During a recent trip to the Outer Banks, we made a lunch time visit the Weeping Radish Eco Farm & Brewery in Grandy, NC. The brewery is just a short drive from the Outer Banks. Arriving for a late lunch on a Sunday, we had about a 30 minute wait for a table. The dining area is surprisingly small given the overall size, at least in appearance, of the operation. We frustratingly stared at two large, but empty, tables. Two tables with seating for at least 8 were empty our entire wait, presumably saved for large parties. I was tempted to introduce myself to another waiting party of four to make a group to qualify for an empty table.
We passed the time looking at the display of sausages, and perusing the menu with the current beer offerings taped to the checkout counter. When we were seated, the well-tattered food and beverage menu we were handed did not have a complete beer listing. The server informed us that the Hefeweizen was not available, but offered no other information. If we had not noticed the lone 8.5x11" paper taped to the counter, we would have had little info on what beers were being served.
These initial "trials" resolved, we got our much anticipated food and beverage orders placed in short order. Colleen and I both opted for three-sausage platters, served with sauerkraut with a soft pretzel. Between our two platters we tried Bratwurst, Apple Brat, Beer Brat, and Andouille. We were left to our own devices to sort out which was which, but the flavors are unique and easily distinguished. The sauerkraut was cut very fine, and cooked to an almost creamy state, with a very sharp "sauer." It was surprisingly tart for being so thoroughly cooked. In enjoyed it, Colleen found it a tad "too much." I think I was the only one to use the accompanying Curry Ketchup, into which I dipped my soft pretzel. We all shared some spicy Lusty Monk Mustard as well. Our son and Checkered Flag both selected Grilled Bratwurst on a roll, served with fries. All of the food was delicious. The servings were quite ample, and neither Colleen nor I managed to clean our plates.
Tasty food aside, I was there to try the beer. Our first round consisted of Corolla Gold Helles Lager, Bitter Bee, and Ruddy Radish. The Helles that Checker Flag ordered was the only one of the three I had tried previously. It was light bodied, with mildly sweet caramel malt and a toasted cereal grain base. Colleen's Bitter Bee was one of the beers that interested me. It is described as an IPA made with tulip poplar honey from the Shenandoah Valley. The beer was very floral in aroma and flavor. The overall flavor is mild with just a hint of citrus. It was an enjoyable, if unusual flavor. I did very much enjoy the Ruddy Radish Red Ale that I ordered. I've long felt that Red Ale is an oft-ignored style, even by myself. The Weeping Radish version is predominately caramel and toffee malt flavors, with a touch of citrus.
I had finished my pint of Red Ale before I had eaten much of my meal so ordered a glass of one of Weeping Radish's classics, the Black Radish Dark Lager. It took a while to get my beer. The waitress let me know it was coming during her stop by to refill our water glasses, and I saw her speak to the bartender several times, I assumed to check on that order. She finally poured the beer herself and brought it to the table, though I was halfway through my meal by then. This was one of the first Schwarzbiers I tried, many years ago, and looked forward to revisiting it. The aroma and flavor of roasted caramel and a hint of sweetness make this a smooth and easy sipping beer. It is still my favorite from the brewery.
Beer fans with a taste for the boldness of American-style craft beer may be let down by the Weeping Radish beers, which focus on a milder European-style, but the beers are solid. My impression from this visit is that Weeping Radish is set up for the take-out customer, be it beer, sausages, or farm produce. The seating and service left a little to be desired — the lack of a beer menu was telling. The food however was excellent, so it's definitely worth stopping in for the locally produced sausages.