In our most recent experimental single hopped Saison, Motueka, we threw in some acidulated malt, just for fun!
Also known as Sauermalz, Acid Malt, or Sour Malt, Acidulated malt is a type of malted barley that contains a small amount of lactic acid that gives it a sour taste. Acidulated malt is most commonly used in small amounts (1-5%) to reduce the pH of the wort or mash. It can add complexity and slight tartness that helps highlight certain hop flavors.
In Motueka, we added 3% acidulated malt to highlight some of the Motueka hop flavors, such as lemon, lime, and passion fruit, and to give it an interesting mild tartness.
At greater amounts (8%), it can be used in certain beer styles to help sour, such as Berliner Weisse and Gose beers, instead of souring the kettle by putting lactobacillus strains straight in the kettle.
Weyermann® acidulated malt is soured with naturally occurring lactic acid that they propagate from wort, following the German Purity Law, which states beer can only be produced using water, barley, and hops. Although exact details of the acidulation process remain undisclosed, the process is similar to the production of other malts. They use a pale barely malt that is steeped, germinated, kilned, and acidulated.
PRESS RELEASE: Funkwerks is now packaging in 330ml bottle 4-packs! Now customers can enjoy the beloved Tropic King and the award-winning flagship Saison in a smaller, more convenient bottle!
For three years now, Funkwerks has been bottling solely in 750ml bottles. People tend to save larger bottles of beer for a special occasion or to share with others. Smaller bottles provide more variety, accessibility, and the convenience of enjoying a single beer without the commitment of a larger bottle. Not that 750ml is too much Saison for me....
Smaller bottles additionally help in maintaining freshness. If people are opening a larger bottle and saving half of it for a later time, the beer will lose it's carbonation and quickly oxidize with so much air left in the bottle.
Previously Funkwerks did not have the capacity to accommodate the increase in production that would come with bottling in 330 ml bottles, but their recent expansion of two 30-barrel fermenters increased their fermentation capacity by almost 43%.
Gordon moving the fermenter in the new space!
Now with the ability to brew more beer, Funkwerks has also decided to return to kegging in half barrels, reducing the cost per fluid ounce for accounts.
1/2 barrels available for distribution!
What are some of the reasons you are excited to pick up a 4-pack?
Funkwerks officially joins the Bike Library Family
The Fort Collins Bike Library is a project of Bike Fort Collins (a nonprofit organization). The Bike Library’s mission is to “provide an affordable and dependable resource for bicycle sharing and advocacy promoting a positive cycling culture in Fort Collins.” Learn more about the Bike Library at http://www.fcbikelibrary.org/.
With the rise in tourism to Fort Collins, bikes are a great way to safely visit breweries. And most visitors do not travel with their own bicycle, making the Fort Collins Bike Library a continent way to fully experience a key aspect of the Fort Collins culture.
Beer and Bikes! It’s a match made in heaven.
The Funkwerks Fleet: 6 Crusiers
As a Bike Library hub, you can rent a bike for $10 a day (technically free, but only if you return the bike by 1pm the same day it is checked out). Complete the sign up form and digital liability waiver located online; you will need a credit card and your photo ID number. You can do this ahead of time to make the process a tad speedier, or use our computer in the taproom, at your convenience. Pick up your bike from Funkwerks and ride! You may also return your bike at any of the six Bike Library locations!
Main Station at 250 N. Mason CSU Surplus at 201 W. Lake St. University Inn – Best Western at 914 S. College Ave. Funkwerks at 1900 E. Lincoln Ave. Bike Library Maintenance Facility at 220 N. Howes Cranknstein – Return location only at 215A N. College Ave.
A Randall (also known as a Hop Rocket), that was originally invented by Dogfish Head brewery, is an in line infuser. We use to infuse beer with different types of hops, fruit, vegetables, and whatever else our Funkwerks hearts desire! We could even infuse the beer with bacon….. mmmmm, bacon….
Justin playing with his new toy!
The device simply hooks up to the draft system between the keg and tap. We fill the Hop Rocket with peaches. The beer flows from the keg into the Randall where the beer is infused with peaches and from the tap we are now pouring a Peachy Tropic King!
Every infusion is an experiment that allows us to come up with fun creations, such as Mango Habanero Saison, or Pineapple Deceit. The downside? Each beer creation is fairly brief. Because the Hop Rocket needs to be cleaned with every keg change, each batch lasts the duration of a keg.
Make sure you can come in and try whichever fun invention we come up with, while it lasts!
