Beer scout: Let’s get funky

WICKED GOOD: Walt Dickinson, Wicked Weed co-owner and brewer, uses wine and bourbon barrels to brew the company's signature sour beers. Photo courtesy of Wicked Weed Brewing
WICKED GOOD: Walt Dickinson, Wicked Weed co-owner and brewer, uses wine and bourbon barrels to brew the company's signature sour beers. Photo courtesy of Wicked Weed Brewing

What is a Funkitorium? According to Wicked Weed, it’s a 12,000-square-foot barrel house and sour beer tap room opening in late summer at 147 Coxe Ave. While the tasting room portion of the Funkitorium will be on the small side, the massive warehouse space — which will eventually hold up to 1,500 wine and bourbon barrels — will also be open to the public in some capacity. “There may be ropes, but you’ll be able to walk in and see the barrels for sure,” says Abby Dickinson, director of media and events for Wicked Weed. 

For the uninitiated, Wicked Weed uses these barrels to mingle microbes and beer to create beers like Black Angel, Amorous and the Great American Beer Festival gold-medal-winning Serenity among others.

Opening a second location just two years after opening may seem to place a lot of pressure on the sour program, but that’s not the case, according to Dickinson. “We’ve actually been using a building about a third this size out in Fairview to store barrels, and we also have office space in another part of town as well. This new building will give us all the space we need [for the barrels and offices] and allow us to open some of that up to our customers as well. … It’s a natural evolution.”

Nothing has been finalized yet, but the tasting room will likely have a garage door that opens up with a view of Twin Leaf across the street. There may be an outdoor area as well, though that has yet to be determined, according to Dickinson. There will definitely be between 10 and 15 taps, most of which will be devoted to sour beers and beers made with wild yeasts. Two or three taps will pour other Wicked Weed beers such as Freak of Nature Double IPA. The company plans to eventually stock the location with a “robust cellar list of aged bottles,” according to Dickinson. 

Funk Asheville Festival

While the space is projected to open in late summer or early fall, Wicked Weed is partnering with Pints for Prostates for Funk Asheville: A Gathering of Wild & Sour Beers 7-10 p.m. on Friday, May 30, to christen the space.

The brewery list has not yet been announced, but expect a list of established and up-and-coming American brewers that make interesting, funky beer from lambic and gose to Flanders red and gueuze. Early RSVPs include Green Man, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Trophy, Yazoo, Natty Greene’s and Green Bench. Tickets are $80 and on sale now via Etix. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for $100 and will provide access for an hour preview with food provided by Wicked Weed and some of the brewers on hand. According to Wicked Weed Event Captain Micah Pulleyn, Funk Asheville will also feature unique entertainment and an art installation, “celebrating all things funky in Asheville.”

Additionally, a silent auction of unique beer experiences and collectible items will benefit Pints for Prostates. “Our mission is to reach men through the universal language of beer, and this is the second year in a row that Pints for Prostates will host an Asheville Beer Week event,” says Rick Lyke, founder of Pints for Prostates.

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About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O'Hearn covers beer and brewery news for Mountain Xpress.

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