Delaware Park has stepped up the stakes with a new in-house craft brewery worth $ 1.7 million to attract younger customers.
Eighteen months after construction began on 1937 Brewing Co. – with delays due to the pandemic – the newest brewery in Delaware began foaming late last month.
“This younger crowd surrounds the bar on weekends, and we also have older couples having dinner. It’s really nice to see,” said Bill Fasy, president of Delaware Park.
For the time being, the first nine designs are only available in the 4,002 square meter brewery. But the beers will soon be brought to the 78,000-square-foot casino and clubhouse, which has more than 2,300 slot machines and 25 poker tables.
The master brewer is Brad Adelson, who previously brewed for the Pennsylvania-based Victory Brewing Co. and the McKenzie Brew House in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, among others. He started at Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co.
The current lineup is IPA-heavy with four IPA options, all priced at $ 7: Tabitha (Citrus IPA, 6.5% ABV), Always in Play (Golden IPA, 7.2% ABV), And They’re Off IPA (double IPA, 8th). % ABV) and Fruit Machine (milkshake IPA, 7.4% ABV).
The rest of the lineup includes Legal Lite Lager (4.2% ABV, $ 3.25), White Clay Kolsch (5% ABV, $ 6), Watermelon Kicker (spicy ale with homemade watermelon puree, 4% ABV, $ 7), Smooth Razz ( Wheat beer with homemade raspberry puree, 5.5%, $ 6) and Nitro Thoroughbred Stout (coffee and chocolate stout, 6% ABV, $ 7)
In addition to the beers, the brewery has its own menu that is heavier with starters than main courses.
“It’s a more tapas-esque approach to some European brewery dishes,” said Fasy.
Part of the 1937 build was a $ 800,000 retrofit of the Delaware Park’s 5,272-square-foot kitchen, which dates from the 1960s.
Among the small bites on the menu that come from the new kitchen: Bavarian pretzels ($ 9); Chipotle cornbread ($ 9); Kettle Chips with Beer and Cheese Sauce ($ 9); fried pork ribs ($ 12); and “Potato Tachos,” which are fried potatoes with beer cheese and chorizo sausage crumble ($ 9).
In addition to soups and salads, sandwiches offer a wide variety of flavors from braised pork ($ 14), cubanos ($ 12), and shrimp po boys ($ 14) to grilled crab and corn cheese ($ 14), a patty melt hamburger ( $ 13) and BLT ($ 9).
There are only five main courses at Tap House, Street Tacos (US $ 10), Fish and Chips (US $ 12), and Barbecue Chicken (US $ 19), which go with pesto shrimp noodles (US $ 19) and macaroni and cheese (US $ 10) Share space.
The nearby HOPS stage, now known as Stage 1937, will once again feature live entertainment with country line dancing from Friday, July 23rd. Future events include Mark Baxter (R&B, dance) on Saturday July 24th; Latin Fiesta Night on Sunday 25th July; and a karaoke night on Friday July 30th.
The real star of the show is the new 15-barrel brewery, whose name recalls the year the Delaware Park opened. It’s the first craft brewery in a Delaware casino that allows brewing fans to play table games and slot machines, or wager on horses and sports while sipping a fresh beer just yards away.
The summer opening gives the brewery a few months to get up and running when the crowds are traditionally a little smaller, which is a good thing as Delaware Park’s workforce has decreased by 30% compared to pre-pandemic due to the labor shortage said Fasy.
If the football season kicks off in less than two months, the crowds are expected to return. And when they do, new beers and appetizers await in a rustic English gastropub with lots of dark wood, green and burgundy that was built in a former high roller pit.
“We’ll really get started there,” said Fasy. “We are really optimistic.”
While many of Delaware’s craft breweries can be found in lackluster industrial parks, this one costs nearly $ 2 million and will be in the center of a colorful casino.
The 1937 brewery is the first new venture in Delaware Park since they converted a bistro into Picciotti’s Pizza about nine years ago.
Fasy said the idea came from seeing the crowds that had moved into Delaware Park in recent years to attend his Fall Beers & Gears auto shows and Christmas beer tastings.
He watched as 20- and 30-year-olds mingle with his regulars, many first-time visitors drawn to the beer. And not just any beer, but the craft brews that have been booming across the country for years.
With both casino and racetrack operations generally attracting middle- and older-age customers, Fasy saw an opportunity to tap a new customer base.
“The 20-year-olds don’t come here other than to do sports betting and we need another attraction to keep them here,” Fasy said during construction last year, adding that a large number of these younger customers are making bets and goes. “When we sat down strategically and looked at our strengths and weaknesses, the young audience was really a big issue.”
He sees the brewery as a way to help the still growing sports betting business, which tends to have customers who are also more willing to try other gambling offerings such as table games or track betting. In general, casino and racetrack customers stick to what they like with little cross-pollination, Fasy said.
And after Fasy lost about 60% of sales this year due to COVID-19, Fasy hopes a new brewery will help create a stir and attract some new faces after college.
This summer the brewery is open from 12 noon to 8 p.m. (Wednesday and Thursday) and from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), with the bar closing at 10 p.m. on all evenings.