We've done a Citra hopped Saison, a Amarillo hopped Saison, and Saison with espresso coffee and cocoa nips! Come in and let us know what you want to see go into our Randall!
This years Craft Brewer’s Conference was a doozy of a week for Funkwerks. Being CBC’s first year in Colorado we had a lot of expectations along with a lot of unknowns. The experience was better than we could even have had imagined. Industry people from brewers to equipment manufactures from all over the world flocked to Colorado for the conference.
Conferences and All you can eat oysters at the World Beer Cup Award Ceremony.
Picture your days as a child at summer camp, similar to the experience depicted in the movie Meatballs, for those of you that have seen it, (if you haven't, you should; it's hilarious). You spent all year doing your own thing, and then summer rolls around and you get to meet back up with all your friends at camp. CBC is a very similar experience for craft brewers. You spend the entire week having fun, trying new beer, and going to lectures. Between meetings and beer tastings you walk the exposition hall, talking to manufactures about their latest and greatest.
From left to right: Gordon Schuck, Charlie Papazian, and Justin Renninger.
With the end of the week, comes the World Beer Cup. With an international panel of 219 beer judges from 31 countries it is the Olympics of Beer Competition. There were 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries. Instead of Bill Murray (from Meatballs) presenting the winners, Charlie Papazian the godfather of home brewing and the craft beer movement stood on stage and presented the World Cup winners. This year there were 4,754 beers entered from 1,403 breweries, from 58 countries into 94 different style categories. 219 judges from 31 different countries judged the entries, needless to say the competition was stiff. Impatiently waiting for the specific categories while all the while the winners were being announced. The Saison category came and went with no medal for Funkwerks. Needless to say we were extremely disappointed. Out of the four entries, our bets were placed on Saison to win a medal. Then Deceit was called and all the anxiety washed away. Overall, next to the all you can eat oysters on the half shell and cheese carts at the awards ceremony, the best part of CBC was the camaraderie experienced between all the brewers. The support and inspiration was overwhelming. This is Funkwerks first World Beer Cup win, now it only means we have to work harder to out do ourselves! Thank you to all of our supporters, Justin Renninger (head brewer at Funkwerks)
Never having tried the flavor altering substance known as Miracle fruit, the Funkwerks gang decided to get together and “flavor trip.” We tested a few of the different forms of miracle fruit; dried, powder, and pill form. Best results were found with the powder and pill form from www.miraclefruitman.com and mberry.
Synsepalum dulificum is a berry, commonly known as Miracle or Magic Fruit, composed of protein molecules that bind to the tongue’s taste buds and activate sweet receptors when it comes in contact with acidic foods. Originating in West Africa, Miracle fruit is consumed before a meal to sweeten plum wine, beer, and to improve the flavor of soured corn bread and other foods that easily sour.
A smorgasbord Lemons, limes, hot sauce, salty Chex Mix, Sour Patch Kids, and of course, our sour brown ale, Oud Bruin. Although miracle fruit is reported to only activate with low pH foods, we experimented with all of the taste buds. After letting the powder fully dissolve, our puckered faces relaxed. The lemons tasted like refreshingly sweet lemonade, and Oud Bruin tasted like sweet Belgian ale with no sourness. As to be expected there was no taste difference in the Chex Mix, and not a noticeable difference in Frank’s Red hot sauce, however there may be more of an effect with a more acidic hot sauce.
Walking away with stomachaches from all the candy and citrus, it was universally decided we enjoyed our Oud Bruin more when our taste buds were not under the influence. Nonetheless it was an interesting experience.
1 1/4 oz gin of choice (I recommend Hendricks) 1 oz simple syrup 3/4 -1oz squeezed lemon juice 5 - 7 basil leaves 3 - 5 oz Funkwerks Saison
1) Muddle basil leaves and lemon juice in a shaker. 2) Add ice, simple syrup, and gin and shake! Or stir. 3) Add Funkwerks Saison, and stir. (Do not shake!) 4) Pour into a glass and garnish with a bail leaf.
1) In a large saucepan, sauté diced chicken breasts in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until chicken is finished cooking. Set aside, and drain if necessary.
2) Mix together sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, oil, hot mustard, garlic, red chili paste, peanut butter, and 1/4 cup of Funkwerks Saison in a bowl or sauce pan.
3) Mix in sautéed chicken and vegetables with the sauce, and serve on lettuce leaves.
