The funky sour brew comes from Florida's Motorworks Brewing.
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El Camino
Credit: jondpatton/Getty Images

Once an extremely obscure style in America, sour beers have burst onto the scene in the past decade-plus. Among your goses and Berliner weisses, more brewers have also been tackling the traditional Belgian style known as a lambic. One reason these especially funky sours languished for so long is they’re an acquired taste. In fact, one way to think of a lambic is that it’s a beer that’s kind of gone bad: Brewers work in open air vessels, waiting for spontaneous fermentation, with the hope that whatever ambient yeast and other microbes they catch leave the results more mouth-puckering than gag-inducing.

Since these typically flat fermentation vessels, known as “coolships,” are open air anyway, in theory, brewers could use any sort of container they want, and apparently a brewery in Florida took that idea and ran with it… or maybe “drove” with it would be more fitting. Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton inoculated their forthcoming sour in the back of a 1984 El Camino Conquista.

Clearly, you don’t brew a beer in an El Camino without some serious smirking, and according to Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine, the whole thing began as a joke. Discussions of turning the El Camino’s flatbed into a makeshift pool quickly turned to the possibility of a makeshift coolship. “We measured the bed of the El Camino, and the dimensions were damn near perfect for a 3.5-barrel brew,” Lead Brewer Jose Martinez, who owned the car, told the magazine, pointing out that 3.5 barrels is the same size as their brewing system.

Though you want a sour to be funky, you want yeast funk, not El Camino funk, so Motorworks said they covered the flatbed with a “heat-resistant, food-grade, FDA compliant liner.” They then choose to park the car under a 150-year-old oak tree in the hope of getting the right kind of microbes. (For the record, they also put a tent over the vehicle to prevent unwanted stuff from falling in.)

“It looked nice and frothy and aerated when it was transferred from the Camino into the fermenter, so we’re just hoping for a cool, funky beer showcasing Bradenton’s unique microflora,” Martinez explained on the brewery’s website. This first batch was brewed in January, and they hope to use the El Camino again when the right weather returns. “This is the beginning of a spontaneous fermentation program we’d really like to keep going in the future,” he added.

Though the brewers didn’t provide Craft Beer & Brewing with a lot of details, they said this El Camino-brewed funk bomb—which is slated to be called Fermentis Camino and feature a label inspired by old Auto Trader ads—is aging well in barrels and will hopefully be released in a few months. Sounds like the kind of beer release party car fans won’t want to miss.