Monday, February 27, 2012

Nodding Head Phunkabration

Considering this event was a little over two weeks ago, I've been a bit remiss in writing about it. Oh well. February's Second Saturday event at Nodding Head was titled Phunkabration. Nodding Head put five of their funky beers that they've been aging on draft for us to try. Most of them were sixtels though one was smaller. I recently joked it was in a twelvetel (probably not a joke I should repeat as I'm not sure it's funny but here we are) though the smaller keg does have a real name, I just don't happen to know it. This time my wife was able to go with me which was nice as well.

When we arrived there were groups of people spread around the restaurant area and the bar was mostly full though it got much more crowded after 30 minutes. We did manage to find one seat and settled in to begin the event. Because the Phruit Phunk was listed as limited, I ordered a glass of it.. Any time something is limited at an event like this, it's a good idea to always start with it or else you'll miss out.
Phruit Phunk was aged for five months on blackberries in their phunk barrel. Big sour and acetic nose with a bit of berry in it. Thick body. It was dry with some mild vinegar and a deep sourness. I only noticed the raspberry flavor a little as it was more an underlying note. That happens with raspberries though as they tend to blend with the tartness. Pretty delicious and a great start.

Up next I went with the Pho-Tay, their buckwheat O-Tay aged in the phunk barrel.
Now, if you remember their last Second Saturday event, Ice Capades, the iced O-Tay was the one beer I thought didn't work in any way and didn't even bother ordering it. However, I'm happy to say Pho-Tay did work. Vaguely wheaty in the nose with a bit of earthiness and mustiness. Slightly spicy on first sip, some tartness and then a different sort of spiciness, almost peppery. It was one of those that I found kind of weird at first but then it grew on me as I drank more of it. Definitely unique.

After that I went back to the acetic sours and ordered Da Phunk. (Don't you just love the names? Very thematically consistent.)
This was aged for seven months and was apparently the first beer aged in the phunk barrel way back when. The implication is that it has quite a bit of age on it at this point. Notice how much clearer Da Phunk is than Phruit Phunk and later on in this post the Phunkin' Wishniak. Much thinner body as well. Some tartness and vinegar in the nose but very mild. A little sourness at first with some caramel notes. Much less sweet, though, from the Brett yeast eating away at the sugars. This was another one that grew on me as I drank it as at first it was almost too thin and not flavorful enough. However, the subtle flavors grew on me until blending into something delicious. I'd call this more of a starter sour as it was calm enough for beginner palates. Not my favorite but still quite enjoyable.

Next was the only one I felt didn't work, the Saison de la Tete.
Ugly, ugly beer. Just super murky. Sort of a terrible nose, too, reminiscent of dishwater which is never good. I think it was a mix of the hops from the base beer as I've smelled it before on some of their beers. Regardless of why it smelled like it did, it didn't make me terribly interested in drinking it. Started watery with some slight funk but nothing much else. It didn't grow on itself like the others nor did it make me want to keep drinking more. Not everything can be a winner though so we'll just scratch this as experimentation gone wrong. Of course, some people would probably disagree with me and thought it was good so realize this is just my opinion of it.

Last, though certainly not least, was the awesome Phunkin' Wishniak.
Completely opposite the saison, this beer was awesome looking. Deep purple almost black and lovely stillness to it. They didn't say how long this was aged in the barrel but it was aged on black wishniak cherries (hence the name) during that time. Pretty sour nose but not as much vinegar as the Phruit Phunk. Started sour up front followed by a huge, sweet black cherry flavor. If you've ever had a black cherry soda, then you have an idea how this one finished. Just tons of black cherry flavor which grew as I drank more. Really great. This was Jo's favorite of the event I believe.

While I really enjoyed the Ice Capades in January, Phunkabration surpassed it. With four of the five beers being pretty great, it would have been hard for it not to. The degree of difficulty in making so many great sours was much higher as well and that has to be taken into consideration as well. Now, it's hard for me to decide which I liked better between the Phruit Phunk and the Phunkin' Wishniak as they both had a lot going for them so lets just say they were both my favorites. Makes me look forward to the sours they have coming at next year's event even if it's super far away. Not sure what's coming for March's event, but I won't be able to make it unfortunately so I'll just have to live vicariously through someone else.

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