For one Delaware brewery, beer and history go hand in hand
At Twin Lakes Brewing in Greenville, a love of community and a rich history are brewed together. The results are deliciously Delawarian.
Twin Lakes doesn't have a fancy restaurant or huge signs and billboards announcing their presence. The brewery is located on Kennett Pike in Greenville, Del., and if you didn't see their "open" sign while driving by on a Wednesday or Saturday, you may not even know it's there.
The brewery began during an event of historical significance: During the 9/11 attacks, brewery owner Sam Hobbs was conversing with a group of friends.
"We were getting quite loud and we said, 'How dare they come and blow up our buildings. Just let 'em come and try to take the right to drink beer from us," Hobbs recalled.
At that moment, the idea for the brewery began. In 2006, Twin Lakes Brewery launched.
Twin Lakes Brewery takes its name from the lakes on the grounds of the farm, which has been in Hobbs' family for seven generations.
The brewing is overseen by Head Brewer Rob Pfieffer and Assistant Brewer Jake Stablein. Twin Lakes is a production brewery, where they do everything by hand. From loading the grain into the hopper all the way to the canning process, these guys have their hands in every step.
The brewery produces about 3,000 barrels a year, equating to approximately 750 gallons per batch of beer. The beer is unpasteurized, so it can only be found within a hundred-mile radius of the brewery.
Since they have access to a farm, some other fresh, local ingredients may make their way into batches of the beer, such as honey from the hives located on a hill overlooking the brewery to fresh raspberries..
Being local is also important to Twin Lakes, and that local feel is reflected in the names of the beers. From the Greenville Pale Ale, named for the town itself, to the Caesar Rodney Golden Ale, the names reflect the local heritage and history of Delaware and of the brewery itself.
The farm is a footnote in the early history of the country: Gen. George Washington planned the Battle of the Brandywine on the grounds of the farm.
In the past, the farm has also been in the past used for ice-skating, with generations of locals skating on the lakes' frozen water. It's even rumored that a nationally-prominent Delaware politician took his first date out to ice skate at the farm.
The water that feeds the lakes and the farm is the watershed for the largest reservoir in Delaware, Hoopes Reservoir.
It's this history that leads owner and CEO Sam Hobbs to feel more like a caretaker than an owner.
"You always think you own something, but in my case, I feel like a caretaker for the generations," he said.
More than the beer
For Pfieffer, who oversees the brewing operations, working at Twin Lakes is about more than just beer.
"It's great that you're making beer, it's a lot of work, but, you know what? To me it's more about people than it is about the actual beer," he said.
"I hope they like the beer, because you do put your heart and soul into it," Pfeiffer explained. "I enjoy seeing when somebody is enjoying my beer. And that's a great thing, too. Especially if they buy me one in a bar."
Owner Sam Hobbs echoes those sentiments.
"I think it's everything together, but really, it's community first," he said. "It's letting people know that this is their beer, and let them be proud of it."
Twin Lakes Brewery is open for tours and tastings every Wednesday and Saturday. You can find more information on their website.
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Twin Lakes Brewing Company