There is no doubt that people have caught the bug of wild fermentation. With the array of stimulating flavors and the range of intensity and complexity that wild yeast and bacteria can bring to beer, it’s hard not to appreciate the uniqueness that wild fermentation can to bring to craft beer! The variation in bacteria, yeast, and brewing practices, brings infinite possibilities for the “wild ale” beer consumer, and many styles to choice from. Saisons, Sours, and Brett beers are often mistaken for the same style of beer, yet there are some distinct style differences that have been defined, and knowledge of these differences can help distinguish between the similarities.
The saison beer style has been around since the 19th century and was traditionally brewed by Belgian farmers in uncovered containers in their farmhouses. Due to the naturally unhygienic brewing conditions, the beer developed a wild flavor, naturally. Saisons are brewed with pale malt, a light to medium hop, and carry notes of citrus, herbs, and spices. Originally a low alcohol beer style intended to keep the farm workers in production, the modern rendition is a relatively higher alcohol beer brewed using a cultivated wild Belgian saison yeast strain, instead of utilizing open fermentation practices. The Belgian wild yeast imitates the wild flavors that traditionally resulted from open fermentation, giving saisons their characteristic peppery and citrus flavor.
A common misconception is that saisons get their distinct flavor because they are brewed with Brettanomyces.
Brettanomyces is a type of yeast that is found on the skins of fruit. In most cases, Brettanomyces is considered a containment that produces an off flavor in beer, however, it is a key ingredient in many wild beer styles. When brewing a Brett beer, it is typically used in addition to another yeast, although there are 100% Brett Beers, like our Brett Trois. Brettanomyces contributes a unique funkiness, described as “horse-blanket.” It can also give beer an acidic quality, a unique spiciness, earthiness, and fruit characteristics.
Sour beer is characterized by an acidic, tart, and sour taste. There are many types of sours that can range in color and sweetness. The word “sour” is a blanket term and includes Lambic, Gueuze, Flanders Red Ale, and Oud Bruin. Similar to Brett beers, sours are intentionally infected with (good) bacteria strains, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, which give them a mouth puckering quality. Barrel aging is a common practice with sours, because these bacteria strains love oak barrels. As the barrels are reused, the bacterial colonies will grow, making barrels a happy home for these souring microbes to help develop a delightfully complex and puckering brew.
Saisons and sours are not necessarily brewed with Brett, but they can be. Due to this confusion, saisons and brett beers are frequently mistaken to be a sour. When brewing sours, Brettanomyces is often utilized, but it is not the souring agent. This leads to the common (and understandable) lack of distinction between Brett Beers, Saisons, and Sours. And lastly, although there are unique differences between the styles, the only thing you can expect from wild ales is that they are unpredictable. On top of that, many brewers blend the styles to create a uniquely crafted brew, designed for limitless enjoyment!
With the explosion of craft breweries in the past few years the hop market has become very tight. Unless you are contracting your hops a few years out you may be out of luck. This is especially true of some of the ‘hot’ hops such as Amarillo, Citra, and Sorachi Ace. Seeing the writing on the wall early last year, we contracted for hops I’ve wanted to play with. These include Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo, Sorachi Ace, and Galaxy. We made our first batch of Saison using Nelson Sauvin hops two weeks ago. This is an extremely pale Saison fermented with 10% Muscat grape must. This should be out in April.
Of course, necessity is the mother of invention. Not having access to some popular hops in the short term forces you to dig deeper into the hop varieties to find the hidden gems. We will be making some single hop beers in the next year to test out some newer varieties that look very promising. These include Australian Summer and New Zealand Moteuka. There are a few new German varieties I have yet to see available including Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hüll Melon. I was able to smell the Hüll Melon at the Craft Brewers Conference and it has a distinct cantaloupe aroma. I may be able to get a small amount to try, stay tuned.
I’ve gotten many questions lately about what we have going on in our barrels and how we prepare our barrels before use, so I figured I would give a rundown of the projects we have in the works and our procedures. I have to thank Peter Bouckaert, Lauren Salazar, and Eric Salazar of New Belgium for all their help and info they provided. A lot of procedures, information, and even some of our barrels came from them.
Over the past year or so we have grown our barrel collection quite a bit with the barrels falling into two general categories. The first are wine and spirit barrels that are for post-fermentation aging. The second are the sour program barrels that are inoculated with various organisms including brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus. As the wine and spirit barrels become more neutral they move to the sour program.
