Fullsteam Rocket Science IPA


It’s time for a block of hops. While China is an incredibly interesting place in terms of the history and culture surrounding its alcohol, the beer can be somewhat lacking in flavor. Which is to say, weak, watery, and malty. Eventually, everything tastes the same. While local craft beer does exist outside of Beijing, it’s like stumbling across a unicorn. One could say that it’s a “hopless” situation… 

After a year of Harbin and Tsingtao, I’m ready to saturate my palate with some of North Carolina’s latest hoppy creations. If there’s one thing my state can be proud of, it’s the beer. While I’m at home, my goal is to try as many new beers as possible (within reason) from breweries I’ve never heard of. This week, let’s see what the IPAs are saying. 

Beer: Rocket Science IPA 
Brewery: Fullsteam Brewery
Country: Durham, NC, USA
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.0%
Beerlandia Advisory: No rocket science required for this accessible, safe American IPA.   

This beer pours a gorgeous hazy golden yellow and is certainly a few shades lighter than most IPAs I’ve had. The fleeting haze hangs like a thin mist in the glass, churning below a thin, cream-colored head that dissipates in just under a minute. There is light lacing all the way down to the bottom. It’s a good-looking beer that doesn’t appear as intimidating as 7.0% at first glance. 

There is a strong floral aroma being manhandled by some equally obvious citrus notes as this IPA strives to appeal to as many beer drinkers as possible, especially those who would generally not drink an IPA. The aroma is pleasant, but it strikes me as closer to what I would find underneath the cap of a pale ale. I don’t expect the aroma of an IPA to conform to one style, but I don’t get a rich hoppiness on the nose that screams IPA.


Sweet and caramel at the outset with hints of citrus, floral hop bitter undertones. Grapefruit aftertaste, which could be attributed to the backend of the hops. I haven’t had an IPA with this much sweetness to it in a long while. It’s almost like there’s no middle to this beer. Malty sweetness with citrus hits you head-on and you’re immediately left with the bitter hop notes as the tide ebbs. 

Deceptively light at first for a 7% beer, but a build-up of caramel syrupiness brings you back down to earth. The gentle hops and light bitterness combined with the light body at the outset make this a sessionable beer. Then again, I am somewhat of a hophead. Either way, Rocket Science is easy to drink alone or paired with just about anything. 

It's an IPA

This is a good IPA. I enjoyed drinking it. Here’s the “but.” There’s no excitement in this beer for me. Fullsteam have tried to tick all the boxes and produce a very drinkable IPA - a standard IPA that lacks nuance. It does a great job of being accessible to those who are put off by the bitterness of a robust IPA, but it’s not interesting enough to hold the attention of those who seek that out. I can appreciate the strides that Fullsteam makes towards hop diplomacy, but if I want an NC beer that fits the mold before it shatters it, I’ll go for Foothills’ Jade or Wicked Weed’s Lieutenant Dank.