Fullsteam Brewery

Fullsteam BreweryFullsteam Brewery
Fullsteam BreweryFullsteam Brewery
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

726 Rigsbee Ave
Durham, North Carolina, 27701
United States

(919) 682-2337 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 71 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of andypeters1971
andypeters1971 from Georgia

2.98/5  rDev -27%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5

Best thing is the wall of electrical and mechanical control panels "borrowed" from the defunct tobacco warehouses that once formed the economic foundation of Durham. Also a nice adaptive re-use of a midcentury light industrial building.

Apr 07, 2021
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

This brewery is located in a section of Durham that's gentrifying into a great location. There are lots of new apartments and restaurants within easy walking distance. The brewery itself serves a good selection of beers in the tasting room and there is a large adjacent room with picnic tables stocked with table games. They serve food in the evenings. The beers range for so-so to quite good and the staff is friendly and accommodating. Overall, it's a nice experience.

Aug 26, 2017
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Beautiful brewery in the seemingly hipster area of Durham. Great space with ample, sun-filled seating, a stage for live music and a long bar, separated by a wall. Sleek design overall.

The friendly, bearded hipster was happy to recommend beers. I was looking forward to Fullsteam’s barrel-aged beers, but they had an event called “Fellowship of the IPA” with 15 North Carolina IPA’s so that was it, all IPA's that day. Judging by the nine house beers on tap, you can tell that this brewery does not make average beers! Ginger pale ale, Persimmon saison, “Coffee is for Closers” nitro…

Definitely a great stop in the Triangle area.

Jan 08, 2017
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wfumed2 from North Carolina

4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great atmosphere. One of my favorite breweries in North Carolina. Lots of long tables. Board games. Pinball. Table Tennis. Almost always a food truck or two outside. Always a good selection on draft. Highly Recommended.

Jul 02, 2016
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NateDyk47 from Michigan

4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25

Fullsteam Brewery is a fun place with a pretty nice atmosphere. Service was exceptional and all of the beers were good (although none of the flight of 5 we tried were great). I definitely recommend going here if you're in town.

Feb 13, 2016
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dsshuck from Delaware

4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

The place has multiple rooms with games in some. Bar is enclosed in an air condition room. Bartender was friendly and very knowledgeable about beers. I had a flight of five beers and enjoyed all of them. I would have stayed longer but was on a schedule. Parking is a bit of a pain as there is no lot and street parking can fill up quickly.

Sep 18, 2015
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ColdOneKev from North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

Stopped in on a Friday afternoon after eating at The Pit next door. The tap room had probably been open for about 1/2 an hour when we arrived. I had the flight which was a little on thepricey side but they are good sized at 5oz and you get 5 selections. One nice touch is the paddle which is cut in the shape of North Carolina. Very friendly staff and you can purchase bombers to go. Multiple rooms, really allow you to spread out and not feel confined, although only the tap room itself was air conditioned. The game room, with a Lethal Weapon 3 pinball machine, had a huge industrial fan to keep it comfortable. Check it out.

Aug 01, 2015
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aleckpa from North Carolina

3.71/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Big open space in Durham. They have video games, board games, and a ping pong table. There several picnic style tables to sit at. Also, this is very kid friendly during the day, which I found different but it is part of Fullsteam's philosophy. They don't have TVs, but they have one giant projector screen.

There is a separate bar area than the regular seating area. The service wasn't the best, but there was a steady crowd. They have all of their beers and several guest NC beers. If you do a flight, you can only do a flight of the Fullsteam beers. This was a cool place to hang out at. Not the best beer in the world, but fun to go to on a Saturday afternoon.

Jan 18, 2015
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Yetiman420 from Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Stop #432 on my world brewery tour.

Visited around 7 on a Sunday evening.

Wonderful large space. Board games, bands, picnic tables.

Had a flight with a ginger pale, apple rye IPA, hickory smoked porter, basil saison, and one other I can't recall. I think it's imperative to first make an awesome base beer before infusing with flavors. Because of this, the beers were a bit of a disappointment. I did enjoy the concept of trying a pale with Ginger and having smoke from something other than beechwood. It just would have been a better experience if the base beers were great to begin with.

High rating for good service and the space is great. I couldn't see myself going on a regular basis as there wasn't a beer on the flight that I could handle more than a sample of.

After bring contacted by the brewery, I feel it's important for me to add the fact that I did not try any of the classic beers (cream ale, IPA, and steam beer) which is what one would likely drink on a regular basis.

