What the Funk? Invitational Festival | GABF 2014
What the Funk? — Crooked Stave’s premier invitational beer festival made its return just in time to kick off GABF 2014 with a bang. TFP are no strangers to this event that features over 40 breweries showcasing the best funky, rare, and barrel-aged brews. We first wrote about it one year ago when it premiered at Sherman Street Event Center, and were happy to revisit only a few months later in time for their CBC 2014 edition. WTF? was once again held at the Exdo Event Center in Denver drawing several hundred sour and funky ale aficionados.
After having hopped around to several events prior to the event (including the first session of the Great American Beer Festival), I was worried that my palate had been exhausted and that I wouldn’t be able to taste, savor, or let alone appreciate WTF?’s offerings. I was wrong. The beautiful thing about this event isn’t the whaling — it’s the refreshing change in scenery and the unique nuance not commonly found on the GABF floor. For the first time all day, I wasn’t drowning in a sea of IPAs, and that is worth the $80 price tag alone.
I’m sure you can guess which breweries had constant lines throughout the night. The Rare Barrel, Crooked Stave, Cigar City, Jester King, and Prairie Artisan Ales seemed to be some of the heavy-hitters of the night with South Carolina’s Westbrook Brewing, De Garde, and Wicked Weed also stepping up into the spotlight. Distribution extraordinaires Shelton Brothers were in the house with some fan-favorites in their portfolio including Cantillon’s highly coveted Fou Foune, and the folks at Virtue Ciders in Michigan made many swoon with their Percheron cider with Brettanomyces. Personal favorites included Cosmic Dust from The Rare Barrel, The Highbinder from Societe Brewing, Raspberry Origins from Crooked Stave, Black Maple Porter from Jackie O’s, and Serenity from Wicked Weed.
The team behind WTF? have got this event on lock. The space lends to large crowds without feeling too cramped. There was food, pretty glassware, music to help drown the voices of beer lovers loudly pontificating why this beer sucked and why the other one must have been brewed by the hand of the holy. Most importantly however, there was engagement. The space was big, but not big enough to make it difficult to meet, mingle, and engage with our favorite brewers. Will this event grow out of this space? We’ll see. In the meanwhile though, What the Funk? remains one of our favorite events of the year — and it happens twice.