North Carolina’s craft beer scene is booming, with so many new breweries opening in the last few years, it can be hard to keep track of them all.
Fullsteam Brewery, out of Durham, opened in 2010 with what could be the most ambitious brewery platform to date—these guys want to craft Southern beer.
They have a “plow to pint” philosophy with the goal of creating a working “Southern beer economy.” Their lineup of seasonal beers in particular leans heavily on Southern ingredients. They use local farmers to fill the malt bills, local chocolatiers for their cocoa nibs, a bunch of local bees provide the honey…they even use customers to provide fruit and veggies for their small batch “Forager Series.”
So far, so good. Fullsteam won a Good Food Award for one of its Forager beers last year, and the owner, Sean Lily Wilson, was a James Beard semi-finalist in 2012 and 2013 for the Outstanding Wine, Beer and Spirits Professional category. Respect.
For Cackalacky, Fullsteam’s first canned beer, the brewery collaborated with Cackalacky, a North Carolina-based hot sauce company. Relax, it’s not brewed with hot sauce, it’s brewed with ginger, which provides a subtle edge to this terrific pale ale.
The label proclaims the beer to be hoppy and zippy, and I’d say that marketing speak is pretty accurate. There’s a bit of candied sweetness to the beer, which is what I look for in a pale ale, and there just a bit of zest from the ginger that lingers on your tongue after you finish the sip. Fullsteam could’ve gone over the top with the use of ginger here, but they showed restraint. The result is a totally sessionable pale ale that I’d drink on a regular basis if I could find it.
Not only is it a really good beer, it’s fun as hell to say. Cackalacky. Cackalacky Cackalacky Cackalacky.