With a fall opening planned for Thompson Island Brewing Company in Rehoboth Beach, brewmaster Jimmy Valm and Matt Patton, director of operations, recently spent time in Germany researching equipment and brewing techniques.
“When it comes to beer, the German craftsmen are world-renowned,” said Patton, a certified cicerone. (A cicerone is to beer what a sommelier is to wine.) “From the equipment to the techniques to the way that they enjoy their beer, the Germans deserve their stellar reputation.”
The duo first visited the small village of Truchtlaching, the home of BrauKon, which makes equipment for brewhouses. The men explored the facilities, including the onsite brewhouse.
They then headed to Camba, a brewery that BrauKon built as a pilot plant. “Their brew system is very similar to the one we will have at Thompson Island,” Patton said. “Jimmy got to sit in with the Camba team while they were brewing a special smoked wheat beer.”
They also visited a hop grower in the Hallertau region of Bavaria, just north of Munich. It is best known for Noble hop varieties, including Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Tettnang, Saaz and Hersbrucker.
On their last night, Patton and Valm celebrated the successful trip at a Volkfest beer event.
Thompson Island will be a 250-seat brewpub next to Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar, another SoDel Concepts restaurant in the Rehoboth Gateway shopping center.
The ambiance will salute longtime area attractions and activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and relaxing on the sand or sitting around a bonfire. In addition to the bays and beaches, local farms will play a prominent part in the theme.
The new brewpub will have a beer garden, seating about 100. In the garden, guests can play ping-pong and bocce ball. Classic car buffs will appreciate the 1956 Apache truck outfitted with beer taps.
For more information, go to www.sodelconcepts.com.