratch was scratched. But the end result of the staff members’ Twin Lakes experience last month was perhaps just as interesting and fun.
They agreed to designate two two-person teams who would compete in the “Firkin Face-Off” to determine which team could create the best beer. Each team would pour a currently-brewing Twin Lakes beer into a firkin and try to build upon or alter its flavor by adding additional ingredients, then seal up the firkin and let time, yeast, and the sugars do their work.
For those readers who aren’t familiar with a firkin, it’s a stainless steel cask that can hold about 11 gallons of beer, and it’s often used by brewers to cask-condition beer, a process that allows for additional fermentation. As with the two teams’ challenge, brewers often add other ingredients—such as herbs, spices, or fruits—to create a tasty variation of their beer.
During Wilmington Beer Week, O&A readers will get a chance to sample the results of the two teams’ efforts and decide which staff members are best suited for possibly moonlighting at a brewery near you. Will it be the team of Loeb and Marie Graham (director of digital media), who have put their creative stamp on the Twin Lakes’ Tweeds Tavern Stout? Or will Mitchell and Jim Miller (director of publications), score the win with their revision of Twin Lakes’ Jubilicious Winter Seasonal?
The staff members who participated in the experiment sat down with Pfeiffer again to discuss the process and answer some questions. Below is a behind-the-scenes look at how the Out & About Firkin Face-Off came to be, what readers can expect from these beers, and just how much jive talk the two teams can put in print.
O&A: Rob, as a professional brewer, what were your thoughts about assisting the two Out & About teams in a process that could possibly ruin your hard work?
Pfeiffer: You know, there are several great things about being a brewer. Sure, it’s great to make beer, but more importantly, it allows us to participate in the community. For centuries, beer has had a history of bringing communities together. It’s the same principle here with the Firkin Face-Off. It’s great being with friends, fostering creativity, and, of course, drinking some beer. And, may I add, I have only once been involved with a firkin experiment gone wrong. So I have high hopes with this.
O&A: How did this crazy experiment come together the way it did?
Graham: We’ve talked about partnering with Twin Lakes on an Out & About collaboration beer for years now. With Wilmington Beer Week on the horizon, we thought that this would be perfect timing to do something. But there just wasn’t enough time to brew a beer from start to finish. So Rob suggested that we create an O&A firkin instead, using an existing Twin Lakes brew. We liked that idea, but I thought it might be more fun if we turned the concept into a competition.
Miller: When Marie came up with that idea, it took the whole concept to another level. You could feel the energy in the room go up a notch. Nothing like a little competition to get the motors running.
Graham: Jim and Tyler were psyched about using the Jubilicious, and Matt and I both wanted to work with the stout. So we divided into teams, all four knowing that Matt and I were going to win regardless of what we added to the kegs. Because our ideas are better.
O&A: So then you’re confident your team will win?
Loeb: I have one thing to say about Tyler and Jim’s holiday ale concoction: Baaaaah humbug!
Miller: Time will tell…
Mitchell: I believe since we have a more popular beer style and delicious ingredients on our side, we will ultimately be victorious. Plus I heard Marie and Matt used some sort of dark sludge? Ewww…
O&A: Dark sludge?
Loeb: The truth is, everyone who tried it beforehand agreed our “sludge” was powerful, but also complex and enjoyable.
Graham: Let me explain. The “sludge” was actually a combination of Blanton’s Bourbon, organic baker’s cocoa, vanilla extract, roasted orange peels, and Pike Creek Espresso. One of the twists we added to the competition was that one of the ingredients had to be local. The Pike Creek Espresso was ours.
Miller: And our local ingredient was honey. A lot of people don’t know that in addition to being a fine brewer, Rob is also a beekeeper. So we asked him if we could use some of his locally derived honey. That’s one more reason he really wants us to win.
O&A: Speaking of winning, what was the reasoning behind the ingredients you chose?
