Blackbeard's Toast: Pirate-Inspired Drinks in North Carolina
North Carolina’s coast has been a leading destination for land and sea visitors for centuries, and one of the most legendary is Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. The infamous pirate visited the towns of Ocracoke, Beaufort and Bath, and the waters all along our coast. Then in November 1718, he met his fate just off of Ocracoke. But the Blackbeard intrigue lives on.
North Carolina breweries love the Blackbeard mystique, as there are a number of beers named in his honor or inspired by his legacy. There are also North Carolina wines, a rum and even a coffee roaster that bear his name. So 300 years after Blackbeard’s death, you can hoist a glass and give your best pirate impression while imagining tales of the buccaneers who once sailed our waters.
1 Edward Teach Brewing
1 Edward Teach BrewingWilmingtonSee on map
This eponymous brewery has a menu packed with pirate-themed beer and a taproom that resembles the bow of a ship. Try Teach’s Peaches, a peachy wheat ale that’s subtly sweet, or Devil’s Son Imperial Pale Ale, a hoppy brew that pairs well with the food trucks that pay a visit to the brewery most nights. Musicians frequent the taproom, and if a pint of Peg Leg Porter can’t get you moving, the tunes will.
2 Makai Brewing Company
2 Makai Brewing CompanyOcean Isle BeachSee on map
The Blackbeard IPA, a black India Pale Ale, is as fierce as the man himself. The big hop flavors and smooth mouthfeel make this a fantastic warm-weather brew. Makai Brewing's taproom offers seasonal yoga classes, live music and game nights.
3 1718 Brewing
3 1718 BrewingOcracokeSee on map
Blackbeard and his pirate crew didn’t have 1718 Brewing to quench their thirst, but visitors today do. At 1718, they specialize in easy-drinking brews like their Pretty Work, a Kölsch-inspired light beer, and a brew that uses one of the most sought-after spices for pirates and traders, pepper berry, in their Pepperberry Saison. Sit outside around the fire pits or inside at the bar and hear stories from the seamen who call Ocracoke home today.
4 Mother Earth Brewing
4 Mother Earth BrewingKinstonSee on map
Mother Earth Brewing is credited for helping Kinston become a tourist stop for travelers who would've often just passed through on their way to and from the beach. With a taproom and beer garden (and since 2017, the Mother Earth Motor Lodge two blocks down the street), there's ample room for you to enjoy Blackbeard's Booty. The hoppy blonde ale is light and refreshing but also brewed with amarillo and chinook hops. Mother Earth released this new beer to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard's death.
5 Neuse River Brewing Company
5 Neuse River Brewing CompanyRaleighSee on map
Neuse River Brewing collaborated with Raleigh Rum Company on III, a Belgian Rye Tripel aged six months in rum barrels. The aging gives this beer a distinct flavor, imparting notes of vanilla and oak from the barrel and added complexity from the blend of sugars, the spicy rye flavor and the subtle hint of fruit that make tripels distinct. Sipping this big beer and watching the sun set over the Raleigh skyline is a treat Blackbeard never knew.
6 Outer Banks Distilling
6 Outer Banks DistillingManteo
The makers of Kill Devil Rum – a spirit rumored to have gotten its name from pirates, who drank rum so strong it could “kill the devil” – have a barrel aging called Blackbeard’s Reserve. This rum was aged in oak barrels for three years and features a blend of Caribbean molasses and other sugars to give it a layered, intense flavor. Oaky, sweet and rich, they think Blackbeard would have approved.
7 Sanctuary Vineyards
7 Sanctuary VineyardsJarvisburg (Outer Banks)See on map
Sanctuary Vineyards, just a few minutes’ drive from the waters of the Outer Banks where Blackbeard himself sailed, bottles up The Plank. This red muscadine wine is jammy and rich, with big muscadine grape flavors; the label features the fearsome visage of Blackbeard and the bottle has a real pirate feel thanks to the wax seal. The vineyard and tasting room are inland from the Outer Banks, but The Cotton Gin, its gift shop, has locations in Corolla, Duck and Nags Head.
8 Blackbeard Coffee Roasters
8 Blackbeard Coffee RoastersGreenvilleSee on map
The real-life Blackbeard and his crew didn’t just drink wine, beer and rum, they also had coffee and tea on board. At Blackbeard Coffee Roasters, they roast and brew coffee so good it would light the fuses Edward Teach wore in his beard. This uptown Greenville coffee shop and roaster is blissfully pirate free, but full of fresh roasted beans, excellent drinks and friendly baristas.
9 Panacea Brewing Company
9 Panacea Brewing CompanyWilmingtonSee on map
Panacea brews kombucha, a non-alcoholic drink made from fermented and flavored tea leaves. Doubtless Blackbeard kept tea on Queen Anne’s Revenge; had he known, he could’ve made this flavorful, good-for you brew for his crew. Panacea’s flavors vary wildly but their Pineapple Lime Leaf would’ve quenched the thirst of Blackbeard’s pirate band and fought off scurvy. Stop into this tiny taproom to sample some kombucha and get a growler to take home.