Weeping Radish Farm Brewery – Grandy
According to the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, the Tarheel State is home to more than 230 craft breweries—more than any other state in the country—however, only one can claim the title of being the oldest microbrewery in the state: the Weeping Radish Brewery. The brewery was founded in 1986 by Bavarian native Uli Bennewitz, who immigrated to the United States in the 1980s and quickly set out to open a brand-new microbrewery in North Carolina that was similar to the ones that were found throughout his Bavarian homeland.
Despite the popularity that breweries had enjoyed in his home country, at the time that Bennewitz attempted to establish one in North Carolina, only 100 microbreweries existed in the entire United States. To further complicate his plans of opening a business, North Carolina law prohibited breweries from selling their beer directly to consumers. Bennewitz, however, was determined to turn his dream of opening a Bavarian-style brewery in the United States into a reality, so he went to work attempting to convince state politicians to repeal the restrictions that craft breweries faced. His efforts eventually paid off, and Bennewitz soon opened the doors to what would become the first microbrewery in North Carolina.
Drawing on his Bavarian heritage, Bennewitz began to brew his beers in strict adherence to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of 1516. Commonly referred to as simply the “German Beer Purity Law,” Reinheitsgebot was introduced by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria and states that only four ingredients can be used in the beer-brewing process—hops, barley, yeast and water—and that the product can contain no chemicals, additives or preservatives. Due to his strong belief in Reinheitsgebot, Bennewitz concocted all of his beers in accordance to the Bavarian law, and brews made by the Weeping Radish Farm Brewery gained immense popularity among both locals and visitors to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
As the demand for Bavarian-style brews on the barrier islands increased, it quickly became evident that the Weeping Radish Brewery needed a bigger facility than its location on Roanoke Island in order to keep up its supply. In 2001, groundbreaking began at the brewery’s new location in the nearby town of Grandy, about 35 miles away from its original location in the waterfront town of Manteo. In 2005, the newly named “Weeping Radish Farm Brewery”—which featured a larger brewing operation, a farm, a restaurant and a butcher’s facility—brewed its first batch of beer and officially opened its doors to the public. For more on the Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, click here.
The Outer Banks Brewing Station – Kill Devil Hills
Situated in the heart of Kill Devil Hills, the Outer Banks Brewing Station is perhaps the best-known craft brewery on the barrier islands of North Carolina—and it’s anything but your ordinary brew pub. The Outer Banks Brewing Station has a unique claim to fame that sets it apart from other breweries across the country: it was the first-ever wind-powered brewery in the United States as well as the first wind-powered business to open up shop on the Outer Banks.
The concept for this environmentally friendly business dates back to 1992, when its founders, Eric Reece and Aubrey Davis, were working as Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand. The pair had developed an interested in home brewing, and Eric had gained a wealth of experience in the brew pub industry while working at a brewery with master brewer Scott Meyer in Berkeley, California. Having grown up spending his summers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Aubrey envisioned the beach as the perfect place to start a business that honored the unique history of the region.
The building—which was designed by architect Ben Cahoon and constructed by Carolina Beach Builders—was modeled after the many lifesaving stations that sprang up along the Outer Banks at the turn of the 21st century. According to the brewery’s founders, the bar itself is a modern-day interpretation of a lifesaving boat that is pointed east toward the ocean, ready to be deployed down tracks made of beach bricks to save the crew of a ship that has fallen victim to the infamous Graveyard of the Atlantic. Behind the Outer Banks Brewing Station stands the landmark 92-foot-tall wind turbine that is responsible for powering the innovative restaurant and brewery whose focus is not only on crafting exceptional beers but also on sustainability and environmental consciousness in the community.
The Outer Banks Brewing Station may be best known for its extensive menu of handcrafted brews, tasty tapas and delicious entrees that range from burgers and fish bites to North Carolina barbecue and pan-seared scallops; however, the establishment has also become a hot spot for live music performed by local and regional bands. Those looking for a one-of-a-kind spot to enjoy nightlife on the Outer Banks will find a large stage that fronts an even larger dance floor, making the brew pub a prime place for people who want to dine on delicious fare before kicking back with a cold brew and soaking up the music scene.
1718 Brewing Ocracoke – Ocracoke Island
One of the newest craft breweries on the Outer Banks of North Carolina is 1718 Brewing Ocracoke, which opened its doors for the first time in October 2017. Located on the main road as you enter Ocracoke Village, 1718 Brewing Ocracoke was established by owner Garick Kalna and his wife, Jacqui, in the building that formerly housed Café Atlantic. The couple made a conscious effort to maintain a significant amount of the previous restaurant’s ambiance, incorporating some of the exterior shingles into the interior design and keeping the rich wood paneling on the walls intact.
The two-story structure offers patrons plenty of indoor and outdoor seating where they can enjoy one of the many handcrafted beers that are brewed on-site in 12-barrel batches. Named for the year that the legendary pirate Blackbeard was killed just offshore in the waters of the Pamlico Sound after a brief battle with British soldiers who sought to put an end to piracy in the shipping routes that ran along the Eastern Seaboard, 1718 Brewing Ocracoke offers an extensive menu of unique beers to please every palate. From IPAs, kolches and stouts to ales, saison-style brews and wheat beers, visitors will find no shortage of exceptional options to choose from at 1718 Brewing Ocracoke.