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Ghost Harbor Brewery—Getting Elizabeth City Together

Posted on 03/23/2018 by William Broussard

Certain idioms in English probably drive non-native speakers absolutely nuts (such as the notion of having to interpret how an individual could be piloted towards a pile of pecans or cashews).  The ways in which we signal that we intend to spend time together certainly fall into that category—we know that “having coffee” or “grabbing a bite” mean so much more than the beverage or meal shared. And “let’s have a beer” is by far the most complex of the signs we use, as it can mean anything from burying hatchets, reconnecting, celebrating, commiserating, or simply tying one on. man standing by beer making equipment The quality of the experience of literally having beer, however, leaves less for interpretation as only two things need to be defined. Quality beer to be had, and a quality place in which to have it. In a state that has opened six dozen breweries in 2017, it’s clear that North Carolina is emerging as a high-quality place to have a beer.  The folks at Ghost Harbor Brewery, Elizabeth City’s new microbrewery, offer several quality beers to be had, and an attractive bar to enjoy equally.

While the scaffolding and construction going on within the alley may seem an eyesore to visitors, the more well-traveled know that those are necessary signs of growth and renovation, and the curious visitor also knows never to judge proverbial books by their covers. One step inside Ghost Harbor and I observed a detailed and considered décor that is comfortable and modern, belying its more humble early to mid-20th century “historic downtown main street” exterior appearance. Sturdy but well-constructed tables in cozy rows seat about three dozen guests comfortably with enough room for visitors to move in and out of those rows and visit friends as they enter or sit across the room. Elevated bar shelves surround the room providing additional seating space.  Tables full of flighted beer samples and conversation fill the room on this particular evening, and as attractive as the internal renovations are, and as friendly and energetic (and justifiably proud) as the staff are, the beer really is the star of the show. Maybe the offer to “have a beer” at Ghost Harbor is as literal as it sounds. man stirring mash for beer production I visited on an evening during which the bar debuted their Belgian witbier (my personal favorite) and offered an opportunity for many local residents to get their first look at the new beer joint on Pailin’s Alley downtown.  A remarkable cross section of folks mingled in the bar-young, old, professionals and laborers, buttoned-up businessmen and hoodie-donning guys with backwards baseball caps, and the flights were being consumed as soon as they could be poured.  The “Eight Bells IPA” was crisp and citrusy. The “Mulligan Dry Irish Stout” was full-bodied and rich, and the “Pailin’s Alley Porter” was rich and had light, sweet hints of chocolate and coffee.  Reasonably priced, interestingly flavored, and diversely offered, there’s a beer for every palate.

The opening of Ghost Harbor Brewery adds perfectly to a compliment of local bar and grilles, restaurants, and lounges in the area offering locals and tourists alike options to recreate and refresh over good food and/or drinks. For those who think of beer as a reason to celebrate in and of itself, it offers much to savor. For bon vivants like myself who simply enjoy a good time with friends be it over cocktails, a meal, or any other excuse to meet up, it fits the bill as well. Ghost Harbor is a great new place for Elizabeth City to get together—to chew the fat, shoot the breeze, and yes, to have a beer. Ghost Harbor Brewing Co. is open Thursday 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Friday 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Saturday 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Follow this business on Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest updates. Come join us during April for the celebration of North Carolina Craft Beer month. will broussardWill Broussard is a higher education administrator, professor, and essayist. He recently moved to Elizabeth City from Acadiana (a heavily Black creole and French-influenced region of south Louisiana). His essays, op-eds, and reflections on college writing, HBCU leadership, college athletics, and Louisiana politics have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, newspapers, and least-interestingly (but much more snarkily) on his Twitter feed (@DeadLecturer).

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