The fifth iteration of Denizens Make It Funky Wild Beer Festival takes place at their Silver Spring brewery from noon to 5 PM on Saturday, September 28th. The theme this year is local, with sixteen DC and Maryland breweries bringing their best sour, wild, barrel-aged, and mixtly fermented beers, along with California’s Bruery Terreaux, which has an outpost in DC. The VIP experience is sold out, but we’d like to highlight the brews that DC Beer writers are most excited about. General Admission tickets are $60 and include unlimited pours from 1-5 PM, a sample glass, and yes, all the TUMS you could hope for (and after reading about this lineup, you will be hoping).
Atlas Brew Works: Die, Die My Darling (Saison, 4.8%) A light brett saison w/ subtle fruity character. White grape, peach, & berries w/ light floral notes. This is one of my favorite beers from Atlas, with the brett playing off a bit of spicy rye in the grain bill. It also might be their last keg of it for a while.
Astro Lab: Waka (Saison, 7%) A mixed fermentation farmhouse saison w/ saccharomyces, brettanomyces, & Nelson Sauvin hops. This brewery knows their way around southern hemisphere hops, and I’m eager to see how they interact with a dry saison.
Black Narrows: We Will Reap (Wild ale, 5.5%) A barrel-fermented spontaneous ale w/ Pennsylvania apricots. Using local VA malts & heirloom corn, this beer was aged 10 months. Notes of stone fruit, sweet tarts, & champagne.
Sapwood Cellars: House Saison #4 (6.1%) A rice saison fermented w/ a house mix-cultured saison blend. The sour and mixed fermentation program from this brewery is one to look out for.
The Black Narrows beers should be something. The local connection they’re trying to do is worth highlighting. Also, the rarely seen Pub Dog (guava saison with brett). I didn’t know they even made sours.
At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader for the home teams I’d suggest Georgia Ave. by Denizens and Diamonds Fur Coat Champagne by Right Proper. Sure, I can get them in my Whole Foods but they are immaculate sours. They are literally the smallest beers on the menu, both under 4%, but bursting with flavor. Really robust fruit and acid going on in these beers despite the lower alcohol content.
Speaking of fruit and acid try Anxo’s Commonwealth, another glorious expression of fruit. With apples only this cider has some funk but really just perpetuates why I consider Anxo’s dry ciders some of the best in the region.
I also love that Denizens did palate cleansers. You know when Born Bohemian Czech-style Pilsner starts tasting maltier than brown ale it’s time for the TUMS and a water chugging contest. [Ed note: Denizens also has PGC Premium American Lager available.]
The full list:
Per Denizens, there will also be a funky DJ set from Kenny M, and a special menu of festival food. Add them up and get funky on the mic like an old batch of collard greens.