I just took a week-long trip to Duck, North Carolina. The Outer Banks. The South. The Cape Cod of North Carolina. Whatever you want to call it, call it.
While I was there, I made the attempt to drink a few North Carolina beers because… Because beers.
My first introduction to North Carolina beer came from this heaven-sent invention:
Yes, friends, that is exactly what it looks like… a drive-through for beer. The
guys geniuses who invented it call it a “Brew Thru.” I call it awesomesauce. Obviously, people native to the area or my friends who have been visiting regularly see this as a hum-drum sort of affair.
I assure you that for me this is a life-changing moment. I’m entering a full-blown depression that these things don’t exist in Boston. Seriously, this is the sort of thing that needs to exist somewhere on Route 1 in Saugus or Danvers.
The selection is limited, but, let’s be real here, it’s a drive-through for beer. However, they did have one full section of the fridge devoted to North Carolina beers, and the staff were friendly and helpful when asked for recommendations.
Of the three, I liked the Shotgun Betty about as well as the Aviator – but it had the better can. In fact, I really dug the colors and artwork on the labels of the Lonerider beers I saw. A good label always grabs me; I wish I’d taken a picture of it (I’m sure I could find it online with minimal effort, but that still involves effort).
The MadBeach had a noticeable citrus taste to it, which made me think of Magic Hat #9, and also made it a good choice as a summer evening drink.
The Carolina Blonde was a solid beer, drinkable, but didn’t grab me as much as the other two. It was smooth and golden and perfectly fine. The fellow who suggested it at the Brew-Thru said it was very popular, and while it wasn’t my favorite, I also don’t think there was anything wrong with it.
Our trip happened to coincide with a birthday for one of our group, so one night was spent out to dinner followed by some karaoke. Despite my vow to attempt only North Carolina beers on this trip, yeah, well, that just didn’t happen and I broke my oath first with a Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewing Company out of Colorado. I figured, since this was a beer I was informed wasn’t available in Boston that was good reason enough. Plus birthdays.
I like ambers, but for whatever reason I don’t drink them very much. I really ought to fix that. Fat Tire was a good one. I think I’d have liked it even more if the one I’d got was colder. I tempered my expectations once I saw the sheer amount of foam the bartender was dealing with at the tap. It’s probably a miracle I liked it at all.
And because I liked it, at our next stop for karaoke, I decided to try the Ranger IPA, also by New Belgium. Frosty and cold, this one was a clear winner. I wanted to stay away from IPAs this week and go for lighter fare, but dangnabbit this one was gooood. The hop was strong with this one, but not overpowering. Well done. Thanks to another trip through the magical Brew-Thru, I also got to try Blue Paddle and Snapshot by New Belgium. I preferred Blue Paddle, a tasty and refreshing pilsner.
The rest of the trip consisted of more southern beers. I had the fortune of meeting up with a friend and his wife who happened to be staying in the next town over for the week, and they gave me a can of Hop, Drop ‘n Roll by NoDA Brewing Company.
Another IPA, the Hop, Drop ‘n Roll was stronger than the Ranger but oh-so-good. I drank this one during some downtime with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, sometimes you end up watching a little TV before dinner, even on vacation. And since TNG is one of my favorite shows, having a good beer to accompany it made the experience all the sweeter.
I’ll round out the post with a few beers from SweetWater Brewing Company, of Atlanta, GA. We tried the Waterkeeper, Take Two Pils and 420 Extra Pale Ale. I liked both the pils and the pale ale. Hefeweizen felt like a good choice considering the World Cup match that was on when we tried it. The Take Two Pils stood out more to me than the Waterkeeper, however. The Extra Pale Ale didn’t feel to extra to me.
So that’s that. I spent a week on a beach in North Carolina, and had some tasty beers. While there were a few I wasn’t wild for, I could say that I hope to see a few of these up in Boston in the future.
And now, a picture of the sunset.