Sean Wilson, founder and Chief Executive Optimist of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC, posted on Sunday, August 20, that Fullsteam will be taking “approximately [a] one-month break” from brewing one of its flagship beers, the Carver Sweet Potato Lager. Brewed with 250 pounds of local sweet potatoes ber batch, the 5.8% ABV Carver is part of Fullsteam’s “Workers’ Compensation“ series, which intends to be “easy-drinking, everyday session beers.”
The use of sweet potatoes, however, creates “a very sticky mash” according to Wilson. As a result, mash rakes must be used in brewing Carver, and along with a broken motor, Fullsteam’s rakes needs to be fixed and upgraded. All of Fullsteam’s other offerings can be brewed without the use of mash rakes on their German-engineered brewhouse, which “was meant to make classic Euro lagers in a brewpub setting [and not] to brew 250 pounds of sweet potato, ‘Neiheitsgebot’-inspired beer.”
The good news behind the absence of the good Dr. Carver, Wilson writes, is that it “allows us to introduce a seasonal beer or two.” As to what these seasonals may be, however, Wilson remains tight-lipped. Considering his recent request for figs, the Triangle could be enjoying an “autumnal high-alcohol ‘dessert beer’ soon.” Similarly, we could be looking at a beer similar to Fullsteam’s Lost in the Trees Belgian Ale, a “6% ABV Belgian-inspired session ale brewed with North Carolina figs,” that was made in collaboration with the local indie band sharing the same name in 2010 (and also happens to be one of my favorite bands). Other possibilities for a seasonal brew, obtained from Fullsteam’s “Visions of the Future,” include “Forager: Paw Paw,” ”6:14 American Mild,” “Lampshade barleywine,” and “Scuppernong sparkling ale.” Other than the last potential beer listed, your guess is as good as mine as to what these beers may entail.
Regardless, I know that Wilson, Zymologist Chris Davis, and the rest of the Fullsteam crew will not disappoint North Carolina beer fans with whatever they may concoct. Though I will miss Carver Sweet Potato Lager for the next month once the remaining kegs run out in the taproom, in part because it renewed my faith in the lager style, I look forward with anticipation and excitement to Fullsteam’s soon-to-be seasonal offerings, “brew[ed] not bound to tradition or to style…[but] by the season using local harvests.”
[Source: Carver takes a sabbatical]