Open for just over two years, Väsen has quickly attained national recognition. Named for the Swedish term for “inner essence,” the brewery reps the Scandanavian heritage of its founders, who use the Norwegian yeast Kviek to ferment several of its beers. Outside some traditional perennials, the beer rotation at Väsen is “a perpetual cycle of funkiness” with sours, farmhouse ales, and wild beers. The current tap menu offers eccentricities like The Mint-Lime Otter gose, the Everything Floats on Jelly concord grape sour, and The Smoked Candy Cap Walrus stout, which attains a big maple flavor not through syrup, but rare mushrooms. We know it’s weird.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Hane (Norwegian for rooster) is a true traditional farmhouse ale. Brewed in collaboration with Norfolk brewery Benchtop, Hane is barrel-fermented with “wild” yeast brettanomyces (a mainstay of funky brews), and then dry-hopped with Bavarian, Laurel, and other traditional hops. The result is a golden and bright 6.9% with notes of floral, spice, and true farmhouse funk.