Mitchell: With the experience I had with home brewing, and with choosing the Jubilicious Ale, I knew we wanted to use ingredients that would give it even more of a holiday taste. We picked figs and honey to hopefully give a sweet component to the beer that would remind drinkers of the upcoming holiday season. We also chose to dry hop the beer with Cascade and Centennial hops to give a little bit of citrus and piney aromas, to round out the flavors.
Loeb: Mo [Marie] and I are biiiig stout fans, so naturally we embraced this batch. We did a few taste tests prior and decided on a handful of ingredients we knew we enjoyed in other stouts from other breweries. We didn’t want to abandon the base batch, but we didn’t want to play it too safe either.
O&A: Sounds like everyone feels good about their choices.
Mitchell: I don’t think we can go wrong with this combination of ingredients. Can’t wait to taste it!
Loeb: Total. Stout. Domination. Is. Coming.
Pfeiffer: I think both teams have made some interesting choices in terms of ingredients. I’m really looking forward to trying both beers.
O&A: And have the teams come up with names for their concoctions?
Miller: We decided on “Figalicious Jubilicious.”
Graham: And we’re calling ours “Sabotage Stout.”
Want to help pick the winner? The Out & About Firkin Face-Off will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 6p.m. to 8p.m. at Cromwell’s Tavern in Greenville as part of Wilmington Beer Week. For more information and a full listing of other events going on that night and throughout the week, visit WilmingtonBeerWeek.com.
All 20 WBW participants will be offering Craft Flights, providing diners with the opportunity to sample three different craft beers at a discounted fixed price. It’s the perfect way to taste test.
Two Stones Pub is kicking off WBW on Saturday, Nov. 1, with a salute to one of the biggest and best Bastards in the craft brew world—Stone Brewery. Featured brews include Arrogant Double Bastard, Lucky Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
Craft-beer-themed Happy Hours are big during Beer Week, so look for appetizing incentives for an after-work visit.
Strength in Numbers
This year WBW will feature the largest number of craft breweries—56—in the event’s four-year history.
The Hop Head Passport
For $40 you can purchase a beer bank, redeemable at Chelsea Tavern & Ernest & Scott, entitling you to 56 six-ounce pours from Nov. 1-8. Please space out your visits.
First State Is First Rate
Delaware-based breweries will be front and center during WBW. Pizza By Elizabeths will feature a Delaware tap takeover, with Dogfish 60 Minute and Punkin, Twin Lakes Greenville Pale Ale and Oktoberfest, 3rd Wave Brewing SunDancer White IPA, and Mispillion River Brewing Praetor Porter.
Root for the Underdog
Ulysses is featuring small craft brewers at its Underdog Beer events all week long. The breweries are Weyerbacher, Sixpoint and Heavy Seas.
$2 Mug Night
All draft beers at Kid Shelleen’s are $2 from 7 p.m. to close on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
The Price Is Right
Several WBW venues, including Chelsea Tavern and Santa Fe Bar & Grill, will feature prix-fixe menus with craft beers selected as complements to each course.
Participating chefs will offer recommendations for tasty food and craft beer pairings.
Scandinavian for a Day
On Thursday, Nov. 6, starting at 3 p.m., 27 taps of Mikkeller, Nogne O, To Ol, Amager and other Danish brews will be flowing at Trolley Tap House. Many have never been seen before in Delaware and possibly never will be again. The chef will prepare traditional Scandinavian food specials to go full-on Danish!
Brews and Tunes
World Cafe Live at The Queen will host a BBQ Craft Beer & Grilled Cheese Dinner with Schlafly Brewery on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. Philly musician Tyler McClure will keep you rockin’ and groovin’ with his alternative style. The next night, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m., will feature a Yards Tap Takeover with local funk band Universal Funk Order. The Queen’s Anniversary Ale, brewed exclusively for World Cafe Live and only available at the Queen, WCL Philly, and the Yards Tap room, will be available. Throughout the week, $4 craft fall seasonal bottles will be available.
