Local Libations

Locally Produced Wines and Beers are Making a Delicious Mark on the Outer Banks

When visitors come to the Outer Banks, they’re looking to experience the unmatched beauty of the gorgeous beaches, explore the activities that can’t be found anywhere else and taste the delectable seafood and fresh-grown veggies that are bountifully harvested from the ocean and land. The same can be said about the delicious beverages.

Imported beers and wines can be found anywhere; it’s the local wineries and craft breweries from right here on the Outer Banks that leave visitors and residents longing for a taste and always craving more.

The mainland of Currituck County has traditionally been a land of fertile farm fields and abundant harvests. Now in the areas that once produced cotton, soybeans and corn, neat rows of vineyards have appeared.

Muscadine is a popular grape for this region that produces a sweet, dessert-style wine. It’s close relative the scuppernong grape comes specifically from North Carolina near the Scuppernong River. When made correctly, muscadine wine retains a refreshing and often nostalgic taste of the grape itself.

However, many vineyards have chosen to plant the classic wine grapes of California and Europe—cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, syrah and zinfandel.
A winery that experiments with a little of both is Sanctuary Vineyards, located in Jarvisburg. Sanctuary Vineyards consists of almost 10 acres under cultivation and features a tasting room inside the historic Cotton Gin with complimentary tastings, cellar tours and a gift shop. The vineyard now has wines made exclusively from their own grapes that are suitable for every preference. Pair their Wild Pony White or the Biltmore 2010 Viognier Reserve with a delicious meal, or sip on Sweet Serenity or Life’s a Peach, two of their sweeter varieties, at any time of day.

Martin Vineyards & Orchard on Knotts Island produces award-winning wines from their coastal vineyards that thrive in the sandy soils and ocean breezes. Their bottles are packed with varietal flavors, nicely oaked with a good balance on the finish.

If you prefer hops to grapes, you’re in for a treat. Some of the tastiest microbrews to tempt your discernible palate are produced right here on the Outer Banks. Both use in-season ingredients to produce their different varieties of beer, and both have received excellent reviews from beer drinkers locally and nationally.
Outer Banks Brewing Station has gained popularity not only for their eclectic range of handcrafted beers and three-time World Beer Cup medal winners, but also for being America’s first wine powered brewery! The Outer Banks Brewing Station takes pride in being innovative and conscious about the environment while helping others learn as much as they can about renewable energy and sustainability. Their environmentally friendly restaurant celebrates the uniqueness of the Outer Banks and its history which can also be seen in the distinct variety of beers they produce. A popular selection, Olsch, is known as THE thirst quencher, a refreshing pale, delicate beer with a lively aroma. Have a glass with lunch or dinner, or try a flight which includes four handcrafted beers served
in six oz. glasses.

The Full Moon Café & Brewery, located on the Manteo waterfront, specializes in British and Irish style beers. They use Marris Otter malt as their base, adding various combinations of malts and barley to the mix, depending on the beer. The brewery is located within the Full Moon Café & Grill where owners Paul Charron and Sharon Enoch first opened in 1995. Depending on your taste, you may enjoy the Lost Colony Ale, a sweet, malty brew with caramel, coffee and molasses flavor, or perhaps you’d rather fill your glass with Baltimore Blonde, a British pale ale with citrus flavors and a peppery hop finish. Another favorite is Charon Stout, a dry Irish stout with molasses, caramel and toasted malt flavors, perfect after a delicious meal at Full Moon Café & Grill.

While sampling beers and wines on your vacation , you’ll definitely want to bring a few home to share with your friends and also to relive your Outer Banks vacation simply with the pop of a cork or cap. Several Outer Banks gourmet markets offer a wide selection of local wines and beers along with tastings.

Coastal Provisions Market in Southern Shores not only has a great selection of hand-picked wines and microbrews on the retail shelves, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, you can also enjoy the same great selection along with a fantastic dinner menu in the relaxed atmosphere of their Wine Bar Café. With over twenty wines by the glass or half glass, a menu featuring several small plates as well as signature entrees like Crab Cakes, Prime Steaks, and Outer Banks Catch, and the full wine shop selection available at regular retail prices (no corkage fee), it’s no wonder the Wine Shop Café is one of the Outer Banks highest
rated restaurants.

One more favorite, Bacchus Wine & Cheese in Corolla will enhance your visit to the Outer Banks with a great selection of fine wines, gourmet foods, imported cheeses, Thuman’s deli meats, as well as their famous sandwiches. Come learn how to properly taste wines, expand your knowledge of varietals, and enjoy a wide selection of gourmet foods. Tuesday Night Wine Tasting Events allow guests to enjoy 6 different wines served with hot and cold appetizers and sumptuous desserts. Family operated, they are celebrating more than 20 years in the Outer Banks.

Whether you prefer wine or beer—or if you like to delve in both passions—you can find it all right here. Spend a day on the Currituck Wine Trail for some wonderful vineyard visits, schedule an educational tasting, or just stop by one of many shops to pick up a crisp, light bottle for a picnic on the beach. Enjoy another day visiting the two microbreweries and sampling some of their famous beers, having a bite of juicy apple brat and learning a thing or two about sustainability. Come have a taste of local flavor, and raise a glass—or a growler—to homegrown drinks on the Outer Banks.

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