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New Missions on the Mispillion

  Story and Photographs by Chris Poh

 Mispillion River Brewing in Milford, Delaware as seen in American Public House Review
Mispillion River brewing in Milford, Delaware

Assuming the logbook of the Kriegsmarine U-332 to be accurate, the only decision of any consequence made by Kapitänleutnant Johannes Liebe on the 13th day of March 1942 was whether to dispatch his quarry by deck gun or torpedo. Questionable seas would eventually dictate the latter. At 0720 hours a direct hit at mid-hull would send the four-masted schooner Albert F. Paul and her crew of eight to their final resting place beneath the Atlantic waters approximately 160 miles north-northeast of Cape Hatteras.

The Paul was launched from the William G. Abbott shipyard in Milford, Delaware in 1917. She’d be one of the last of the great commercial coastal schooners to be built anywhere. The age of wood and sail would give way to power and steel. And along this stretch of the Mispillion River, where yacht and shipbuilding had provided over one hundred years of prosperity, the depletion of the area’s giant white oaks during the 1920s would hasten the demise of most of Milford’s maritime industry. And by the time of the sinking of the Albert F. Paul, the shipyard started by Wilson Vinyard in 1896 remained the only one in operation.

Interestingly enough, that yard was contracted by the United States Navy to construct subchasers. During the course of the war they delivered 14 such vessels—none of which, unfortunately, had a hand in settling the score for the attack on the Paul. That matter of justice would be dispensed by the Royal Air Force. On May 2, 1943, a Liberator bomber flying antisubmarine duty off the coast of Spain sent the U-332 on her final and never-ending patrol.

Kriegsmarine U-332

Albert F. Paul as seen in American Public House Review
The Albert F. Paul

Today, life along the Mispillion is very different. The long reassuring shadows cast by tall sails and ancient oaks are just a memory, and the city of Milford has been forced to deal with those same difficult economic conditions that challenge so many American communities. But there resides within the spirit of this community a strong will to preserve the past while fostering a more sustainable future. Area artists have spearheaded multiple projects in order to revitalize the Riverwalk and downtown area. And thanks to the dedicated restoration efforts of Joan and Sudler Lofland, a number of classic motor yachts that were built at the Vinyard site are once again cutting a wake through local waters. New businesses have made Milford their home—and among those much welcomed enterprises is Mispillion River Brewing.

Mispillion Light

The Augusta the Kismet and the Vignette. Photo by Maddy Lauria and as seen in American Public House Review
The Augusta, the Kismet and the Vignette

It seems only fitting that any homegrown renaissance should to be toasted with a suitable local libation. And the 15 barrel brew house at Mispillion is more than capable of meeting that challenge. In laymen’s math that translates into nearly 500 gallons of beer being produced in just a few hours time. But that quantity is only surpassed by the quality of the finished product, and the variety of craft styles and recipes available both onsite and at locations throughout the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. 

On most days, there are normally 10 offerings flowing through the taps of the brewery’s spacious and thoroughly pleasant tasting room—and each of those beers provides a very singular and distinctive drinking experience. My personal favorite during our visit was the Holy Crap Imperial Red Ale. Apparently this bit of liquid splendor with an ABV of 9% came about as a result of two completely different styles of beer being accidentally blended together. This particular creation was only slightly outside the realm of the usual Mispillion mantra of “Brewing With Calculated Randomness.”        

Mispillion River Brewing in Milford Delaware as seen in American Public House Review

Taps at Mispillion River Brewing in Milford, Delawre as seen in Americasn Public House Review

Eric Williams, the founder and president of the company, along with a partnership team, that includes several experienced home brewers, are dedicated to exploring a wide range of brewing possibilities. And with the guidance and expertise provided by their executive brewer, Ryan Maloney, those possibilities have been turned into a wonderful reality. In short, there are no boring brews at Mispillion. And as they continue to expand both their production and distribution capabilities, I’m quite sure that Mispillion River Brewing will establish itself amongst the best in what is already a very innovative and inspired American craft industry! 

Eric Williams at Mispillion River Brewing in Milford Delaware as seen in American Public House Review
Eric Williams

Editor’s Notes:

Follow the enclosed link to learn more about the re-launching of the motor yacht Augusta, originally built at the Vinyard Shipyard in 1927.



Since we published our previous article about the Milford Tavern, S Allen “Skip” Pikus, the owner of Lou’s Bootery in downtown Milford passed away. Mr. Pikus was a much beloved and respected member of the community, and he was a cornerstone in both the business and civic life of the city. The staff of American Public House Review extends our sincere condolences to his family and friends.


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