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Weeping Radish Farm Brewery and Butchery in the Outer Banks is where NC Microbrew began!

Weeping Radish: The Pioneering OBX Brewery (NC’s First and Oldest!)

Last Updated on September 14, 2020

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We first stopped by Weeping Radish while seeking an alternate way home from the Outer Banks. And oh my, are we happy to have stopped at this wonderful brewery along the highway.

In case you’ve never visited, hold on because there’s so much to unpack when first describing this place. For starters, it’s North Carolina’s oldest microbrewery and it’s also America’s oldest brewery and restaurant.

But beyond the pioneering legacy (which we’ll explain more about), you’ll find some of this state’s tastiest sausages and more food to accompany that mighty fine beer.

Join us as we pay respects to the person and place behind today’s amazing beer scene in North Carolina, with info about what you can drink, eat, and learn about through a tour!

We also interviewed owner Uli Bennewitz for NC Travel Chat, if you’d like to hear it from the source! This post is part of our series on the Outer Banks and also, breweries in North Carolina.

Weeping Radish Farm Brewery & Butchery

Inside our guide, we’ll explain a few fun things about Weeping Radish, from its beginnings to today. Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • What is a Weeping Radish?
  • Weeping Radish Brewery Background
  • Today’s Experience (Food, Beers, and Tours)
  • Why We’ll Keep Visiting
  • Weeping Radish (Quick Guide)
  • Related Posts: Breweries in North Carolina and Things to Do in the Outer Banks

What is a Weeping Radish?

Near the end of our interview, Uli shared where the name “Weeping Radish” originated. Essentially, at a Bavarian Biergarten, they salt and dehydrate white radishes, making them “weep,” before being plated for you to enjoy.

Before eating the radishes, you’ll dip slices of them in saltwater. The salt makes you quite thirsty and leads copious, responsible amounts of beer being consumed.

Weeping Radish Brewery Background

Uli Comes to America

Uli brought this knowledge of weeping radishes (and years of farming experience) with him when he arrived in America in the early 1980s. His primary goal was to clear and farm a plot of land in Eastern North Carolina.

Those efforts have since expanded into 28,000 across four states. As his farming business grew, Uli was contacted by his brother back in Munich about starting a brewery in North Carolina.

He thought it was a good idea that could lead to more profits, so Uli had the brewery (along with a German master brewer) shipped to North Carolina.

Building a Brewpub in North Carolina (in 1986)

In case you don’t already know, North Carolina laws prevented the sale of alcohol directly to consumers from a brewery in the early 1980s. Uli learned this as he worked to launch Weeping Radish.

Luckily, some state politicians wanted to change things, and they worked to amend North Carolina’s ABC law, thus allowing breweries to open and serve customers in 1985.

Manteo Location

One year later, Weeping Radish officially opened its doors as North Carolina’s first microbrewery. The business dealt with some initial challenges, as Manteo was a dry town.

An initially rocky relationship between Weeping Radish and Manteo warmed. The brewery became a fixture in town but eventually, began to outgrow its location.

Moving to Currituck County

About 15 years after opening, Bennewitz sought a new site that would accommodate his brewery, along with a restaurant, butchery, and farm. This would help Bennewitz reach his goal of serving food free of preservatives and lengthy travels before reaching customers’ plates.

He found enough land to support these efforts, breaking ground in 2001 on 14 acres of farmland in Grandy, Currituck County. The new Weeping Radish site’s doors opened in 2005.

Thus, Weeping Radish Restaurant and Brewery became the Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, which we (and many others) know and love very much today.

Today’s Experience

When you visit, you can sit inside the cozy pub or outside at a shady picnic table. There’s even room to roam, if you brought kids.

The menu includes various pub foods that pair nicely with Weeping Radish’s beers.

Food

The variety of locally sourced eats require more than one visit, but if it’s your first time, you should at least order a sausage sampler. The sauerkraut and pretzel that come with this are also phenomenal.

The sausages are products of Weeping Radish’s award-winning butchery. Many businesses in the area love what’s coming out of the butchery, too, and regularly source from Weeping Radish.

You can also buy some sausages to take home and if you’d like to try them, Weeping Radish ships to customers residing in North Carolina.

The Beer

Back to the beer, though, which started it all, and you’ll find a nice mix of seasonals vying for your attention alongside popular mainstays. The IPA at Weeping Radish is much smoother than some of the hoppier versions you’ll find.

The Black Radish is a dark German lager that’s perfect for hot summer days, with a little hops flavor blended in. If you’re not at Weeping Radish and buying via brew thru or a distributor in the area, the Kolsch-style OBX Beer should be available.

Tours

If you’re like us, you’ll want to go straight to the source and visit. You can even learn about Weeping Radish and NC beer’s story via a tour with Uli. Tours include food and beer samples, so bring your appetite!

Why We’ll Keep Visiting

Uli and his team at Weeping Radish are always up to something ahead of everyone else. Anyone who loves NC beer needs to stop by and pay homage to where it all began.

But if you’re simply seeking some great food in the Outer Banks, this place is for you, too. Important things have happened here but there’s no pressure to understand that when you stop by.

All you’ll find is a warm, inviting environment and people who are happy to fill your belly with yummy beer and food. That, above all, is what will keep us coming back.

More Info About Weeping Radish (Quick Guide)

More Things to Do in the Outer Banks

More Breweries in North Carolina

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