Brewery Visit: Revelation Craft Brewing
Every September, we make our annual trek to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for some much needed rest and relaxation… and craft beer. The town of Rehoboth is famous for its artsy boutiques, unique restaurants, slow-paced living, beautiful beach and of course, Dogfish Head Brewing. But this year on our Delaware beercation, we got the opportunity to check out the new kid on the block: Revelation Craft Brewing.
Revelation is a brewery we’ve been watching since 2015 via social media as they went through the long process of securing a location, transforming their space and finally getting approval to open. It certainly wasn’t an easy journey for all involved.
The initial plan was to open at the former John Wesley United Methodist Church that was built in 1853 in Belltown, Delaware just south of the historic seaside town of Lewes. The proposal was to restore and renovate the pre-Civil War era church that they had purchased – using much of the original materials. The church building itself would house the restaurant’s dining room. A separate building would be constructed on the property to house the actual brewery, kitchen featuring wood-fired pizza and the bar. Two parking lots would be added to accommodate the droves of visitors expected.
That concept wasn’t well received by the community. Especially the fact that beer would be in a church – a place of worship. Personally, we think it’s genius – I mean, their name is “Revelation.” Perfect tie-in to the religious theme plus we applaud the restoring of historic buildings. But have no fear. That project near Lewes is not squashed. In fact, it’s moving forward. More on that later in this article (after the photo gallery).
Co-owners Harry Metcalfe and Brian Nelson wanted to go online with Revelation Craft Brewing as soon as possible and have a space to test and perfect beer recipes. So they secured a small 1,500 square foot building in West Rehoboth – 19841 Central Street. The location sits along the highly travelled Junction and Breakwater bike trail which connects Lewes to Rehoboth.
The building is only 1,500 square feet? Yep! That includes the brewhouse, taproom, bar, cold storage and everything. Super tiny. But it works. What makes it feel more open and spacious during warm weather months is the roll up garage door letting the ocean breezes flow through.
The Word is Spreading
While visiting, we got to talk with Brewmaster Patrick Staggs over some beers to see how the brewery has been doing, what inspired the brews and Revelation’s future plans.
Patrick has worked as operations manager for Dogfish Head, Dr. Pepper and Snapple. Plus, he had been homebrewing for 15 years prior to this gig at Revelation. That’s some solid experience.
According to Patrick, the locals are flocking in to check out what Revelation is all about. Not to mention the thousands of tourists that venture in searching for carefully-crafted, small batch beers. The word is spreading quickly that this is a must visit place. It was packed on the Wednesday afternoon we stopped by. Oh, and that bike trail is a big plus. There are tons of people that use the trail – an estimated 100,000 riders per year. Revelation actually encourages folks to bike to the brewery. And, if you do, you get a free “browler” beer containter – 1 L bike-friendly growler.
The tap list is constantly changing and there’s a wide variety of beer styles to choose from. We just went for them all. Small pour flights, of course. Just enough to taste and savor. We chose these 8 to test their brewing chops and how they creatively interpret each style:
- Pekko Kolsch A classic toasty kolsch with a faint trace of banana and clove.
- Mamajuana Brown Ale If you love coffee, this is the brew for you. Derek loooooooves coffee while me… ummm… no. But I did like this beer. I think it was the added lactose which gave it a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and sweet balance. Plus, Patrick aged this brew on wood used to make Mamajuana in the Dominican Republic. He brought it back from a recent trip there for Homes of Hope – a charitable initiative of his that brings affordable, sustainable housing to the impoverished areas of the world.
- Hellacious Choco Nibs Stout Featuring cacao nibs from Ghana and Ecuador. A fantastic roasty, chocolatey stout!
- Raspberry Sour Smooth, slightly tart and a touch of sweet. Warning: Gobs of fresh raspberries were harmed in the process of brewing this beer. (devious smile). This was our standout favorite of the day.
- Mother-in-Law DIPA Sweet and malty at first sip then turns into a burst of piney bitterness as it sits in your mouth.
- Grapefruit Pale Ale Pleasant, easy-drinker made with 100 lbs of fresh grapefruit – no extract here! We wanted slightly more grapefruit out of this one. But all-in-all, it was pretty solid.
- Peach Saison 100 lbs of local peaches were used during secondary fermentation to flavor the traditional saison.
- Sussex County Mule Their blonde ale with ginger and lime zest. Pure bliss in our mouths. Our second favorite of the day. They have a real hit on their hands with this brew!
Patrick uses a four barrel system by Portland Kettleworks to supply all the beer for the brewery and a handful of local restaurants. There are future plans for distribution in the state. Also note that this location WILL continue to do business even after their Belltown location is up and running.
Fun Fact: The bar top isn’t your average surface. Pages from the book, “Brewing in Delaware,” cover the surface so you can sit and read about Delware’s 400 year brewing history.
Knowledgeable, friendly staff means everything when visiting a taproom. Elle was our bartender and she was quick to answer each question we threw at her – about the equipment, the beer and other breweries in the area. Kudos to her!
Is there food? Kind of. While there is no traditional kitchen/restaurant, the brewery does get local food trucks from time to time. The brewery also have bags of chips and pretzels to purchase at the bar.
Future Plans Near Lewes, DE
Planning for the Belltown brewpub has continued to progress and I’m told groundbreaking will commence very, very soon – if it hasn’t already. Remember when we said the Rehoboth location was a testing ground for beer recipes? The same thing is happening on the flipside with the food. The owners decided to open up DaNizza Wood Fired Pizza in Salisbury, MD to move forward and perfect their food vision. As you can imagine, when these two pieces come together at the grand opening of Revelation Craft Brewing Co Brewpub near Lewes, their food and brew game will be a work of art. We’ll keep you posted!