Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fullsteam Awesomeness!

I apologize for my absence, but work and travel have kept me busy. That and a wife who wants things done around the house. But what this does mean is that i have had time to visit two new breweries and try around 25 new beers. Today I'll start with one of the most interesting places I have been to in a long time. I'm talking about Fullsteam brewery in Durham NC.

To give you an idea about the feel of Fullsteam it's located in a warehouse. The inside has simple concrete floors with a bar that seats probably about 20. When the barkeep asked me what I wanted I simply told him one of everything you make starting from lightest to darkest. He obliged me and i can tell you right away that i liked their style. They don't do small tasters of each beer but 6 ounce glasses. They also had the awesome idea of a dry erase strip down the middle of their bar which I used to write my beer notes on.
To start I was given a Beasley's honey white. Now I love white beers but tend to stay away from anything with honey in it. Then I was told this white was also made with cracked black pepper . . .which they toast themselves. I took one sip and was hooked. The sweetness was perfectly balanced by the heat from the pepper. It was so good I almost considered abandoning the other beers and have a couple pints of Beasley's. I knew however I owed it to my readers, and to myself, to move on.

Next came Carver's sweet potato lager. Again I was worried that between the malt and sweet potato it would not be for my palate, or that cinnamon or some other spice would be added in. What I actually got was a well balanced lager. The sweetness of the malt was balanced by the earthiness of the sweet potato. It had a full mouth fell and would go perfect with any dinner I can think of.

Third comes their 1 hop rye IPA. I tried to get a hop and malt list but was unsuccessful. This IPA was bitter at about 64 IBU. The bitterness was right on for me and not overwhelming on the palate. This would be perfect for a summer BBQ or after mowing the lawn.

Now the former should be considered Fullsteam's more normal beers, because what I got next was weird but in an awesome way! Fourth came the Working Man's Lunch which is a chocolate brown, but the twist is that it was made with a Weihenstephan yeast strain that adds in a distinctive banana flavor. The reasoning behind this beer was to recreate an old Workman's lunch of an R.C. Cola and a Moon-pie. And they did it. If you drink between the lines you can taste this combination. Incredibly weird but surprisingly good!

Fifth came the toughest beer of the night to drink. Hogwash is their hickory smoked porter, and let me tell you you can definitely taste the hickory smoke. A sip of this beer is like a punch smoke on the mouth. I could however see a good place for this at a summer barbeque or with a nice North Carolina pulled pork sandwich.

Finally we come to the last beer offering of the night. Overtime is the imperial version of the Working Mans Lunch. It has the same interesting flavor with a little bit more bitterness and a much higher alcohol content.

While sampling these beers I had the pleasure of talking with Fullsteam owner Sean Lilly Wilson. He explained to me that Fullsteam strives to use as many local southern ingredients as possible. This is evident in the sweet potato in their lager and the corn they use in their cream ale, which wasn't on tap the night i was there, that both come from North Carolina. They also make a winter ale with persimmons from Florida. Even Chef Jose Andres has taken notice of the amazing beers produced here for he uses them in one of his restaurants. He also let me know that not only do they produce seasonal brews, but they also want to do an IPA for every season.

I can only hope to make it back to Durham soon to try more new beers from this up and coming brewery (did i mention they are only about two years old?). If you are in the area and want to try some delicious, although different, beers, then make sure to visit Fullsteam. Trust me when i say you won't be sorry.

1 comment:

  1. A correction needs to be made. The Persimmons don't come from Florida. According to Sean Lilly Wilson "we actually source our persimmons from tavern patrons, paying them $4 a pound for their harvest. It's part of our Forager program.
    So the persimmons aren't from Florida...they're as local as they get!"

    Awesome . . .just awesome!!