Tarboro, NC (Tarboro Municipal Stadium & Tarboro Brewing Co.)

Tarboro Municipal Stadium

Team: Tarboro River Bandits 

Affiliate: N/A (Tidewater Premier League)

Ballpark Basics: A classic ballpark brought back to life for a summer-collegiate league.  

Tucked away in a residential neighborhood Tarboro Municipal Stadium has a long history of baseball. Built as a WPA project the Tarboro Serpents of the Coastal Plain League called the ballpark home starting in 1937, then named Bryan Park. After the original wooden grandstand burned down in December of 1945 the current concrete and steel grandstand was built in its place and renamed Nash Memorial Park with various teams playing until 1952. 

Tarboro Municipal Stadium has hosted high school baseball in the intervening years, including the Tarboro Baseball Classic, a spring tournament for high schools in the Mid-Atlantic. In the summer of 2020 the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League brought in the Tarboro River Bandits. Initially not allowed to have fans at the ballpark due to the COVID-19 pandemic the team began the 2020 season streaming their games on Facebook Live.  Later in the season, as restrictions we eased fans were finally allowed back into the historic ballpark.  We were lucky enough to catch a game during this season and it ended up being the only live baseball we were able to witness during the entire 2020 season.

It is a bare-bones ballpark with a cement grandstand that is covered by a large metal roof and gives some relief during the humid summers. The seating bowl consists of large cement steps.  Many people bring their own chairs to help with the comfort factor. We even saw a few regulars that had brought their own motorized fans for the extremely hot day game we attended.

Best Spot for Beer:

We did not expect much in the beer department on our visit. In many of the smaller collegiate summer league ballparks we’ve been accustomed to smaller concession stands. Down the left field line we were surprised to find a full concession stand with all the typical ballpark fare (hot dogs and hamburgers) as well as beer, including selections from local brewery, Tarboro Brewing Co. To top it off, the prices for the local beer was similar to that of their macro-beer selections.  

Tarboro Municipal Stadium looks like a lot of the old Coastal Plain League ballparks that dot the North Carolina landscape. We visited during the first season that it hosted collegiate league baseball in sometime and the age showed a little bit. With a summer collegiate team now as a tenant it is great to see the park has a future for baseball in the area. 

Tarboro Brewing Company

Rating: Triple

Brew Basic: Sometimes one is all you need.

When you’re heading to the only brewery in a small town, you don’t know what you’re going to find when you arrive. But North Carolina is known for its range of quality breweries, and Tarboro Brewing hits the mark.

Once a car dealership, the space has creatively been redesigned to house the Brewing Company. Vestiges and little nods in decor more than hint at the past, and with the red and white theme, large red shop lights, corrugated metal ceiling and two walls of windows, you feel at any minute they could clear out the tables and drive cars onto the showroom floor. Until they do though, instead of cars you’ll find a big chalkboard wall, “hand-me-down chairs”, planted succulents in empty beer cans and three tvs (two small ones with the tap list and one large one with a game on). There’s also a large patio out front, intended to host events. COVID had curtailed much of the activity while we were in town, but a pre-order farmer’s market pickup was just closing up shop as we arrived.

Brew Breakdown: 

There were several beers available, both on tap and a few more to go. Our only complaint was the to-go cans didn’t have prices anywhere, and some were quite high (in our opinion) so the only way to know what you might pay was to ask the price on each individual can. In house, you can get a couple sizes of pours, including a flight of four served on a traditional wooden serving board. We went this route and tried a taster to boot. 

Tarboro Blueberry Canoe 6% ABV – Very pale yellow, smells like a brewery. An all-malt beer, with no corn, rice or adjunct sugars) this variant of their flagship is light, refreshing and true to word, has a punch of blueberry at the end.

Sexy Canoe 3.7% ABV –  Light and refreshing with solid flavor for a light lager, that’s nothing like a Bud or Coors. Clear yellow color with visible carbonation and a yeasty smell. Perfect for a hot day at the ballgame.

Tar River Banshee Double IPA (imperial) 10% ABV – though they billed this one as the juiciest IPAs on tap at the moment, we found this blend of seven different hops to be more like an old school DIPA. Overall it was melony and thick after the lagers. The Banshee had busy carbonation and a bright yellow-gold color. It smelled sweet, had a hop bite and a passion fruity and imperial sweet finish and ends with a bitter hop back.

Oktarborofest 4.8% ABV -Dry with a cracker front, with a Bavarian hop body through and through. The aroma of this true brown-gold, visibly carbonated beer matches the taste.  A good standard version of this beer style, and still light for late summer. 

Daydreamin’ Dunkel Chocolate Brown (6% ABV) – Thin, with a strong grain palate and bouquet. With a prevailing sweet malt taste throughout, the beer dries out at the end with a hint of a peppercorn spice finish.

Tarboro Brewing Co.

526 N Main Street

Tarboro, NC 27886