Like most modern American breweries, Funkwerks Inc.1 was born in the backyard of a home brewer. Gordan Schuck began brewing up 5 gallon batches in his Colorado home back in 2002. Within five years he was winning competitions for his beers including a gold medal for his saison at the National Home Brew Competition. That saison recipe is said to have taken him seven tries to master and has become beer that I have in front of me today.
Funkwerks Saison has become the flagship beer for the Fort Collins-based brewery.2 While the brewery has come a long way since its early days, they stay true to its home brewing roots and are always trying to give back to the home brewing community.
The brewery maintains a blog where they will share tips on brewing and the beer they brew. They also have a bottle exchange program at the tap room where you can drop off used bottles for home brewers to come and pick up. I can’t tell you how many times as a home brewer I have gone to bottle and realized I could use a few more cases of empties. Funkwerks even rented out there brewing equipment to a start-up brewery in the area that has now become the very successful Crooked Stave.
One of the big reasons for the success of the brewery is the quality of its brews. The Saison pours a rich and hazy golden with a frothy white head that sticks around for a while. As I raise the glass to my nose I sense a wide array of flavors and subtle nuances. There is a definite fruity sweetness that is very pear like. A lot of the classic Belgian saison yeast character, but without the musty funkiness of beers that are finished with brettanomyces. In addition, there’s a very subtle and pleasant nose that has hints of citrus, pepper and even a touch of melon.
The first sip brings a big rush of carbonation. The Saison has a very lively and prickly mouth feel that helps really bring to life some of the flavors. There is an early citrusy note that leads into an array of delicate flavors. Most of the flavors are subtle, phenolic and yeast driven. Each taste brings a touch of fruity sweetness, citrus, pepper and an herbal note helps round out the beer. It is well balanced and none of the flavors really outshine the others.