Oct 13, 2014
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

I came here twice and on both occasions things were a bit frenetic for me as I had to rush through my beers thanks to a tight schedule or an uncomfortable baby. I wish I could have spent more time here catching a live show, playing board games in the wide-open biergarten area and slowly sipping some brewskis.

As things stand, the atmosphere here is cool, particularly with the happening street outside with lots of food trucks, restaurants and bars within a fifteen second walk.

The majority of the seating is in a high-ceilinged hangar-like space with no air conditioning, so I stayed in the enclosed area where the taps are, which is a good way to deal with a flight of beers and stay cool.

I liked the beer holder for my flight of beers, which was shaped like the state of North Carolina, and wish I could have taken the thing home. That's a nice tough.

Now for the beer. Every beer here was good (3.5/5), with the Hogwash smoked beer and the Rocket Science IPA (which I had off-site from a bottle) being the two that impressed me both (4/5 for each). I found the lineup to be interesting for its inclusion of a sweet potato lager, a rye Abbey beer, and the smoked beer, but still to be on the conservative side of what you see brewery's around the US doing nowadays. There were no sours, no big imperial beers, and nothing that really knocked my socks off.

Still, a good core lineup is important and Fullsteam has that. Plus a great atmosphere. It's a good place and likely a go-to for me if I lived in Durham.

One important thing to note: There are no outside growler fills here. That's always a bummer but not the brewery's fault.

Aug 17, 2014
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Mantooth from North Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Neat pub for this up and coming brewery. It's located in an old industrial arae of Durham that was really hopping when we stopped by yesterday - there were food trucks everywhere, a packed bar across the street with outdoor seating, and a bbq spot named The Pit right beside it (which I'm told is very good). Fullsteam has a neat entry area, with pingpong tables and videogames - there were a lot of kids hanging out there, while just thru the door to the left is a neat little bar with about 20 drafts... mostly their own but a few taps were dedicated to other local breweries. The whole place has a neat industrial steam punk vibe. If you're in the area check this spot out, great service - really good beer - just a fun spot to hang out. Oh - it's also dog friendly, several folks at the bar had dogs with them. Also - cool merch for sale - shirts are $20 and very cool.

Apr 06, 2014
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dirtylou from New York

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

Worth the trip to Dirty-D

This place was absolutely rocking on the Friday after x-mas. A full house inside a dumpling truck slinging product outside the front door.

Fullsteam's beers are all solid, but not outstanding. I was disappointed they weren't pouring either of their primary winter releases; fruitcake or the BB imperial stout.

They had 8-10 of their own taps and a dozen or so NC guests, but nothing really standout. Tap selection will obviously vary, but it was a tad disappointing this time around.

All that said, I left happy. Cool place with an energetic vibe.

Jan 01, 2014
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ttcummings from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

I've recently relocated to the area from Cleveland and have been looking for any place that can compare to Great Lakes, Fat Heads, The Brew Kettle, Hopping Frog, or even the Thirsty Dog tap room. This place is what I have been looking for. 4 out of the 5 beers I had in my sampler were great with only one falling short. The overall atmosphere is unique with a ton of seating and an old throw back arcade. They have some music from time to time. There is some outdoor seating but the location of the brewery really doesn't lend to an excellent atmosphere. The neighborhood is odd with a mix of bars and some other buildings with razor wire fences. That being said, I will definitely make the 90 minute drive from Greensboro again without hesitation. I would recommend and would definitely bring my Cleveland friends when they are in town.

Nov 18, 2013
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fehrminator from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

First review. This place is right around the corner from me and it is one of my favorite hangouts in Durham. Great vibe. Diverse crowd. Food trucks just about every day. Family friendly. Sean Wilson has been nominated for a Beard award the last two years and his "plow to pint" philosophy is the theme for all of his beer. I really like the summer basil, first frost, and cakalacky and the rest of their lineup ranges from good to interesting. I like that they always have several NC guest taps on in addition to their own beers. I love that they sell half pints. Sean was the driving force behind the "Pop the Cap" initiative which raised the abv cap on beer so we all owe him a debt of gratitude. If you're in or around Durham, this place is a must stop. Check it out.

May 15, 2013
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d0ggnate from California

4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Had a short visit here last night. First off, very cool setup going on here. The brewery/tasting area is very bar-like. Bar-like hours, too. Open 4pm to 2am the night we were there. You walk into a large open area with ping pong table, arcade games. Beyond that there was tons of seating. To your left you'll find a bar area where you can order half-pints, pints and pitchers of their current offerings. We started with the seasonal Summer Basil farmhouse ale (very basil forward, would be great on a hot summer day) and the One Hop Rye (single hop rye-PA hopped with Apollo), which was solid.

