I know what you are thinking; this is going to be an article about pairing food with beer. Well as much as there is to cover on that topic I am going in another direction. Many brewers out there have been searching for ingredients to use that set their beer apart from others. An obvious option is to use various things we eat as their inspiration. Beers are brewed with any number of ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, and even meat. These flavors can help bolster an old style or create something new all together. There a numerous breweries that use these techniques, but you do not have to look any further than Fullsteam Brewery in Durham.

Fullsteam makes a variety of brews that use unique and local ingredients. Their mission is to create a true Southern Style of beer. They have numerous beers that buck the trend of the traditional styles, but when I think about beers brewed with food or intended to taste like food, three immediately come to mind. They are the Carver Sweet Potato, First Frost, and the Hogwash Hickory Smoked Porter.

The Carver Sweet Potato is one of the most unique beers that I have ever had. This beer gets its name because Fullsteam uses sweet potatoes in the brewing process. This gives the beer a hint of sweet potato flavor without over doing it. If you are looking for your mom’s sweet potato casserole, this brew isn’t it.

First Frost is a winter warmer that is brewed with local persimmons. This gives the beer a nice tartness when you first sip the beverage. It has a delicious full flavor, with hints of various spices. Although it is considered a winter warmer, it is unlike any that I have ever come across. With that being said, it is definitely a beer I will go back to in the future.

The Hogwash Hickory Smoked Porter is one of Fullsteam’s beers that recreate the flavors of everyone’s favorite breakfast dish: bacon. To get these flavors, the brewers use smoked, malted barley. This creates a slight smokiness to the beverage, which makes it incredibly reminiscent of bacon. Smoked beers are not for everyone, but this one is certainly worth a try if you have never dabbled in the style.

As you can see there are smorgasbords of ingredients that we eat that can be used as ingredients or inspiration for some really delicious brews. By pushing the envelope to create something new and delicious, brewers everywhere are using just about anything they can to craft something special. In this case, you have three delicious, North Carolina products that utilize ingredients that are unique to the culture and identity of our great state.

You can follow Dan on Twitter @dklem87

image by suanie via flickr