November 27, 2018

Four Winters

The Last Four Winters in Wisconsin

I hope you allow me a more personal write up, as this is a very personal beer. This beer is a landmark for me and this whole Funk Factory experiment. It is the beer I set out all those years ago to see if it could be made in Wisconsin. This is the first three vintage blend, "Méthode Traditionnelle - 3 Year", geuze-inspired beer to come out of Funk Factory.

7 years ago I started with a single barrel in my basement, which led to-
6 years ago I started working with O'so and began a barrel program, which grew into-
4 years ago I started filling barrels in our own space.

This has led to four fruitful seasons of driving the mobile coolship around growing friendships, a business, and our barrel stock.  We built a taproom, discovered new beer styles, and traveled the world.  But back home, I have been waiting for this beer. Patient. Our name "Geuzeria" is meant to indicate we are not a brewery, but a blendery.  As such, any unfruited blends we do are close to the heart of Funk Factory, but Four Winters is our namesake beer, our magnum opus pursuit, and I am so proud to finally release it.

This has not been an easy journey and I wasn't always sure we would reach this goal.  There was a season when I was working until 2am prepping barrels, and then wake up dry heaving in fear of the financial burden I put my wife/newborn under.  It really has been a roller coaster, and still is.  Where you get to meet your idols one day, and another day have those you idolize put you down.

Today, I step back and see what Funk Factory is, and I am proud of what we've done and where we're at.  We have stayed disciplined and hyper-meticulous in our focus of a Geuzeria, which you may have seen with other startups over the years, is no easy task.  I want to emphasize "we".  This project is no longer me alone late at night, or me and my wife painting the walls on the weekend.  We have an amazing staff now to share the heavy lifting and they have all taken over areas of blendery.  This is no longer just my mission of beer with intense focus, but a mission we have all taken on.  None of our beers would take their elaborate shape without all of us.

So, The Last Four Winters in Wisconsin is quite literally that.  Four winters ago I filled the first barrels in our warehouse.  Every winter after we have filled more and more barrels.  Last winter we did our first three vintage blend, and then have bottle conditioned it for a full year.  I am immensely proud of this beer, not only for how it turned out, but also for what it represents.  This beer, and particularly this batch, will always be a very very special beer to me.  It contains the memories, struggles, and ultimate success of this wonderful basement experiment.

Thank you for your continued and enthusiastic support-

Levi Funk

November 21, 2018


The podcast is silly and lighthearted conversation tipping into insanity at times.  But the premise of Malt Couture is that Alex Kidd, a prominent beer figure, is explaining beer and current happenings to two comedians without any knowledge of beer whatsoever.  While I love to hear Alex Kidd praise our beer, this podcast has stuck with me because of the comments of one of its novice-to-beer members; Michael.

A few weeks ago they drank and discussed our beer, De Bij.  Alex explained what the beer is, what spontaneous fermentation is, what Méthode Traditionnelle is, etc.  Then this was the conversation they had after:
Michael: It's great, I mean, now that you bring up the actual Belgian beer, I want to know what something like these, the other pedigrees, the actual Belgian beers taste like just to get a reference point because, like, I feel like, you know, even just taking this for what it is, it's great.  You know, and like I want to know this style, you know, this "geuze", is it allowed to call itself a geuze? 
Alex: We can call it on this program, but I can guarantee you somebody [will be mad]. 
Michael: This liquid, taken for itself, is fantastic. I mean, it's just one of those things that, now I'm sort of thinking back to myself "am I stupid for liking this knowing that there is something else out there that may be technically better?"  Ya know, no, because it's good. It's good for what it is and there are other styles that attempt to do this and don't get anywhere near it, you know, because they don't really care about origin of it and the heritage of it.

This is what we set out to do.  To create something that pointed people back to traditional Belgian lambic.  It was really cool (and somewhat vindicating if I'm honest) to hear someone wanting to seek out and learn more about this Belgian style because of our beer.  It is my, and everyone who joined Méthode Traditionnelle, hope that the term "lambic" still means something in 20 years.

