On the western side of Interstate 25, just north of Fort Collins, Colorado, sprawls the giant Anheuser-Busch brewing complex. Since 2008, it’s been a member of the Anheuser-Bush InBev conglomerate based in Leuven, Belgium. And, as if to enhance it’s Belgian credentials, it has been brewing the “Shock Top” brand of what it calls “Belgian style” beers. But it’s main product is still Budweiser, “The King of Beers,” which, as many people have pointed out, is somewhat oxymoronic, considering that America is a democracy, not a monarchy.

Not visible from the freeway, but only a mile or so away, stands New Belgium Brewing Company. Although, unlike Budweiser, it is a wholly American company, New Belgium is closer in spirit to Belgium than the giant complex sprawling beside the freeway. When Jeff Lebesch and his then wife Kim Jordan took a bicycle tour through Belgium, they were so impressed with the many small breweries they visited, that they decided to start their own brewery in their garage, and to specialize in Belgian style beers. Stated in 1991, it had by 2013 become the third largest craft brewing company in the United States and had begun plans for opening a second brewery in the Ashville, North Carolina area.

I wouldn’t, on principle, visit the Anheuser-Busch plant. And I haven’t been able to schedule a tour of New Belgium. But there is another Fort Collins brewery with Belgian ties that I stop by whenever I pass by Fort Collins. It’s not big (although it’s growing), but it sure does make good beer. And when I arrive at either my Canadian or New Mexican destination, my beer loving friends anxiously inquire if I’ve made a stop in Fort Collins.

The place is called Funkwerks; it produces Belgian style beers, specializing on saisons, or farmhouse ales; and its so close to I 25 and you’re in a hurry to get out of the area before the rush hour begins but you want to take some of the beers with you, you can be of the highway, make the half mile trip to the brewery at 1900 E. Lincoln Avenue, Unit B, buy some of the 750 ounce bottles, and get back on the freeway in under half an hour.

The brewery is relatively new, having been founded in 2009 by Brad Lincoln and Gordon Schuck, two craft beer aficionadoes and dedicated home brewers who met while taking brewing courses at the Seibel Institute in Chicago. The two decided to open a microbrewery in Fort Collins. The city was a microbrewing hub, with over a half dozen breweries serving a very knowledgeable group of beer drinkers. “The city was big enough and had so many devotes of craft beer that we were sure it could support another brewery,” Schuck explained to me when I arrived at the brewery with enough time to stop and chat. “Both Brad and I were lovers of Belgian style beers, and we felt there would be a niche for a brewery offering just Belgian styles.”

Funkwerks soon became very popular, not only in Fort Collins, but around the state. And it quickly became very respected. In 2011, its Saison, won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival; and in 2012, the brewery won golds for the Saison and for Deceit a Belgian-style strong ale. It was also named the small brewing company of the year.

Funkwerks offers three different saison-style ales, Montagne, Saison, and King, along with a variety of other Beglian-style ales. The one I stock up on is simple titled Saison. It’s a 6.8 per cent ABV beer. It is a rich orange in color with a sold white head. There are notes of passion fruit, tangerine, and black pepper. It is somewhat citrusy, and finishes dry. It is based on the beer that was served to Belgian farm workers to slake their thirst after a hot, dusty day laboring in the fields.  But you don’t need to sign up for farm labor to enjoy it, and you don’t need to stop drinking it when the harvest is in. it is really a beer for all  “saisons.”

And so — if you’re driving on Interstate 25 past Fort Collins, you could stop and tour the Budweiser conglomerate. Or you should take the short trip off the freeway to 1900 E. Lincoln Avenue, Unit B, to Funkwerks, sample their beers and buy a couple of bottles to enjoy when you reach your final destination.

But, unless you’ve bought more than a couple of bottles, don’t tell your friends. It’s nice to share great beer, but you want to make sure you have enough left to enjoy yourself.