Sunday, October 9, 2011

Funkwerks Saison review

Funkwerks SaisonFort Collins, Colorado is a booming craft beer city. One of the newest breweries in town, is Funkwerks, a small saison-only brewery that recently took up residence in the old brewing facility of the Fort Collins Brewery after they moved to a new location. Funkwerks has been operating since late-2010 and shares it's operations with Crooked Stave, another start-up brewery.

Funkwerks currently offers just a handful of beers and this review was from one of their flagship brews - Funkwerks Saison - Belgian Style Ale. The label is fairly simple. It had the name, a simple logo, a list of the ingredients and had a short description as follows:

"The beer you are holding is unique. our saison yeast strain and a warm fermentation produce a beer of exceptional flavor and aroma. An extended secondary maturation and bottle conditioning ensures all these unique qualities are preserved and evolve over time. Cellar in a cool dark place."

The label also stated a "2 year cellar limit" for this 750ml, 6.8% ABV saison. Funkwerks suggested to serve at 50 degrees F in a tulip glass - and that's exactly how I served it for this review.

Appearance: Funkwerks Saison poured a golden yellow color with a "big bubble" 1 to 2 finger tall white head. The bubbles were a bit bigger than most beer bubbles I've seen. Inside the bottle there were even bigger bubbles. The saison was slightly hazy and appeared unfiltered. There was ample carbonation in this bottle conditioned ale.

Aroma: My first impression of the aroma was of Belgian yeast and pears. There was a slight fruity component along with some floral and spicy notes. And with most saisons, I detected just a bit of farmhouse "funkiness". I could pick up the wheat aroma in this beer too, but very little of the German hops.

Taste: This saison had all the classic markings of a pilsner/wheat combo with a Belgain-like twist. There was even a hit of bitterness at the end of the sip. The malts were just slightly sweet, but seemed to be matched by the spicy funk of the yeast and the hops. The feel was smooth, almost creamy, refreshing and clean.

FunkwerksOverall: I never really know what to expect from a Saison at this point in my tasting career. It tends to be a style that I least often select, but the more I try them the more I get in tune with them. Funkwerks created a saison that is light and refreshing. While it isn't sour, it does have just a slight hint of farmhouse feel to it. The "funk" isn't overpowering at all and was just enough to let me know it was there without going over the top.

The hops seem to come through at the end of the taste. It was a bitterness that snuck up on me, surprised me and let me know they didn't forget them at all. The beer seemed well made and balanced. While I was able to easily finish a glass I felt that I needed to revisit this style a bit more to fully appreciate it.

Saisons haven't been one of my usual purchases, it takes quite a unique brew to get me interested in saisons. I think the more I try Funkwerks, the better I'll enjoy them. I look forward to seeing what else Funkwerks can come up with and where they can take this style down the road.

Pouring a Funkwerks Saison (video):
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