We had a great first experience this past weekend at Funktoberfest! 2017 was the third annual event but it was our first time attending. Jason and I thought we were doing good by arriving right at the start time of 3:00 but we could see that there was already a nice size crowd as parking was near full. We turned in our paper tickets for wristbands and headed into the event. As you walk in you are greeted by the funky music already playing on the stage (hence the name of the event) and the tents of craft vendors wrapped around the lawn.
The fest area was made up of several areas. The ‘beer’ areas were split into the pro-craft beer tents on one side and the homebrewers on the other. In the middle, there was a family games area with bean bag toss and a giant connect four. In front of the stage is where everyone sat and relaxed either on blankets or in folding chairs. Also, there were food booths sprinkled around everywhere and of course we were right next to Spirits, our favorite restaurant in town.
First up… beer!
Since this IS a craft beer festival, of course, our first stop had to be for a sample. I do not drink beer so this was all for Jason! His first choice was Flying Tiger from Monroe, LA. We spoke to the owner and were told that it is named after the famous Flying Tiger planes from World War II, so it is a patriotic beer! They had three to sample and Jason chose the blonde lager which was a win. After realizing that each tent had multiple samples I declared that this was going to be ‘dangerous’ as he will want to try them all.
Next up is Abita which is brewed in Abita Springs, LA. Their offering was an Olde Fashioned Pale Ale. In this same area was Crying Eagle Brewery from Lake Charles, LA who had a light, medium, and dark. The light was the Louisiana Lager crafted using Louisiana rice and is deemed ‘easy-drinking’. The medium was the Calcasieu Common amber lager. Lastly, the dark was the Pistol Bridge Porter brewed with black malt and dark cocoa… Jason’s comment ‘that’s dark!”. His favorite was the Louisiana Lager.
Pumpkin pie beer? Yeah, that is real (he didn’t try it)! But instead, Jason chose the Little Sumpin’ which is sweet at first with a bite on the back. It was deemed to be interesting… but very good. What a conversation starter… ‘You want a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin?” They also had the Two Hearted Ale brewed in Wisconsin which was a favorite because “if they make beer as good as they make cheese, it must be good’. Seven beer samples in, now Jason finally agrees with me that this is going to be dangerous!
Time for a music break
Now that we have a stack of small empty cups in one hand and a full sample in the other, we make our way over to the stage area to watch the band. Currently playing is the rich, soulful, funky sound of Jocelyn & Chris Arndt. They were really good and the music carried all around. We found a nice spot and laid out our blanket. Let me say that those super soft fluffy blankets are great for at home, but they are a grass magnet on the ground! I am still picking dry grass out days later!!!
Homebrewing at its finest
Not only did Funktoberfest feature the best craft beers from around Louisiana and beyond, there was also a section of tents for the local home brewers. Admittedly we did not visit them all but were very impressed by the ones we did. First up was Gary Baker: Heritage Road Brewing and his Biere de Garde… reaction “holy cow that’s good!’. Gary told us there was a competition for the best homebrew and that we needed to vote for his. But first to try a few more…
Across the way, we see a guy in a brewmaster shirt with a jar of hops in his hand. This drew our attention over to The Happy Wife Brew Shed for a sniff. Now that is a palette cleanser! They were serving up three brews and Jason was given samples of all three which were “Life on Marzen” Octoberfest Lager (four months old), the “Brown Eyed Girl” brown ale and a light which I didn’t catch the name of. They were great and showed us jars of all of the ingredients they use to make their brews.
Back to the blanket
The sun had finally moved behind the clouds and our blanket was in the shade. Oh, the glorious shade on a hot Louisiana afternoon! Without the sun it felt at least 20 degrees cooler outside. So we laid on our blanket and listened to the music and played with the nearby kids with giant beach balls.
The next band was a lot of fun! Zydeco music pulls at the heart of every Louisianian and the Lost Bayou Ramblers were perfect! You won’t understand until you see a guy in coveralls rocking an electric fiddle… it magical! There were even several couples dancing. Now there is a special kind of dancing that goes along with this style of music and unfortunately, I am not talented enough to be able to do it… but it is so much fun to watch! Side note: they did a zydeco version of Nirvana’s My Girl (Where Did You Sleep Last Night) that blew us away. You would have to know the song to recognize it because it was in French, but that was memorable!
We spent the rest of the day in this fashion. Listening to great music. Jason sampling the beers. Visiting with friends. Eating some amazing food. We watched the sun go down and the last two bands came out. They were Elliott Root and Delta Saints, both from Nashville, and they were both fantastic! We had a great time and will definitely be back next year!
Want to see this story come to life and hear the fantastic music? Here is the video:
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