Forager is a new series of draft and (sometimes) 750ml bottled beer, brewed with ingredients harvested by you, the community. Too many trees go unpicked: persimmons, pears, figs, paw paws. Seeds mature into a resplendent harvest, only to go untouched until frost. We hear it all the time: “We have a persimmon tree…but the fruit just falls to the ground and makes a mess.” “Our pear tree produced more than we knew what to do with.” We know what to do with it. Let’s make beer. Let’s ferment what we forage. You can be a part of our amazing group of Foragers, simply by responding to our call for a harvest, which we announce on Facebook, Twitter, and in our newsletter. Depending on how much usable ingredients you bring us, we will give you:

  • the market price for your harvest (on a per-pound basis),
  • a Forager hat that only fellow Foragers can own, and
  • a pint or bottle of  the beer when it’s ready.

Of course, the money and beer you receive is contingent on the quality and usability of the harvest. (In other words, a bushel of washed, ripe heirloom pears is worth more than a pail of half-rotten fruit). Again, we pay for the harvest. If you choose not to take money, we will donate your proceeds to one of our favorite local charities, SEEDS.

FIRST FROST winter persimmon ale


Persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana) — literally, “fruit of the gods.” Sweet and savory, with natural notes of cinnamon and apricot, the orange-globed persimmon fruit truly is heavenly. But it’s not until after the first frost that persimmon turns from astringent and bitter to a luscious fruit worthy of the gods.

Once again, the annual wild persimmon harvest was amazing. The Forager community gathered over 550 pounds of native North Carolina persimmons, a harvest that began in September 2013 — well before the first frost. This bountiful yield produced a complex, fruit- forward winter ale. The beer’s notes of holiday spices come entirely from the native persimmon and the beer’s Belgian ale yeast.

In the fall of 2014, we’ll debut a brandy barrel-aged version.

Availability: FALL and WINTER 2014. 10% ABV

PAW PAW Belgian-style golden ale

Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) is the largest edible tree fruit native to North America –but you may have never seen one before. The nondescript trees grow in wet, shady groves, often along the banks of rivers. Paw paws taste like mango-meets-butterscotch-meets-banana. In other words, they’re delicious. But the fruit’s notorious short shelf life keeps them from being commercially viable.We forage for wild paw paws around Jordan Lake, and a few North Carolina foragers who know the fruit bring us their harvest.

Most of our paw paws come from the amazing Wynn Dinssen, owner of Full of Life Farms in Chatham County. He’s a modern Johnny Pawpawseed. In the late summer of 2013, we collected over 300 pounds of native paw paw and froze it, waiting until this year’s paw paw harvest to release the beer. The sweet, tropical notes of the paw paw matched up wonderfully with the Belgian Golden’s notes of fruit and spice and the spicy Jarrylo hops.

Availability: FALL. 8.1% ABV.


You got Fruitcake for Christmas! Fruitcake…The Beer is a Bourbon barrel-aged old ale brewed with roasted local chestnuts and grilled local (and not-so-local) figs. This summer’s fig harvest wasn’t that great, so we added a few hundred pounds of figs from our friends, California. But over a hundred pounds came from our local Foragers, who received $2 a pound for their fig bounty. Chestnuts from High Rock Farm in Rockingham County.

The Internet once called fruitcake “the gift that keeps on giving,” but Fruitcake…the Beer just might break that cycle. Gift one to a friend this holiday season and keep one for yourself.

This beer will age well, like a fine fruitcake should.

2012 tasting notes: bourbon-forward, though a year in the bottle has mellowed it nicely. Still rather sweet and viscous, with subtle hints of fig.

2013 tasting notes: smoky and fruity. Doubling the roasted chestnuts brought out a peaty whiskey-like character, which pairs nicely with the fruit and malt.

2014 tasting notes: we’re going to age the beer in barrels for a year and release it in 2015.

Availability: HOLIDAYS. 10% ABV.

10 Responses to “ Forager ”

  1. […] Forager […]

  2. […] Fullsteam Brewery […]

  3. […] One of the reasons brewers like using local ingredients is that it creates a unique flavor profile or what Fullsteam calls “distinctly Southern beer.” (It has the added benefit of being sustainable, too.) I talked about Fullsteam’s forager beer made with persimmons, First Frost, on the show. Learn more about their forager series here. […]

  4. Having recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest I’ve become very interested in foraging here in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. As I was raised on some of the best beer in the world in Germany I’ve always been something of a brewski snob. I’ve made and drank the beer of the Masai as an Anthropology student so I think it is awesome that you guys are taking the art back to its roots! Pun intended. I’d sure like to try a variety of the foraged beers that you craft. Are they available out here or can a case of them be shipped to me?


  5. […] that had my name written all over it.  What might be Fullsteam’s coolest factor is their Forager Project.  Fullsteam puts out a call for harvest, community members bring in items such as wild pears or […]

  6. I run an Asheville-based wild foods educational organization. This is wonderful; we’re training kids to do this (we forage about 75 edibles regularly), and we’ll be supplying Buchi Kombucha’s next flavor this way. We usually run at least one workshop in the triangle each year.

    One point: if you pick a persimmon (or a paw paw) off the tree as illustrated in the photo, if you can even reach it, it will very likely be green, hence Frank Sweet’s question:

    Have you ever on your travels
    Through the queer, uncertain South,
    Had a ‘simmon– green persimmon–
    Make a sortie on your mouth?

    So wait till they fall. They may be half squashed, but they’re fine. They’ll be ripe, and at least you’ll get a hat!

    Alan Muskat

  7. […] local North Carolina persimmons to brew this fantastic Winter beer, which is a part of their Forager series. Beer: First Frost Style: Winter Warmer/Belgian Strong Dark Ale ABV: 9% Brewery: Fullsteam Brewery […]

  8. […] and makes a mess.” We know what to do with it. Let’s make beer. Let’s ferment what we forage. Fullsteam’s Forager series turns locally harvested fruit into beer. Of course, the money and beer you receive is contingent on […]

  9. […] craft beer”. No, it’s not a collaboration of local homebrews sporting a Fullsteam logo. The crowd-sourced “Forager” series is actually a series of draft and sometimes bottled beer brewed with ingredients harvested by the […]

  10. […] that had my name written all over it.  What might be Fullsteam’s coolest factor is their Forager Project.  Fullsteam puts out a call for harvest, community members bring in items such as wild pears or […]

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