The new sign in front of Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, on the big road in Grandy, announces to passersby what locals and savvy sojourners have known for decades: This mural-faced, pet-goat-fronted, Bavarian brewery, located in the heart of Currituck County, is also a butchery and one of the hottest food destinations in north eastern North Carolina for eaters with agendas.
Throughout the year, passionate, artisan-food fanatics plan their travel to taste and take-home Weeping Radish’s old-world influenced and house butchered, sausages, meats and pâté.
The clever crew recognized what drew their hip clientele and sensed there were like-minds driving right by without understanding what they were missing.
So, they redid their sign and added one extremely accurate and particularly trendy food word, Charcuterie, to proclaim their hand-crafted and humanely raised, whole-hog offerings.
Oh, sure, they happen to have beer, too. This year, the team celebrates its 31st anniversary as North Carolina’s first micro-brewery.
Yes, you read that right, Weeping Radish was the first micro-brewery in the state and is still going strong. With roots on Roanoke Island, the business opened the doors to its new location in 2005.
Beer and sausage is kind of their thing, no matter how it is labeled.
Founder, owner and creative entrepreneur Uli Bennowitz is the mad scientist behind this dynamic, food-social business that houses a small scale, pork processing operation, a brewery, a commercial kitchen, a retail counter and a large, open pub. His daughter Sophie Bennowitz manages everything.
When you walk into the cavernous reception area of Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, you know you have entered someplace special. Cool and dark are not words you might expect when describing a summer vacation destination in coastal Carolina, but upon entering, you might just sense that you are in the midst of genius.
Whether visiting for lunch, dinner or a brewery tour, or shopping for sausages, you are likely to get drawn in to a lot more than you expected. As your eyes adjust to your surroundings, you will immediately notice the towering cases of house made brews and root beer that line the floors of the Bavarian inspired showroom. Icy growlers fill glass front refrigerators and a garlicky-fermented aromatherapy rounds out the hypnotic ambiance.
As you move towards the dining area, a gentle illumination to the left acts as a beacon for the charcuterie obsessed. A small tasting counter leads a path to the chest-high, display case featuring sausages, bacon, pastrami and the best sweet potato liverwurst you will ever taste. Everything is pre-portioned and packaged for easy travel to your beach house or to pop into the cooler to take back home.
Behind this cooler are sets of doors leading to magic land. If you have ever seen the episode of The Food Network’s “Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins” featuring Weeping Radish, you know this is the laboratory. On Wednesdays, you can take a peek behind the scenes. Call ahead to save space on the brewery tour that also gives you a glimpse into the life of a German master butcher.
Craving something offal? A must try is the sweet potato liverwurst. Winner of several national awards, this traditional German liver pâté has a distinctly Southern flair; the rich and savory flavors of the liverwurst are complemented by the sweetness of the sweet potato. Stop by their market, and look for the gold tube, or purchase online at www.weepingradish.com. Be forewarned, you should really buy twice as much as you think you need. It is completely addictive.
Because their sausages are all so different, plan to take a cooler. You can take home a variety of brats, spicy linguica (a Brazilian sausage flavored with lots of paprika and garlic) and kielbasa, a traditional Polish sausage.
Pick up their house fermented sauerkraut, a jar of their own re-label curry ketchup, and a jar of Lusty Monk Mustard. Remember to add a giant soft pretzel or two. They are deliciously made by the good folks down at Proof Bakery in Kitty Hawk.
Take home Weeping Radish’s house-made root beer for the little kids and a few cans of Corolla Gold, one of its original beers, created in 1986, for the big ones. This slightly malty, slightly sweet brew is a golden lager and one of their most popular. You can also take home the Black Radish, a schwarzbier that actually sets the standard in the American Beer Judging Guide. A dark German Lager, this beer displays a mild hoppy bitterness with roasted malty notes. Take home a few different cans to taste with all the sausage you just bought.
Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.