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Middletown Life

A ‘hoppy’ celebration of history and craft beer returns to Historic Odessa

Aug 12, 2022 03:06PM ● By Tricia Hoadley

The Historic Odessa Brewfest, a “hoppy” celebration of history and craft beer, returns to the bucolic grounds of the 253-year-old Wilson-Warner House on Saturday, Sept. 10.

The popular Brewfest, which is presented by the Historic Odessa Foundation (HOF) and Cantwell’s Tavern, will take place from 1 to 5 p.m.

The ninth annual Odessa Brewfest will feature more than 50 local, regional and national craft brewers, live music, artisan vendors, lawn games, and locally sourced food provided by Cantwell’s Tavern, Odessa’s popular farm-to-table gastropub located in HOF’s historic Brick Hotel, and the Ashby Hospitality Group out of Newark, Del.

Tickets for the ninth annual Odessa Brewfest, which is the Historic Odessa Foundation’s signature fundraising event of the year, are now on sale, and all proceeds support the preservation and education mission of the foundation. HOF owns and operates Historic Odessa and its museum properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are home to a National Historic Landmark, and National Park Service Network to Freedom site.

In addition to enjoying the Odessa Brewfest’s sprawling pastoral setting featuring a colonial revival garden and shaded seating areas, attendees will have the opportunity to stroll and sample some of the best craft beers by more than 50 brewers and will receive a complimentary souvenir 2-ounce tasting mug upon admittance for unlimited craft beer sampling privileges for the duration of the day. The list of participating breweries is being updated regularly, and for the current list, visit

This year’s live musical entertainment will be presented on two stages. Main stage bands are funk/blues/jazz ensemble The Bickel Brothers Band, who will perform from noon to 2:30 p.m., and perennial favorite, reggae evangelists Spokey Speaky, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Taking the garden stage and new to the Odessa Brewfest will be acoustic performer and Wilmington native Ryan Bacher performing from 12 to 2:30 p.m., and solo performer Tony Mowen, who takes the garden stage from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Tickets are on sale for $60 for general admission ($70 at the gate). The gates open at 1 p.m. for ticket holders. There are also $15 designated driver tickets for access to food, music and vendors, and this includes free soft drinks. Designated Driver tickets are only available at the gate on the day of the event. To purchase general admission tickets online, at, or call 302-378-4119.

The day is a celebration of the area’s history and craft beer. The Historic Odessa Brewfest is a fundraising event for the Historic Odessa Foundation, a nonprofit organization which has a mission is to ensure the legacy of the Historic Houses of Odessa for future generations, through commitment to the preservation of Odessa’s unique historic, architectural and cultural heritage.

From their earliest days at the beginning of the 17th century, avid beer makers populated European settlements along both sides of the Delaware River. Making your own beer was as important a domestic craft as hearth cooking, tending a kitchen garden or spinning yarn. As drinking water was avoided like the plague, beer was a major dietary staple in the colonies, consumed by everyone from cradle to grave. So it stands to reason that Historic Odessa, a once-bustling colonial grain shipping port and vital Mid-Atlantic transportation hub of the 18th and early 19th centuries, should be the site of a craft beer festival in which today’s beer enthusiasts can step back more than 250 years to a pastoral setting befitting a celebration of grain, hops, fruits, herbs and time-honored brewing methods.

The 2022 Odessa Brewfest sponsors include the following:

National HVAC – Main Stage

Wilmington Trust – Event

ATR Electric – Shade Tent

ShureLine Electrical – Designated Driver

Insurance Associates – Garden Stage

Dave Watlington – Music In the Garden

David Iobst – Koozies

Sponsorship opportunities are still available and interested parties should contact the Historic Odessa Foundation for more information.

There are also volunteer opportunities still to be filled. Since not every brewery will be able to send a representative to pour beer, and help will be needed to keep the historic site clean, HOF and Cantwell’s Tavern are looking for volunteers for the day’s festivities. Prospective volunteers can call Cantwell’s at 302-376-0600.

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