I Liked It, I Really Liked It!
In which the PubScout scopes out Waterman’s Brewing Company in Wilmington.
I can’t believe it took me four years to get to Waterman’s Brewing Company in Wrightsville Beach. I mean, it’s only been there six years.
It has undergone some serious changes from when it was a Fibber McGee’s, as well as changes in the brewhaus as to who’s pitching the yeast. But it’s a quality place to hoist a Hefeweizen — or any other beer that Brewer John Sims generates.
I did harbor the fleeting thought that Waterman’s may have been owned by Ukrainians when I saw the logo and the door handles, which look like Ukrainian trizubs. But they’re simply tridents and quite striking at that.
When you grab a hold of those tridents and enter, the brewhaus portion, with a 15-bbl system, actually takes center stage, indicating to all how serious Waterman’s is about their beer.
With a very large outdoor deck, an at-once spacious and cozy pub room complete with a fireplace, and an event room called Ohana, the footprint of the place is quite large.
With the temps still in the 90s with high humidity, our party of four opted for the air-conditioned pub room after taking in a performance of Man of La Mancha at the venerable Thalian Hall in ILM.
It was not Broadway, but it was quite good; and they did justice to my favorite song from the musical, “The Golden Helmet of Mambrino.” (Bet you thought I was going to say “The Impossible Dream,” huh?)
What did qualify as an impossible dream, however, was trying to finish the mountains of delicious food that our server Jay brought to our table, after we ordered drinks. The ladies ordered wine, Ray had some bourbon and I went with the flagship IPA, Abundant Sunshine.
It was a very solid IPA, resiny and redolent of pine and nice citrus, fruit and tropical notes. Not hard to see why it’s a best seller.
But I also sampled an altbier called Alt Reality, and it was superb. Alt means “old” in German, and it’s a tribute to the beers the old German brewers used to brew. Dead-on style, it reminded me of the best altbier I ever had stateside called Stickenjab, sadly now discontinued. But I may have a spare (empty bottle) to share with you. It was an alt/sticke bier, or secret beer, shared very sparingly among old-school German brewmeisters.
The German influence is also found in an excellent German Pilsner called Playa Pils, and my sampling was topped off by a session IPA (4.1%) called Surf Sesh Hazy Session, which would have been my choice had we opted for outside seating in the heat and humidity.
Come winter time, I want to snuggle up next to that big fireplace with three of Waterman’s darker offerings: Tug Boat, an Oatmeal stout (6.1% ABV), Holy Cacao, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale (8.7%) and a 9.2% Couch Blanket with “luxuriously soft and comforting Coffee & Madagascar Vanilla Bean Imperial Cream Ale.”
That fireplace, by the way, was designed by owner Don High to welcome folks who fit the title of this piece during the colder months. In fact, the space was conceived as a “surf lodge.”
The food was very, very good. I ordered some Sol Fuego Shrimp as an appetizer as well as a plate of tasty sliders. But the table also saw a massive plate of nachos, some very good pretzel bites and some outstanding wings. Confession: I only eat the flats, and the ones I had were tender and juicy with a piquant, crusty outer skin.
Lisa had a salad with blackened shrimp on top, the missus had blackened shrimp tacos, and Ray had a Flounder Sandwich. Oh, and the tater tots were really good.
Whew! As I said, the impossible dream. So, as we were all sated, we all took home doggie bags to fight another day.
I will be returning to Waterman’s Brewing Co. for sure. If you haven’t been yet, I’d suggest you give it a try. If you have been, then you know whereof I speak.
To paraphrase another song from Man of La Mancha, “I liked it! I really liked it!”
Want to go?
Waterman’s Brewing Company
1610 Pavilion Place, Wilmington