Halloween Loop celebrates its 35th year on Oct. 31
1980: Ronald Reagan was elected president; John Lennon was assassinated; the U.S. men’s hockey team defeated the USSR in the Miracle on Ice; the Rubik’s Cube was invented.
Oh, and Wilmington played host to its first Halloween Loop.
Thirty-five years later, that’s right, 35 YEARS!, Wilmington’s grandest nightlife tradition continues. And in what seems a fitting coincidence for such a significant anniversary, this year’s Loop will actually take place on Halloween night, Friday, October 31.
“In terms of annual nightlife events in Wilmington, nothing really compares to the Halloween Loop,” says Jim Miller of Out & About Magazine, the presenting sponsor of the event. “Three things make it such a supremely successful series: longevity, draw, and spectacle.”
This year’s Halloween Loop will feature a significant lineup change. In an attempt to reduce traffic congestion and overcrowding in Trolley Square, the four traditional Loop venues located there (Anejo, Catherine Rooney’s, Kelly’s Logan House, Satsuma) will not be stops on this year’s Loop and no Loop shuttle buses will be servicing Trolley Square. These venues will be participating in the other Loops on the City Loop Series.
“The Halloween Loop was drawing more people to Trolley Square than the participating bars could accommodate,” says Jerry duPhily, coordinator of the City Loop Series. “That resulted in long lines, lots of people in the street instead of the bars, and traffic issues. So in an unselfish gesture, the nightspots in Trolley Square have decided to take a year break from the Halloween Loop to encourage people to patronize the other Loop stops in the city.”
Those other venues include: Chelsea Tavern, Dead Presidents, Ernest & Scott Taproom, Famous Tim’s, Firestone, Gallucio’s Café, Grotto Pizza, Club Lavish, Latin Fusion Nightclub, Shenanigans, Badges and Timothy’s Riverfront. A one-time $10 cover gains you admission to all participating Loop venues. Attendees will receive a wristband upon paying the cover.
As always, dress to impress. By that we mean creativity is king when it comes to a costume. So don’t come as a cowboy, a Philadelphia Eagle or a Playmate. Think shamed politician, pop culture icon, dead rock star….
There is no official starting point to the Loop. You simply select the nightspot you’d like to visit first, pay the cover charge, and receive a wristband that gains you admission to all other Loop venues without paying another cover. The wristband must be presented to ride the complimentary Loop shuttle buses. Shuttle service begins at 8:30 p.m.
Here are a few other Halloween Loop tips:
• Costumes are strongly recommended. This is a costumed bar crawl. Many venues have prizes. In fact, the Loop Patrol will be awarding on-the-spot prizes for costumes that catch their eye.
• The buses stop running regular routes at 12:45 a.m. and begin making last-visit stops at 1 a.m. Buses stop running at 1:30 a.m., so be at the last venue you plan to visit by 12:30 a.m.
• Wear a comfortable costume. Make sure it allows you to see where you are walking and use the rest room with ease. And make sure it doesn’t cause you to become overheated (Venues get very crowded on the Loop).
• Get there early. Lines begin forming by 9 p.m.
• Designate a sober driver or plan to stay in the city for the evening at a friend’s place or one of the city’s five hotels. There are also several complimentary Last Call Lots where you can leave your car overnight and pick it up the next day.
For a list of venues, Last Call Lots, and updates on the Halloween Loop, visit outandaboutnow.com —O&A
Delivering on Time Running Late building area following Runnin’ Late is a Delaware-based, “feel good” classic rock band influenced by both jazz and blues.
This classic bass, drums and guitar-playing group, with a sound similar to Van Morrison, The Eagles and Bruce Springsteen, also features keyboards and saxophone.
The band will play the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa., on Thursday, Oct. 16, as a finalist in the third annual 102.9 WMGK Rock MD competition, supported by Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Runnin’ Late will compete against four other bands to win a $2,000 donation to the charity of their choice, free recording time at Philly Sound Studios, and the title of Rock MD Champions.
