Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eating & drinking in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

Another married couple invited my wife and I to spend a weekend in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., recently.

We met them on a recent Friday at the Giggling Mackerel at 65 Causeway Drive.

We found the Giggling Mackerel, and climbed a couple of flights of wood stairs to meet our friends on a deck bar above the restaurant.

Stepping onto the top reoriented the entire day - the breeze blew, the sun set, and the music played. The girl barkeep was cute and friendly. We could see the Intracoastal Waterway and the cars passing over the bridge.

The hostess called our names for dinner downstairs. We made it without tumbling down the steps, and I went for the Red Stripe. It was $3.75 per bottle, and could have been a couple of degrees colder, but a wedge of lime and a rack of ribs for $16.95 made up for it. The Giggling Mackerel also had seven domestic beers for $3 per bottle, and four other premium bottles for $3.75.

The next day I got a properly chilled Pabst Blue Ribbon at Sharky's at 61 Causeway Drive. Sharky's also had outside seating, but we opted for inside that afternoon. The PBR bottles, at $3 each, were very cold, thank God. We also got a half-pound of fried shrimp for an appetizer, $13.95. And then we had another.

Then the server told us the last chilled PBR had been served (to us), so instead of drinking a warm one, my buddy got a Pacifico for $4. I got Summer Bright Ale from Breckenridge Brewing in Colorado, at $2.50 per bottle. I had never seen this American Wheat Pale Ale before. It had a touch of that hop spiciness that hinted toward an India Pale Ale, giving it an interesting flavor with a light enough body to drink all the summer-day long. That one's definitely a keeper.

Our group decided that a pound of fried shrimp didn't make a dinner, so we went over to Cinelli's Pizza & Ristorante at 14 Causeway Drive. We sat at tall tables near the seven-seat wood bar with colorful hanging lights. Here I ordered a pint of Anheuser-Busch's Skipjack Amber. To get an idea of what this American All-Malt Lager tastes like, think of Yuengling and then take the malt a little more toward caramel, and make the hops a little bit crisper. Good stuff, $3 a pint.

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