FUNK: Boston Celebrates Sour Ale in the South End
If you can remember 2009, you may remember only a handful of things. The peak of the subprime mortgage crisis. The wholesale lack of championship pennants. Er… MySpace. And that cringingly vapid Black Eyed Peas song (yes, that’s a redundancy.) No, 2009; you’re not missed all that much.
Especially when it comes to beer festivals. Can’t remember many? That’s because there were less than a dozen in the Boston area. In fact, more like single digits. A decade later, there’s… well, no one’s really sure. You tend to lose count somewhere between three digits and estimating however much you’ve spent on Uber rides in the past 24 hours.
But the largest criticism reserved for beer festivals is the focus being on factors squarely outside of new and familiar offerings. There’s a focus on branding. A focus on sponsorship. A focus on fast casual food offerings from national chains. And a focus on the inevitably bad cover bands serenading thirsty festival-goers clutching 3.5 oz plastic cup samples with renditions of songs which were awful to begin with 25 years ago. But beer tends to take a backseat to the overlying spectacle. And in a city where anything outside of an IPA (with questionably local affiliation) is considered jejune, that may be saying something.
FUNK: Boston is BeerAdvocate’s annual celebration of eclectic brewing styles ranging from barleywines to farmhouse saisons to Belgian style lambics, but with a particular focus on sour and wild ales. Essentially, any style which falls decidedly outside of the twin colossi of IPAs and… well, IPAs (although you can’t fault them for ceding to high demand; they’ll be hosting the national IPA Fest in Brooklyn later in September.) And if anyone should know eclecticism, it’s BeerAdvocate. They’ve only been behind some of Boston’s largest beer festivals since their founding in 1996 (you remember 1996, don’t you? Back when Boston Beer Company tried to convince you that Triple Bocks were actually worth drinking but you were so broke you just spent the money on a 15 rack of Carling Black Label instead?)
FUNK will feature a lineup of close to 120 offerings from 36 national brewers, with local representation from the likes of Idle Hands, Remnant, Springdale and Cambridge Brewing Company. Among the local offerings include a black currant wild ale from from Southwick’s Black Rabbit Farms, several Belgian saisons from Orange’s Honest Weight Ales, a sour Berliner weisse from Cambridge Brewing Co. and Boston Beer’s entry into the gose style, brewed from boysenberry.
The event will be taking place next weekend at Cyclorama in the South End and is limited to 700 ticketed attendees. The $65 ticket price allows entry into one session (divided into three four hour blocks) and includes complimentary 2 oz pours from each vendor. Also on hand will be food vendors including Allston’s Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen, Jaju Pierogi of Lynn and national liege style waffle chain Waffle Cabin. No word yet whether or not a Sublime cover band will be on site (one prays not.)
FUNK: Boston is being held on Friday, June 14th from 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm and Saturday, June 15th from 12:00 to 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm at Cyclorama Center for the Arts, located at 539 Tremont St in Boston. Only non VIP tickets remain at $65, and include admission to one session. For more information, visit www.beeradvocate.com/funk/