The Funk Lab is Here!
With the shift of Nickel Brook’s core-brand production to their Hamilton brewery, John and Peter Romano saw an opportunity to do something truly special with their original brewery in Burlington.
The guys decided to dive head-first into brewing the best funk and sour beers they could. Experimenting with new strains of yeast and bacteria, Nickel Brook’s brewing team has converted the old Better Bitters facility into the Funk Lab, a facility completely dedicated to small-batch funk and sour beers.
Nickel Brook has already made waves with some of its Funk Lab creations, having started with their Cuveé, a bottle conditioned sour. In 2016, they won Gold at the Canadian Brewing Awards for the Uber Raspberry Berliner Style Weisse. Ceres, a Cucumber-Lime Gose, was one of the most talked-about sours around this summer, and a small-batch Peach Berliner sold out in a week.
Our brewers have even more amazing ideas up their sleeves, and we can’t wait to share them with you!
What Makes Beer Sour or Funky?
Historically, beer became funky when wild bacteria found its way into open-air fermentation tanks. Yeast from fruit trees, farms and the surrounding countryside could all contribute to a beer’s naturally-fermented flavour and aroma. Over time, brewers and scientists worked to isolate the good bacteria from the not-so-good ones, creating a catalogue of delicious funk strains.
The three most common strains of funk and sour cultures are Lactobacillus (aka Lacto), Brettanomyces (aka Brett) and Pediococcus (aka Pedio), each of which contribute their own unique flavours and aromas.
Styles can range from 100% Brett Pale Ales to tangy Berlinerweisses and salty Goses. Fruits, spices and herbs are often used to add even deeper complexity.
Some brewers avoid the use of such bacteria for fear of cross-contamination, but Nickel Brook’s dedicated Funk Lab embraces the unique and wild flavours these microbes import on beer. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting new chapter in our craft beer story!
Some of our Funk Lab Beers
Uncommon Element Brett Pale Ale
ABV 5.2% • IBU 42
Combining American Pale Ale hopping with the funky hit of Brettanoymces yeast, this is a crisp hop-forward brew with a unique barnyard tang. Tropical hops evoke notes of orange peel and pineapple.
ABV 5.8% • IBU 23
Notes of peach and apricot mingle with a light, peppery body in this Belgian Saison. A secondary fermentation with Brett creates a champagne-like carbonation, with a distinctive farmhouse funk aroma. Perfect for a funky summertime.
Ceres Cucumber-Lime Gose
ABV 4.0% • IBU 0
A sour beer with sea salt, cucumber and lime. Sounds insane right? Nope, this thirst-quenching Gose (pronounced Gose-Uh) evokes a properly-crafted margarita or mojito in the best way possible. Tart, salty and fresh, this Gose will soon be Gone.
Peach Über Berliner Style Weisse
ABV 3.8% • IBU 3
Like it’s raspberry brother, this sour wheat uses Lactobacillus yeast to create a distinctive sour tang. Fresh Ontario peaches add a slight pink-orange hue and a refreshingly sweet aroma.
Raspberry Über Berliner Style Weisse
ABV 3.8% • IBU 3
A sour German wheat beer base combines with real Canadian raspberries for a huge hit of fresh fruit. Lactic tang gives way to a face full of raspberry juiciness, evoking memories of picking wild berries in the countryside.