The wine and spirit barrels are used for infusing the beer with the aromas and flavors of what was previously in them along with the characteristics of the type and toast of the wood. These barrels are purchased through a broker when they are freshly emptied and given a quick hot water rinse before filling. Currently, we have four Rum barrels and one Cognac barrel aging Deceit and a number of Bourbon barrels aging Dark Prophet (which is currently being released). We aren’t sure at this point what will go into these Bourbon barrels after the Dark Prophet release but I’m leaning toward a Quadrupel.
Of the sour program barrels, most are aging a Belgian Oud Bruin that is coming along quite nicely. Some of the Oud Bruin is in red wine barrels inoculated by us in primary fermentation before transfer. The rest came from New Belgium and are Bourbon barrels that were used in their sour program. We also have some Leopold Bros Peach Whiskey barrels that were used by New Belgium and inoculated with brettanomyces and lactobacillus but still had quite a bit of character from the Peach Whiskey. In these we are aging Tropic King and they may get a dose of peaches at some point in the future.
Before we use barrels in the sour program we partially disassembled the barrels to remove the char or wine stone from the inner surface so the souring organisms have good contact with the wood. This involves loosening the hoops to pull the heads and scraping the staves and heads. At that point they are reassembled, the hoops are tightened, and then filled with hot water to swell before being emptied.
As far as releases from the barrels, there are no timelines set and quantities will be quite limited so don’t expect to see them go much further than our taproom.
Recently we did a beer dinner organized by Be Local and were paired up with Brent Lewis, Executive Chef at El Monte Grille and Lounge in Fort Collins, to come up with a pairing for one of the courses. We chose Brent’s Ancho Pumpkin Bisque to pair with Tropic King. We both felt the creaminess and subtle spice of the Bisque complemented the fruity effervescence of the beer. Thank you Brent for sharing your recipe!
Ancho Pumpkin Bisque: 2 cups heavy Cream ½ gallon Milk 1 C Roasted pumpkins 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla 1 ea Ancho chili roasted ½ fl oz Mexican Crema
Cut pumpkins in ½ and scrape the seeds out, place upside-down on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast until soft (about 1 hour and 10 min) in a 350 degree oven. Let the pumpkins cool so that they can be handled but still warm, scrape the “meat” out and discard the skin. Toast the Ancho chilis on the stove top then place in a heave bottomed pot with the cream and milk, bring to a boil then add everything else, Bring back to a boil then blend everything together.
Place in a cup or bowl, “lace” crema over soup and finish with a shake of dried and ground Ancho chili.
Another highlight from our trip to Belgium was our stop at De Dolle Brouwers. I’ve been a fan of Kris Herteleer’s beer since I first started homebrewing and although this was my second time visiting, it was my first time touring their brewhouse. The tours are given by Kriis’ ninety year old mother who is sharp as a tack.
The building had been a brewery for 150 years when Kris started De Dolle Brouwers in the 1980s with his brother. The brewery is as traditional as it gets with a copper coolship and fermentation squares. The only stainless steel in the brewery is the wort chiller only because the original one had a leak and could not be repaired.
During the tour we met some other Americans and it wasn’t until later that I found out it was the crew from Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont. After the main tour Kris showed all of us the barrel cellar where we got a chance to sample some barrels. We also got to see the modern bottling line that had just packaged the most recent batch of Stille Nacht. Kris pulled some yet-to-be-carbonated bottles and some older vintages of Stille Nacht for us to sample and compare.
This is my version of Carbonade Flamande. It’s kind of an amalgamation of various recipes I’ve tried over the years. Traditionally, this beef stew contains just beef but feel free to add vegetables such as carrots and potatoes if you wish. This would pair nicely with De Dolles Brouwers’ Oerbier.
3lb. beef chuck cut into cubes and floured
500ml dark Belgian ale (Belgian Dubbel works great)
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbs. peanut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 C. chicken stock
2 Tbs. tomato paste
4 oz. pitted prunes, chopped
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. brown sugar
½ C. applesauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
Marinade beef in beer overnight in the refrigerator. Strain beef reserving marinade. Place marinade in slow cooker. Pat beef dry and flour. Fry bacon in a large skillet. When done, strain from fat and place in slow cooker. Add peanut oil to skillet. Add beef and fry until browned. Remove meat from skillet and place in slow cooker. Add onions and garlic to skillet (add more peanut oil if needed) and sweat until translucent. Add to slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Heat on high for an hour then turn to low and cook for 3 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.
