The t’s have been crossed, the i’s are dotted, and on April 1, Crooked Hammock Brewery broke ground on their new, second location in Middletown, Delaware, 65 miles north of their original restaurant-and-brewery in Lewes.
Middletown Mayor Kenneth Branner attended the groundbreaking ceremony, along with representatives from the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce. They made the location scouting-process easy, said Crooked Hammock’s Head Brewer and Beer Brand Director Jon Schorah, and have been very welcoming to the Crooked Hammock team throughout the expansion process.
If all else goes as smoothly, the Middletown Hammock will be open by the fall of 2019.
“It’s a great community that doesn’t have anything like us in it yet, and they were really hungry for it,” Schorah said.
The only other brewery in Middletown is Volunteer Brewing Co., which brews on a much smaller scale and is open just a few days a week.
Crooked Hammock, owned by La Vida Hospitality Group, first opened its doors on Kings Highway in Lewes in 2015. Their second location will be in the Middletown Auto Park and will include indoor seating for 175 people, a screened porch and separate bar and dining areas within the 7,000-square-foot development.
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Middletown, we’ll see you soon! Huge thanks to the mayor, the chamber, and everyone else in Middletown who joined us during our groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. We can’t wait to be a part of this amazing community! . Construction will begin later this week, and we’re aiming to open our doors by mid-fall 2019. 🤞🏼 . Make sure you follow the new Crooked Hammock Middletown Facebook page for updates along the way. . Cheers! 🍺
Crooked Hammock brings the beach to northern Delaware.
“With us having the Lewes location, one thing we’ve learned is what’s worked and what could be improved upon,” Schorah said.
The same concepts that make the original Crooked Hammock such a success — the bright, beachy colors, the outdoor games and backyard beer garden/cookout kind of feel, the casual atmosphere accentuated by literal lounging hammocks — will be featured in Middletown as well.
It’ll be a similar vibe, Schorah said, only bigger and better. The Middletown backyard will be about three or four times the size of the backyard in Lewes. It will have a sandy play area for kids that brings part of the beach up to Middletown along with, Schorah hopes, a beach volleyball court.
Inside, the restaurant will be a bit bigger, with separate dining room and bar areas. The brewery will operate on a 15-barrel system with 30-barrel tanks, double their size capacity for brewing in Lewes.
The brewing/bar area will be separated into several different rooms, with a multi-purpose space in the middle that features a big bar in the center of all the action.
“It’s going to have that taproom kind of feel right there,” Schorah said. “So if you’re just coming in with your buddies and you don’t want to deal with the kids running around in the backyard, you can come in there and try some beers.”
Kids running around in the backyard is the very concept that Crooked Hammock was built upon. Families have been one of their core demographics since day one, and one of the brewpub’s many redeeming qualities is its variety of offerings for visitors of every age: The games and ample space to play outside for children, the handcrafted food, handbrewed beer and live music for adults young and old, plus brew tours and year-round brews mingled with rotating brewpub exclusives — the Hammock’s bread and butter — for the beer geeks.
Between the two locations, Schorah said, they’ll be able to produce beer at a higher rate, in larger quantities, and for a wider range of distribution. Distribution will grow once the Middletown location starts churning out beer; he hopes to branch out of Delaware and expand their reach down to Maryland and up north to Pennsylvania, areas where many of their clientele travel from.
Though the second location won’t be open until fall, the Hammock has big plans for the summer that include a lot of new beers, with an emphasis on lower-ABV sours. They’re rededicating themselves to producing beers that scale on the more sessionable side.
They’re also already looking at where to build Crooked Hammock #3.
There’s a good chance that three Crooked Hammock brewpubs will be operating in a few years time, Schorah said, with the third location “a little outside the box for what you might think for us being a southern Delaware brewery.”
“We have a really good growth plan going on right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of communities around that are looking for something like us, and we’re very fortunate to be able to do that.”
A Watering Hole for Locals and Shoobies Alike I actually lived in Lewes, Delaware for a minute several years ago. I loved it. It was a wintertime stint; a quiet spell in a community that bursts at the seams with sun- and fun-seeking folk.