I was lucky enough to be invited out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina this past weekend for Labor Day. I noted that there were three breweries on the map that didn’t look like they were too far from the house we were staying at. I didn’t take into account, however, the fact that people don’t know how to drive the speed limit while on vacation, and that driving 10 miles takes a half-hour.
So while my wife and I did not manage to get down to a brewery during the weekend, we did go ahead and stop in at one for lunch on the way home, despite being rather hung over. Neither of us were really interested in drinking beer, but that was okay, as the brewery we stopped at wasn’t really in the mood to make any, either.
The Outer Banks is a lot more built up than I had anticipated. This means that there’s a decent amount of infrastructure dedicated to making Applebee’s-goers happy while believing they’re frequenting a new, interesting place while on vacation.
That being said, the Outer Banks also has some pride, so there are some genuinely good local options to be found. We stopped at the Outer Banks Brewing Station hoping it would be the latter. It wasn’t.
The location starts out promising. Instead of a new build, the place is either in an old church or an old barn – it is difficult to decipher which. The interior is lovely as well, decorated with tasteful canvas wall hangings, some charming old-school kitchenry and plenty of original-looking wood.
The charm ends there, though, as none of the food or beer was worth mentioning. They had four beers on tap – a kolsch, alt, brown and stout. If you were to give me tastes while blindfolded, I’m not 100 percent sure I could have told you which one was which. They were all bland and over-carbonated.
The food wasn’t terrible, as it all seemed to be genuinely handmade in the back. But they did that typical American thing where they just gave you way too much food. I ordered a plate of fried flounder with onion rings and must have been given at least two-thirds of a pound of fish. It was pretty tasty, but way overdone.
My wife got a tilapia sandwich with a mango salsa that was also good, with a few major caveats. First, the sandwich was about one-third fish and two-thirds giant white bread bun. Second, the tilapia had some sort of black cajun seasoning that didn’t exactly mesh with the light fish and fruit salsa flavors.
The service was also rather slow, though not terrible by any means.
In all, I wouldn’t bother dropping in again – or a first time, for that matter. At least not if I wanted a decent beer with my meal.