Disclaimer – I am not a big fan of the overly hoppy, strong beers. If you are, take some of my reviews with a grain of salt. You may like some of these beers more than I did.
If you’ve been reading this blog and you haven’t heard of Funky Buddha Brewery, let me welcome you back to Earth. They’re pretty much the 800-pound gorilla of South Florida beer and are generating a considerable amount of buzz pretty much nationwide. I just had a guy in Ohio ask me to send him some. Seriously. It’s amazing how the word has spread.
So, while they were at New Times Beerfest a few weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting to try anything new and interesting from them. I definitely wasn’t expecting to get a full blog post out of everything Funky Buddha had to offer. I was wrong. I will start off by saying the one standard beer they had on tap was Floridian (Hefeweizen, 5.6% ABV, 12 IBU), their beyond-incredible hefeweizen. Once they get their bottling line up and running, I expect this to be one of the first off the line.
The other standard tap they had up an running was Small Axe, Big IPA (Double IPA, 9.5% ABV, 85 IBU). Look at the numbers for this one: It’s almost 10% alcohol with 85 IBU’s. It’s big. It’s powerful. It’s got a hoppy kick like a mule on steroids. It’s incredibly strong and not recommended for newbie drinkers. Hopheads will drink this like it’s going out of style.
Fast forward a few hours, and the Funky Buddha people are preparing to tap their hotly anticipated Banana Split Ale. There was a noticeably large crowd of people milling about and chanting for this beer. Weirdly enough, no one was walking up and asking for anything else. And they had another limited release beer, Nikolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV, 45 IBU) available for the pouring. I haven’t had it yet. So of course I’m going to walk right up and get me some. And let me tell you, that beer is as strong as you would think with being named after this guy:
It is a giant, explosive beer that will almost instantly fill you up. Dark, roasty flavors that need to be bold to compete with the 10.5% ABV and a hugely hoppy bang that is mellowed out with oats and lactose. It’s a big, burly beer.
But 9 PM rolled around, and with it the Beerfest release of Banana Split Ale (Hefewizen/Fruit Ale, 5.2% ABV, 15 IBU). Tasting it, two things are apparent. One, it feels like Floridian was the base for this ale treatment. Two, I want this to replace the blood in my veins. It is sweet, and good for them for allowing it to be sweet. It really is like dessert in a glass, with the banana and fruity esters from the hefeweizen yeast milling around with Funky Buddha’s additions of bananas (real ones this time), vanilla, and cherries. It’s remarkably smooth, lingers delightfully on the tongue, and has the massive flavors and culinary crafting that people have come to expect from Funky Buddha.
In all, I’m glad I hung around the Funky Buddha tent. They had some pretty good stuff at Beerfest. But please protect me from Nikolai.
He scares me.
Drink Florida Craft,