Imagine, for one second, my mind is the Death Star, and Beachwood Blendery is a scrappy young Luke Skywalker. Their combined three-year lambic gueuzey blend called Funk Yeah is a proverbial MF7 proton torpedo, and when shot just right, enters my reactor port (mouth), and causes my head to implode into a million space bits.
Funk Yeah!, as it were, is exactly what I yelled during the Great American Beer Festival awards when the beer won gold for Belgian-style lambic. As if creating lambic-style beer isn’t hard enough, nailing a gueuze, a three-year blend of lambics, is somewhat of a new thing for not only our area, it’s new for America with only a handful of regular producers making good versions (Terreux Rueuze, Lost Abbey DDG, Allagash Resurgam being the scant few). The Senne River Valley in Belguim has had the funk on lock, and it’s time we milked it.
When Beachwood Blendery opened in 2014, their goal was simple: learn from what Brasserie Cantillon in Belgium does, and implement those lessons into scientific practice. With master blender’s Jean Van Roy’s permission, the Beachwood gang installed temperature and humidity probes among their spider-webbed Brussels lambic house, then set their space in Long Beach to match the seasons of what’s happening in Belgium.
The results are stunning. Funk Yeah is like a cocktail of complexity. Poured in a coupe, my first impression is of doughy Cheerios dusted with bee pollen and cosmic peach. The beer is bright and funky with notes overripe nectarine, zippy kumquat, apple cider vinegar, and kiss of musty oak on the finish. The flavors develop and ride your palate like the Mars rover…dipping and curving around every last taste bud.
Want to totally geek out over the process? Read the white paper that went into the creation of this beer.
Be sure to also follow Wild Fields Brewhouse, ex-Beachwood’s Ryan Fields’ new project in Atascadero, which will no doubt be making solid gueuze-style beer in four years.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest. When not writing about, photographing or filming beer, cocktails, and food, he can be found talking trash while playing Battlefield V under the name “OCBeer.”