We took a quick trip to Delaware last Sunday where we picked up some homebrewing equipment and spent some time at the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. Later that day we stopped in at a much smaller brewery, 16 Mile, to see what they had to offer.
Before this trip I had only tried one 16 Mile beer, Responders Ale, and I really wasn’t impressed. I was a little worried everything else they had to offer would be similar, and that this would be a real letdown of a trip. Thankfully I was very, very wrong.
First of all, 16 Mile has a great tasting room! Normally I wouldn’t care about a breweries tasting room but 16 Mile made something that is incredibly simple and yet extremely cozy. The room is warm, inviting and spacious. The ceiling is high above your head and slopes up with the roof, the fireplace is fake, but gives off an inviting glow in the background. The dark hardwood bar top was cut from a single tree, and has a line of equally spaced bullet holes where it appears someone used the tree to sight in a rifle over a hundred years ago. This is exactly where I wanted to sip a beer after spending all day driving through the backwoods farm roads of Delaware. But enough about the great tasting room, on to the beer!
We started off with this and just like before it wasn’t my cup of tea, or pint of beer, or whatever. Admittedly though, it’s good at what its trying to be, which is a light, crisp easy drinker. Proceeds from this beer go to the National Fallen Fire Fighters foundation which is pretty cool. This is also fitting considering that most of my firefighter friends like flavorless beer.
Blues’ Golden Ale
A light grainy malt aroma is what I noticed first about this beer. The aroma made me a little less concerned about the quality of 16 Mile’s beer. The flavor was similar, with a slightly sweet light malt flavor with the a hint of floral hops. Nothing in this beer is in your face and overwhelming, and that’s exactly what is good about it.
Amber Sun Ale
The slightest bit of roast and caramel malt were the stars in this beer. I savored the sweetness and enjoyed the malt flavors. At this point I completley forgot about all my dissapointment in Responders Ale.
Tiller Brown Ale
Anyone that complains about brown ale being too middle of the road to stand out in a crowd has obviously never tried Tiller. This beer is dark, roasty, a bit chocolaty, and just absolutely wonderful for sipping on a chilly winter day. We ended up bringing home a growler of this beer.
Inlet IPA has some very floral hops. Think grapefruit and a room full of dry herbs.. That is what you smell and that is what you taste. It is more in the English IPA style, which is to say it’s not as extreme as an American IPA. I really have to recommend this to those that want to try an IPA that’s a little more accessible than the hop bombs that are often too intense for newer beer drinkers.
Delaware Oyster is a great example of how a brewer should use smoke in their beer. This stout tastes of roasted malt, toast, unsweetened chocolate, and the perfect amount of smoke from the cherry wood smoked malt. Most smoked beers are just way over done. If you drink a smoked beer with smoked meat and you can’t taste the meat, then the beer has too much smoke. Delaware Oyster balances this smoky malt flavor with the dark roast to create something truly unique and absolutely delicious.
Hot Fudge Sundae Stout
Honestly, the name of this beer scared the hell out of me. I’ve had some amazing beer flavored ice cream, but a hot fudge sundae stout sounds like it’s going to be a chocolaty, syrupy, mess of a beer. Once again, 16 Mile, proved that my fears were unfounded and even made me a believer in ice cream inspired beer! This beer was the highlight of the trip. It tastes of dark roast coffee with sweet cream, roasted nuts, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla, black cherries, and a hint of tartness. This stout is packed with flavors without any one of them completely stealing the show. 16 Mile seriously knows how to use special ingredients to make a killer beer without going overboard. This was a great beer to end the day on and I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
I avoided 16 Mile for the longest time because of my experience with Responders Ale and now I’m kicking myself. Don’t ever let one beer turn you off of a brewery. First impressions aren’t always the most accurate when meeting people or trying a new brewery. I know I’ll be on the lookout for 16 Mile here in Maryland, because this first trip to Delaware was awful. Why would I ever want to go back there?