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In this world there are people who know about Cheerwine and there are people who don’t.

The Salisbury-made soda is the nectar of the soft-drink gods, lacking only one thing (booze) to achieve perfection. Fullsteam Brewery in Durham decided to correct that, brewing up a barrel-aged Batch 1000, a wheat wine beer  that’s “old-fashioned inspired” and brewed with Cheerwine.

Wheat and cherries are a dope pairing to begin with. Modified for flavor purposes to the soft drink’s pallets popping goodness and aged in a barrel together they’re a goddamn delight.

Too much fruit can wreck a beer (in an overpowering/muddling sense), which is why the Cheerwine idea works so well. Crank up the input levels on that end of the beer, let the syrupy cherries and carbonation flavor mix with the wheat and you’ve got some delicious cross pollination.

It’s also a highly drinkable 10 percent beer. There’s nothing about the smell of this thing that suggests booze hound. The taste does, but it should when a barrel’s involved.

There’s nothing deep or dank about it though. It’s oaky but easy to drink, with some grainy spice that chafes the tongue in a pleasant way. That sounds entirely weird, but it feels like a cool, earthy spice. Or something.

More importantly it feels like a drinkable summer beer, Cheerwine for adults.

Our trip to Fullsteam on Saturday was for the express purpose of trying Batch 1000 (might I suggest telling your wife you’re going to Lowe’s except miss the turn in on Glenwood and continue heading north on 70 until you run into downtown Durham). Fullsteam and everything around it was popping.

National Record Day was underway, making the entire afternoon a hipster haven in the darkened tap room of Fullsteam.

Records

We helped sell an extra pair of bombers when another guy spotted our to-go trio on the bar; you can see above it’s the kind of label that draws the eye in and makes you want to find out more. At $15 per bomber it’s not a bad price point for what you’re getting in terms of quality, rarity and ABV. Also: CHEERWINE, SON.

Only 300 22-ounce bombers are being made — and I know for a fact there are at least only 295 left —  by the brewery so get on your hustle horse and head to downtown Durham.

ABV: 10.2%

Availability: Hyper-limited, just 300 bottles

Drinkability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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