Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays!!!

A BIG thank you to all that made our "soft opening" such a success.  I have had a blast getting to know others in the brewing industry and the many Fort Collins home brewers that are quickly becoming familiar faces.  Laura and I have poured many cases of our bottled Saisons and were sad to see the seasonal Cherry run out so fast.  However, we are anxiously awaiting Brad and Gordon's next yummy beer.  Stay posted to and our Facebook fan page for updates on what we have on tap, and when we will have the bottles for sale of the Saison and White.

Thanks to our patrons for also being very patient while we work out all the kinks in our new home on Lincoln.  We are very excited to have flights available so you can taste what we have on tap, and we will be receiving our growlers very soon!!!

Hoping that you all have a very wonderful and safe holiday season.  It has been a very busy year for us here at Funkwerks, and we are looking forward to a very happy new year.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time Flies

Man, time flies. The last four months seem like a blur. Beer making came to a screeching halt on August 1 while we moved into the new facility and prepared for the arrival of the 15bbl system.  Although we budgeted pretty well for equipment costs there was a lot of stuff we hadn’t counted on. They were mostly a list of stainless steel bits and pieces that continues to add up but one large cost that blindsided  us was the steam installation. The steam lines were already run from the steam boiler and stopped two feet from brewhouse. Should be an easy installation, right? Well, evidently getting it hooked up required an impressive web of copper pipe, steam traps, and solenoid control valves. I have to say, despite the sticker shock, the installation is totally professional and works great. Thank you to Brent and the crew at Mechanical Masters.

After four months of playing painter, plumber, electrician, sign hanger, mover, and janitor I can finally concentrate on brewing again. We managed to get our first brew going on November 13 with the help of David Meadows from Premier Stainless, Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave, and a team of friends and family.  Despite some hiccups throughout the day, we were within 0.001 of hitting our original gravity. That first beer, Casper, is loosely a grissette or a light saison. That beer was followed by our White and our Saison effectively filling up our fermentation capacity. Look for those in the taproom over the next two weeks. 

We had planned on having a soft opening of the taproom on Thursday to work out any kinks but due to media exposure turnout was larger than expected. We also were under the gun to get Casper to clear in the fermenter in time for opening. I literarily was kegging the beer 10 minutes before the taproom opened. As busy as the taproom was, our new employees Jean and Laura had everything under control. I must say there was a huge feeling of satisfaction to look at a taproom full of people enjoying our beer. 

We are brewing an interesting beer on Monday but I’ll tell you about that next week.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We are excited to open the taproom tomorrow December 9 at 11:00 AM. We will be pouring our Saison and White as well as have our very light saison, Casper, on tap.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We will not be open this Saturday.

We have received a few emails today asking if we are opening on the 4th (this Saturday). The answer is no. 

These emails are stemming from an article in the Thrillist. We had told the reporter we were shooting for December 4th but that we would be comfortable with saying that we would be opening on December 9th as the beer might not be ready.

We will not be able to open on December 4th because the beer isn't ready and the last thing we want to do is to push beer to the market that is not up to our standards.

So when are we opening? We are tentatively saying towards the end of next week but check back with us as things move rapidly here at Funkwerks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two beers in the fermenter!

We have brewed twice in the past week and will be brewing again tomorrow. The first two beers are our white and our very light saison. These will be on draft when the tap room opens. The saison gets brewed tomorrow!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And They're In

95% of all of our equipment has arrived. We are only waiting for the Keg Washer and Labeler. We do our first batch on the new system tomorrow!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Brewhouse Enters The Brewery!

The brewhouse arrived this morning and is now being setup. Soon the fermenters will arrive!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cherry Saison Label

This is the label for our limited release of Cherry Saison. There will be 100 bottles available. The "Cherry" came out a little light in the photo but in person it pops much more.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ceiling Tiles And Brewery Clean Up

We have been putting up some new ceiling tiles at the brewery. I thought this would be an easy task but it turns out to be much harder then I anticipated. So far I think this has been on of the worst jobs at the brewery. That said it looks much better.

We also got approval to paint the exterior of the building so that will be done in the next few weeks. We will be doing a few bright colors to make us easy to see from Lincoln Ave. 

Gordon is almost done painting the inside. Once that is complete I will get some picts for the blog.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cherry Saison

This week we bottled Cherry Saison. It finished at 1.003 with around 8.5% alcohol. I can attest it is very tasty.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The past week has been busy.

