They wanted dinner but I wanted to take them on a ride into history
I love traveling and I love beer. When the two come together, well, I'm often very happy. So, while reflecting on some travels back in April 2017, I recalled some now familiar places and special memories. While I'm still growing in my beer knowledge, it's a joy sometimes to look back from where I've come but also the journey local beer has made.
Getting there is sometimes half the fun. Some years ago, at the conclusion to a family event in Princess Anne, MD, we were hungry and ready to find a place for dinner before heading home. I recalled a restaurant I'd been to a few years before but just as important was the path we neede to take in getting there. Actually, I got giddy just thinking about. What I really wanted besides the good food I knew was waiting for my family, was for them to experience the Whitehaven Ferry. This is a small ferry that can carry only three cars at a time, using a cable to pull itself and passengers across the Wicomico River. If you're that far south in the county — as we were — it saves a lot of time from driving up and around the river. It's a rather romantic experience in that it beckons of the old days.
The ferry was waiting and we enjoyed the quick trip across the river in this unique style. Red Roost is a place with a lot of Eastern Shore character. The lights over each table are housed in wooden bushel baskets, the kinds watermen use to hold their catch. When we were there, soft crab poppers were an appetizer option.
Now, you probably are asking yourself how does this tie in with a beer story. While at the Red Roost ordering a beer to have with my meal, the waitress mentioned in her description of my choices that they had a beer from Evolution Brewing — a new local brewery — that happened to be a venture that the owners of the Red Roost had begun. From that moment, an awareness grew and some dots began to be connected. A friend had mentioned some weeks earlier that he had gone to a tasting room at a new brewery in Delmar, DE. Interesting, I know Delmar and there is not a lot there. Come to find out, this was the beginning of Evolution Brewing. As they expanded their demand and need for capacity, they later moved to their current site in downtown Salisbury, MD.
Evolution First Awareness
The history of beer and brewing on Maryland's Eastern Shore is nicely documented in Eastern Shore Beer: The Heady History of Chesapeake Brewing by Tony Russo. While the history of Evo is not found on their website, Eastern Shore Beer states that the brewery had its beginnings in Delmar, DE, a town in both Delaware and Maryland, back in 2009. They later moved to their current location in Salisbury in February 2012. As reports from fellow beer geeks and foodies about the quality of the food at Evolution, at was inevitable that a visit was in order. I've been there at least six times (probably more) and have never been disappointed with the beer, food, atmosphere or service. If you are visiting Salisbury on your way to the ocean, then this short side trip is highly recommended.
Hopper's Tap House
Back to my April 2017 trip. Hopper's Tap House is located at 1400 South Salisbury Blvd, Salisbury MD. Knowing about my passion for good beer, Hopper's was recommended as a dinner spot by a local colleague. With over 40 beers on tap — you have my attention — and any good beer drinker will find something to their liking.
While the beer selections certainly were great, the most interesting twist about Hopper's is the collaborative venues at that location. 1400 S Salisbury Blvd is an address shared by not only Hopper's but several artisianal food vendors. Grab a beer, choose your meal depending on your mood and then grab a seat in the common enclosed area. Here there are tables, cornhole games and plenty of room to spread out. Families were there with little ones practicing their cornhole game.
More Drink Local
If you are headed to or through Salisbury MD and are interested in other local breweries, here are some considerations.
- Eastern Shore Brewing — St Michaels MD. Perhaps a bit out of your way, but St Michaels is a beautiful small town and a destination of its own with a lot to offer: Lyons Distilling, St Michael Winery and many fine dining options. Plus there is a multitude of small boutique shops for you to stroll through. St Michaels is also the home of the St Michaels Brewfest held each June.
- Rubber Soul Brewing — Salisbury MD
- Tall Tales Brewing — Parsonsburg MD
- 3rd Wave Brewing — Delmar DE. This brewery is actually on the premises of the original Evolution Craft Brewing.