We found a place to sit in the great room. Lots of details. Tons of different types of people. Young, old, families, groups of friends. Appeared to be a pretty popular local gathering spot. Even had a food cart (??) setting up out front as we arrived.

Moved on to their Sweet Potato Lager and Southern Lager. Southern Lager was dark in color, but still crisp on the palate. The SP Lager was delicious. A bit chewy, mealy but still very palatable and crisp in finish. Last we tried the Hogwash (hickory smoked porter) and El Toro cream ale (100% North Carolina grains). El Toro was great. Refreshing and smooth. Hogwash was an adventure. Heavily smoky, but still rich in flavor. Buyer beware, if you don't like smoked things, this won't be for you. However, that's not to say the beer wasn't good. A half pint shared was about all I personally needed.

Had a great time here. Would love to have this place in my backyard. I'll be back by again should I return to the area for another visit.

Nov 24, 2012
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

It's kind of a warehouse with a tap room. There's games and such in there, ping pong, some arcade cabinets, darts. You can see the vessels in the back. The tap room is dark and cool.

The beers were pretty good, can't lie. A couple unique entries here.

Good service which is basically the bar tender being attentive.

The selection is half FS's beers (6 taps) and half other NC micros. They pick good micros from outside their roster.

They don't serve food here really. There was a buffet but they bring that in from elsewhere as a special thing; it's not FS's food.

May 29, 2012
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VncentLIFE from North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

First off, I will say its a pretty nice place, and the owner was very nice and helpful.

If you go when Igor is on tap, get it, and order a second. From a small brewery and its first attempt at a BA stout, holy crap its good (see my review). They have their fleet of beers, which wont blow your mind, but their solid in their own right. I like the Working Man's Lunch out of them all. They had 2 "experimental beers" on tap. They had 6 Fullsteam beers and 4 guest taps from Triangle, Mother Earth, and others. They had a few ciders and Abita rootbeer as well. Darts, poing pong, and regular live music make this a nice place to be. The lack of any TV was a bit of a let down, but thats my only knock on the atmopshere.

The bartenders were knowledgable, and always helpful. It gets rather busy late at night, so go earlier in the day if you wanna talk to the staff or owner.

4 dollar pints of the fleet, and 4-5 dollar half pints of experimental beers.

Nov 06, 2011
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tdm168 from Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Right in the heart of Durham, this place is a fun little hangout. They have a nice selection of their own beers on tap as well as “guest” taps from around the state. They also have a few ciders and wines to offer which means my wife will go with me. Their beers are pretty good and there’s a wide range for your palate. They have a Rocket Science IPA, Hogwash which is a hickory smoked porter that tastes like bacon, Carver which is a beer made with sweet potato, El Toro which is a cream ale, and a few others. They have a small bar area and a large sitting area indoors which has picnic tables. Their tanks are visible through large panes of glass that separate the sitting areas from the brewery. There are often food trucks outside and they are cool with you ordering food to the brewery. They also have live music on some weekends. It often gets busy, but it’s a cool little up-and-coming place that’s worth checking out.

Sep 21, 2011
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hmph from Virginia

4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by with my fiancee about a month or so ago on our way home from a beer release. Its definitely in a not so high scale area, but not in a bad way. Awesome little outdoor patio area with a game room and a nice entertainment area when you first walk in. The tap room is pretty cool too, taps right through a brick wall and the standard chalk board listing the beers.

Sampled a few beers and eventually bought 2 growlers. My fiancee thought the beers were hit or miss, I enjoyed most of them but could understand her thoughts as they are a bit more 'grainy' than she likes her beer. Love that they buy local and keep it a very local feel to their process. I also really admire that they are working to craft or develop a true 'Southern' style.

Sean is a real cool guy and works hard to promote craft beer and was a pretty big proponent in the resurgence (emergence?) of craft brew in North Carolina, so much respect to him for that!

Will definitely revisit and recommend anyone in the area does as well.

Aug 22, 2011
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danoeltico from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Went here to check it out as I hadn't been to check out this local brewery nor taproom. I'd bmed the owner Sean who was willing to give my wife and I a private tasting which I took him up on. It was a busy Thursday night but Sean was there talking to me about their beers and explaining their philosophy and their passion for beer. But at the same time he was making sure that other guests that were in the tap room were being taken care of. He pulled out a couple of bottles from the back to let me try, First Frost their persimmon beer and their cherry infused imperial stout. Both of which was absolutely amazing. Sean was awesome and really took his time with my wife and I.