The past week has been busy. We purchased a new forklift, got in several pallets of bottles, purchased a tap room fridge, and hit a brewfest last Saturday. At any rate I can feel the pace accelerating as we approach our opening date this December.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

GABF Continues

It's the last day of GABF, don't forget to swing by our booth. Typically Gordon and I are behind the booth pouring.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


We have gotten a few requests on when we are opening. The plan is to open the tap room in early December. Between now and then we will be hitting festivals. The first festival we are hitting is GABF which starts tomorrow. Come by our booth!


Monday, September 13, 2010

The New Website Is Up!

The new website is up but the store will not be available yet. Expect the store in the next couple of weeks.


Originally Posted - Saturday, September 11, 2010

This week we bought We also have the new new website up at that domain. We will switch this domain over to the new website in the coming week.


Check out

New Website Will Be Up Very Shortly

Originally Posted - Saturday, September 4, 2010

The new website should be up very shortly check back in the next week or so.


Snowball Is Getting Wrapped

Originally Posted - Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shortly there will be a new van roaming the streets of Fort Collins, maybe not new but at least better dressed. Our van Snowball is being wrapped this week.


We Are Back!

Originally Posted - Saturday, August 21, 2010

We are back. The move is going well but we are a long way from over. We will be updating the blog regularly again (every Saturday.) During the week check us out on Facebook or Twitter at the following addresses:

Face Book -

Twitter -

I can promise you more pictures similar to the above of Gordon inspecting our first tank!



Originally Posted - Saturday, July 31, 2010

The next couple of weeks we will be moving in to our new space at 1900 E. Lincoln, so updates may be scarce.


Grimm Brothers Brewhouse

Originally Posted - Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Grimm Brothers Brewhouse opened today in Loveland. My wife and I went over to check out the festivities. We tried the Little Red Cap and the The Fearless Youth (a dunkel). Both were delicious. Definitely head over to their tap room and look for their beer around town. Good luck Don and Aaron!


Rack and Storage Bin Galore

Originally Posted - Saturday, July 17, 2010

This past week we uninstalled the ladder rack and storage bins that came with our van. We will be placing the racks and storage bins for sale on craigslist this week but contact us if you are in need of a ladder rack or storage bin for a Ford E-250.

On a side note I think we should paint the van like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.


Funkwerks' New Ride

Originally Posted - Saturday, July 10, 2010

We just picked up our van. It is a 2002 E250. We had to drive out to Sterling CO to get it.... twice. Needless to say Gordon and I don't want to do that drive again any time soon. The van is in excellent shape and it is begging for a Funkwerks paint job.



Originally Posted - Saturday, July 3, 2010

This past week we have been preparing our application to update the TTB on our new location, updating our insurance for our new location, and laying out equipment. Not fun but necessary to hit the ground running.


New System

Originally Posted - Saturday, June 26, 2010

Last week we ordered our new system from Premier Stainless. 15 BBL's of brewing fun. Our system will allow us to do step mashes. I believe Gordon and I both fall asleep every night dreaming about its arrival.



Originally Posted - Saturday, June 19, 2010

So no sooner do we get up and running and we are already expanding. Fort Collins Brewery has been in the process of building a brand spankin new brewery/restaurant and are planning to move in mid-July. That leaves an empty brewery in Fort Collins and as luck would have it we could use a brewery. So just when we get done jumping through one set of hoops, we get a whole new set. Hmm, do we go with a 10 barrel or a 15 barrel brewing system. Decisions, decisions.


Craft Brewing In Ireland

Originally Posted - Monday, June 7, 2010

The reason for the lack of updates is that I have been in Ireland the last two weeks. One of the most notable things in all the pubs we have visited is that none have any craft brew. Even more interesting is that Budweiser and Coors Light are incredibly popular with the locals. In fact, we learned that Budweiser actually outsold Guinness a few years ago.

Craft brewing in Ireland is very, very small, mostly in the brewpub format. Whenever I bring up craft brewing with an Irish person, they always mention that they don't think the 4.5 million population could support any craft breweries. Then I consider Fort Collins, a town of about 130 thousand supporting several craft breweries. Given how popular craft brewing is in the United States, I think a population of 4.5 million could easily support a few craft breweries.


