I don’t envy the position that Levi Funk has been put in, that archetypical “sophmore jinx” ideation that surrounds any initial success. The whole crux of the contrast is that people expect you not only to compete in a closed system against all other brewers, but also against your prior accomplishments creates this dual coil reverb chamber of cognitive dissonance.
For the people who validate and succor their own sense of self image by supplanting other people’s wares, this is dicey territory. If this bottle is better, then am I inherently “giving in” and thereby less valuable for liking it? These are the pitfalls of the modern beer dipshit and that complex trappings of their psychology predicated on the brewing accomplishments of others vis a vis by way of mere consumption, is voluminous and need not sustain a full DSM-IV analysis herein.
So what’s a brewer to do, for every million they make, another cicerone sues. In the obsidian, cavey aphotic blackness of Frampaars, FF has to move forward. But to what degree has FF maintained that mien of cool countenance and poise? Is the funk still present in them BALs? We shall see:
Dry Hopped Tradeship: alright so first and foremost, this was my favorite of the “ship” series and it showcases exactly what Funk Factory does best, that is holding a mirror to the transatlantic relationship of intercontinental microfloral kisses. That’s not to say this is some Iris clone by any means, because it stands on its own in a decidedly AWA-esque execution with higher acidity, less grist, a “cleaner” mouthfeel without that resisual oaky drag attendant to the “AUTHENTIC” offerings across the pond. Where this beer excels is marrying that Emmental curdy, creamy, rindy, bound rope sory of muskiness that belies a far older beer with a radiant lemon and tangelo swallow. Usually wrangling those elements comes at the expense of one another, due to impatience, lack of brewing acumen or otherwise. This is absolutely a beer you should try, if you ignore the other Tradeships altogether. Very tasty stuff.
Inb4 “Glassware Proper” or some equally laudable attempts at yukyuks. I had this outside the realm of “Double Tree Stemware” so let’s table that sensory bias for the time being. This is a good american wild, but it shows a bit too much of the underpinnings of the continental american acidity that I eschew in less adept brewers. Thankfully the base beer is so good that the addition of blood orange doesn’t really take it into an Uplandian acetic realm, nor does it get as overly dry as something say from Bruery or any of the innumerable Floridian cannonballs into wild ale grace. The pith and zest of the orange is there but it serves to dominate the gentle musty yearbook of the base beer that I loved. If you drink this cold, or “enjoy” the standard dentist cup pour, you will probably pander out some tired ass complaints about it being acetic, and congratulations you just defeated the purpose of Funk Factory itself for the sake of a jaunty Untappd badge, your opinion is now validated, time to take the BJCP online multiple choice test.
Whenever I see a new wild ale with a novel type of produce addition, I rub my palms together in a miserly way because I can’t wait to hear impressions of “fruit execution” from a cadre of people who, by and large, do not interact with fruit in any meaningful way. So what SHOULD a prickly pear sour taste like? Let’s dust off all those classic benchmarks and view this in light of some Mikkeller one off from half a decade ago, or whatever. In sum this is better than the blood orange but not as good as the dry hop, FULL ON FUNKYLOCKS PORRIDGE. So this is an odd but entirely enjoyable riff into prickly pear, which I can only assume is a shitload of insoluble fiber, and the result is an almost cantaloupe? Melon cup? There’s wafts of cut apple, and the taste has a tempered acidity that falls closer to “popsicle sticks” and minerality that accompany the funk like a wacky sidecar tacked onto a Vespa P200. You can easily dispatch an entire 750ml without a dental grafting. The long drag is mimosa-esque and that woody finish is like those butter chards that were relevant in the mid2000s and are now relegated to “post-Sorority” palates. Somehow, all of those oddball items find a multivalent harmony and create this funky element, buzzing with a core of tart neutrons.
“my beer opinions are strong and proud, whereas the rest of my life is shameful and maladjusted”
REGULAR ASS TRADESHIP:
I drank it but didn’t get a picture because, holy fuck it wasn’t situationally appropriate. I will let some of the whizkids in creative writing try to imagine that nuanced situation. It had all of the amazing qualities of the dry hopped version but lacked the little details that the hopping provided. I am zero parts surprised by volume that the base beer is exceptional, candidly that is some of the best stuff that FF does. Or Casey does. Or Side Project does. HOLY SHIT wait nevermind, forget I said that, go back to fruit pursuits. Leave the graceful nuanced beers alone.
ALRIGHT NOW FOR THE SHIT EVERYONE CAME TO READ/COMPLAIN ABOUT/BUTTRESS THEIR OWN OPINIONS/BOLSTER TRADE VALUE/FINGER THEIR COCKHOLES TO:
Off the top: no this is not “as good” as Frampaars. I can stack a series of qualifiers using relative terms, comparing fruits, expectation bias, or whatever; but this is still a very good beer and arguably ::ducks behind a bulwark of cannonade:: better than Blabaer. Now any blueberry idol toppling must be tempered with the universal acknowledgement that Blabaer is not Cantillon’s finest offering and exists largely as a self-esteem spirit journey for a new money dumbfuck who doesn’t know what St. Lamvinus is. This beer however, goes toe to toe in much the same fighting style. First and foremost, the hue is staggering, and the degree of fruit massaging makes me imagine some white sand resort with azure skies and Levi is just rubbin them berries down gently to full completion. A blueberry cabana boy waits attentively, a product of a tourist based juice economy.
The fruit is, simply overwhelming. This cuts both ways in that it is the most intense blueberry profile I have ever experienced captured in a liquid medium. Just short of freebasing the tannins themselves under a freeway overpass, things dont hit much harder. Here’s the issue with that, if you have a clunky PT Cruiser tier palate, you will drink this at 45 degrees and lick the tip of your pen and rattle of the three adjectives that came with your homebrewing club materials “PHENOLICK, TIRES, AND PLASTIC.” Ask any asshole who espouses knowledge with nuanced fruit profiles, the first thing they will say about literally every strawberry beer “KIWI HERMAN? OH PLASTIC” and at a certain point you have to grind these opinions up and place them in a suppository for slow and controlled release.
This is not ropey, or sick, or burnt, or melty, or PHENOL DRIVEN, despite what people who want to polish their top tier superlatives will tell you. This beer is intensely tannic, bone dry to a fault almost, juicy at that 60 degree sweet spot, and has a degree of prickly heft to the swallow. The juice is there, but so accompanies a blast of Merlot/Malbec/Napa Cab/Grenache oakiness that would indicate overcasking if the finish was so damn long and fulfilling. If we are going to invoke the likes of Lil Sal and Flora Blueberry, it in questionably holds its ground and has more of an aggressive M. Bison attack stance by way of contrast.
This is better than all of the tradeships and third only to Frampaars and White Lodge, in my estimation. I feel that Funk Factory is in this hilarious position where 1) users are logging in to try fruit beers to either validate expectations or validate themselves in denigration 2) no one is trying the exceptional base beers and 3) Casey can only look onward and nod knowingly at the trappings of servicing the biggest manchildren in any hobby. Complaints fall from the sky like Amazonian rainfall, the crops of indignation are both amusing and sour.
I just wrote 1200 words and invariably some dude with a 9th grade reading level will parade out the typical thesaurus accusations and ad hominems about how DDB needs to boost his cellar trade value w/r/t a biased review.
Fuck, I should have gone into model trains.