Some breweries have adopted a specific theme to their brews in order to give them a competitive edge. They decide to live or die by this theme. Such is the case with Funkwerks, a brewery up in Fort Collins, Colorado. They do not only live, but they also thrive. They specialize in Belgian style beers. Succulent Saisons, wonderful wheat beers, and anything Belgian, these guys do justice. Funkwerks is definitely the brewery for those that love saisons and abbey-style ales. Although it is a small brewery, it is a must stop when visiting Fort Collins.
A brewery doesn’t have to be big and bold to be the best. Sometimes, the little things can be better than the most extravagant. That was Funkwerks for me. I almost missed it as I drove by. It seemed like just another building, nestled among the masses: a plain, humble, green structure with Christmas lights lighting a patio. Upon walking inside, I noticed how welcoming it felt, almost like I was walking into an old friend’s house. People were sitting at the counter being chummy with the tender. It seemed like they had known each other for years (I mean they might have – I didn’t ask). Everything about the place was inviting. Some larger breweries can be packed, and you can feel like a sheep in the herd. Such was not the case here. I felt like I could have spent days drinking their beer. Every beer I have had from Funkwerks has been amazing and creative. Every beer I had was better than the last.
- Style: Belgian Wit with Gooseberries
- ABV: 5.7%
This beer was a great rendition of a classic Belgian Style. The Summer Camp is true to the style with a modern twist that adds a layer of complexity. Frothy white foam gyrated on top of the golden goblet. Not too much aroma was coming from the glass. Mild orange and bubblegum odors were barely discernible. Man, this beer was crisp – clean, smooth like glass, with a delightful finish. Normally, these beers have a burst of citrus peel. This time, that flavor was replaced with a quenching tartness with a touch of black pepper, undoubtedly from the gooseberries. This beer falls perfectly into the category of “patio pounder.” Something light and crisp that goes down easy. The ideal beer to wash down a summer day in my humble opinion. However, Funkwerks has scientifically figured out what to pair their beers with. According to them, this beer pairs best with a game of spin the bottle. I honestly have no idea why, but they seem to know what they’re doing.
- Style: Belgian Pale Ale
- ABV: 6.5%
Pale Ales are some of the most sought-after beers in the country. Their aggressive bitterness calls to drinkers from Boston to Oakland. I often find that a well done Belgian Pale Ale is the ideal substitute for a bitter bomb. It looked just like any other pale ale, with a deep garnet brown color. The flavor and smell, however, were strikingly different. The beer did have that stentorian and powerful hop smell that hop heads love. Instead of pine and citrus being the forward players, there was baking spice. Coriander, allspice, and pepper. After those dispersed, then came the grapefruit and pine. The beer had a perfect blend of Belgian and American aromas. It was moderately hoppy, and had a dry finish. Not too much yeast influence which was a bit of a bummer. It was a good beer, but not one of their best if I am being honest. According to Funkwerks, it pairs well with walking into a party, like you’re walking onto a yacht.
Rum Barrel – Aged Deceit
- Style: Rum Barrel Aged Golden Strong Ale
- ABV: 9.0%
Alright now, this beer was fucking good. Just a beautiful golden color with brown hue from the rum barrels. It looked like any other golden ale, to be honest; Duvel, La Fin Du Monde. The way this beer smelled was so distinctly different from your run of the mill golden ale, however. The name makes perfect sense too. I would never have guessed that this beer smelled or tasted the way it did. Rich, heavy enchanting. Caramel, molasses, bountiful amounts of baking spice. The way this beer tasted really shocked me. The straw hue made me think it was going to be like any other golden ale. However it was rich, heavy, it weighed down my pallet with deep caramel flavors, molasses, and a touch of orange. The barrels really did give this brew some personality. Overall, this was my favorite beer by far. It was so good I had to grab myself a bottle for a fellow aficionado, who gave it his seal of approval.
Sometimes, the smaller things in life can be the best ones. Funkwerks proves this point with their brilliant melody of Belgian inspired beers. They show great creativity and talent making a wide range of Belgian style ales. It has been a brewery that I have wanted to investigate for some time now and I am glad I did. It was amazing. Everything from the humble, homey appearance to their succulent brews. It felt like I was drinking a slice of heaven in my own home. Next time any of you find yourself in Fort Collins, stop on by. I know the giants such as New Belgium call, but find time to check out the little guy. Without support, these smaller breweries won’t be able to grow and make even more delicious beer.