Thank You New Belgium

Originally Posted - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So what's it like starting a brewery in the shadow of one of the largest craft breweries in the country? To be honest, I was nervous from the start. Even though we have a different concept and target market for our beer, I was worried about being seen as invading on New Belgium's turf. I was happy to keep a low profile as we worked to get the brewery up and running but Fort Collins isn't that large and eventually we met Lauren Salazar and Peter Bouckaert at the Odell's expansion party. I did not expect the warm welcome and offers of help we received. Lauren set up a taste panel with our Saison and has introduced us to many other New Belgium employees. Despite being such a large company they genuinely believe in growing the craft beer industry and are willing to lend a hand to that end. It's impressive and humbling.

Thank you to all the New Belgium team, you guys rock.



Originally Posted - Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our new website is progressing along nicely. It should be up by the end of June. At that point we hope to have t-shirts on the website with hats to follow shortly after.


Federal License

 Originally Posted - Saturday, May 15, 2010

We heard from the TTB that our Federal License is in the mail!


Equinox Brewing

Originally Posted - Saturday, May 8, 2010

Last week was the grand opening of Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins. Shannon and Colin Westcott have been active in the local homebrew scene as owners of Hops and Berries and Colin is a former brewer at Kettlehouse Brewing in Montana and Midnight Sun in Alaska. I guess it was a matter of time before they took the plunge into a brewery of their own.

The interior is comfortable and tastefully done. We tried a flight of their current line-up of beers and I'm impressed, especially since these were the first beers coming off a brand new system. Although the current line-up is mostly English ales, they plan on branching out and doing seasonal beers. Also, look for the beer garden out back this summer.

Congratulations to Shannon and Colin, best of luck!


Odells' Expansion Party

Originally Posted - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This past week we had the pleasure to attend the Odell Brewing Company party to celebrate their new expansion. Live music, a smorgasbord of local cuisine, and of course great beer, what's not to like!

The expansion is impressive and effectively doubles the size of the brewery. The new Mueller tanks in the three story fermentation area is a thing of beauty. There was also a who's who of the Colorado brewing industry in attendance. This was the first time I got the chance to meet some of the people I've seen speak at various conferences and festivals, such as Doug Odell, Lauren Salazar, and Peter Bouckaert. It was really an honor to meet Peter who is probably my biggest hero and influence in the brewing world.

We also got a chance to talk to some of the newer breweries such as Colin at Equinox Brewing Company in Fort Collins and Tim at Strange Brewing in Denver

Overall, it was a great time. Thank you, Doug!


TTB Phone Interview

Originally Posted - Saturday, April 24, 2010

We have our phone interviews with the TTB scheduled for Monday. One step closer to opening!


Last Week

Originally Posted - Saturday, April 17, 2010

Last week's Craft Brewers Conference seems to have gone by in a flash. There were lots of great seminars, so many in fact that it's impossible to attend them all. I'm looking forward to getting the mp3s so I can listen to the ones I couldn't attend. My favorites were the QC lab for under $3K and Vinnie Cilurzo's Toothpicks, Garlic, and Chalk seminar on sour beer production. I'm always amazed how open this industry is with sharing information.

To cap it all off, the World Beer Cup dinner was a treat. Chef Shawn Paxton and Randy Mosher pulled out all the stops with such items as a beer braised pork belly with a Styrian Golding hop pesto. I'm not a hophead but I'll give props for creativity.

But it's back to the grind. Ah, the joys of shopping for commercial real estate.


Craft Brewer's Conference Hangover

Originally Posted - Monday, April 12, 2010

We got back from the Craft Brewer's Conference yesterday. The way back was not fun. Gordon and I were in the last row in the plane. Gordon got stuck with the middle seat and I was on the aisle.

At one point during the flight it looked as though Gordon had entered a zen like state which I assumed was because I stole his armrest and he was avoiding confrontation in such small quarters. It turns out he was actually watching Saving Private Ryan over the shoulder of Thomas from Ska while listing to Dark Star from the Grateful Dead.

It seemed as if the entire brewing industry in Colorado on our flight. Gordon noted that if the plane went down beer in Colorado would greatly suffer.

We will have more about the conference this Saturday.


Craft Brewer's Conference

Originally Posted - Saturday, April 3, 2010

This next week Gordon and I are heading to the Craft Brewer's Conference in Chicago. To make the most of it Gordon and I are going split up and go to different sessions.

We thought about staying at a local hostel that Gordon and I had stayed at while attending Siebel but he refused. I stayed there for two weeks but Gordon stayed at the hostel for the entire Chicago portion of Siebel. Apparently the experience was scaring for him. If I remember correctly Gordon said on rainy days the roof leaked into his closet. Needless to say we have decided to upgrade to hotel.

If you are attending CBC and are interested in getting together for a beer e-mail us.


