I’m a big fan of the Triangle beer scene and one of my favorite local places to enjoy a pint is Fullsteam Brewery in Durham. The brewery was opened by Sean Wilson, known as the “Chief Executive Optimist”, in a former 7Up bottling plant on Rigsbee Avenue back in 2009. It’s described as a “plow to pint” operation with a mission to craft the distinctly Southern beer that celebrates agriculture by using local seasonal ingredients while fostering relationships with local farmers.
To me Fullsteam is much more than just a great brewery. When I visit the taproom the first thing that comes to my mind is community. On any given visit you will find the space alive with activity and conversation. During the day you are likely see large groups of friends, families with their kids, and people with dogs gathered at the large communal picnic tables inside the spacious interior. As the day transitions into evening the crowd shifts over to primarily adults and all of Rigsbee Avenue seems to come to life.
I’ve enjoyed my fair share of pints sitting at one of the many orange tables inside. There are also a few tables outside along the sunlit alley and two more tables out front in the area where the food trucks usually set. Check out With so much seating it easy to find a spot to sit and relax with your beer and food. Fullsteam is also simply a great spot to just sit back and people watch. There is a small stage that plays host to music on occasion on weekends, but for the most part the brewery serves as a community gathering space – a place for conversation over a good beer.
The beer offerings at the bar a very diverse and range from classics like a traditional American IPA to seasonal southern beers inspired by local agriculture like a sweet potato lager and a “Hogwash” hickory smoked brown porter. Fullsteam is know for making some interesting brews and they even feature beers from other local breweries on a few “guest taps”. Beers are available by the pint, half pint, tasting flights, and they even do growler fills.
As you first enter the brewery through the large red warehouse door you pass through a fun room filled with several classic arcade games along with a pinball machine and ping pong table. I think this room captures the youthful spirit of the brewery and further galvanizes the communal atmosphere. On a given week the taproom plays hosts to events like belly dancing, trivia and yoga. There is even a run club that meets there each Wednesday.
Whether you are a casual beer drinker or a diehard craft beer enthusiasts I highly recommend a visit to Fullsteam during your next visit to the Bull City. Check out there event calendar before heading over to find out what is going on in the taproom and what food trucks will be parked there that evening. If you are thinking of heading over tonight (5/16) they are holding their Summer Basil release party starting around 6pm.
Fullsteam is open Mon-Thurs: 4 p.m. – midnight, Friday: 2 p.m. – 2 a.m., Saturday: noon – 2 a.m., Sunday: noon – midnight. Drink local and support NC beer and agriculture!
726 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701