Funky Buddha. Because beer.
I’ve come to realize that I go to Funky Buddha frequently enough to do one of these articles on a monthly basis or so. That’s why I love these, in essence, supercraft breweries. They’re still a micro craft beer purveyor, but they’ve been around so long and have a strong enough system to where they can basically play with different beers. FB has at least 10-15 limited release beers any time I go, which means there’s always a good reason to be there. So let’s take a look at my recent trip:
Irish Coffee Stout Ale (Stout, 4.5% ABV) is as close to a good Guinness-style stout as I have had that’s been brewed in state. Sure, it’s not your crazy uncle’s big, killer stout. Doesn’t need to be, nor are all stouts supposed to be. This one is incredibly light, exceptionally easy to drink, and has a nice creamy head that doesn’t go away the moment it’s poured. The coffee flavor is very, very light, however.
Raspberry Latte Porter (Porter, 6.3% ABV, 35 IBU) has to be one of the more intriguing ideas for a beer I’ve seen. And that’s saying something for Funky Buddha. Basically, this is a milk porter, one of my favorite varieties, but brewed with espresso beans and raspberries. I’m a little surprised by the lightness and reddish hue of the color of the beer. I expected all porters to be a bright and sunny as swamp water (sarcasm). But this one has a really, really deep red color, presumably (obviously) from the berries.
The flavor is delightfully mature, almost like a raspberry and dark chocolate mousse. There’s a silky softness that the lactose brings to the beer, complimented by the dark roasty maltiness of the malt and the espresso beans. The raspberry comes in with just a tang of sweetness, dark and understated enough to keep the beer refined, but still sweet enough to give the beer the light berry quality that blends with the lactose. Excellent beer.
And if you want more raspberry and less malt in your beer, their Raspberry Berlinerweiss (Berlinerweiss, 4.5% ABV, 10 IBU) is perfect. A berlinerweiss is a sour, fruity beer, brewed with a lot of wheat malt and special yeast that make the beer just south of the Warheads you ate on a dare in middle school. It is incredibly tart, as a berlinerweiss should be. The raspberries blend well with the natural fruitiness that comes from the wheat and the yeast. And I have said this before; I honestly believe that sour beers like this are going to be the signature flavor of South Florida brewing.
And now we come to a beer with which I was pleasantly surprised. Previously I reviewed their Nikolai Vorlauf giant, killer, big, brutal Imperial Stout. And I’m not a fan of insanely big, aggressively hopped beers like this. Don’t even show me Old Rasputin; I’ll run away screaming.
So it was with a little trepidation that I ordered the Cabernet Barrel-Aged Nikolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout, 11% ABV). Beer-wise, it’s their regular Vorlauf, high alcohol and all. It has a deep ruby color, but still appears dark as night. It’s when you drink the beer that you notice the incredible tempering effect that the Cabernet barrels have on the beer. The nose has big, sweet wine notes placed very prominently. The flavor is even better, with the normally brutal harshness of the imperial stout given a velvety smoothness that I normally see with a nitro porter. Okay, maybe not that smooth, but it’s incredibly easy to drink and has a wonderful dark wine and roasted malt aftertaste. This beer is fantastic, and it’s a shame that it probably won’t hang around for a long time.
I never thought I’d say those things about a high gravity beer, but there you go.
More barrel aging, please.
Drink Florida Craft,