Also coming up is Runnin’ Late’s Christmas show at The Queen on Saturday, Dec. 13.
For more details, go to RunninLate.com.
American Songster Dom Flemons comes to Arden Considered “the American Songster” by many fans, Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops will bring his old-time folk music sound to Arden Gild Hall on Friday, Oct. 3, alongside the duo of Grace and Tony.
As part of the Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded in 2005 with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, Flemons has performed at the Newport Folk Festival and Bonnaroo, in addition to such renowned venues as the Grand Ole Opry.
Raised in Phoenix, Ariz., Flemons began playing percussion instruments in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica as a teenager, he played in local coffee houses and became a regular on the Arizona folk music scene until he was discovered and his career skyrocketed. Within the past three years he’s performed in front of one million people.
Flemons is currently set to work on his untitled third solo album, focusing on creating music that is rooted in history, with a contemporary approach.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and advance tickets are $15 and $18 at the door.
For more information, visit www.domflemons.com.
West Coast Musician Comes to the Queen Brett Dennen will perform Oct. 17 WXPN welcomes folk-pop artist Brett Dennen to The Queen on Friday, Oct. 17.
Dennen, who hails from California, began his music career at a summer camp called Camp Jack Hazard in the Sierra Nevada mountain range–a retreat that he would eventually return to for inspiration on Smoke and Mirrors, his fifth studio album, released last October.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.
For more information visit queentickets.worldcafelive.com.
New York String Trio Haas Kowert Tice coming to the Grand The New York-based string trio of Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert and Jordan Tice—known as Haas Kowert Tice—have produced original sounds meshing improv and compositional turns, grounded by melodies and rhythms blending their bluegrass, classical and folk music styles.
They’ll be at the Grand on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.
For more details, go to ticketsatthegrand.org.
Happy Hour suggestions from contributors and Facebook fans
World Cafe Live at the Queen Wednesday through Friday, 4 – 6 pm
It’s great to pop in for a quick end-of-workday sip and nosh, and they always give me the “Queen treatment.” A very affordable and yummy food and drink menu (think $3 and $4 beers and wines with a $5 white pizza and $3 eggplant fries) is the perfect pairing to the cozy upstairs, and you may even get a free live music bonus. To top it off, there’s Chef Joe’s Happier Hour Pairing—a daily delectable sandwich-and-drink combo that’s out of this world (e.g., burger and bourbon; grilled cheese & beer). —Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
Harry’s Seafood Grill Monday through Friday, 5 – 7 pm
Best happy hour in town for food, for value, for bartenders, the whole package, hands down. All signature cocktails are $5 (including, right now, the fig and Asian pear margarita, usually $13). Draft beers? Half price. House wine? $5. Need food? Bar munchies are $4-$7 and full of tasty surprises. Oysters are half price Tuesday and Thursday. Happiness abounds. —Matt Sullivan, Contributing Writer
From our Facebook fans:
“Apps at Blue Crab Grill are great, and the bar always has interesting cocktails and decent selection of craft beers.” —Bill Rhoades
“Two Stones Pub Naamans has great prices on apps and has great cocktails along with beer. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is also great, especially when happy hour is outside on the upstairs deck.” —Erika Strasser
“The $4.95 specials at Chelsea Tavern are awesome. Their mixed French fries with an aioli were so delicious! And they even had a hamburger with it.” —Mary Ann Christy Kabatt
“Love the cocktails at Capers and Lemons!”
—Abby Wiley Frelich
“Love Redfire Grill. Great bartenders and awesome coconut martini.”
—Sue Deutsch DeNardo
Random suggestions from our staff and contributors
Hand over the Chocolate Mousse Cup and no one gets hurt
If you’ve ever found yourself on a frenzied quest for a sophisticated yet affordable chocolate treat that degenerated into a rampage through a grocery store candy aisle and ended in tearful disappointment, admit it now: you’re an addict. Now wipe your tears, because help is here. The chefs at Toscana to Go in Trolley Square can rescue you from despair with their perfectly-proportioned Chocolate Mousse Cup for $3. A chocolate shell cradles a satiating serving of mousse that is light, not sickeningly sweet, and topped with soft brownie bits. There’s also a Peanut Butter Mousse Cup in a chocolate shell for the same price.