After a whirlwind GABF week and the following two weeks trying to catch up, my wife Carolee and I could finally start thinking about our vacation in Belgium. We landed in Brussels, jumped in our GPS-equipped Peugeot, and headed straight to the southwest edge of Belgium and the town of Pipaix. Our destination was Brasserie a Vapeur where, on the last Saturday of every month, they hold a public brew day.
Originally known as Brasserie Cuvelier, the brewery has been producing its flagship Saison Pipaix on the same site since 1785 and is the last steam powered brewery in the world. In 1984 when it looked like the brewery would close for good, a schoolteacher by the name of Jean-Louis Dits stepped in to save it.
The brewday started at 9am as crushed malt fell from the hundred year old Meura mill on the second floor and was hydrated before it hit the iron mash tun. The crowd watched as the steam engine chugged along, driving an axle via pulleys that in turn drove the mash paddles to mix the mash. The mash was very thick at the initial rest of 113⁰F and additions of hot liquor raised the mash temperature through various steps before finally reaching 165⁰F.
When the mash reached its final temperature rest and was readied for vorlauf, the crowd was ushered across the street to dine on homemade soup and rolls, 40 different local cheeses, smoked salmon, Ardennes ham, and of course, beer. It’s at this point most people lost their interest in brewing, but not Carolee and I. We repeatedly made our way across the street to monitor the progress of the runoff and observe the boil. I even got to lend a hand with graining out. By the time the boil was over in the evening the wort finally received its first touch of stainless steel by way of the new counter-flow wort chiller and cylindroconical fermenters.
At the end of the evening, we sat down with Jean-Louis to talk shop and sample some beers from the cellar. The conversation turned to perception of flavor and variables that affect how a beer tastes. Jean-Louis claimed that the vessel used to drink out actually affects the flavor of the beer. To prove his point, he produced mugs made from glass, new pewter, old pewter, and ceramic to sample the same beer. To our astonishment he was right, there is a difference!
Jean-Louis was a wonderful host. If you are planning on visiting Belgium and touring breweries you must make a point of visiting, it is like stepping back in time.
Here is a recipe for Belgian Waffles. I’m trying to replicate the waffle we had in Poperinge with limited success but this recipe is pretty close.
Belgian Yeasted Waffles
3/4 stick butter
2 C. milk
2 t. dry yeast
1 T. sugar
½ t. salt
2 C. flour
3 eggs, separated
1 t. vanilla extract
Melt butter in small pot on low. When melted, add milk and heat to lukewarm. Add yeast, sugar, salt, and flour and combine. Let sit for 1-2 hours for yeast to rise. Separate eggs. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to batter and combine. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and fold into batter. Cook in waffle iron.
People travel from all around to visit Fort Collins and check out all the wonderful breweries that the city has to offer. As an employee of Funkwerks who works in the taproom I get the benefit of encountering people from all around. Nothing is better then chatting with individuals that go out of their way to check out what Funkwerks has to offer, especially when they are visitng from other breweries. So as soon as I had the chance, I made time to do the same thing- Nicole (who also works at Funkwerks) and I took four days off together to travel through beautiful Colorado and cram in as many brewery visits and activities as possible.
We drove from Fort Collins to Palisade where we stayed the first night. Palisade was great to us. Not only do they have multiple wineries and a meadery that we had the luxury to walk to from our carefully planned hotel, but we also hit up the wonderful Peach Street Distillery and Palisade Brewery that are right next to each other. How convenient. The people working were informative and helpful and gave us advice on the must-sees of Palisade as well as Grand Junction.
The next morning, as early as we could possibly get out of bed, we hit the road because we knew we had a lot of stops before we hit our final destination of Durango. The next stop was Grand Junction and since we were on a time crunch we only stopped at Kannah Creek Brewing Company, and I'm glad we did. The service was great, the food was fabulous, and the beer was delicious. They even let us peek in the back and check out their brewery set up too.
Jumping back on the road we drove through Montrose, where we stopped at Horsefly Brewing Company before taking off to Ouray as our next stop. Ouray is where Colorado drastically changes from Fort Collins. The landscape was something pictures just cannot justify. The Ouray Brewery was fun and laid back and had swings that we sat on right at the bar. We heard all about the Million Dollar Highway and how beautiful and scary the drive could be. So what else could we do but hit the road and check it out. I drove, and admittedly I am scared of heights, so I took my sweet time as I clenched the steering wheel through most of it. The day was beautiful and the hour drive to Silverton flew by. We stopped at the Silverton Brewing Company where we met some nice people and checked out the cute shops.
