July 12, 2018

Braambes en Vlier


This Forager Brewing collaboration began life as the spontaneous beer used in Glory in the Morning, a three barrel blend of different vintages of Méthode Traditionnelle (MT) beer. Prior to packaging Glory in the Morning, roughly 50 gallons was split off and transferred to a punchdown barrel where it was refermented on 2 lbs/gal of wild blackberries and a small portion of wild elderberries, both harvested in the woods of Minnesota by our friends from Forager Brewing Co. The barrel was punched down twice daily to re-submerge the fruit cap that floats to the top due to the CO2 produced during the refermentation, with the goal of increasing fruit contact with the beer. The result is a three-year spontaneous blend bursting with fruity, tannic, and subtly spicy flavors from Forager’s fruit contribution.

172 x 375mL taproom bottles will be available for on-premise consumption.

Framrood Vintage 2017


This release represents the third iteration of Framrood, our Méthode Traditionnelle (MT) blend aged on 2 lbs/gal of red raspberries from a local Wisconsin berry farm. The spontaneous barrels used in this blend were mostly 2-years old, but we also chose several 1-year old barrels, as well as a single 3-year old barrel. While blending, we aimed to build the complex flavor profile that’s become a signature of previous Framrood releases, but also sought out barrels with mellow acidity and oaky characteristics to balance the natural acid content of the fruit. The result is a conceptual continuation of prior batches that shares their vibrant fruit-forward nature and funky complexity, but also builds upon their successes by employing the blending experience gleaned from making this beer annually.

Yield: 1,667 bottles
“2017” indicates the year the beer was blended and the fruit harvest season.

Foeder Saison - Black Raspberry


One of our 40hL foeders (“Foeder Black”) was initially utilized as a Meerts foeder, but in October of 2017, it was converted into a fermentation vessel for beers that fill in the gaps between our Meerts and Méthode Traditionnelle programs. The 2018 “Foeder Saison” series represents the first beers to emerge from that switch, and this beer is the first fruited variant to be bottled from that fill. It has a delicate mouthfeel from the use of white wheat and flaked oats, as well as a refreshing acidity and complexity from the saison strains and cultured microbes that accompanied the wild yeast already present in the walls of the foeder.

After six months of fermentation, this beer was transferred onto 4 lbs/gal of the spent fruit used to make Framzwart (release coming December ‘18).  It is a misnomer to call the fruit "spent" as it imparted plenty of flavor, tannins, and color.  Additionally, the fruit carried over a portion of the Framzwart Méthode Traditionnelle beer adding additional depth to the already sophisticated saison.

Yield: 564 bottles, 9 kegs

May 23, 2018

Bière de Coupage


“Bière de Coupage” is a phrase that first shows up in French brewing texts from the 1800’s, and is used to describe the process of blending old and young beer together. Over the years, this method of making beer has taken many forms and has been utilized for a variety of reasons. One of the oldest notable examples comes from England and Ireland, where porter brewers would age a portion of their product in oak tanks until it developed vinous characteristics and reblend it back into fresh porter to add complexity. Another common example is the blending of darker sour ales around the Flanders region to control the acetic acid content and flavor profile. Perhaps the most well-known is the blending of old and young lambic in Belgium to deliver a consistent product and balance the complementary flavors present in different vintages of beer.

In recent years, “Bière de Coupage” has become synonymous with a style of beer as much as the historical method, and is most typically used to describe a blend of young, hoppy saison with older spontaneous beer. Because most lactic acid bacteria (particularly lactobacillus) is sensitive to the presence of hops in beer and will not produce acid when the IBUs are too high, the bitterness derived from hops and the complex flavors and acid profile from a mixed culture are rarely found together. One way around this is to blend a hopped beer (typically a saison) with a more mature sour beer (often a spontaneous one). This is exactly what we’ve done with our Bière de Coupage, and what others in America (Jester King, Perennial, Zebulon, American Solera/Evil Twin, Amos Browne, etc.) have been experimenting with over the past few years.

We are pleased to be part of the resurgence of this method, and are particularly excited about this one particular style of beer that it’s able to produce (and thankful we now have the barrel stock and foeder capacity to attempt it). For the blending, we began with 250 gal of our Foeder Saison and added to it a blend of four barrels of 1 year-old 100% spontaneous MT (Méthode Traditionnelle) beer, and a small portion of 3 year-old MT beer. The result has a fresh liveliness, brightness, and mild supporting bitterness from the young foeder beer, and a mature acid profile, musty oakiness, minerality, and overall flavor complexity from the old spontaneous beer. Despite being unfruited, we also get big notes of under ripe peaches, stone fruit, and a grassy earthiness. It should continue to develop for years in the bottle, and we hope you enjoy this beer as much as we do!