Happiness is a good dessert.
—Andréa Miller, Contributing Writer
Zipping over Lums Pond
Go Ape Zip Line at Lums Pond offers a thrilling ride over a lake, ledges and trees. It’s a great place to bring adventurous kids, and for getting in touch with your inner Tarzan.
For more information, visit goape.com.
—Alex del Tufo, Intern
A new food truck with gourmet offerings, Wildwich features handmade, fresh and reasonably-priced sandwiches, like the Wingman, Acadian, Sam-I-Am and K.C.Q.: buffalo chicken salad, shrimp remoulade, pesto egg salad and hickory pulled pork, respectively. Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Fridays in the afternoon, the truck skips around downtown Wilmington, so for times and locations visit www.facebook.com/Wildwich. Also, the K.C.Q. is glorious.
—Krista Connor, Contributing Writer
After a friend recommended UFO while I was at Oddity Bar in Wilmington, I ordered a 12-ounce can. The bartenders at Oddity offer a glass and an orange slice garnish, but that’s unnecessary. Straight from the can, UFO brings a strong citrus taste. If you’re a fan of Summer Shandy or Blue Moon, this beer is right up your alley.
Stomp for a Cure
Brandwine Valley Wine Trail continues harvest celebration
The wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail are celebrating the 2014 vintage on Oct. 4 & 5 with picnicking, live music, hayrides through the vineyards, bbqs, wine tastings and tours. This is a passport event, and $15 includes tastings at all six member wineries.
These wineries will be offering grape stomping on Saturday, Oct. 4 as a kickoff to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To stomp, provide a minimum $5 donation per person and be sure to bring a towel and a change of clothes. Funds raised will be given to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and Living Beyond Cancer. Call your preferred stomping location for times and more details, or visit bvwinetrail.com.
Two Events at DAM
Art is After Dark, Adult Workshop slated
The Delaware Art Museum is hosting an Art is After Dark event from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, featuring a movie in the Fusco Grand Hall and an outdoor labyrinth. Guided tours of the museum’s collection wil also be available. There will be a cash bar with snacks in the Thronson Café. Tickets are free for members and $8 in advance or $10 at the door for non-members.
The museum also will host Friday evening adult workshops from 7-9 p.m. in the museum’s studio. There will be beer, wine, light snacks, and supplies will be provided. You must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit delart.org.
Feast at Empty Bowl Dinner
St. Stephen’s event aids homeless
The Empty Bowl Dinner will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 15 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $7 for children 12 and under. Proceeds go to the Family Promise and the ministries of St. Stephen’s. Family Promise of Northern New Castle County partners with churches in the greater Wilmington area to provide temporary housing for homeless families. The food at the dinner is donated, along with hand-made bowls, which attendees can take home.
To order tickets, visit ststeph.brownpapertickets.com.
Lounge, Discuss Art at DCCA
Food, cash bar will be available at Oct. 8 event
The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts’ second monthly Art Lounge is set for Wednesday, Oct. 8, 5-7 p.m., at the DCCA on the Wilmington Riverfront. The Lounge will provide art discussions and exhibitions, along with food vendors, cash bar and a trunk show. October’s trunk show artist is Patsy Keller, who will display her glass vases. The night is entirely free and will take place the second Wednesday of each month.
For more information, visit thedcca.org.
Go on a Haunted Hayride
At Brandywine Creek State Park
The Haunted Hayride at Brandywine Creek State Park on Friday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Oct. 18, will run two wagons every half hour from 7 to 9 p.m. The night comes to a close with a bonfire. Feel free to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks. Halloween costumes are welcome. Tickets are $10 per person or $120 for a full wagon.
For more information, call 655-5740 or visit inwilmingtonde.com.