Oct 22, 2007

Outer Banks Brewing Station

Well, it’s back to the real world for me this morning. Spending a week away at a near empty beach town has its rewards. The family and I are rested, relaxed and primed for the upcoming hectic holiday season. We didn’t particularly do much while out of town. Entertaining the kid in the warm beach sand or around the house were at the top of the list of daily activities. In the evening we enjoyed a few beers and the insanely lovely weather — the nights were cool, but during the day the temperature was perfect.

The only real beer related thing that I wanted to tackle was an evening visit to Outer Banks Brewing Station. Both my wife who had visited the brewery/pub earlier in the year and my father recommended it. That was enough for me to be convinced. Upon arriving at the establishment we were promptly greeted by one of two folks working the floor that night. They explained that they were usually closed at this time of year, but since they had nothing else really going on and the weather was driving a few folks to their place, they decided to open up for the evening. Lucky for us.

Working with a limited menu for the night, our small party of three was, at the time we ate, one of four groups in for dinner. There were a few stragglers hanging out at the bar, but overall the atmosphere was light hearted and relaxed. I couldn’t have asked for a better night to sample some beers.

The Beer

The Brewing Station had a five brews available for us that night. After looking over the descriptions only two of them really peeked my interest. Besides, the wife got the sampler tray so I could steal a sip or two from her glasses. The first brew I tried was Compass Rose a “Secret Spice” ale brewed with “Belgian trappist yeast.” I’m not entirely sure how accurate that is, but I figured what the hell, let’s try it out. As far as the secret spices go, not even the bar tenders knew what was in it as the recipe was from someone outside of their establishment. Mysterious, indeed.


I was initially surprised by the color of this beer. I thought they has mistakenly poured me a porter or stout. Needless to say, the Compass Rose is a dark beer. When held up to the light it reveals a rich ruby edge. There was little to no head on the glass.


Whoa. Not only were the spices secret, but they were heavily packed into the pint glass before me. There’s plenty of hoppiness in there as well. It took several attempts, but the wife and I came up with some orange peel and clove as the primary spices. We both agreed that there was a little something else in there that we couldn’t quite put our collective noses on.


As with most bars, the beer was served a bit too chilled. Not really having time to let it set for a bit to warm up, I dove in. Just like the aroma, the heavy use of clove and hops make for an interesting combination. It’s certainly not a subtle beer as it hits hard upfront and fades nicely in the finish.


This was an interesting brew to taste. It was the stronger of the two that I tried (7.3% ABV), but the spice was overpowering enough to limit any detection of alcohol heat on the beer. If the Brewing Station poured their growlers at room temperature, I probably would have bought a couple of these for storage, but since they distributed them cold and we had a long drive home, it just didn’t work out. I would have loved to have tried this one after it had some time to sit.

Rating: 3.5/5

Next up, of course, was a stout. The brewery’s Mack Daddy stout was the first beer that I noticed on the menu. It was a struggle not to order it first.


Like any stout, the Mack Daddy pours as black as a moonless night. Again, it too had no head to speak of when it came to the table.


Lots of chocolate malt and coffee undertones dominate the smell of this one. There’s a nice subtle sweetness in there as well.


Right away, you’re hit with the roasted malt. It’s perhaps been roasted a tad too long as there is that astringent, bitter coffee aftertaste in the finish of the brew. The chocolate and coffee profile upfront do what they can to balance out the bitterness.


I wasn’t super stoked on this one. It wasn’t the worst stout I’d ever had, but it certainly wasn’t the best either. I think that the bitterness was just a bit too much for me that night.

Rating: 3/5

All in all, our experience at the Outer Banks Brewing Station was great. They catered to the little monkey with crayons and a little goofiness that made her giggle. The food was pretty damned good, especially from a limited out of season menu. The other beers that I tasted from my wife’s sampler were a kolsh, a pale ale and an IPA — all of which were tasty in their own right. Would I frequent this establishment again in the future? Definitely.