After budgeting our time we realized that we needed to get to Durango so we could settle in for the night. I have heard nothing but wonderful things from people about Durango and I could not have agreed more. We spent the next two days eating great food, drinking awesome beer and soaking up the wonderful weather. We ate breakfast at Carver Brewing Co, dinner at Steamworks and enjoyed beers at Durango Brewery and Ska Brewery. We could not have planned it any better.
After all that fun we headed back on our eight-hour drive to Fort Collins. We had to squeeze one more place in so we stopped to have lunch at Rockslide Brewery in Grand Junction. It was sad to have to end the trip, but the Front Range is a pretty good deal too.
The conclusion of my travels was not only that Colorado is a beautiful state, but the camaraderie that the other breweries showed us was so awesome that it made me respect and like this industry even more. I recommend everyone who loves beer and chatting it up with great people take some time to take advantage of this great state and all it has to offer. Thank you to all the wonderful breweries that showed us a good time on our mini vacation.
Cheers Colorado! And thank you for making great beer! ~Laura
Funkwerks assistant brewer Andy Mitchell running our tent at Gnarly Barley Brew Fest.
We are deep into festival season here at Funkwerks. While there's no official start to the season, June, July, August, and September tend to brim with beer festivals. It's nice out, people are relaxed, looking forward to vacations, and life is good. Beer people are good people, and create a fun energy at each event.
One of the best things about festivals is all the different beers available - the embarrassment of riches. It can also be overwhelming when you're trying to decide what you want to drink. The variety allows people to find new beers they love, and we enjoy each opportunity to introduce our beers to more people. Last weekend found us at at the Gnarly Barley Brew Fest in Loveland. At the end of August, we're taking the show on the road to the Great Nebraska Beer Fest. We will also have tastings at various locations throughout the coming months.
In addition to festivals and tastings, Team Funk will be participating in the Brewers Olympics at Fort Collins Brewery Friday, August 24th. Our team (Nicole, Natalie, Arthur, and Andy) will be transferring beer, holding pitchers, and competing in other such beery events. Come out and watch us win, or heckle; either way, it will be a good time.
Check out our event page (http://www.funkwerks.com/content/company/) for descriptions on where to find us in the coming weeks.
Natalie graining out at Coopersmith's, where she shadowed at a brewery for the first time.
I have never been one to listen to others when they tell me that I am incapable of accomplishing something. I was always the smallest girl in my classes and at a very young age had to learn how to hold my own.
My mother signed me up for my first martial arts course at the tender age of 6. Being the stereotypical Italian mother, she didn’t want anyone pushing me around. I had several people tell me that I wouldn’t be able to tough out sparing with men twice my size long enough to become a black belt. At the age of 13 I had earned my first-degree black belt in three styles (Kempo, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do) and received the title of “Assistant Instructor”.
As a result of several family hardships, completing my college degree was another accomplishment that many people told me I would not do. In 2011 I graduated with an honors diploma in Biochemistry from Colorado State University.
During my undergraduate career, I took the Brewing Science and Technology course taught by Dr. Jack Avens. That was just the beginning of my journey to discovering what my true passion is. I made it my mission to be hired into the brew house at a brewery because I knew that it was what I was meant to do. I was lucky enough to have two individuals believe in me enough to hire me. In March of this year I received a call from one of the Funkwerks owners, Brad Lincoln, offering me a position in production. That was the happiest day of my life.
Natalie along with her Brewing Science and Technology instructor, Dr. Jack Avens (center).
As a woman in the brewing industry I have encountered my fair share of difficulties. I frequently hear “You aren’t strong enough to carry that” and “You are a girl, you don’t know anything about beer”. A lot of people thought I would have had quite enough of it by now. But I haven’t. I enjoy showing people that women can be just as much of an asset to a brewery as men. Every woman I have met that works in production at a brewery is an amazing person in her own way. I am incredibly proud to be part of the small percentage of women that work in a brewery.
Never let someone tell you what you are incapable of when it comes to seeing your dreams come true.
Since I began working for Funkwerks last July I’ve wanted to make a really hoppy beer.Don’t get me wrong, I love the subtle complexity of most Belgian styles, but sometimes I just want a beer with massive hop aroma.When Gordon approached me about brewing a Belgian IPA to enter in the Belgo-American category at GABF this year I couldn’t wait to brew it!
