With six homegrown breweries throughout the state, Delaware has no shortage of beer festivals. Check out the latest at this weekend's R2Hop2 Festival in Dover.
1 Another festival? What is this one about?
R2Hop2 began three years ago as a way for Fordham and Dominion Brewing to give back to their community. This year, organizers decided to focus on small businesses.
“We took a slightly different approach this year, choosing to focus on pulling the small businesses that Kent County has to offer,” said Fordham and Dominion President and CEO Jim Lutz. “Our goal with this festival is to bring the community together for some great beer and great music.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the festival’s mascot. It has been and will always be the brewery’s dry hopping machine affectionately named R2Hop2, who looks rather similar to another popular alphanumerically named robot.
“Dry hopping is an important step in our beer making process as it is integral to the overall character and aroma of the drink,” Marketing Coordinator Lauren Bigalow explained the first year of the festival. “So, we named the festival after R2Hop2 to symbolize our striving for quality and excellence.”
2 Festival soundtrack
Lutz mentioned “great music.” This year, that includes four bands and a local deejay. Guests can expect to rock out to Lower Case Blues, Community Center, River and Epstein’s Mother. In between sets, Deejay Sticks will keep silence at bay with his turntables.
3 “My kids don’t care about music. I don’t either.”
Tire out the whippersnappers of your entourage on the rock wall. There will also be a keg toss competition and a corn hole tournament. For beer drinkers interested in giving the big breweries a run for their money, there will also be homebrew demonstrations.
4 “I go to festivals for the food.”
Local fare will not be in short supply at R2Hop2 this year. Organizers are bringing in 14 vendors who will be selling everything imaginable. Oysters? Fried and raw will be available from Steve Curran Oysters. Barbeque? There will be more than enough pulled pork and other BBQ treats from the award-winning guys with Pigheaded BBQ. There will also be craft jerky from Dukes Meats, lobster rolls and crab cakes from Doc Magrogans and lots of backyard eats from the likes of 33 West, Frankfurt Bakery and Deli and Lil Shuckers.
For a sugar rush, Little Richards will bring funnel cakes, cotton candy and other walk-and-talk treats. Vitale’s will bring the Italian ice, should the weather hold out with warm, sunny skies.
5 All you can eat…for ten
At 2:30 p.m., ten brave souls will have 10 minutes to test the capacity of their iron stomachs and hollow legs in the new “Bier Dawg Challenge.”
Based on the prizes, the free-for-all is likely to pull in fans of the brewery who also happen to love brats. Hoffman Meats will supply the “bier dawgs,” which will be handcrafted and cooked with Fordham’s own Gypsy Lager.
First place will receive a $50 gift card to Fordham and Dominion; second place wins a $25 gift card; third places wins a $10 gift card.
6 Not everybody likes beer
Given the surge in beer sales and breweries, it’s hard to imagine that there might be people who don’t like beer. Plus, R2Hop2 is a family affair. Surely, there are more options, right? Of course. Fordham and Dominion is not leaving anyone out. The brewery will have its own root beer on tap for underage partiers. Harvest Ridge Winery and Smyrna’s own Painted Stave have also been invited.