Funkwerks - Wild #3

Funkwerks - Wild #3

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Price:

$19.50

Style:

Foudre-Aged Wild Ale

Country:

United States

Bottle size:

750-ml

Alcohol by Volume:

7.5%

Quantity:
Shipping Costs & Discount Info

Funkwerks - Wild #3

  • ABV:

    7.5%
  • Bottle Size:

    750-ml
  • Serving Temperature:

    46–53° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Tulip, Goblet or Nonic Glass

We don’t come across too many US produced foudre-aged wild ales, though we certainly try to. Funkwerks has taken their third batch of this funky, wild ale, a variation on their award winning saison, and allowed that delightful core beer to do its aging thing in their 800-gallon Hungarian oak foudre for over 18 months. Hungarian oak, if you’re not familiar with it, has many virtues to add to brewing. Like other oak, it adds flavor, tannin, and texture to the beer that is matured in it, but the Hungarian oak’s tighter grain structure allows beers to mature more slowly for a longer time in the barrel (over a year and a half in the case of Funkwerks’ Wild #3) without the end product being overly oxidized. This allows the beer to draw in the oak’s natural vanillin, slowly and consistently adding long fine strands of texture to the mouthfeel. Besides vanilla flavors, Hungarian oak differs from French or American oak varieties with flavors of clove, cinnamon, and hints of butterscotch.

We wanted to give our members the chance to try a beer aged in a Hungarian oak foudre, a tradition of larger-batch sour-beer brewing that ties back to Rodenbach (among other key Belgian producers!) and their breathtaking cellaring space of oak foudres. Funkwerks’ Wild #3 is a beautifully built beer packed with tropical fruitiness, toasty spice and careful oak.

We had to take multiple repours of this one, as Wild #3 kept mysteriously disappearing from our tasting glasses. This ale pours a vibrant golden-orange color with a good bit of haze, capped by crisp white foam that leaves delicate lacing behind it. There’s a juicier feel to this beer that we really dug, and at certain angles in the light it seems to glow. While one of the recurrent themes here is pretty much guaranteed to be how dry and perfectly crisp this is, there’s also a lot of plush tropical fruit in the nose. We found lime, passion fruit, apricots, the spice notes from the wood, peppery notes from Brettanomyces and Funkwerks’ house yeast, and an undercurrent of toasty malts and candied oranges.

With so many lush flavors, you might think the result is a sweet brew, but to the contrary, it is super dry and crisp. The reason that it succeeds so well is the fact that it balances those carefully placed edges with some brilliantly presented fruity sweetness, plus mellowing oak and vanilla notes. The oak aging on this beer is especially well handled, with the foeder’s contributions coming through with notes nearing almond, soft vanilla and a welcome edge of tannins from the extended oak contact. As we’ve become accustomed to from previous Funkwerks releases, this is deftly built and combines the various elements of ripe fruit layers, spice and oak to make one of the best wild ales we’ve tasted in a long while. In addition, we noticed ginger, hints of mango, white pepper, candied Meyer lemon and some robust doughiness in the middle of everything, fusing this delicious elixir together. A full bodied and complex beer, the Wild #3 has a lightly prickly mousse and a long-drawn-out finish exhibiting fine textures.

The 18 months of Hungarian oak foudre maturation the Wild #3 has experienced allows for further bottle aging of 3-5 years and beyond. The food pairing for this beer could be endless, but we’ll narrow it down to fire roasted chicken with crackly skin, grilled veggies, medium spiced Pad Thai, or brie and camembert.

When we first encountered Funkwerks several years ago now, they seemed to have come out of nowhere, but they certainly made their mark on the brewing world in short order. In winter of 2009 Funkwerks’ founders were just meeting for the first time—in professional brewing school. Gordon Schuck and Brad Lincoln were both attending Siebel Institute in Chicago. They were quickly working to get a new venture called Funkwerks aloft, working out test batches of their Saison and White in Gordon’s backyard.

The prototype batch of Saison was finally completed in June of the following year, a journey that had started with homebrewing almost a decade earlier and (even then) still remained at a very modest production scale. They had transitioned from backyard test batches to a single-barrel warehouse operation, and then to a 15-barrel system shortly before officially opening the Funkwerks taproom in December 2010.

The following year, Funkwerks Saison was awarded a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. In 2012, Funkwerks was named Small Brewing Company of the Year and both Saison and Deceit (a Belgian-style Golden Ale) took home gold at GABF. Their Saison picked up another gold medal at GABF in 2017.

Funkwerks has much of their focus dedicated to producing saisons and wild ales in Belgium’s traditional Wallonian vein. Make no mistake, saisons were historically a rather motley crew of artisanal beverages to start off with, adhering to seasonal cycles and the local harvest allowances, but that doesn’t mean they should be purple, sweet, and like a nose of banana, just because they started with a reasonably wide berth. We tend to very much go towards Funkwerks’ take on saisons: “What defines these beers as a style are an extremely high attenuation [dryness] and a spicy flavor profile due to the unique yeast strain.” Not overly constraining, it hits our top two archetype points for what we expect from any sort of beer labeled saison or wild ale. (It’s not a lot to ask.) The results from Funkwerks’ philosophy on the topic tend to speak for themselves.

We’ve readily found ourselves impressed by other offerings from Funkwerks, including the Tropic King (an Imperial Saison brewed with New Zealand Rakau hops), the GABF-gold Deceit, and ultra refreshing Guavaloso. But their Wild #3 captures everything perfectly. It’s a stellar release and we’re pleased to offer it to our Rare Beer Club members. We expect even more success and growth for this brewery in the years ahead, and we’re very glad to be able to bring their beer to our members.

The Funkwerks Wild #3 is a limited production beer with only 800 gallons of it produced from a single foeder/foudre. Its availability is limited to the brewery’s Fort Collins, CO taproom, select stores in the Denver, CO area, and the Rare Beer Club.

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