Dogfish Head remains Delaware's best-known brewery and brewpub, but in the past year, Delmar's Evolution Brewing Co. has elbowed its way into the consciousness of D.C. beer lovers. While the brewery was founded in 2009, it was only recently that its beers began showing up outside of the Eastern Shore. Top-notch bars - including Meridian Pint and the Big Hunt - are featuring Evolution's Lot 3 IPA and Lot 6 Double IPA prominently in their draft lineups, and the rich Rise Up stout made the final four of the Washington Post's 2011 Beer Madness competition.
The easiest way to explore the range of the upstart brewery is to visit its Delmar home - a detour that will take you less than five miles off Route 50 on the way to the beach. The unfussy tasting room features racks of T-shirts and a window into the actual brewery, but the long bar is the main attraction. A flight of five-ounce tastes of five Evolution beers - including the new unfiltered Summer Session ale - will set you back a whole $5. Pick one you like, and take a 64-ounce growler jug filled with fresh beer to the shore with you for $12. Bring back the growler for cheaper refills on future visits ($7 or $8, depending on the beer).
Evolution is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and if you're interested in learning more about the brewing operations, tours are offered at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Though the tasting room has a handful of tables, a big TV and outdoor seating, it's not the kind of place where you'll spend more than 45 minutes hanging out. Just plan on using it as a great pitstop in both directions.
-- Fritz Hahn (May 27, 2011)