We sat down and figured out what we wanted in the beer.We didn’t want it to be as dry as our saisons, so we used the Belgian yeast that we used for Fruition, Alchemy, and Ron Burgundy.For hops we wanted to use some traditional American hops but throw in a wild card as well.We settled on American Cascade, Centennial and German Emerald.I’m very familiar with Centennial and Cascade, but Emerald was new to me.It’s described as having a distinct fruity nose with flowery hop notes.It was bred as a European alternative to Simcoe and Amarillo.Sounded like fun to me!
We had a decent idea of malts we wanted to use, so Gordon put in the order and let me put together the recipe.This was one of the more fun brewing projects I’ve done!I was given three types of hops, some base malts, and free reign over the specialty malts we had on hand.I settled on pale malt, some munich, and a small amount of crystal malts that we had on hand.I wanted a big hop aroma so I had one bittering addition and saved the rest for a large whirlpool addition and even larger dry-hop addition.
We think this beer came out really well!It has a big hop aroma and restrained bitterness.There’s a bit of Belgian character in there, but the hops are the star.We are excited to brew this again and tweak it to perfection.If you don’t get a chance to try it at our taproom (or one of the bars we distribute to), be sure to stop by at GABF and give it a shot!
A full glass of Belgian IPA on the Funkwerks patio.
The Colorado Brewers’ Festival is always such a fun weekend to celebrate great beer, and this year’s festival was record breaking in heat as well!
Funkwerks kicked off the festivities on Friday evening at the Connoisseur Beer Tasting Party, hosted by our friends at Choice City Butcher and Deli. The event was a great way for us to showcase a new beer that is normally only available in our taproom. I personally poured the beer to partygoers, and I must say, our Belgium Double aged in red wine barrels was a hit! It was also nice to visit the different brewery tables and catch up with old friends while meeting new ones.
On to the big party … the Downtown Business Association stepped up to the heat this year and made the triple digit days as comfortable as possible. Starting with the kind greeting at the entrance from volunteers with sunscreen, to the water stations to keep us hydrated, the DBA continues to make each year better and better. The re-zoning of the grounds was a great help, too, with added shade to sit and relax to some live music at Washington Park.
Busy both days with lines of beer lovers wrapping every-which-way to try that next micro-creation, the festival maintained a vibe of happiness all weekend. Fort Collins is full of wonderful people, and our guests were a joy to have. With the new option to purchase a full glass of beer, if festival-goers stumbled across that Golden Gem, it created a chance to take a break from standing in line and check out the other booths, or simply stand in front of the fan misters for a minute or two.
We decided to bring our ever-popular Tropic King to the festival, and the Imperial Saison delighted the masses again this year. It’s always a good sign when you don’t have to bring beer back home!
Well, we all made it through the weekend and got some nice tans, too – another year at the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in the books full of good, sud-soaked memories. Thank you to the DBA, our fellow Colorado brewers, and you all who attended the festival for making it such a great event. We’re already looking forward to fun times next year!
Monday June 18, 2012
Our new cases for distributing bottles.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a blog post. With all the other things going on it always seems to fall by the wayside. It’s a shame because you really need to stop once in a while to gain perspective on where you’ve been and where you are going.
The past year has seen quite a few changes. With Saison winning a medal at GABF last year, Funkwerks has popped up on people’s radar and sales continue to grow. New tanks were installed in January which gave us some much needed capacity and the ability to do more experimental beers for the taproom and seasonal releases. One of the first being Brett Dream which is a beer we pilot brewed over two years ago but haven’t been able to get into the schedule until recently.
Brett Dream also marked the start of more wild / sour releases. We brewed a highly dry-hopped Belgian ale last month that is currently bottle conditioning with Brettanomyces and last week we brewed a full blown sour beer in the Oud Bruin style that will go into red wine barrels and may see the light of day in 18-24 months.
Not only are we looking to expand our barrel program in the future, we also plan on expanding to 30-barrel tanks, which would double our batch sizes of Saison and Tropic King. We’ve also recently designed and purchased new case boxes for our bottles which we’re excited to put into circulation. On the technical side, we’ve slowly gotten our lab up and running and have already made changes in our process to improve our fermentations and yeast health. We also added filtration to our water supply to ensure clean, sediment-free brewing water.
So there you have it, the state of Funkwerks. I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for us!
A full glass of White alongside a bottle sporting the new label design.
If Funkwerks had a beer yearbook, I think it would be safe to say that Saison would be voted ‘Most Popular’. Not only is the Saison our head brewer’s ‘baby’ and our flagship beer, but it’s also the winner of a silver medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. While it’s debatable which beer would be given ‘Best Eyes’ or ‘Most Athletic’, I’d like to nominate our White for ‘Biggest Flirt’.