Bottles Galore!

Originally Posted - Saturday, March 27, 2010

We have left over bottles from our home brew days (mostly green champagne style bottles). If you are in the Fort Collins area and are interested in picking up some bottles for home brewing contact Gordon or I via the front page link.


Yeast Fun 2

Originally Posted - Saturday, March 20, 2010

Although we had used the Wyeast 3711 French Saison strain in a blend in our first pilot batch of Saison, I was resistant to use it. My bias against it is that it is not from a Saison brewery or from Belgium. This strain is alleged to be from Brasserie Thiriez across the border in France. A Saison yeast from a Biere de Garde brewery?

Well I can honestly say this strain is the real deal. Where the Dupont strain was fruity, this strain leans more to the spicy side. It also is extremely attenuative, more so than the Dupont strain. In identical worts, the French Saison strain finished a good four significant gravity points lower than the Dupont blend and without raising the temperature above the mid-70's. You would think that a beer that finishes at 1.003 would be too dry and thin in the finish but that is the strange thing about this yeast. There is a fuller mouthfeel to this yeast strain despite it's finishing gravity.

So just when I had our blend figured out we are changing again. It's all good. Yeast is just another tool in the brewers bag of tricks to make a great beer and I'm sure what we learn about various strains will be useful in the future.


Yeast Fun

Originally Posted - Saturday, March 13, 2010

A while back I had mentioned various yeast strains we have been trying and I'd like to elaborate further on our results.

We first started our pilot batches using the Wyeast 3724 which is the Saison Dupont strain. This strain is notoriously finicky and after several batches, only one of which attenuated down to the single digits, we abandoned that approach in favor of a multi-yeast fermentation. There has been speculation that Saison Dupont uses a mixed strain fermentation so this was our way of trying to replicate that approach.

We then began doing small fermentations to assess the organoleptic qualities of various yeast strains. Some contenders were Fermentis T-58 (Chimay variant), WLP550 (Achouffe), Lallemand 71B (wine yeast), and Lallemand Assmanshausen (wine yeast). My goal was a blend in which the Dupont strain was dominant and the other strains playing a secondary role. My other goal was a blend that was repeatable and didn't require a large investment in propagation equipment to maintain multiple pure strains.

The blend we eventually came up with was a Dupont/Assmanshausen/T-58 blend. This required the ability to keep a pure culture of the Dupont strain since this strain is only available in liquid form. And since the other two strain are dry yeast strains, there is no need to maintain these cultures. They also have complementary characteristics. The Dupont strain is a fast starter and will dominate the first 48 hours of fermentation as the temperature rises to the high 70s. The Assmanshausen strain takes 36-48 hours to acclimate and begin fermentation and will take off just as the Dupont strain is stalling out. Also, being a wine yeast, it likes higher fermentation temperatures. One drawback to this strain is its inability to ferment maltotriose so a small amount of T-58 helps to clean up at the end of fermentation. Our results with this blend were very good despite being somewhat cumbersome.

One strain I was rather resistant to try was the Wyeast 3711 French Saison. I eventually did and was impressed with the results. I will tell you more about that next week.


Grant Family Farms

 Posted - Saturday, March 6, 2010

All breweries generate waste and a majority of that waste is spent grains. Most brewers find a local farms who then use the grain as animal feed. What do you do with organic spent grains? Find an organic farm of course.

We took a drive up to the Grant Family Farm outside Wellington to discuss the possibility of them taking our spent grain. The Grant Family Farm is the first farm certified organic in the state of Colorado and has been farming organically for more than 35 years. Everyone there was helpful with our questions about the organic certification process and were very interested in the prospect of being able to supplement their organic feed with organic spent grain.

This seems like it will be a win-win situation for everyone.


Rocky Mountain Microbrewing Symposium

Originally Posted - Saturday, February 27, 2010

I attended the Rocky Mountain Microbrewing Symposium last week. This was my first time going to this yearly event and it was a good refresher of information I had learned at Siebel. What really piqued my interest was a presentation by Bob Sclafani on called 'Yeast and Civilization'. This presentation contained one piece of information about some Belgian yeast strains that was completely new to me.

Over time yeast strains have been classified and reclassified over and over again. In the case of lager yeast, it has been called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, S. uvarum, S. cerevisiae var. carlsbergensis, and now apparently S. pastorianous. Over the past few years the genomes of some yeasts have been mapped and this has brought to light new information about the origins and hybridizations of yeasts strains, and yet more new classifications. What is especially striking is the origin of some Belgian yeast strains. What had always been thought to be just another variation S. cerevisiae is actually a hybrid of S. cerevisiae and a more ancient yeast S. kudriavzevii.

