If ever there was somewhere in this US of A that I am glad to have stumbled into, it’s Wilmington, DE.
Some interesting facts about Wilmington:
It is where the Du Pont family rooted its toxic self into the United States, beginning in the first part of the 19th century, with a gunpowder mill. Despite the legacy of producing dangerous materials, including explosives and other chemically engineered products, they have left behind some stunning properties, and interesting history.
There are several beautiful parks and walking paths for those of us who like to breathe oxygen and see green things
Though I didn’t get to see it, the world’s largest Lego tower was built in Wilmington…and is 11 stories tall…my dad would have been in “uh oh…tornado…!” heaven with that.
Oh! And Wilmington is the home to Wilmington Brew Works!!
Wilmington Brew Works was my 8th collaboration for the 48 Beer Project, and a rather unique one! Because they are still very young, as a brewery, and aren't packaging yet (although you can get crowlers!), they had me paint two retired beer barrels as a taproom installation. This was super fun, as I was able to work during open hours and interact with customers, and share my art with them. While I’m usually a little uncomfortable with making art with an audience, this was totally different. The crew at WBW fast became my friends and the taproom felt like home, which made my time there amazing…even surrounded by engineers…lol. (Is “lol” appropriate for non-text/sm-related writing…?)
Wilmington Brew Works is comprised of five owners and a small number of employees. Keith, John, Derek, Craig, and Dan, run a well oiled machine. You wouldn’t know they were so new if I didn’t tell you! Craig is the brewmaster and really kind of a mad scientist…concocting some original recipes that push the beer purist’s envelope a bit, but he has some of the standards dialed in as well. The beer names here are one of a kind…like “Nocturnal Indiscretion”, “Lupulin Enlightenment”, and “Superfluous Nomenclature”…really playing with the layman’s vocabulary! The guys refer to it as “playfully pretentious”.
This property boasts architectural beauty unlike any other brewery I’ve been to, with a Spanish Villa-inspired design, complete with red clay shingles. However, the history of the building would never suggest it, since it was once an electroplating plant, experimental laboratory for Francis Irenee DuPont, among other things, in a city founded by the Swedes and built around an incredibly accessible shipping industry.
Food trucks were my neighbor at WBW, and I’d be doing a horrible injustice to the world if I didn’t at least say the name “Stirling Sowerby”. Stirling runs a tight ship…. (mind blowing humor)….aboard the Flying Deutschman-an authentic, German faire food truck, if you can call it that. His truck is huge, wrapped to look like a pirate ship, complete with a removable rooftop stage. His personal style screams “YOLO”, and I’m grateful to have been graced with his presence…if only for a night.
I was lucky enough to be paid visits by some friends and followers while at the brewery…very welcomed conversations after having been on the road solo for 2 months.
There is so much I could share about my time in DE, but for now, I leave it here.
Next time you are looking for somewhere new to visit, consider the little forgotten state that has massive appeal.