Beer: Funky Prowler
Brewery: Highway Manor Brewing Co. (Camp Hill, PA)
Style: Stout – Irish Dry
5.2% ABV / N/A IBU
If Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be” described a beer, it would be Funky Prowler. On paper, this all looks, well, intriguing: it’s a dry Irish stout, barrel-aged and fermented with a sour yeast. Funky Prowler barely resembles an Irish stout and looks more like an Irish red ale at first blush; it pours with a reddish-brown color and virtually no carbonation or head. It doesn’t taste like an Irish stout or any stout and if we’re being honest, even five pints into a pub crawl in Killarney, your cousin Seamus would never mistake this for an Irish stout.
Between barrel aging and the sour yeast strain, there’s too much going on here to even get a sense of the dry Irish stout base. Aging can do some incredible things to stouts, but I couldn’t even get a sense of what type of barrels were used with this, and barrel-aging is kind of pointless when experimenting with a sour yeast strain. In typical fermentation, yeast eats sugar en route to producing alcohol. Whatever Highway Manor has produced has an effect similar to introducing bacteria culture to the wort, making for a beer that is bracing and unappealing in its sourness.
Funky Prowler skews a lot closer to an American wild ale in its final form. It finds its character in fermentation, with hints of sour cherries and raspberries. With each sip, there’s an instant burst of lactic sourness at the top of the palette, followed by a stinging sensation all around, which is quite unusual for a beer that is not brewed with peppers or spices. It does resemble one quintessentially Irish thing: malt vinegar. I’d consider this as an accompaniment to fish ‘n’ chips, but only after a loooooong night of drinking.
For more info, check out Highway Manor Brewing here.