Collective Brewing Project’s Saison Takes Us To Funky Town.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on The Collective Brewing Project‘s Urban Funkhouse.

 

Fast Facts on The Collective Brewing Project’s Urban Funkhouse.
Style: Saison.
ABV: 7.2 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 24.
Color: Medium Gold.
Availability: Limited.

Overview.
The Collective Brewing Project is a brewery that’s firmly on my radar screen. As a resident of East Dallas, it’s just tough for me to just drop everything and take a quick jaunt out to Funky Town to hang out at a brewery on a whim. But the Collective Brewing Project is brewing up some interesting beers. Chances are you may have seen its well-known table sour around town — Petite Golden Sour. Like that beer, Urban Funkhouse presents the palate with flavors and aromas that make it unique to DFW.

Background on Saison.
For a primer on the saison style, check out our review of Four Corners’ El Superbee de Saison. Saisons range quite widely in ABV, from 3-ish percent all the way up past 9 percent. Major characteristics include a Belgian type of ale yeast, a funky backbone, bright biting carbonation and pops of citrus and peppery flavors.

 

Appearance.
Urban Funkhouse — in its bottled form — comes in a 16.9-ounce bottle. This is one of those sizes that’s sort of out there in weirdo territory. Chances are that if you’re buying a DFW brew in this format, you’re going to pay more than what you would for, say, a Miller Lite. Spec’s in Dallas sells this bottle for $12, just so you know. There is batch information located on the side of the bottle, but I have somehow managed to rub off the ink. Dang. Well I will just have to go it alone and enjoy it without the batch information. No big deal.

On opening the bottle, a slow, creeping layer of foam begins its ascent toward the top of the bottle. Some highly-carbonated beers like Urban Funkhouse demand to be poured quickly upon opening. If I waited around too much longer, I would have had a super-slow oozing of funky foam coming out of the bottle. So just a word of warning: don’t open this beer and let it sit. Pour the damn thing. One other interesting item of note is the thin layer of dregs around the bottom of the bottle. This is a typical sign of bottle-conditioned beer; it’s the leftover yeast bits and bobs that settle out of the beer. Perfectly normal for this sort of thing.

Aroma.
The first note I get from Urban Funkhouse is a round, funky situation. It’s there, warming and inviting me to keep sniffing. There’s orangey-lemony citrus, along with a mildly oxidized metallic sort of thing too. I also get a little bit of a wood note, too — almost a chalky sort of thing. For a 7.2 percent ABV beer, I don’t sense much booziness on the nose.

 

Flavor.
This beer’s flavor is just as complex as its aroma. Urban Funkhouse begins with tartness, but it’s more like a barnyard sort of sour compared to a fruity sour. The sourness evens out as it warms on my tongue, and then a sense of tangy bitterness takes over. Unlike the aroma, the boozy notes really shine through on the swallow and the aftertaste. My tongue is left tingling and my mouth warms and sort of re-twangs with mild tartness, ready for the next sip. Based on information from Collective’s website, this is a 100 percent barrel-fermented saison. I’m not sure what the yeast pitch mix is for this beer. With many saisons of this ilk, the brewer will start with one type of yeast like a saison yeast, and then add more bugs later on. With Urban Funkhouse, though, there’s a chance that the brewer pitched saison yeast and then just let whatever is going to happen, well, happen. The bottle says that Urban Funkhouse is pitched with both Saccaromyces and Brettanomyces, but that’s all it tells us. There’s going to be some variation from barrel to barrel, and from batch to batch. So there’s a strong chance that the next batch of Urban Funkhouse will show different flavors and aromas compared to this batch I’m trying here.

Mouthfeel.
The high level of carbonation is very apparent on the mouth. It intensifies the flavor notes, and the carbonation sort of dissipates and coats my tongue. After it fades, I sense a luscious sort of creaminess. Behind the creamy coating of carbonation, there is a boozy warmth on this beer. The mouthfeel on this beer, while it’s not the highlight of the sensory experience, is quite enjoyable.

Overall Impression.
I’m a fan of Urban Funkhouse. This is not an everyday sort of beer, though. The bottle price is a bit of a sting. But if you’re a sour fan, you understand that these beers take time and skill to brew, and this style can typically command a higher price point if it’s successful. And make no mistake, this beer is a success. While I am drinking a beer that was bottled in March of this year (I remember seeing this information before the batch ink information disappeared), I suspect that this beer’s flavor will change over time. Given a year or so in the bottle, I think that the Brett character would shift toward a more bready situation. Don’t get me wrong, I like the beer just as it is. But I would like to pick up a second bottle to see how the flavor profile changes after some conditioning time. If you get a bottle of this excellent sour, store it upright, both for conditioning and for chilling in the fridge before serving. Like other bottle conditioned beers, you will notice some funky bits toward the end of the bottle.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give The Collective Brewing Project Urban Funkhouse an 8.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Thursday, May, 19. Beer and Cake Pairing at Oak Highlands.
• Thursday, May, 19. Independence Brewing Pub Crawl on Lower Greenville.
• Saturday, May, 21. North Texas Firkin Fest at Globe Life Park.
• Saturday, May, 21. Little D Market at Community Beer Co.
• Saturday, May, 21. Crawfish Boil at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
• Sunday, May, 29. Brew-B-Q at Deep Ellum Brewing.
• Sunday, May, 29. Hopped Up Homebrewer’s Challenge at Cobra Brewing Co.
• Saturday, June 11. Untapped: Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion.
• Saturday, June 18. Best Little Brew Fest In Texas at Old Town Lewisville.
• Saturday, June 25. Brew Bus Father’s Day Tour.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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