This month at Carowinds, you can combine the best parts of being an adult with the best parts of being a kid. At Taste of the Carolinas, craft beer, local wine and regional food become part of the fun of a day at the theme park.
Amanda vs. The Intimidator. Tip: look closely at my glasses to see my selfie hands.
On Saturdays and Sundays through May 1, a stroll through the park will bring you to seven food stations representing the culinary regions of the Carolinas from the mountains of Asheville to the Outer Banks. Combine that with local beer from North and South Carolina breweries like Benford Brewing, Catawba Brewing Co., RJ Rockers and Sugar Creek, plus wine from Childress Vineyards. Most beer shows up in cans with a couple draft options on a jockey box (I nabbed Sugar Creek Pale Ale on draft the day I was there).
Pulled pork spring roll, shrimp grits, chocolate Bourbon pecan pie and Sugar Creek pale ale.
Tokens can be used to purchase food and drinks from the stations in increments of 3 for $4. Beer and wine are four tokens each bringing your per-drink price to just over $5. Not shabby given typical beer prices at most entertainment venues.
Craft beer + roller coasters.
Food at the seven regional stations was created by Carowinds Executive Chef Kris Siuta. You’ll find offerings themed around Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, upstate South Carolina, the Lowcountry and Charleston, the Outer Banks and dueling barbecue from Lexington and South Carolina.
Nerd out like me with your tokens, guide book and spiffy backpack.
My favorite food option from the day was the Neese’s sausage, fig and goat cheese popover from the mountains region. A North Carolina farm girl like me automatically gravitates to anything that says “Neese’s.” Check out the entire menu.
Sweet tea glazed chicken from the Charleston region.
For a more intimate experience, the event offers daily tastings rotating between Benford, RJ Rockers and Childress Wines. Separate tickets are available for these events for $16 and can purchased on-site or in advance. You’ll also find live music and cooking demonstrations scheduled throughout the day.
If you don’t make the Taste of the Carolinas event Carowinds offers craft beer options always. Go forth and drink (safely) on roller coasters!