Look out, Dogfish Head – the Delaware craft beer scene is on the rise, and Crooked Hammock is one of the stars of the show. Located in Lewes just outside the fantastic Cape Henlopen State Park, Crooked Hammock is still in its first year of operation, having opened in the fall of 2015. Using the classic backyard cookout for inspiration, Crooked Hammock offers a line of drinkable and incredibly fresh beers paired with a food menu packed with crowd-pleasers like deviled eggs, clam bakes, and an array of juicy burgers. The space itself recalls sand and surf with a casual, beach-bum atmosphere featuring vintage beach decor, hammocks, ping pong tables, and patrons mulling about in bare feet (not making this up). Even the bathrooms feel like a throwback beach bathhouse with pastel colors and sinks made from galvanized buckets. I couldn’t stop gawking at a stunning chandelier made from re-purposed growlers hung over the indoor bar. Perfection.
Mike and I adore tent camping, and Cape Henlopen is our favorite place to go, mainly for its nice campsites and proximity to the beach – you can’t beat falling asleep under the stars with the sound of the ocean in your ears. We always take a pilgrimage to the Dogfish Head Brewpub a bit south in Rehoboth; however, when we spotted Crooked Hammock just around the bend from the park, we felt like we hit the jackpot. We popped in to sample their beers and food and left feeling impressed not only by the fun ambiance but the menu offerings as well. Beer-wise, they offer a selection of American-style ales ranging from their flagship Suns Out Suds Out Golden Ale, which is a quintessential easy-drinking beach beer, to a set of delicious IPAs, including Mootzy’s Treasure IPA and Beach Escape White IPA (our favorite!). The Beach Escape packs in a bright citrus and coriander flavor from a heavy dose of citra hops. It had that perfect taste we look for in White IPAs – heavier on the citrus than the classic IPA, but not so heavy that you lose the punchy bitterness from the hops. They also brewed up some unique options, including the Pucker Down raspberry sour ale and the Maui Wowie pineapple brown ale. Food-wise, we have to talk about the pretzel. Crooked Hammock offers a Giant Bavarian Pretzel which is shipped from Germany and served with both a saison beer mustard as well as beer cheese. Now, to be fair, Mike and I had been doing the 21 Day Fix and used this day as a cheat day, so our perceptions may have been a little off. But we remain convinced that this was the best pretzel and beer cheese that we have had in a very long time. It had a perfect contrast of slightly crispy and salty exterior with soft, slightly chewy interior that remained light and fluffy. The beer cheese and mustard were both excellent accompaniments. All in all, it was a perfect cheat snack.
If you find yourself hanging out in Delaware, be sure to swing by Crooked Hammock for backyard cookout eats, fresh pints, and the opportunity to enjoy both while lying in a hammock. We loved the unique decor and friendly-casual feel of this brewpub and can’t wait to visit again!
What are your favorite breweries in Delaware? Let us know in the comments!