Craft beer is a booming industry in the United States with more than 8,000 individual breweries in 2019, an increase of 8.9% from 2018, according to the Brewers Association. Most of that growth has happened since the 1990s.
Perhaps not seen at first as a beer lover’s destination, the Outer Banks not only offers a variety of breweries but holds a place in the history as home to North Carolina’s first microbrewery, Weeping Radish, which opened in Manteo in 1986.
Now home to five breweries from Corolla to Ocracoke, each one brewing something different, the Outer Banks offers a wide variety of brews sure to please every beer lover.
Weeping Radish Farm Brewery & Butchery, Grandy
Brewer: Nick Williams
Opened by Uli Bennewitz in 1986, Weeping Radish is North Carolina’s first microbrewery. Originally located in Manteo, Weeping Radish now sits on 14 acres of farmland along Caratoke Highway (U.S. 158) in Currituck County. A native of Bavaria, Bennewitz wanted to brew beer according to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of 1516. This law requires beer to be brewed using only four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast and water. The purity of this requirement has been extended to the on-site butchery. Established with the expertise of German master butcher Gunther Kuhle, Weeping Radish produces free-range pork and beef sausages and charcuterie without any additives or chemicals. The brewery produces 20-barrel batches with 20-barrel primary fermenters, and 16 20-barrel aging tanks. They offer seven draft choices alongside seasonal options.
Northern Outer Banks Brewing Company, Corolla
Brewer: Michael Cherry
Opened in 2018, Northern Outer Banks Brewing Company is a 6-barrel brewhouse located in Corolla. The first brewery in the area, they currently offer eight beers on tap and sell kegs and cans to local restaurants. The draft beers rotate frequently but are all dry hopped and in the mid-IBU range (medium bitterness). The four flagship beers are: Corolla Saison, Penny’s Hill IPA, Swan Beach Honey Pale Ale and Corolla Lager. The brewery offers primarily outdoor seating and does not have a restaurant, but visitors can order food from neighboring eateries.
Outer Banks Brewing Station, Kill Devil Hills
Brewer: Scott Meyer
Housed in a building designed to resemble the century old lifesaving stations that dotted the Outer Banks, the Outer Banks Brewing Station was the first business to produce wind power on the Outer Banks and the first wind-powered brewery in the country. They rotate six of their own brews on tap and feature two guest taps as well. The pub offers a menu that both compliments the beer made on-site and appeases a wide variety of tastes. Top notch desserts are also served. The brewpub has been host to several events over the years, though COVID-19 has impacted some of it customary live music offerings. Check its Facebook page for the latest.
Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe, Manteo
Brewer: Paul Charron
Located in downtown Manteo, Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe serves up British- and Irish-style brews alongside gastropub fare. A 2-barrel brewhouse sits on-site while a 10,000 square-foot production space in nearby Stumpy Point satisfies the demand of local retailers and restaurants that sell growlers and cans of Lost Colony’s beer. Prepared with an eye towards recycling, brewing grains are repurposed into feed for local cattle and Brew Chews dog treats, and the cafe’s menu features locally caught seafood.
1718 Brewing Ocracoke, Ocracoke
Brewer: Garick Kalna
Housed in a big, bright space of repurposed wood and metal on the northern end of Ocracoke Village is the Outer Banks’ southernmost brewery. Opened in 2017, owner/brewer Garick Kalna offers a selection of classic beers and playful takes on classics like Brunch, a coffee Kolsch. Working alongside Brooke Doane, Kalna enjoys experimenting with styles and flavors offering new brews for each season. Taps are constantly rotating, and the brewery offers growlers and crowlers to take home. Located inside of the brewery is Plum Pointe Kitchen, offering a menu highlighting 1718’s beer, Ocracoke’s seafood and North Carolina farmers.