Tuesday, May 22, 2012

White Becomes A Seasonal

A full glass of White alongside a bottle sporting the new label design.

If Funkwerks had a beer yearbook, I think it would be safe to say that Saison would be voted ‘Most Popular’. Not only is the Saison our head brewer’s ‘baby’ and our flagship beer, but it’s also the winner of a silver medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. While it’s debatable which beer would be given ‘Best Eyes’ or ‘Most Athletic’, I’d like to nominate our White for ‘Biggest Flirt’.

For as big of a beer town as Fort Collins is, it’s always surprising to me how many people come into the brewery claiming that they don’t like beer. Often when I encounter someone claiming this, I’ll hand them a sample of White (only after checking their ID, of course) and wait for their response. Most people’s faces light up with joy as they indulge in the White and discover that they do, in fact, like beer. I’m sure White is not the only beer to have converted non-beer believers, but I do see White work it’s magic frequently.

It should come as no surprise that White is extremely likeable- it’s accessible, light, and delicious. Although it began it’s presence in the Funkwerks taproom as a beer we’d always have on tap, it has recently been declared a summer seasonal. Even though it’s popular and much loved, like a summer fling it will be gone once cooler weather begins moving in.

If you frequent our taproom you’ve probably seen the words ‘test batch’ scribbled next to White on the chalkboard once or twice. During these times our brewers were working to make White even more appealing by striving to fine-tune certain aspects of it’s wit style. The original White, which was released when we first opened in December 2010, was extremely dry- almost too dry to be classified as a wit- so in December of 2011 we began experimenting with our recipe. We first pinned the problem on our house saison yeast, which is highly attenuative. After experimenting with several Belgian yeasts we couldn’t find a yeast that added a flavor as satisfying as our original, so we decided to stick with our house saison yeast and return to the drawing board. Next we tried increasing the amount of malt in the brewing process, thus increasing the sugar, and also increasing the ABV from 5.5% to 6.5%. We found that the higher gravity, along with a larger addition of spices, gave our White the right amount of sweet and the right amount of spice it needed to be more enticing to your taste buds.

Another subtle change involved swapping citrus peels. While our original recipe used grapefruit peel, we settled on using lemon peel for our current batch of White. Grapefruit peel had a slightly harsher bite, where as the lemon peel adds a softer citrus flavor, making it smooth and easily enjoyable.

And I must say, White isn’t a bad beer to look at either. The rocky white head and light, clouded pour make it look like the refreshing thirst quencher it is, perfect for a hot summer day. Add to that a sleek new blue label to help promote the fact that we’ve changed the recipe, and this a beer you want to bring home with you.

Popular and continuously satisfying, yet changing and at times elusive, the White keeps us interested without overwhelming us. We enjoy it while it’s here and miss it when it’s gone. Like the one who was voted ‘Biggest Flirt’ in your high school class, the White has a way of staying on our mind which keeps us coming back for more. I hope you’re as enticed by the new White as we are here at Funkwerks!