When I visited Durham, North Carolina, it was very hot so obviously beer was needed to help escape the heat. One of the breweries that I visited was Fullsteam. First, off, it is in a great location near another local brewery (Durty Bull) along with great restaurants, bars and a charming park. The brewery is super cool, with ping pong, foosball, arcade games, a stage and obviously a tasting room. We were greeted by Fullsteam’s marketing manager, Micah, who won extra points for having dog treats for my pups. I am always excited when great places like Fullsteam are so accommodating to the canine kids.

During my visit, I met with head brewer, Brian Mandeville to chat about his delicious creations. Brian has been with Fullsteam for about two years, relocating from Norfolk, Virigina to work for the brewery. His family grew up in Germany so he’s been around good beer most of his life. Brian most enjoys working with the craft beer community because of the comradery. He appreciates having a community of brewers to bounce off ideas for new recipes and general beer talk. Fullsteam tries to embrace locality and source their ingredients from local farmers and growers.

Brian too is a fan of traveling for good beer. Though he can essentially go anywhere and find good beer, places like Asheville and Richmond are some of his favorite beer scenes. Luckily, he doesn’t have to go far at all for good beer since he makes some pretty kickass beer himself. Though he takes pride in all of his brews, he does always strive to improve the recipe and seek perfection. I am always curious what someone’s go-to canned or bottled beer is and for Brian it is a tie between Bells Two-Hearted as it is a consistently fantastic IPA and Ommegang Hennepin.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff… the beer. I became an instant fan of their brews after taking one sip of 9 Volt, which is a sour IPA. I really enjoy IPA’s and love sours above all so this beer really checked all the marks for a great beer in my book.

Okay, let me tell you about this Basil Farmhouse Ale. It was so refreshing and delicious. Fullsteam sources all of their ingredients locally, and this basil was painstakingly hand selected from a local hydroponic grower. Every time they make this beer, the flavor profile is always slightly different because of the basil. They had this in a can when I was there so we picked up a six pack to bring home and share with our local friends. Everyone was impressed by the unique yet well-executed flavor.

Next, I had the Cecil B. DeMiel, which is a saison farmhouse-style beer. Keeping with the theme of local sourcing, they brew this beer with local honey. I wonder if the trick of eating local honey to fight seasonal allergies works in beer form? If so, I would drink the crap out of this beer… you know, for health reasons.

I then had the First Frost winter ale. This bad boy is aged in brandy barrels and persimmon. I also had the pleasure of tasting some of their year-round flagship beers such as the Paycheck lager. Paycheck is a great staple beer and a good go-to for a day at the park or after a long hike.

I enjoyed my visit at Fulslteam so much, we ended up going back another night and stopped by to stock up on beers to share with our friends back home. I was so impressed with this place and their hospitality.  I will certainly be planning another trip in the near future to see what’s new on tap.

Visit Fullsteam’s website here