Yield: 1,278 bottles, 15 kegs
Release: June 8th 2018

Foeder Saison - Boysenberry


One of our 40hL foeders (“Foeder Black”) was initially utilized as a Meerts foeder, but in October of 2017, it was converted into a fermentation vessel for beers that fill in the gaps between our Meerts and Méthode Traditionnelle programs. The 2018 “Foeder Saison” series represents the first beers to emerge from that switch, and this beer is the first fruited variant to be bottled from that fill. It has a delicate mouthfeel from the use of white wheat and flaked oats, as well as a refreshing acidity and complexity from the saison strains and cultured microbes that accompanied the wild yeast already present in the walls of the foeder.

After six months of fermentation, this beer was refermented on 1.75 lbs/gal of boysenberries, which is a cross between the red raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. The fruit itself is from the Pacific Northwest and has an extremely well-rounded flavor profile that bursts with vibrant jammy-berry characteristics. These qualities make it one of my favorite fruits to use in sour beer, and certainly come through in full force in this release.

Yield: 624 bottles, 14 kegs
Release: June 8th 2018

April 18, 2018

2018 Beer Schedule


There are a lot of beers conditioning in bottles at Funk Factory and some special projects in barrels or foeders soon to be bottled.  Releases are subject to change as beer are ready when they tell us, but this shows you what we have in the works and when we plan to release them.

We will be putting up further description of each beer, and I'm sure there will be other beers added.

For those of you who have followed this blog, you know how true it is when I say "this has been a long time coming".  We are finally at a point where we have a mature and revolving stock of Méthode Traditionnelle barrels and will release a 3 year blend!  We filled 116 MT barrels this year (7,000 gallons).  We used ~60 from previous years to blend, fruit, cut (more on that to come), or rest in spirit barrels.

February 8, 2018

Cervino Update

Two years ago I started an experiment of blurring beer and wine together, dubbed Cervino, by blending Chardonnay juice with spontaneous beer.  This last year's season we continued it by trying a couple more grape varieties, but by also focusing on incorporating wine techniques and was very encouraged by the evolution of Cervino.  For these larger batches, we blend barrels of already aged spontaneous beer together, and then add either whole grapes, or the juice after pressing grapes.  (Ferment the beer, add grapes, secondary ferment.)

I've wanted to experiment with the timing of fermenting the parts versus when they get combined.  What impact does it have to ferment the grapes alone and then blend it with fermented beer?  Or what about adding grapes to wort and doing primary together?  There are endless iterations of the same ingredient combination, and that's what excites me the most about the Cervino project.

This last season we were able to test out a few areas on interest.  We sourced 4 different local grape varieties and built a punchdown barrel for each of them.  The punchdown technique has been amazing in our fruited lambics.  Given that it's a wine technique, it only makes sense to bring that into the Cervino series.  To make the punch downs legal, and to help kick off fermentation, we added 5% Meerts beer to each barrel.  Punching the grapes down twice daily during fermentation brought out so much flavor, aroma, and crazy color for the two reds.  After fermentation we tasted each, experimented with blends of each other, with blends with spontaneous barrels, and in the end dumped one barrel and blended and packaged the other three.  Bluebell was the grape variety we dumped.  It wasn't bad, it just wasn't something we were excited about.  The other three were blended with 18 month old spontaneous barrels and bottle conditioned.


The three pictured above are the 3 we packaged.  La Crescent is "White".  King of the North is "Red".  Frontenac Gris is "Rosé" because the grapes themselves were a pinkish color.  It's really hard to explain the richness and complexity of flavor in these Cervinos.

After the Cervino Sangiovese, we expected the King of the North variety to result in a similarly rich and bold beer.  To our surprise, it drinks closer to the profile you'd expect from a traditional white wine.  It's quite delicate, but has the tannins you'd expect and a bright fruity flavor.  The Frontenac Gris resulted in a super funky and fruity aroma, and the flavor is very bold.  It's one part tropical fruit juice and another part this marriage of oak spice and rich earthy minerality.  The result of the La Crescent surprised us all in how clean and sophisticated a beer can be coming from a raw and seemingly uncouth fermentation process.  A clean, pure brett funk with strong citrus and floral notes.

I speak about Cervino as a project and one that is evolving.  This is certainly the next evolution. Unfortunately, these pilot batches are quite small and so bottles will only be available to the public for on-premise consumption at the taproom.
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