For as big of a beer town as Fort Collins is, it’s always surprising to me how many people come into the brewery claiming that they don’t like beer. Often when I encounter someone claiming this, I’ll hand them a sample of White (only after checking their ID, of course) and wait for their response. Most people’s faces light up with joy as they indulge in the White and discover that they do, in fact, like beer. I’m sure White is not the only beer to have converted non-beer believers, but I do see White work it’s magic frequently.
It should come as no surprise that White is extremely likeable- it’s accessible, light, and delicious. Although it began it’s presence in the Funkwerks taproom as a beer we’d always have on tap, it has recently been declared a summer seasonal. Even though it’s popular and much loved, like a summer fling it will be gone once cooler weather begins moving in.
If you frequent our taproom you’ve probably seen the words ‘test batch’ scribbled next to White on the chalkboard once or twice. During these times our brewers were working to make White even more appealing by striving to fine-tune certain aspects of it’s wit style. The original White, which was released when we first opened in December 2010, was extremely dry- almost too dry to be classified as a wit- so in December of 2011 we began experimenting with our recipe. We first pinned the problem on our house saison yeast, which is highly attenuative. After experimenting with several Belgian yeasts we couldn’t find a yeast that added a flavor as satisfying as our original, so we decided to stick with our house saison yeast and return to the drawing board. Next we tried increasing the amount of malt in the brewing process, thus increasing the sugar, and also increasing the ABV from 5.5% to 6.5%. We found that the higher gravity, along with a larger addition of spices, gave our White the right amount of sweet and the right amount of spice it needed to be more enticing to your taste buds.
Another subtle change involved swapping citrus peels. While our original recipe used grapefruit peel, we settled on using lemon peel for our current batch of White. Grapefruit peel had a slightly harsher bite, where as the lemon peel adds a softer citrus flavor, making it smooth and easily enjoyable.
And I must say, White isn’t a bad beer to look at either. The rocky white head and light, clouded pour make it look like the refreshing thirst quencher it is, perfect for a hot summer day. Add to that a sleek new blue label to help promote the fact that we’ve changed the recipe, and this a beer you want to bring home with you.
Popular and continuously satisfying, yet changing and at times elusive, the White keeps us interested without overwhelming us. We enjoy it while it’s here and miss it when it’s gone. Like the one who was voted ‘Biggest Flirt’ in your high school class, the White has a way of staying on our mind which keeps us coming back for more. I hope you’re as enticed by the new White as we are here at Funkwerks!
Most residents of Colorado can relate to the following quote: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." The temperature here can change quickly and without warning, whether it's for better or worse. However, there is one consistency I have found in the Colorado weather, and that's that Halloween is always a very pivotal time in the transition from Fall to Winter. This year was no exception - the first snowfall for Fort Collins happened less than a week before All Hallows Eve, and quite a snow fall it was!
While winter has its perks, the cold weather has most certainly and somewhat unfortunately limited our taproom attendees to mainly inhabiting our indoor area, leaving our outdoor patio unoccupied and covered in snow. On the bright side, the chilly weather gives us an excuse to cozy up and enjoy activities indoors without the guilt of missing out on a beautiful day. This month Funkwerks would love for you to join us inside as we take part in a handful of special events coming up around the Northern Colorado area.
This Tuesday, November 1st at 6pm, Funkwerks is proud to announce that we will be teaming up with Jax Fish House for a delicious beer dinner. Located in Old Town Fort Collins, Jax is well known for it's fresh seafood and oyster bar.
Another exciting event we're involved in is being held at the West End Tavern in Boulder this Thursday, November 3rd beginning at 6:30pm. As a part of West EndTavern's Satellite Tap Room' series, Funkwerks is taking over, bringing our taproom to their tavern. This event will feature 10 of Funkwerks beers on tap and three representatives from Funkwerks will also be in attendance to answer questions and discuss beers. For more information, check out the West End Tavern's website.
We are pleased to join 'Save the Ales' this year, which is being held on Thursday, November 17th, from 5:30-8pm at the Walker Fine Art Gallery in Denver. Organized by the Colorado Conservation voters, this is a beer tasting held to support pro-conservation policy in the Centennial State and admission is $35 per person. Funkwerks will be one of 12 local breweries at this event, and it's a great way to discover new brews while raising awareness on protecting the local environment. Tickets are still available for purchase. Please visit the Colorado Conservation Voters website.
Whether it's at an event, or in the taproom, we hope to see you out and about, or rather in and around, soon!