What appears to be a continuing theme for the type of beers I post about, I am not big on saison beers. It’s not just that I don’t drink them often, it’s also that the style in general just doesn’t hit me as much as I’d like. Funkwerks wasn’t even a name I’d heard of until I walked into the store and saw a trio of releases for sale. To be fair I remembered seeing the name in some email updates I get from some of my favorite local beer retailers, but I guess when I saw it on the shelf the first time it all seemed very new and foreign. It took me a while, but I finally opened up to the prospect of giving them a shot- and in a cruel twist of fate spring hasn’t been kind to us here in the Midwest with unseasonably snowy and icy conditions so I went with a Funkwerks release that might keep me warm and make me forget about the weather, Dark Prøphet.
Funkwerks specializes in many different types of saisions and I have seen several people online equate the Dark Prøphet more to a Belgian strong ale than a saison. Before I get into the initial tasting I will say that I can see that point going either way as the beer has traits of either or. Dark Prøphet comes in a hefty 750 ml bottle- as do Funkerks other releases- and aged in whiskey barrels. You won’t find it on the bottle, but I was informed by a store employee that this particular release was aged with Maker’s Mark Whiskey, which intrigued me a little more.
Right off the bat after pouring you can smell a plethora of dark fruits and hints of vanilla, but all marry together for something unique all its own. I don’t usually spend a inordinate amount of time smelling the beers I drink, but even after I started drinking this I kept bringing it back up to my nose to smell. It really does have quite a unique aromatic quality to it that doesn’t fully sell what you’re about to drink.
At first taste I was taken aback quite a bit as the alcohol bite pushed through, but I was also struck by many of the taste qualities I have with most saisons, but also with tastes that made me enjoy it more than most as well. Honestly, I’m a little lost on how to describe the beer accurately, but for me the tastes I was expecting with the smell don’t shine through on the taste. This could be in part with the boozy character that shines with the whiskey aging, but surprisingly the high alcohol doesn’t overwhelm the overall taste. The overall taste on the other hand while I can still catch hints of the dark fruit there is still room for a straightforward smoothness that comes in at the back end once the alcohol burn dies out. All in all the smell compliments the taste making for a beer that maybe is just too complex for me to appreciate through and through, but I am able to recognize how well rounded it is for incorporating everything it does without seeming like a one note brew with no tricks up its sleeeve.
So my first experience with Funkwerks left a little to be desired, but has not deterred me from eventually giving the rest if their lineup a short. Dark Prøphet is the kind of beer that’s perfect for a colder night and for anyone with a deep love for saisons which I currently lack- however I hate cold nights infinitely more and anything that numbs the sting of winter in the middle of spring is okay in my book.