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Beer Reviews

Funky Fluid, Gelato: Berries & Cream Ice Cream Sour, 5.5% ABV

 

 

Heralding from the vibrant heart of Warsaw, Poland, Browar Funky Fluid emblematises the innovative spirit of the country's burgeoning craft beer scene. Established in 2018 by a trio of beer enthusiasts—Michał Langier, Karol Mizielski, and Grzegorz Korcz—Funky Fluid quickly distinguished itself within the so-called "second wave" of Polish craft breweries. The powerhouse team is composed of Michał who brought his brewing experience from the Langier Beer brand, Karol contributed his extensive history of being a beer retailer, and Grzegorz has expertise in organising beer festivals.

 

The founding team of Browar Funky Fluid.

 

Funky Fluid's beer portfolio spans classic styles, powerfully hopped IPAs, NEIPAs, and adjunct-loaded stouts. However, it is their Gelato series—rich, adjunct-loaded pastry sours inspired by the flavours of Italian gelato—that catapulted them into the limelight when the brewery was barely 2 years old.

 

 

Right after the Gelato series was launched in 2019, it was met with such acclaim that Funky Fluid was named the third-best brewery in the world by Ratebeer in 2020. You might chalk it down to marketing - I mean, who wouldn’t be intrigued by the idea of a gelato-flavoured beer. But the fact that the series continues to be popular is testament to the quality of their brewing.

 

 

The quirk of the Polish craft brewing landscape is that contract brewing is prevalent, and even the top craft beer brands are technically contract brewers (that do not themselves own the brewing facilities). Funky Fluid too, utilises the advanced infrastructure for contract brewing to produce most of its beers.

Nonetheless, the brewery has reached a scale where it's begun to express its desire for its own brick-and-mortar facility to further refine their brewing processes. The reality is that the set up of each brewery makes it better suited for producing certain styles more so than others, so Funky Fluid’s professional brewers have to constantly drive to different locations to brew different batches of beers. Perhaps brew-driving isn’t as dangerous as drink-driving but all the travelling certainly sounds like hard work!

 

(Source: Michal Langier)

 

Last week at Orh Gao Taproom Singapore, we experienced Funky Fluid’s acclaimed Gelato series for the first time. This is one of the iconic flavours - the Berries & Cream Ice Cream Sour.

 

 

As I mentioned, this series is inspired by the indulgent, creamy flavours of Italian gelato and showcases the brewery's skill in translating these dessert characteristics into the medium of beer.

 

 

If you have a look at the Gelato series on the brewery’s website, the range of flavours is so wide you’d be left wondering if these guys might one day pivot into ice cream making. It’s as extensive as a gelateria with flavours such as Blueberry Cheesecake, Mango Sticky Rice, Raspberry & Banana Shake, Passionfruit Mango & Peach, and the said Berries & Cream.

The Berries & Cream variant we’re sipping has been brewed with raspberries, blackberries, marshmallow and vanilla and comes in at 5.5% ABV.

Let’s give this a taste.

 

Funky Fluid, Gelato: Berries & Cream Ice Cream Sour, 5.5% ABV – Review

 

Nose: Akin to diving into a bowl of raspberry sorbet or strawberry purée. The strawberry sweetness veers towards confectionery and creamy rather than purely fruity. It also has this distinct scent of strawberries and creme candies, reminiscent of those Italian Galatine sweets.

Accompanying this is a subtle zesty sweetness of lemon candies, intertwined with the distinctive sweet-tartness of sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn balls (山楂).

Palate: Flavourful and wonderfully balanced. It’s medium bodied, presenting a substantial texture that stops short of being heavy, and allows the fruitiness to maintain a refreshing character. Opens with a burst of rich raspberry ripple ice cream, followed closely by an intense strawberry jamminess. Milker notes of vanilla and cream soda emerge from the midst, alongside a gentle mellow marshmallow note reminiscent of the toppings on a hot chocolate. The flavours gradually develop towards a slightly yoghurty lactic sourness and tangy twist of sour plum candy.

Finish: Towards the end the fruitiness develops into a slight dryness and a puckering sensation, but the palate cleans up its act quickly. The final notes are remarkably light with a clean barley-like aftertaste you’d get in a good lager.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a beauty - one of the best pastry / confectionary / dessert sour style beers I’ve tried.

It really hits the sweet spot - it’s got everything you’d love about a raspberry ice cream, but doesn’t tip over into the overpowering too-sweet territory that many other brews do. It’s also refreshing but not too thin, and layered in berry and cream influences. Over all it’s very easy to drink.

What I love most is how it keeps its beer identity strong, with those subtle barley notes making a cameo after the main gelato act is done - right where you want them. If you're into dessert but fancy it in a pint glass, this is your go-to. And for anyone a bit wary of diving into “sour” beer, this Berries & Cream number is like the perfect introduction. It's got all the complexity and depth you'd want, but it's as approachable as a smoothie.

So hats off to Funky Fluid for nailing it with this one. Now, I’m on a hunt for other batches and flavours from this series.

My Rating: 9/10

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

@CharsiuCharlie