On Dec. 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the constitution, but it wasn’t until 1933 that Delawareans began commemorating the date.
This year, you can toast Delaware Day with Wilmington Brew Works’ Double Delaware IPA, a new beer inspired by President-Elect Joe Biden.
Rail Car One, which will be released on Dec. 7, reflects Biden’s regular commute from Wilmington to Washington, D.C., when he was a senator. He was such a familiar sight on the train that the downtown station was renamed the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station.
“It’s just fun to think of the President traveling back to Delaware on a special train car just for him,” said John Fusco, the brewery’s vice president of creative and brand marketing.
According to the label: “While #46 may not engage in the occasional tipple, his fine friends in the First State certainly do. And that’s something we can all agree on.”
The label also has a stylized picture of the high-speed train with an American flag. The Art Deco flair is reminiscent of artists’ work during the Work Project Administration period in the 1930s.
The brewers took some creative license with the recipe. For instance, there is no such thing as a Double Delaware India Pale Ale, said Craig Wensell, CEO and master brewer.
“The base style is really a New England IPA — I call it a Northeast IPA,” he said. “It’s easy; it’s juicy.”
Double Delaware IPA, which has a desirable haze, is made with barley, wheat and grain and includes Mosaic, Citra and Sultana hops.
“It’s a short boil,” Wensell said of the brewing technique. “I don’t put a lot of hops in the kettle — just the minimum amount to be able to classify it as beer versus a malt liquor. That limits the bitterness.”
You can purchase a poster of the label now, but Wilmington Brew Work is not preselling the beer, Fusco said. Rail Car One will go on sale on Dec. 7 as soon as it’s canned and labeled. “It will be very fresh,” he said.
He expects the beer to sell out quickly. Customers can order online and pick it up beginning at 4 p.m. T-shirts and stickers of the label are in the works.
If you miss out, the brewery may re-release Rail Car One before the inauguration.
Also, keep your eye on the Facebook page for the Christmas re-release of That Pie Girl, a popular cider that sold out on Thanksgiving weekend.
This is the second year for the cider, which is named for Amy Watson Bish, who lives near the brewery. The amateur baker and frequent customer brought a pie to Wilmington Brew Works to welcome them to the Ninth Ward.
Bish, who began baking in earnest in 2013, has repeatedly won first place for her pies at the Delaware State Fair. Since then, she’s been a welcome guest at pot luck parties.
Turning pie into cider took a lot of tries—and a lot of pies, said Ryan Rice, the production assistant and draught technician.
“As we ate the pie, we tried to pinpoint the flavors like nutmeg, clove or spice then figure out how to transfer that into a cider,” he explained.
Combining trendy beer styles with local landmarks and personalities is more than a publicity tool.
“When we bring in the local influences and express them through our beverages, it ties us to the community,” Rice said.
For information on Wilmington Brew Works, visit wilmingtonbrewworks.com and sign up for release alerts. On Dec. 7, follow the brewery on Facebook and other social media to find out when Rail Car One is ready for sale.