A great turnout on a perfect day for the 1st Annual Outer Banks Oystoberfest.

Picture this, if you will…A perfect autumn day on the Outer Banks. Beer and a lot of it. And fresh—really, really fresh—oysters by the truck load.

Put all of that together and the burning question becomes, how could Oystoberfest get much better?

Who knows? This was the first Annual Outer Banks Oystoberbest so maybe Oystoberfest two, three, four and five will keep getting better, but this one was as close to a perfect Outer Banks day as there could be.

Held at Southern Shores Crossing in Southern Shores and sponsored by the Outer Banks Restaurant Association, the idea behind this was simple—bring fresh local oysters to the festival, pour beer from eight microbrews, bring in some local restaurants to highlight their creativity with oysters and let everyone have a good time.

There were seven oyster farms on hand—two from Virginia and five bringing oysters from local waters. What is extraordinary about at the oysters, whether lightly steamed or raw, is how different the taste is depending on where the oyster was raised.

The oysters from Ruby Salts in Virginia are salty with a briny almost ocean-like flavor. Chadwick Creek Oysters from Bayberry, NC, which is on the mainland just south of the Pamlico River, are mild with an almost buttery flavor.

What is also great to see is the rebirth of the North Carolina oyster harvest. Devastated in the late 1980s and 1990s through a combination of over harvesting and bad management practices, it’s been a long road back, but it looks as though the efforts of organizations like the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Nature Conservancy as well as state and federal agencies is really making a difference.