Monday, October 12, 2009

Planes, grains & automobiles (lighthouses & boats, too)

A four-day road trip with Cape Lookout, North Carolina, as the destination ...

How do you get New Jersey beer out of that? By trawling for beer along the Outer Banks.

Briefly ...
Many miles south of Kill Devil Hills, Cape Lookout's sesquicentennial was observed Saturday (Oct. 10) with, as honored guests, the descendants of the lighthouse keepers and members of the US Life-Saving Service (which eventually became the US Coast Guard) who served at Lookout.

Our lineage goes back to 1859, when light thrown from the current beacon's whale oil-burning wick first swept the surrounding waters of Cape Lookout. Hence, we set out for the southern shores of North Carolina, where you can still find wild horses and a lighthouse done up in diamonds of black and white.

Plenty of 19th and 20th century maritime history, lots of East Carolina cuisine (i.e. pork barbecue), but not much craft beer at hand, save for a sixpack of Highland Brewing's Kashmir IPA and a couple of liters of Weeping Radish picked up in Jarvisburg, North Carolina, on the way down (the Radish was a destination for beer friends of ours in the mid- to late-1990s, when it was in Manteo on the Outer Banks; that location is now closed).

(A quick call to Charlie Schroeder at Trap Rock in Berkeley Heights put the inadvertently overlooked Outer Banks Brewing Station on the return trip itinerary. Charlie vacationed at the Outer Banks last summer. After a four-hour drive up from Morehead City on Sunday, there was good beer to be had.)

Jersey Connection
Outer Banks Brewing is ensconced in a wind-powered white building trimmed in red, its shape a fresh architectural take on Life-Saving Stations found along the coast at the turn of the 20th century. Located along the southbound lanes of busy Route 158, the brewery's so close to where the Wright brothers revolutionized travel that you could get hit by a prop blade. (The pub brews an alt called Altimeter.)

The beer's good – pub food, too – and the brewery's wind-generated electricity isn't a curiosity but a philosophy (a tenth of the pub's power needs come from wind-generated electricity).

Twenty-five minutes into our pint of chocolate stout, beer traveler Randy Boyles made a pit stop en route home to Advance, North Carolina, settling in for a lunch and grabbing a half liter of Outer Banks Moondog ESB and two-liter growler of the pub's brown ale to go.

And here's the Jersey connection: Randy races yachts, his vessel being a 30-footer called the Rocket J (as in Rocket J. Squirrel, better known as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, whose image graces the side of the boat).

One of the Rocket J's six crew members for those regattas on the Pamlico River and Pamlico Sound is Tom Hughes, father of Flying Fish brewer Casey Hughes.

So you can imagine that Randy has an appreciation for Flying Fish.

While traveling to Philadelphia recently on business, Randy, who confesses to the kind of beer snobbery that makes a lot us craft beer enthusiasts, met up with Casey for a stop at Monks Cafe in Philly, and got to try FF's Exit 4 Tripel and Exit 11 Wheat Ale.

Flying Fish was still on his mind when he pulled into Outer Banks.

"I was here because enough people come down from the North, I thought there was an outside chance I might find Flying Fish down here. But I haven't yet. I haven't found it in North Carolina. I don't think it's come this far south," Randy says.



don lawler said...

Pretty awesome blog! Lots of great postings and an incredible following (25,500!) Have you had any time to try more home brewing? I've never had any better beer than that cannister of home brew that you brought to my Derby party.

Kurt Epps-The PubScout said...

Great Column....Ever hear of New Belgium Brewing (Fat Tire) in Colorado? They've been using wind power for many years...