They have a good selection of various beers which I tried all of, plus a selection of other NC beers. The vibe to the tap room was really chill. There is a small bar area that has AC, perfect for a hot summer day, but then there is also a large open area with tables and old school arcade games and ping pong. There was a food truck out front with sliders, and they have some bar food that they get in from outside sources. The staff were really great and kept up with customers at the bar.

Fullsteam is doing some really interesting things with beer, definitely worth a try if you are in the area. Their lager is my new favorite lager, well balanced and a little on the hoppier side then most other lagers. Prices were really pretty reasonable and are the only place I've seen that offer half pints.

Aug 06, 2011
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SpeedwayJim from New York

3.79/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Traveled here with capra12, mday, and Azurelimits on our way to a beer release.

Fullsteam is actually an old warehouse turned into a brewery. The bar is tucked away in a little corner which is a bit odd and out of place but the rest of the floor is dedicated to fooseball tables, ping pong tables, old video games, darts, and all sorts of other fun stuff. There's also a performance stage at the back. Really trendy and an awesome place to just hang out for a couple of hours.

The place itself looks a bit rundown but I think that's part of the charm of the brewery. Everything's very old including the games, tables, chairs, pretty much the whole setup. The quality of the beer itself was above average though. Really well crafted. Their sweet potato lager is highly sessionable and their ipa was very solid.

I was here on a saturday night and despite the large crowds, there was very little wait time at the bar and the bartenders were all very attentive. Highly appreciated. However, there's no real "service" per say beyond that.

Selection is pretty typical for a brewpub. About 5 of their beers on tap plus they had three local guest taps.

Fullsteam doesn't serve food. The food here is actually highly variable because it is provided by a variety of food trucks that are parked right in front. A novelty that I've never seen in New York though, so it was nice in that manner.

The beers here were $4 a pint and $2 per half pint. I don't think I've ever seen cheaper.

Definitely worth visiting if not for the above average quality of the beer, just for the hip, relaxed atmosphere and old, warehouse-y novelty look.

Jul 18, 2011
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AngusOg from North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This place is awesome! Pretty much your typical small brewery and tasting room, but what sets it a part from most of the places i have been to was how family friendly this place was. This was one of the big reasons i picked this beer destination on a recent trip visiting the in-laws, but i was still a little skeptical. I dragged my wife and two small kids, plus my mother and father in-laws, about an hour from their home. But the place was totally chill and relaxed, had a game room and large "beer garden" area to hang out. It has a stage for live music (although no one was playing while we were there) and judging by their website has tons of special events. The guy working the bar was friendly and knowledgable. We all had a great time. The beers are decent enough, the one that stood out to me most was the Hogwash Hickory Porter. Plus they had about 5 guests beers, all local NC, which of the ones i tried were very good. The only 2 complaints i had, (1) was no sampler, however they did have half pints for $2 which was a reasonable price to try the brews, and (2) no AC in the beer garden area. However, the bar is air-conditioned, and that's where we stayed most of the time, as we visited on a hot July Sunday afternoon. However, my 4 year old didn't seem to mind the heat in the game area, and it didn't bother me too much either as i got to enjoy some quality beer while still spending time with the family.

Jul 09, 2011
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devilben02 from North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The commercial front-end to this up-and-coming Durham brewery seems to (rightfully) be the hub of a rapidly developing section of the downtown area. The overall atmosphere is certainly relaxed and features a little something for a variety of interests. The taproom provides a somewhat energetic and social bar environment, whereas the rest of the converted warehouse provides a more casual and open space for groups to gather. With a game room that attracts kids of all ages and plenty of room for little ones to run, this outer section is certainly kid-friendly during common family hours. Although they don't serve food per se, there are a few snacks available at the bar, and arrangements with local food truck vendors ensure that there is always something edible around.

As for the beer, the brewery's lineup is available, including seasonals and occasional one-offs, but there are also a few rotating guest taps from other local brewers. One nice offering is the option of half-pours of many of the beers on tap, which allows for easy sampling of new beers. Overall, much like the beers they brew, Fullsteam's R&D Tavern is understated and welcoming yet interesting and enjoyable, making it a great place to wind down after work or enjoy a relaxed afternoon with friends.

Jun 28, 2011
Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC
Brewery rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 980 ratings