Handhelds and beer! Handhelds and beer! That’s how the song goes, right? I’ve established by now I’m a beer gal about town—and readers may remember from our February feature “100 Fave Eats” that ya girl loves a sandwich. So I thought it was time to marry the two.
I was thinking about some of my fave beer spots around town and nearby restaurants that serve righteous sammies. So I compiled a few favorite combos that have take-out lunches and the places I love to eat them. (Not that there’s anything wrong with hanging out at the restaurants, I just like a change of scenery. By scenery, I mean a boozy, fizzy treat.)
SIPS AND SAMMIES: Flytrap’s Belgian blonde or kolsch goes great with the #8 Tom Neal or the #19 banh mi with pulled chicken or the #10 charcuterie special. Trolly Stop and WBC Beach Time is a match made in heaven, too. Photos by Joan Hoffmann
SURFER OR NC DOG & BEACH TIME SESSION IPA
A girlfriend texted me recently, “I’m thinking about grabbing a hot dog at Trolly Stop and bringing it to WBC. Any interest?”
I went pale. How had I never thought of this!?
Being a downtown girl mostly, I’ve missed Trolly Stop since they closed their Front Street location—so of course I was on board. I hemmed and hawed, but opted for my two favorite dogs: North Carolina and Surfer.
The North Carolina features the classic combo of meaty, salty chili, sweet and creamy slaw, and tangy deli mustard with an oh-so-mellow spice. The Surfer brings a trifecta of deli mustard, decadent melted cheese, and vegetarian bacon bits. Both are balanced with the right amount of crunch and acidity, plus the dogs themselves are cooked to perfection and offer plenty of snap. (Diners who don’t want the original Trolly Dog made with beef and pork can opt for several others, including a veggie dog.)
As for the beer, you can’t go wrong with any order at Wilmington Brewing Company. My summer sipper for 2019 has been Beach Time (5.4% ABV). The session IPA (SIPA) is brewed with Mosaic and El Dorado hops. Beer connoisseurs might see “SIPA” and think “watered down hop water.” Not this time, folks. The brew offers more body than any average SIPA, and presents playful tropical notes of mango and star fruit with restrained bitterness on the finish.
Overall it just plays well with others, so the pairing is a no-brainer. But hop-resistant folks could certainly go for the Bier Garden Kölsch or Raspberry Saison or … well, WBC has plenty to offer. The staff can certainly guide any customer into the right sipping direction from their vast oeuvre.
turkey wedge &
GERMAN PILSNER & TURKEY ROLL (OR WEDGE)
One of my great joys in life is introducing my husband to places he’s never been in Wilmington. Recently, it was A Taste of Italy.
We were starving to death after a stressful trip to Trader Joe’s and I said, “Hey, wanna grab a sandwich at Taste of Italy and go to Hey!Beer?” He cocked his head in confusion, and I instantly felt like a terrible wife.
Had I not brought him to the tiny authentic Italian treasure tucked back on College Road? Is that even possible? my brain questioned.
Apparently, it was and we remedied it immediately. My mister let me order because I’m the picky one, so I went for a turkey sandwich on a roll (as opposed to the wedge, a significant size upgrade) with provolone, lettuce, tomato, deli mustard, mayo and pickle. It’s a sandwich that typically lasts me either all day or a couple of lunches (as will their divine eggplant or meatball Parm folks often rave over, too).
The pickle upgrade at TOI is really where it’s at because they slice up one of their enormous deli pickles to put on the sammie and then wrap up the rest to go with your order. Technically, there’s an up-charge, but is it really an up-charge when a roadie full of deli pickle is involved? I don’t think so.
We moseyed over to Hey!Beer where we were greeted by the very friendly Charles. I went with a traditional German pilsner, but my husband won the ordering contest with a mango sour. The bright, tangy mango really married nicely with the rich, savory sandwich.
There’s something for everyone at Hey! Beer. Their selection is staggering, and potentially intimidating for one not constantly monitoring beer releases. However, be not intimidated! Charles and coproprietor Mike are there to help you in any way they can—so let them. They’re really good at it!
TOM NEAL & KOLSCH
When Detour moved in around the corner from Flytrap, I was working at the brewery. To say I ate there regularly would be a gross understatement. I relied on it the way a baby bird relies on her mother.
Now, I just spend afternoons munching on sandwiches and sipping cold brews while I hanging with the bartender Eddy, who’s always there when I go in for what has become my Friday routine.
My husband typically goes for the #19 banh mi with pulled chicken or #10 charcuterie special. Both are thoughtful and damn delicious, too. My go-to menu item at Detour is the #8 Tom Neal turkey baguette with avocado (but don’t tell the shop’s owner, Allister, I told you to make the modification). The sammie features turkey, a crunchy romaine leaf, thick-cut Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and liberal amounts of Sriracha and pesto mayo on a crunchy baguette. It’s to die for.
The husband’s favorite brew at Flytrap is the Belgian blond. Fans of witbiers like Hoegaarden would be wise to give it a shot. It’s got delicate notes of clove and white pepper in the aroma and on the palate, and it finishes bright and crisp with restrained fruity esters. The husband can’t get enough of it.
As much as I love the hoppy tripel, its 8.2% ABV is a little much for a lunch beer (lame, I know). While Flytrap boasts an impressive number of Belgian-inspired ales, I find myself craving the kölsch. It’s soft on the palate and presents toasty notes of cereal malt and a dry finish of earthy hops (but don’t let that scare you because it’s not hoppy).
The Belgian blonde allows the goat cheese in Detour’s #10 charcuterie special to really sing, and the kölsch pairs well with every bite of the #8 Tom Neal. The Detour-Flytrap combo is a match made in—well, in Brooklyn-Arts-District heaven.