If you have been in the beer game for any modicum of time, surely you have heard breathy whispers about the legendary irreproachable 50n on Cantillon lore. That beer was a one off in 2007 and then once rebrewed, people started offloading the b2 bottles like they were on fire.
Jump cut to Wisconsin, a nondescript building of hard angles sits inauspiciously in the Midwest horizon, a harbinger of American longing for Belgian succor: the Funk Factory. While the wort is brewed at O’So, some would argue that the real magic occurs offsite in the unremarkable fortitude of Wisconsin solitude.
When 50n shifts to 43n, a paradigm shift also occurs. The cognac becomes Brandy, the lambic becomes wild ale, and the consequences will never be the same
Our homage to Cantillon 50 Degrees North 4 Degrees East. 2 year old unblended lambic aged in a Brandy barrel. This unique lambic is the fruit of a collaboration between Funk Factory Guezeria, O’so Brewing and Old Sugar Distillery.
Never backing down from controversy, FF has boldly gripped the spiritual hand of Allagash and tossed it’s trilby into the American Lambic ring. Even conceptualizing “American lambic” causes BJcp obsessed Charlie Papazian fanatics to hyperventilate, but does it measure up?
At the outset this appears distinctively Belgian in execution with a gentle sheath of wheaty haze, lasting subtle carb cracking like pop rocks atop pineapple juice. There’s no bullshit isinglass or attempts to make this that which it is not.
The nose has this caramel tiramisu booziness to it that transitions into a yuzu, lemon, Japanese plum complexity and at first it feels like casting Brian Cranston in a Happy Madison film. One aspect is wasted due to the incongruous clash resultant from the conception. I love the Brandy profile in more substantial malty venues, I love the nimble citrus and funk in svelte farmhouse offerings. The two stapled together feel like an arranged Pakistani wedding, inorganic and clunky, but decadent and sumptuous.
Thankfully the Brandy profile allows the taste to perform in more traditional “Lou Pepe gueuze with brown sugar” sort of ways. Lemony cream of wheat is met with caramel and Fuji apple. At cold temps the odd combination might make you dust of that tired diacetyl alert whistle but allowing it to open up shows that it is certainly a nuanced product that strives to exist in the sweet and tart, without the cloying oiliness panting of unintentional infection.
I think there were something like 300 bottles of this made and it shows an ambitious piece from a brewery experiencing a meteoric rise if the ISOs for FUnk Factory proxies are to be heeded.
This may not be your typical jaunt in the wild ale woods, but they consistently align the American execution with Belgian profiles in ways that are as alarming and refreshing in a world crowded with lacto bombs.
If you feel like getting up in the fray, tread lightly and try not to ruin things for people who aren’t complete dipshits yet. Thankfully the Funk Factory and Rare Day fanboy penumbra does not intersect as of late.
Here you go:
Everyone can blame Ddb for ruining yet another brewery.