How could this hybridization happen? Although brewing yeast reproduces by meiosis or asexual reproduction under normal conditions, under stress can form spores and reproduce sexually. Think of it as a self defense mechanism. If the yeast is in danger of perishing due to a hostile environment, it sporulates in hopes of preserving it's genetic make-up. Since most fermentations in Belgium were mixed fermentations of various yeasts and some organisms that produced lactic and acetic acid, this may have been perfect environment for this hybridization to take place. How did S. Kudriavzevii get in there? It's possible that it could have been naturally in the environment. Another possible source is oak barrels, or more specifically oak bark where this species has been isolated.

This makes sense, normal variations of S. cerevisiae do not account for the unique properties of most Belgian yeast strain and this information helps shed light on why.



Originally Posted - Saturday, February 20, 2010

How big should we go on T-shirts? Should we cap it at XXL or should we offer larger sizes as well? Contact us using the link on the front page.


Brewhouse 1.0

Originally Posted - Saturday, February 13, 2010

We've begun assembling the equipment for Funkwerks Brewhouse 1.0 over the past month. When I say 1.0, I mean 1.0 barrels. Truly a nano-brewery by any standard but it's a start. This pilot system will enable us to move forward with our licensing and produce our initial batches of beer. This system has step mash capability enabling us to use various grains and adjuncts. We will also utilize the more traditional open fermentation.

Our first fermentation with our new three yeast blend went very well. Unfortunately, that beer was destined to be aged on Brett so we will have to wait until batch 7 is finished to get a more accurate comparison to our previous batches. We are also trying the French Saison yeast as a possible house yeast. It has some advantages over the Dupont strain from a production stand point. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Dupont strain despite it's quirkiness. We will see how the French Saison yeast compares.


Why Saison?

Originally Posted - Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Saison? From a personal perspective, the Saison style has fascinated and perplexed me for years. Before we examine why, we need to examine what is a Saison.

With most Belgian styles you can map out a trend of all commercial examples. All styles have a certain alcohol content, flavor profile, etc. But what about Saison? What, if any, commonalities are there to the style? Well, if there is one common characteristic to the style it is the attenuation. Saisons have attenuations exceeding 90%. This lends a dry finish to a flavorful beer. And what is the flavor? That depends on the beer. Saison Dupont is a very bitter yet fruity example. Saison Papaix is more dry with a mineral edge. Fantome is less fruity but more of a lactic acid edge. Essentially, a Saison is a dry beer with a character unique to the brewery where it is made.

So, why Saison? Saison is a style that has yet to reach it's potential in the U.S. Many American examples are over-spiced and under-attenuated and lack the true character of the style. Many Belgian examples are unfortunately well past their prime. We believe we can do better. Beer lovers deserve a truly authentic Saison


Brett Dream

Originally Posted - Saturday, January 30, 2010

Work has begun on our brettanomyces-laced Saison (aka Brett Dream). This beer is a golden Saison of about 6.5% alcohol fermented with our house multi-strain yeast blend then aged on Brettanomyces Clausenii. Our goal is an interesting blend of tangerine, pineapple, pepper, and brett funk. We'll see what happens..


Embracing The Unexpected

Originally Posted - Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sometimes when you least expect it you run into something that changes your expectations. A couple of weeks ago Brad and I attended the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywine festival in Vail. If you’ve never been, it’s a very small intimate festival, lots of great seminars, and an eclectic mix of breweries and beers. I love festivals like this, it not only gives me a chance to recalibrate my palate with beers I’ve had before but to try new and experimental beers. I have to say I do have a bias, usually I hit the bigger breweries at the expense of the small guys. My friend and fellow Siebel graduate Jeff Albarella had just started working at Carver Brewing Company so  we stopped by early to say hello. Jeff immediately told us we have to try the El Oso Agrio. That first sip was completely unexpected. This was no ordinary sour beer. The aroma was a strange mix of watermelon, calvados, wood, red wine, bourbon, and a whole lot of things I can’t begin to describe. The flavor is the same, sour but not over the top like many examples, more of an oak aged cellar quality but different than any sour beer I’ve ever had. Evidently, that beer started out as a Barleywine before some being put into barrels to sour sit on fruit. This took it in a whole new direction. Definitely a hidden gem I was happy to find.