November 1, 2018

Framzwart 2017

Framzwart is our Méthode Traditionnelle (MT) blend aged on 2 lbs/gal of black raspberries from a local Wisconsin berry farm. It was blended using some of the most well-rounded and earthy barrels in our stock to complement the vinous, tannic, and slightly herbaceous characteristics of the black raspberries. The fruit has a naturally rich color which turned the beer deep inky shades of purple and black. After a three month-long fruit maceration and eleven additional months of conditioning in the bottle, we’re excited to finally share this inaugural release of Framzwart, which is built upon the experiences gleaned from previous “Fram” releases, but is also something unmistakably distinct.

Note: Framzwart is made using black raspberries grown here in Wisconsin and is a separate beer than Framzwartje. “Je” is a dimunitive suffix in Dutch intended to reflect the size of the smaller wild black cap raspberries collected by our friends at Forager Brewery in Minnesota for use in Framzwartje.

Yield: 1,684 750mL bottles, 405 375mL bottles, 100 magnums
“2017” indicates the year the beer was blended and the fruit harvest season.

Broken Dishes

Broken Dishes is the second installment in our “Barn Quilt” small blend series, and is a fusion of 55% Bière de Coupage Reserve (Bière de Coupage aged for an additional six months in a freshly dumped red wine barrel), 32% Meerts aged on peaches, and 13% Gewurztraminer juice refermented in spontaneous beer. The result is remarkably reminiscent of white sangria and bursts with white wine and tart stone fruit layered over a crisp, but complex, base.

Yield: 369 750mL bottles, 3 30L kegs, 1 20L keg

September 28, 2018


Faro is one of the lesser-known branches on the lambic family tree, but it’s an important one nonetheless. The word “Faro” was originally used to reference a lighter version of lambic, and first appears in Brussels around the first quarter of the 18th century. By the mid-1800s, Faro was being made by blending second runnings (Meerts) and lambic to create a lower ABV product. The production of Faro has since evolved, and what we see labeled as Faro today is typically a lower ABV lambic-based beer that’s been sweetened. Because of this sugar addition, modern Faro is not a shelf stable product and is only bottled using artificial sweeteners or pasteurization. If served out of a cask in a bar or taproom, it is frequently dosed with Belgian candi sugar and served before refermentation can occur.

Our own wort production, fermentation, and blending is guided by the lambic brewing tradition, so it’s that history that we typically look to and draw inspiration from when making new beers. With a maturing stock of Meerts and spontaneously fermented barrels, we see blending the two as a logical progression and one we’re in a unique position to pursue. Our take on Faro is primarily inspired by the older 1800's methodology and brings together Meerts and 2 and 3 year-old Méthode Traditionnelle (M.T.) barrels in a 50/50 proportion. Although the selected M.T. barrels exhibit sweet oak and apple cider characteristics, there is no added artificial sweetener or unfermented sugar in this beer. As a nod to contemporary Faro production, we used amber Belgian candi syrup to bottle condition, but this sugar has been allowed to fully referment in the bottle to produce carbonation, a hint of color, and subtle dried fruit and caramelized flavors.

ABV: 5.0%
Yield: 772 750mL bottles, 14 kegs

September 2, 2018

De Bij

After blending “Four Winters” in the fall of 2017 (our upcoming MT3 blend), we selected three additional barrel, one per year from the same coolship batches as were selected for Four Winters, to blend together to form the base of De Bij. The beer was then refermented with 5 lbs/bbl of apple blossom honey (from Staude’s Apple Blossom Acres in Watertown, WI), before being conditioned in the bottle with more of the same honey for nine months prior to release.

The result embodies the typical complexity of a three-year blend, but also provides a crisp fruity funk and delicate floral honey notes that linger pleasantly on the palate.

Yield: 100 magnums, 426 750mL, 205 375mL

Honey Conditioned Meerts

After three months of fermentation in our 40hL French oak foeders, we conditioned our base Meerts in the bottle with apple blossom honey from Staude’s Apple Blossom Acres in Watertown, WI, which contributes subtle floral and fruity characteristics to the beer.

Note: More will be coming in November.

Yield: 168 bottles, 1 keg

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