Raleigh brewery Funguys Brewing introduces a unique drink to the Triangle that’s perfect for the summer months.
by Cady Smith
Funguys Brewing has jumped on a new trend in smoothie style-sour beers and created a drink that might even entice even non-beer drinkers. The first series that Funguys created, the Smoothsicle Smoothie Style Sour, was created to replicate a childhood favorite sweet treat, the popsicle. The brewery’s newest series, called Lunchbox, consists of peanut butter and jelly smoothie inspired sours that feature various fruit flavors, including strawberry, raspberry and, most recently, peach.
The smoothie sour has been an opportunity for Nick and Carly Brango, co-owners and brewers at Funguys, to test out different flavor profiles, fruit combinations and ingredients like peanut butter, while also creating a drink that everyone can enjoy. “Our goal at Funguys has always been to have a drink for everyone,” says Nick Brango. “We noticed that by not constantly having a sour or fruited beer on, we were leaving out an entire audience of craft beer drinkers.”
Nick Brango, Funguys’ head brewer, has always had an interest in all things involving the peanut butter and jelly flavor combination. In searching for a way to replicate his favorite ice cream (raspberry with Reese’s peanut butter), the Lunchbox peanut butter and jelly series was born.
The Lunchbox smoothie sour was not Funguys’ first version of a peanut butter and jelly beer, however: the Brangos have been experimenting with different types since 2015, when the brewery started with a brown ale base and quickly discovered that a smoothie-style sour brought out the most authentic peanut butter and jelly flavor.
Now, the process to make these smoothie style sours looks much different. The brewery starts with a high ABV kettle sour. Then, various fruits are blended in with the beer, creating a process that is truly like making a smoothie. This also causes a lower ABV beverage as the percentage of alcohol decreases with the inclusion of fruit.
The reaction from customers on their smoothie sours has been overwhelmingly positive. “Overall, people have been blown away by the Smoothsicle series. Between the flavor and visual presentation, most people seem to be drawn to these beers. The sheer uniqueness gets most people to try the beer.”
The brewery’s favorite comments they have gotten are from craft beer drinking converts, people who previously steered clear of craft beer. “Really, this series opens the door for a number of new craft beer drinkers. People who swore off beer use this beer as a jumping off point to try other styles of beer,” Nick Brango says.
The flavors and fruit combinations are largely responsible for its popularity among both regular beer drinkers and converts alike along with its smooth texture and thick consistency. A reoccurring favorite is their Tart Cherry, Sweet Cherry and Raspberry trio. “That combo specifically seems to balance fruit depth with acidity in a special way that resonates with a wide audience.”
A smoothie sour is also perfect for summer because it’s refreshing, flavorful, and lower ABV. Nick Brango says that by brewing the Smoothsicle and Lunchbox beers sessionable, “it allows the consumer to have a few easily in the summer heat.”
Funguys Brewing is currently open for patio and curbside hours with weekly releases of new flavors in their Lunchbox and Smoothsicle series. You can purchase their smoothie style sour beers on tap or in a can.