Saxapahaw General Store’s beer buyer, Kevin Coble and I visited Brian Mandeville at the Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC to chat about the Summer Basil beer. Brian is a young- 27 year old, welcoming, burly-bearded guy. He has a kind, gracious, and humble demeanor. He hails from Hinesville, GA, and as a military kid spent some of his youth in Germany and Japan. He moved to North Carolina in December 2014. Brian attended Longwood University in Farmville, VA where he earned a degree in political science. He followed the typical path of many American young adults; finish high school, go to college, get a job- if you can. After running through the mill, Brian has found himself right where his youthful heart would have taken him – he began brewing/distilling as a freshman in high school, inspired by the teachings of his chemistry class, and now he’s the Head Brewer at Fullsteam Brewery. Before coming to Durham, Brian earned his certificate in Brewing Technology from the Siebel Institute of Technology as part of the World Brewing Academy. At Fullsteam, Brian is surrounded by individuals whose paths have winded and turned until they made their way to the world of brewing beer. The thing he loves most about Fullsteam is the supportive community that exists there and the willingness of everyone to try new things and take chances – like the Summer Basil beer.
The Summer Basil beer is a true testament to the supportive community both within and outside of the brewery. They rely on local farmers within 50 miles of the brewery to provide the freshest Genovese Basil which is used almost immediately to brew this beer. The greatest thing about this process, Brian describes, is the opportunity to meet and build relationships with each farmer who grows the basil. The farmers are equally as excited about the use of their product in each batch of beer. The most notable characteristic of the Summer Basil beer is its changing flavor profile. As we move through the different temperatures of the summer months, basil takes on a different essence. The Summer Basil beer is first brewed in late May. From this time through about mid-June the beer has a subtle flavor and is more crisp and fresh. As summer temperatures rise the flavor becomes more intense and floral until it reaches the full strength of flavor which is pretty punchy, somewhat spicy and leaning more towards star anise.
Now is the perfect time to taste a full-flavored Summer Basil beer! We are fully stocked with Summer Basil and other beers from Fullsteam at the Saxapahaw General Store.
Fullsteam Brewery is open Monday- Thursday from 4:00pm until midnight, on Fridays from 2:00pm until 2:00am, on Saturdays from noon until 2:00am, and on Sunday from noon until midnight.