A Collaboration in the Name of Beer

A few years back I remember reading an article about a brewery that was opening up in Durham.  They were going to make beers with a “Plough to Pint” philosophy, and they were making beers like a Hickory Smoked Porter, that was made for Barbeque, and a Lager made out of sweet potatoes.  The name of the brewery was even better: Fullsteam.  I thought “I have got to meet these guys.”

Fast forward a year, and one afternoon I meet up with Sean Lilly Wilson to taste some of their beers.  Right off the bat I liked Sean, he has a great sense of humor, and importantly he cares about food and beer as much or even more than I do. He brought his beer in an old 1950s cooler from Mexico that looked like it came out of a Pepsi commercial in between scenes of the Andy Griffith Show.  Next I tasted the beer, and not only were they a little wacky, but they were really good.  From that day on I knew that Sean and the Fullsteam crew, and myself and the Fearrington crew, would be doing a lot of work together.

The Fullsteam team: Sean Lilly Wilson (Chief Executive Optimist) and Chris Davis (Beer Maker).

So fast forward a couple of years, a beer dinner at the Fearrington House, a conversation here and there about doing a project together, and finally another meeting between Sean and myself.  This time walking the garden’s of Fearrington, looking for inspiration on what would make a beer that represents this magical place.  Next thing you know we are in the herb garden tasting all of the different types of thyme, fennel, sage,  and oregano. With a little “wow this would be great as a Saison,” “wouldn’t this be a nice compliment to an English style IPA?”, and “wait till Chris (Chris Davis Fullsteam’s very talented beer maker) get’s his hands on this.”

So, after much talk and brainstorming we will release the first of these beers on June 5th (today!) at the Edward Lee event at the Roost Beer Garden.  We will be releasing the beers every change of the season, so that the beer represents what is growing on the grounds of Fearrington. The Fullsteam Fearrington Summer 2013 beer, will be an English IPA with Lemon Thyme, Bronzed Fennel, and Honey.  If I do say so myself it is pretty darn delicious.

In September we will be releasing the fall beer and we will have a release party for each season, and they are going to be pretty spectacular parties, with amazing food and beer.  In the words of Sean Lilly Wilson these will be “beers so cutting edge, that they pair well with food.”