Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vacation Beer Notes

We spent last week down at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The weather wasn't suitable for much time on the beach, but the overcast and very windy days provided no obstacle to eating and drinking. As usual, we enjoyed mostly, but not exclusively, North Carolina beers during the trip.

One of our first stops was to fill a growler at Chip's Wine & Beer Market. We selected Effortless IPA by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company of New York. This "session IPA" was a great accompaniment to the carry-out pizza we enjoyed after a long drive.

One of our favorite stops in the Outer Banks is TRiO Wine Beer & Cheese, so we stopped in on Sunday afternoon for lunch. I opted for a Maine Beer Company Peeper Ale. After finishing my beer and sandwich, I was debating about what to enjoy next. I noticed the bartender pouring something that was obviously on nitro. Looking closer I saw it was Belhaven Scottish Ale. This is a beer I've enjoyed in the past, but I couldn't resist trying the nitro serving. I'm glad I did because it was delicious, and was a reminder to not so easily overlook this ale in the future.

It wasn't until dinner on the second day of the trip that we finally got to the North Carolina beers. At a local seafood restaurant, we chose from a limited craft beer menu, but found Long Leaf IPA from Appalachian Mountain Brewery, and Foothills Carolina Blonde.

We made a much anticipated visit to Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe in Manteo. Formerly Full Moon Cafe & Brewery, it's another of our favorite stops in the area. We enjoyed Nags Head IPA, Charon Stout, and Hatteras Red Ale with our lunch on the outside patio.

Relaxing on the deck one afternoon, we opened a couple bottles of Fille de Ferme from Wicked Weed Brewing. We had picked these up earlier in the week. The moderately tart Saison was quite refreshing.

During another dinner, I combined a seafood and pasta dish with Backcountry Black IPA by Deep River Brewing Company. I rarely opt for non-draft selections when I'm out, but this canned offering was quite enjoyable.

We hadn't been to Outer Banks Brewing Station during our last couple of visits to the Outer Banks, so decided to stop in for lunch this time. The brewery doesn't offer Pale Ales and IPAs very often, so I was pleased to see 'Bout Time IPA while Colleen enjoyed a Hugh Hefeweizen with her meal.

We opted to forgo seafood one evening, choosing instead to have dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. For this meal I strayed from North Carolina selections and ordered a draft Modelo Especial. The beer was served in a frosted mug with a wedge of lime. I typically eschew cold glassware and fruit in my beer, but I drank this one as it was served, and yes, I enjoyed it.

Getting back to a seafood theme, a tasty lunch at the Salt Box Cafe found us enjoying Weeping Willow Wit from Mother Earth Brewing and Buckshot Amber Ale by Natty Greene's Brewing. Natty Greene's is one of those breweries that I don't see too often but which never fails to disappoint. The Amber Ale was an excellent malty accompaniment to my Mediterranean Salad, topped with grilled fish of course.

For our final "seafood feast" of the trip, I started my meal with Weeping Radish Farm Brewery's Maibock. This brought back memories as this was the first beer I had from the brewery years ago, when they were located in Manteo, and remains my favorite from the brewery. Colleen ordered a Limoncello by Deep River Brewing Company. This was a very flavorful American Wild Ale style beer, with a unique, lemony flavor. It truly did have a classic Limoncello-like flavor. The dinner capped off with Mother Earth Brewing Endless River K├Âlsch.

After returning home Saturday afternoon, we arrived to an empty refrigerator, so opted for one more dinner out, at Harry's Ale House. Since I was back in Virginia, I selected a Virginia brewed beer to go with my meal. Lethe Pale Ale from Commonwealth Brewing Company provided a refreshing floral citrus and bitter balance in a low ABV beer. It was so good, I had a second.

It was a fun week of good food and tasty beer, and lots of each! There are still a couple off days left to enjoy before returning to work after the Memorial Day holiday. I suspect a few more beers await, but those will likely be coming from the fridge downstairs.

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