The strangest thing happened to me this week. I went to Argilla to research my monthly article on the delicious things going on there, and Midnight in Thailand was still on the board. I was surprised, but not offended. This is the first time in roughly two years that this has happened; that alone shows a level of dedication to the craft that simply doesn’t exist in large chains. That passion is also apparent in every bite of food and sip of beer. Therefore, as my little sphere of influence has grown since last time, I’ve decided to write this week’s article on Argilla itself.
On Kirkwood Highway, which connects Wilmington and Newark, there is a brew pub that has occupied a pizza place. The pizza place is called Pietro’s Pizza, and they’ve been killing the pizza game for 40 years, half of which has been spent specifically in Pike Creek. They spent many of those years dabbling in home brewing, which naturally led to a move into a location where they could do it on a larger scale. Thus, Argilla Brewing Company at Pietro’s Pizza was born, and thank the heavens for that.
Regular readers will know that at the beginning of each month, I order a personal size pizza of the month and a glass of beer I’ve never had before. Their draft list changes faster than I can keep up with, so I’ve never written about the same beer twice. This time around, as there wasn’t a new monthly pizza, I got one I’ve been eyeing on the menu for some time: The Cluckin’ Scramaple. It’s an egg base pie (which you don’t see every day) with scrapple, bacon, freshly grated mozzarella, and drizzled with sriracha maple sauce. For those of you unfamiliar with scrapple, it’s a breakfast meat with Amish roots, and is therefore based in the MidAtlantic. Any specific attempts to describe how it’s made will most certainly put you off your tea (much like sausage), but it’s traditionally all pork products. The meat scraps are mixed with cornmeal, wheat flour, and spices, and you pan fry it before serving it. The result is a sort of soft sausage loaf, and it’s far more delicious than any description could do justice.
I’m particular about maple flavors in things; living in Vermont for five years certainly had an effect on my opinions there. I’m not crazy about it as a primary flavor anywhere besides pancakes and the like, particularly with meat. I was hesitant, therefore, as I waded into this crazy pizza, but I found myself very pleasantly surprised. The egg base does its job, much as a fried egg on a burger does. It’s amazing how it disappears into the rest of a dish; for a long time, I didn’t believe it was possible. The scrapple and bacon go very nicely with the maple sauce, which has just enough notes of sriracha to be endlessly fascinating. Please note, they’re the flavors of the sriracha that arean’t the spiciness that come through. I wouldn’t call this a spicy pizza, though my adventures in Thailand seem to have altered my perception of spicy in things.
Argilla has an excellent track record with sour beers in my experience. This time around, I got a glass of “Jazzed Up Dregs”: a raspberry fruited dry hopped sour aged in an oak barrel along with their “house funk.” Flavors of raspberry preserve and a little barnyard funk prevail. Dear readers, don’t fear the funk. I hear that and think of horse sweat and manure, and that doesn’t sound like anything I want near my mouth. I went for it anyway, and I’m so glad I did. My standards for Argilla’s beer have steadily risen since I started visiting regularly, and these Jazzed Up Dregs fit right in with the brews with more appetizing descriptions. Please don’t let a little funk scare you away; this sour is absolutely a hit.