Brick Works gets crafty with inaugural beer crawl

Eric Williams, left, founder of the Mispillion River Brewing Company, and Ryan Maloney, right, head brewer at Mispillion, have partnered with Kevin Reading, owner of Abbott’s Grill restaurants, to open Brick Works Brewings and Eats in Smyrna. Brick Works will take part in the first Craft Crawl in Smyrna on Saturday with Blue Earl Brewing Company and Painting Stave Distilling. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Eric Williams, left, founder of the Mispillion River Brewing Company, and Ryan Maloney, right, head brewer at Mispillion, have partnered with Kevin Reading, owner of Abbott’s Grill restaurants, to open Brick Works Brewings and Eats in Smyrna. Brick Works will take part in the first Craft Crawl in Smyrna on Saturday with Blue Earl Brewing Company and Painting Stave Distilling. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

SMYRNA — When Kevin Reading, Eric Williams and Ryan Maloney partnered to open Brick Works Brewing and Eats, they wanted to deliver a brand new experience and a place that was positively Smyrna.

It would have been easy for Mr. Reading, owner of Abbott’s Grill restaurants in Milford and Laurel, Mr. Williams, founder of the Mispillion River Brewing Company in Milford and Mr. Maloney, head brewer at Mispillion, to just rely on familiar recipes and themes that had brought them success in their past ventures.

But they decided to throw those old blueprints away and make Brick Works Brewing and Eats in the Commodore Commons at 230 South DuPont Highway in Smyrna a unique dining and drinking destination.

“Brick Works is a collaboration with Mispillion and Abbott’s but we didn’t want it to be Mispillion and Abbott’s in Smyrna,” Mr. Williams said. “We wanted it to have its own unique identity with a different food style, music style, décor, beer … we wanted it to be different.”

So Paul Gallo, general manager of Brick Works, created a menu vastly different from the one at Abbott’s Grill, where

One of the newest restaurants in Smyrna is Brick Works Brewing and Eats. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

One of the newest restaurants in Smyrna is Brick Works Brewing and Eats. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

he had previously worked as executive chef.

Meanwhile, Justin Colatrella, who was named head brewer at Brick Works, came up with different craft brews for the restaurant, which opened its doors on June 16.

A little more than one month into their partnership, Mr. Reading, Mr. Williams and Mr. Maloney are very pleased with the success they have enjoyed in their new venture together.

Brick Works has been able to successfully fit in and become a part of Smyrna’s suddenly bursting craft beverage scene, which also includes the Blue Earl Brewing Company and Painted Stave Distilling.

Those interested in trying out the products the three venues have to offer are invited to attend the first Craft Crawl in Smyrna on Saturday from 4 until 9 p.m. The Delaware Brew Bus will transport participants between the three venues free of charge.

Blue Earl will have live music by Gary Cogdell & The Complainers. Painted Stave will kick off the Craft Crawl weekend by releasing its third batch of Delaware’s inaugural bourbon, Diamond State Bourbon Whiskey, this afternoon at 4.

“This weekend we have the Craft Crawl and it’s the three units working together to bring people into Smyrna,” Mr. Williams said.

ABOUT THAT NAME The name Brick Works was chosen because Smyrna used to house a brick-making factory. The idea of utilizing the location’s former life as the name stuck out to the partners who wished to emulate the art and the craft that comes along with laying bricks. Their slogan is “Made from scratch from plate to glass.”

ABOUT THAT NAME
The name Brick Works was chosen because Smyrna used to house a brick-making factory. The idea of utilizing the location’s former life as the name stuck out to the partners who wished to emulate the art and the craft that comes along with laying bricks. Their slogan is “Made from scratch from plate to glass.”

“People will be able to travel on the Delaware Brew Bus and have something special and we’ll build on that.

“The whole thing is to bring people into Smyrna and make these three businesses thrive and become better and to just show off what we do.”

It won’t be the first time that Brick Works has gotten together with its neighbors.

“We pour Blue Earl beer here and we pour Painted Stave Distilling’s sprits,” said Lauren Bigelow, spokeswoman for Brick Works.

“We don’t make distilled spirits and Blue Earl makes beer styles that we don’t make. So when we’re looking at our beer list we want to make sure that we have a lot of options and [Blue Earl] is able to fill a lot of holes in our portfolio.”

Brick Works is different. Its menu reflects that, featuring revolving items such as duck enchiladas, BLT bisque, sassafras glazed baby back ribs, catfish tacos, as well as more traditional fare.

The new business also features four house-made brews made in its on-site seven-barrel brew house. The Brick Works building features a U-shaped bar to the right upon entering, a dining room just off to the left and the actual brew house on the left side.

Greg Spiegel is one of two kitchen managers at Brick Works. He also has previous experience at Abbott’s Grill.

“It’s been great. Every night we’ve been packed,” he said. “It’s a new role for me. It is high volume, but we still uphold the same standards.”

Mr. Reading and Mr. Williams had previously talked about forming a partnership. He said that Brick Works seemed to have formed almost out of thin air.

“The building owners showed Kevin [Reading] this building because they wanted something in here that was going to stay here and be sustainable and Kevin called Eric [Williams] and said ‘Hey, I think we’ve got a chance here. They’re going to put up some money and help us get it open,’” Mr. Maloney said.

“At first we were like, ‘We’re way too busy, we’re expanding,’ and then it was like they threw a little bit of money at us to help get it opened and we were like, ‘OK, that makes it a little easier.’ They really wanted something here in Smyrna and something in this building and it’s been good.”

Eric Williams, left, and Ryan Maloney in their seven-barrel brewery area at Brick Works in Smyrna. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Eric Williams, left, and Ryan Maloney in their seven-barrel brewery area at Brick Works in Smyrna. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Now, there is a regular crowd that fills the place. Sometimes there’s even a line, though the owners said they try to get rid of any lines that form as quickly as possible.

“It’s exceeded our expectations,” Mr. Williams said. “Our staff is very together and unified. They like to come to work every day. They’re smiling, they’re working and doing what needs to be done. I knew the food was going to be awesome, Chef Paul [Gallo] is amazing … and the beer, well, it’s OK [laughs].”

It appears as if Milford has landed … in Smyrna.

“We couldn’t have imagined a community welcoming us with more open arms,” Ms. Bigelow said.

“We’re so excited. When you find people you want to work with, you’re willing to work with them anywhere and Smyrna has turned out to be just a great location for us.”

Brick Works has turned out to be yet another stone that makes up Smyrna’s burgeoning craft beverage industry.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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