What is a funky beer?

Answered by Daniel Conrad

A funky is not your typical beer. It is something out of the ordinary, unique, and often polarizing in terms of taste and aroma. As an expert sommelier and brewer, I have encountered my fair share of funky beers, and I can confidently say that they are an acquired taste.

When it comes to describing the smell and taste of funky beers, it can be quite challenging to put into words. Some people describe it as horse sweat, while others may detect hints of Band-Aid or barnyard. These descriptors may not sound very appealing, but they are often used to capture the distinctive and sometimes pungent aromas and flavors that can be found in funky beers.

One key characteristic of funky beers is the presence of wild and bacteria, such as Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. These microorganisms introduce unique flavors and aromas that are not typically found in traditional beer styles. The funky, barnyard-like aroma often comes from the Brettanomyces yeast, which can produce earthy, musty, and even leathery aromas.

In terms of taste, funky beers can exhibit a wide range of flavors. Some may have a tart or sour character, reminiscent of fruits like lemons or sour cherries. Others may have a funky, almost cheesy flavor, which can be attributed to the presence of certain bacteria. The complexity and depth of flavors in funky beers can vary greatly, making them an intriguing and challenging style for both brewers and beer enthusiasts.

Funky beers are often aged for an extended period, allowing the wild yeast and bacteria to work their magic. During this aging process, flavors develop and evolve, resulting in a beer that is truly unique and complex. It's important to note that not all funky beers are created equal, and the level of funkiness can vary from subtle to intense.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of trying several funky beers throughout my career, and while some have been a bit too funky for my liking, others have been incredibly enjoyable. The beauty of funky beers lies in their ability to challenge our taste buds and expand our beer drinking experiences. They offer a departure from the norm and provide an opportunity to explore new and exciting flavors.

A funky beer is a beer that goes beyond the ordinary. It is a beer that embraces wild yeast and bacteria, resulting in unique aromas and flavors that can be described as horse sweat, Band-Aid, or barnyard. While these descriptions may not sound appealing, funky beers offer a world of complexity and intrigue for those willing to venture outside their comfort zone. So, if you're up for a beer adventure, I highly recommend giving funky beers a try.