Style: Imperial Saison
ABV: 8.0 percent
Serving Type: 750-mL bottle
Malty? Hoppy? Hoppy, but you'll notice the spices first.
Reviewed: February 2013
Beer geeks trade brew recommendations like kids used to swap baseball cards. And, if there was a Mickey Mantle mint-condition card of late, it was Funkwerk's Saison (pictured, left). Traditionally, saisons were a working-person's beer. This style was brewed during the cold months, aged, and served to farmers when the ground warmed up. The beer didn't turn skunky thanks to plenty of hops, spices, and unpredictable yeasts.
Now, hipsters and farmers alike imbibe the spicy stuff because it seems like every brewer is trying to replicate the style. For Funkwerks, this worked against them, because by the time I finally got around to sampling its version, I had spent months tasting similar styles. Funkwerks's Saison suffered, as a result. Not because it didn't hold up (it is a damn fine version), but because the market is now saturated with other styles. (See this, this, this, this, and...do I need to go on?)
Fortunately, I'd also picked up a bottle of Funkwerk's Tropic King, an imperial saison ale, to sample. This brew pours a frothy head that will put your pouring skills to the test. (Don't be rushed; take time to serve this one correctly.) It has a thick head that is the consistency of old-school shaving cream lather. The beer is a dark orange, dare I say, a tropical sunset orange. It coats the mouth nicely on the first sip and has the same fruity tones of the saison, but now with more peach flavor than lemon, which sets it apart from other saisons. This is a beer you'd find at a beach party, if Colorado had a coastline. Instead, it'll work in the Centennial State thanks to a heavy dose of hops.
Would we buy it again? This is a Colorado take on a saison, meaning that it is bold and beautiful. If you're looking for boring; pick another aisle of the liquor store.