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Franklins One of Those Funky Thangs American Wild Ale

Where in Town: Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store, 5123 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville

Price: $16.99/750 mL

Turning Sour

Those of us who like sucking on lemons squeal in delight when a beer is described as sour, but words like acidic or vinegary can make people think the beer has gone bad. In a way, it has: Infections from micro-organisms like brettanomyces or lactobacillus are one way brewers make beers taste tart. The souring is intentional, but it can take a while to develop a taste for it. When I visited Cantillon in Brussels—considered the mecca of funky beers—several years ago, the brewery’s traditionally made lambics and gueuzes were lost on me. But these days, I can’t get enough. My latest funked-up brew was an American wild ale from Franklins in Hyattsville.

Gotta Have That Funk

Franklins shares space with a toy and gift shop that is filled with fun things to play with. But brewer Mike Roy’s house beers—from hoppy session ales to strong English- and Belgian-style brews—are not to be taken lightly. One of Those Funky Thangs, named after the Parliament song, is the second in Roy’s funk series. The Belgian dark ale spent two years in a red wine Bordeaux barrel with a blend of three bacteria strains and was then bottle-conditioned for five months. The complex beer’s cherry, plum, and sour candy aromas give way to flavors that are mouth-puckeringly tart at first but mellow with each sip as more roast and oak come through. The 8 percent alcohol brew is medium-bodied with light carbonation and a very dry, tannic finish. Sound tasty? Head to Franklins to snatch up one of the remaining bottles.

Photo by Tammy Tuck