Bogrolls & Barley Wines
The Outer Banks, September 2009
The Autumn of 2009 brought Lady Roberts and myself back to our beloved Outerbanks in North Carolina. It's amazing how this 130-mile long string of
sandybarrier islands draws us back on a regular basis. With the Atlantic Ocean on the right, and (in descending order) Currituck Sound, Albermarle
Sound,Croatian Sound and Pamlico Sound on the left, this little strip is a seafaring delight with more than enough history to keep people like yours truly as
happy as a pig in shite.
If you're all sitting comfortably, let's begin at the Outer Banks Brewing Station, a good enough reason in itself to head for North Carolina.
The Outer Banks Brewing Station, Kill Devil Hills. We first visited this Brewpub in 2003; this being the North Carolina version of Barley's, except the food is
considerably better at the Brewing Station. For that matter, the beers are better too.
1) Sunshower Pale Ale -- What a little ripper! A delicious Pale Ale, it has the bite, body and richness of Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale combined with
the characterful hoppiness of Great Lakes Moondog Ale. No bitter aftertaste. Straight in at 10/10.
2) Pipeline Pale Ale -- What a little ripper II! This has less bite, but a fruitier and more hoppy taste than Sunshower. A lovely little refresher. Again, straight
in at 10/10.
3) Olsch -- What a little ripper III, this is Lady Roberts's favourite. Olsch follows in the German Kolsch style mold, rather like a wheat beer without the
cloudiness -- a very, very pale gold in colour. Extremely light, but tasty, refreshing beer, coming in (yet again) at 10/10.
4) Brownie Point Brown Ale -- Well, it couldn't last! This ale is brewed with Santian hops, and once poured in a glass looks exactly like a pint of Haystack
Porter. My fears were confirmed when it bloody tasted like a Porter. I tried to like it, but this was an uphill struggle and I'm afraid I couldn't finish the glass
(I had to resort to taking a swig from Lady Roberts's Olsch to take away the bitter taste). Sometimes the roasty, burnt taste can work for me -- especially in
the winter months, but sadly not in the warm month of September. It had Liquid Plumber written all over it, an easy 1/10.
5) Stormy Roses Stout -- A dry stout in the mode of the world classic Great Lakes Wolfhound Stout and such lesser luminaries as Guinness, Murphy's et al.
Quite tasty, with definite chocolate and caramel notes and an appealing creaminess. A bit on the heavy side, considering my current beer tastes, but a nice
change to nitro-keg Guinness. A very respectable 7/10.
The Weeping Radish Brewery, Roanoke Island. Outerbanks history 101: Putting the Jamestown (1607) bullshit to one side, Roanoke Island is where the
original settlers landed in 1587. When one of the colonialists, John White, returned to England for supplies, his return to Roanoke Island was delayed until
1590 thanks to the war with Spain. Once we'd finished giving the Spanish another bloody good hiding, John White was able to return to North Carolina only
to find the 110 men, women and children all vanished. Their disappearance remains to this day a mystery, but still, it was the first colony to set up shop in
the U.S even if was only for a couple of years.
Anyway, I digress -- yes, The Weeping Radish Brewery. This is a Bavarian-style Brewhaus brewing its own German ales. The pub itself is a dump: dark and
dingy, and the Pierogies were shite. However, the beers...
6) Weeping Radish Weizen -- A very tasty wheat ale; hazy, cloudy with a slight floral bite to it. I was mighterly impressed at 8/10.
Lady Roberts had Weeping Radish Gold, which was a Munich-style lager. She gave it 2/10, describing it as "weedy".
The Weeping Radish Brewery has since closed the pub on Roanoke Island and moved its brewing north of The Outerbanks -- can't think why.
Howard's Pub, Okracoke Island. Not a brewpub in itself, but a good old-fashioned pub with an excellent selection of beers on tap, plus over 250 bottled
beers from all over the globe.
7) Highland Brewery Heather Ale -- The Highland Brewery hails from Asheville, North Carolina and their Heather Ale was created to celebrate their 10th
anniversary. Rich and malty and on the mild side, a bit like Newcastle Brown Ale, or a weak Fuller's 1845. This is what Bass Ale should taste like were it ever
to get its bollocks back. 7/10.
Outer Banks Brewing Station, in North Carolina.
Map of The Outer Banks.