Busy beer

I’m looking forward to the opening of Fullsteam Brewery’s tasting room in Durham, N.C. on Aug. 13. I like the brewery’s commitment to using local products in different ways, such as incorporating scuppernongs and other local flavors, plus working with projects to grow hops in the state. Until the tasting room opens, mere mortals have had to be alert for locations serving the beer, which was the case at Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh this week. The hub and I went to sample the Carver Sweet Potato Lager (yes, sweet potatoes) and Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale.

I think I tasted the sweet potato lager before, at a Southern Foodways Alliance event, but the beer I had this week was different from what I remember. It tasted quite hoppy and bitter, and neither of us could detect a sweet potato flavor per se, but the beer did have a rich, deep red color. I don’t care for extremely hoppy beers, so that was not to my liking. The hub thought he detected more sweet potato flavor as the beer got warmer.

The Summer Basil, however, had just a hint of the herb, refreshing without being overpowering. I wondered how it would stand up to food, and it did well with our dinner of calamari, tuna with Israeli couscous and even the hub’s steak frites.

Fullsteam’s brew-local philosophy is exciting and different for this area. I hope the beers live up to the ideals.

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