I’m back! This is where I spent last week – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Best place on Earth. My family has had a beach house here since the 50’s and we go every summer to spend time competing in tennis, boggle, mini golf, and seeing who can eat the most crabs – isn’t that what every family does on their vacation? My best friend and I love it here so much that we had the coordinates for the town tattooed on our feet. That should give you some indication about the level of devotion I have for this place.
There are quite a few summer birthdays in my family and we always celebrate them with a crab feast – Maryland Blue Crab style. We get our crabs from Mark Lane at Rehoboth Seafood. He’s extremely helpful when deciding what size crabs to get, how many to get, how the crab season is shaping up, etc. Recently, the population in the Chesapeake Bay has dropped, causing a near panic among those of us who love them. Luckily, this year they seem to be returning in larger numbers, thus leading to some particularly delicious ones and a big sigh of relief for the future of these crabbies.
The crabs come caked in Old Bay, which is really the only way to eat them. The Old Bay gives the sweet meat of the crab a nice salty, spicy kick. Eating crabs is a messy affair. The table is covered in old newspaper, there are rolls of paper towels, and it’s best not to wear any fancy clothes. It takes some work to get all of the meat out of the shell but it’s well worth the effort. If you’re not willing to work for it, then you don’t deserve to eat them.
The other main component of this feast is: beer. Nothing goes better with blue crabs then a light, refreshing beer. This year, Rick and I were in charge of getting the beer. Though it took many trips up and down the aisles to decide, in the end we went with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon, Dogfish Head’s Shelter Pale Ale and some 90 Minute – just because.
I had been wanting to try Hell or High Watermelon ever since I first saw it this summer. I was intrigued by the idea of a watermelon infused beer. Would it actually taste like watermelon? If so, did I really want my beer to taste like this fruit? I had my answers at last! Indeed, it does taste like watermelon but not in an over-the-top, gross, fakey watermelon way. The beer is brewed with real watermelon and it comes through nicely. It’s a really pleasant beer to drink.
I’m fairly certain I had never tried the Shelter Pale Ale before. It’s pretty much only distributed in small quantities to the Mid-Atlantic region and can be difficult to find. Obviously, Rehoboth is the birthplace of Dogfish Head, and it was readily available at the liquor store. Compared to most Dogfish Head beers, Shelter is a laid back, low key type of beer. It’s not very hoppy and doesn’t pack a full flavored punch. That’s not to say it’s a bad beer, I happened to love it, and it quickly became everyone’s favorite. I almost considered buying a case to bring back with me…but riding the subway wouldn’t have been much fun. It’s a mellower beer, very drinkable, and at 5% won’t knock you out the way their IPA’s will.
As always, our annual crab feast was a messy, smelly success. Every crab was eaten and my hands smelled of crab and Old Bay for days afterwards. Yum.