Bacterial Belligerence…

Night of the Funk 2010.  My first full-on beer fest.  I heard they had a night dedicated to sour and funky beers, who could resist?  A panel of brewers for the Funktastic Friday Forum for a few extra clams sounds nice too.  With a 30 person limit there is a slight elitist factor that I guiltily enjoy, but it sounded fun so I opted in. Here is a rather small cross section of what was sampled. Most of these were from the Forum but several were on the floor as well.

LtR: Allagash Larry, Vagabond, Cambridge Creaky Bus, Allagash Ghouleschip, Lost Abbey TEA, Lost Abbey Cuvee De Tomme ’09

A quick overview shot showing the majority of the brews from the Funktastic Friday Forum.  Sadly I’d like to openly apologize as I am still getting the hang as to what to photo and how, along with taking proper notes, and lots of tasty brews and tasty snacks; I even managed to lose my notesheet.  So this is all from memory and BeerAdvocate, because of that I won’t be commenting much on taste and smell .

  • Allagash Larry (later renamed Lawrence, a clarification made by both Rob Todd and Jason Perkins), not your typical American Wild Ale/Sour Ale.  This beer is a blend of two beers, both 100% barrel fermented, aged in oak barrels with wild yeast, cultured yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Ringing in at a tad over 7% I thought this was an extremely drinkable brew.  Went down all too easy.
  • Allagash Vagabond is a 10% ABV American Wild/Sour Ale and I was quite pleased as this was my first chance to try it.  I had heard some mixed opinions, but I thought it was very pleasant.
  • Cambridge Brewing Creaky Bus is a hell of a blend.  As with everything that night it falls into American Wild or Sour Ale (depending on which camp you follow, like it matters).  I’m pretty sure Cerise Cassee plays a part in the blend but other than that I don’t know.  The brew was supposed to be Consternation (another wild blend) but wasn’t ready on time.  So out came a few specialty growlers and apparently this one is beyond limited at this point.
    Possibly my favorite brew of the night, at least in the top three.
  • Allagash Ghouleschip is their lambic cooled overnight in what I’ve been told is the countries first koelschip for traditional lambic innoculation.  Then apparently the folks at Allagash rented a couple woodchippers and went to town on a pumpkin harvest.  The meat of the punkins was added to the lambic for a spell and the seeds were toasted and thrown in as well.  This was another top three contender for me.  I heard some people not liking it much, but I thought it was incredibly well done and one of the closest American contenders to Belgian heavyweights since Captain Lawrence Flaming Fury.
  • Lost Abbey TEA, The Experimental Ale, which I’m told could be Veritas 008 come this spring.  I’m not sure I really got down with the tea that was added.  It tasted like a light saison in a way, the tea brought a lot of the lightness I think, but it was just very simple.  A good brew sure, but something for the Veritas line I do not agree.  And I felt a small step back from where Tomme’s sours were heading.  Don’t mix tea guys, in my best Jimmy from South Park voice, Ck…ck…c’mon!
  • Lost Abbey Cuvee De Tomme ’09 is a personal favorite of mine.  From what I understand it’s their house Belgian-style quadruple, Ten Commandments, aged in Bourbon barrels with tart cherries for months.  Lots of the cherries punch through, vanilla, bourbon, 11% worth of heat is countered with a heavy acidity.  Just an amazing brew through and through, extremely complex and one of the higher abv sour ales ever.

Funktastic Friday Forum in all it’s glory

Shortly after the forum started, Todd Alstrom comes in and we’re told that the fire alarms have been tripped and we all need to wait outside.  Thankfully the vibe never died and everyone was constantly in good spirits.

Shaun from Hill Farmstead with Scott of Three Penny Taproom in VT (this picture is so full of VT beer win.)

Tomme Arthur (center) of Lost Abbey posing with a friend of mine, Ross (right) and friend who’s name I didn’t catch (left)

Jason Perkins of Allagash (left), Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey (center), and Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing (right)

Highlights from the floor for me included:

  • Cambridge Brewing Cerise Cassée 2010: solera system ale, aged for between 1 and 7 years in French oak wine barrels with  sour cherries and multiple strains of wild yeast and bacteria.
  • Goose Island Madame Rose: a crimson colored Belgian style brown ale fermented with wild yeast and aged on cherries in Cabernet barrels.
  • Ithaca Frute #1: wine barrel-aged with fresh, hand-crushed local strawberries from Westhaven Farm.
  • Ithaca La Joie: lambic inspired sour, spontaneously fermented in Muscatel barrels.
  • Just Beer Cranberry Lam-B-Q: cranberry lambic, several vintages poured
  • Lost Abbey Veritas 007: American sour blend

View from the main floor of Night of The Funk

All in all, for my first fest I had a wicked good time. I was kind of expecting a bit more Belgians and traditional lambic, but it was a selection of mostlyAmerican wilds. Not a bad thing just would have liked to see more diversity.

The food was really excellent.  Pretzels and waffles were good.  But the chicken croquettes were so mind blowingly amazing, I didn’t even take a picture of the several I had before they were gone. Easily the best part of the food selection for me. Went awesome with some Ghouleschip.

Met up with a lot of people and it was awesome to see all the New England’s best Nanobrewers out and about in the mix!  Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Shaun Lawson, White Birch and Bill Herlicka, and Hill Farmstead and Shaun E. Hill.  I’m always surprised at the amount of people who recognize my goofy ass from previous events.

Looking forward to Night of the Barrels in March!

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2 Responses to Bacterial Belligerence…

  1. Bert says:

    I’ve yet to go to a Night of the Funk~

    Certainly is one of the events I want to go to.

    • admin says:

      I had a blast and the food was delicious. Honestly though I think they could have stepped up a lot of the offerings that night. But the ones that rose above, were epic.

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