Fort Collins, Colorado is one heck of a beer town. The official population as of 2011 is just 146,762. Yet there are currently something like 12 breweries in the city. There are breweries of all shapes and sizes; Anhueser-Busch and New Belgium on the big end, Odell and Fort Collins Brewery in the middle, and places like Funkwerks on the small side. And to top it all off, in addition to being beer heaven Fort Collins is just a great place to be.
If you ever find yourself in Fort Collins, Funkwerks Brewery is a must-visit. This tiny operation took over the space once occupied by Fort Collins Brewery when that beer-maker expanded. Funkwerks specializes in saison. That’s all you will find there. They make several varieties of saison, from straight-up, old-fashioned DuPont-like versions to ones made with green tea or Brettanomyces. Tasting your way through the rather generous sampler flight is an adventurous treat.
On my last visit there after the 2012 GABF in October, they had two “experimental” beers on tap that proved to be the best of the bunch. Nit Wit was a cross-style mashup of Belgian witbier and saison. Lueven fell somewhere between saison and Berliner Weiss. Both were good enough to convince me to shell out $25 a bottle and check my bag for another $20. Nit wit I just drank. I do that sometimes. I took notes on Leuven.
Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Wheaty sharpness and lightly sweet. Hints of cotton-candy Belgian yeast phenolics and esters. Herbs. Apple cider.
Appearance: Light straw colored with a slight haze. Great big, fluffy, long-lasting, white head.
Flavor: Cracker wheat with a touch of sweetness. A bit of lactic tartness that brings a pucker in the finish. Green apples. Herbs – oregano and thyme. White pepper. Finishes dry and crisp.
Mouthfeel: Light body. Thin but with a wheaty fullness. Spritzy carbonation.
Overall Impression: So pleasant. So refreshing. Just the right balance of everything – sweetness, acidity, yeasty phenolics, herbal notes. Perfect for a summer afternoon. But then it was pretty perfect on a snowy winter night in Minnesota, as well.