If I never see an almost completely naked fat guy wearing a tiny speedo on a dunk tank ever again in my life, it will be too soon.
Funky Buddha Brewery’s two year anniversary party was Saturday, and from the look of things, it was a great success.
Located in a rapidly gentrifying area of Oakland Park, Funky Buddha has grown from a small lounge and nano-brewery in Boca Raton to a state-wide brewing behemoth that can be found almost everywhere in the Sunshine State.
To celebrate, they threw a massive birthday bash at their Oakland Park facility featuring well over 100 Funky Buddha and guest drafts, many that were incredibly hard to find.
Just like any big festival, there was almost constant music from live bands, a row of food trucks (one with a great BBQ pork bahn mi), specialty merchandise, and even screen printing while you wait. Plus the aforementioned dunk tank. Funky Buddha posted a picture of the offending human on their Instagram account. They should not have.
What’s nice is there was even a tent set up for Funky Buddha to show off their new Craft Food Counter & Kitchen, to open in September. This new facility will pair Funky Buddha’s eclectic line of beers with a refined and robust menu of traditional favorites, set in a rustic, brewery-inspired seating area.
While there, Funky Buddha gave out samples of one of their new dishes: a beer bratwurst on top of a bed of fresh, local pickled vegetables, pretzel made with spent brewer’s grains and ale yeast, and a whole grain mustard made with Doc Brown Ale.
Another group there worthy of note was Poplab, a Miami-based popsicle maker selling a pretty nice selection of fresh popsicles make with local ingredients, not artificial flavors. My wife loved the pineapple-basil and fresh watermelon popsicles. Poplab also had two Funky Buddha beer popsicles. There was one made with Key Lime Berlinerweisse, but I had to avail myself of the one made with my favorite, OP Porter.
But enough of all that, right? There’s beer to drink!
I am going to save the three variants of their Nikolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout and the lone non-Funky Buddha beer I tried for later. Here’s everything else we sampled:
Wide Awake It’s Morning (Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV) – This is the imperial (i.e. strong as anything) version of Funky Buddha’s legendary Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. It’s much stronger than standard MBCP, with a higher alcohol content, a more pronounced hop profile, and a heavy, dark maltiness that is only made more pronounced with the maple from the beer. It’s a beer that hits hard, almost like molasses.
As if Wide Awake It’s Morning really needed to be heavier, Funky Buddha then tapped Morning Wood (Imperial Stout, 11.5% ABV) . This beer is Wide Awake It’s Morning that was then further aged in bourbon barrels from Kentucky’s Heaven Hill distillery. It’s just gigantic, maybe a little too much so for a hot day in South Florida. It felt like a quality Winter Warmer, obviously without the spices. The bacon and coffee tended to get lost a bit, but the maple and the bourbon were strong and right up front.
I love goses, so I got Margarita Gose (Gose, 5% ABV), which was fantastic. Light and tart from fresh lime juice, with a traditionally salty meatiness and a refreshing lightness after so many heavy Imperial Stouts. It packs a big, flavorful punch, but isn’t heavy or big in alcohol. Hop and malt flavors are smartly kept very low.
Keeping with the fruit was Big Guava Jelly Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale, 5% ABV), a nicely standard blonde ale brewed with 1,500 lbs of fresh guava, not jelly as the name would imply. The aroma of the beer is where a lot of the guava can be noticed. When you smell this, the guava is unavoidable. It’s big, it’s tropical, and it’s wonderful. Drinking the beer is where some of that tropical quality is lost a bit. Guava isn’t an overly sweet and sugary fruit, so the guava blends in with a moderately spiky hop bitterness and light maltiness. But it’s refreshingly light and great for the warm day the event was held on.
Finally was Dread Pirate Robert’s Imperial Stout (Imperial Oatmeal Stout, 9.5% ABV), a big imperial stout that really didn’t feel too much like an imperial stout. It was a bit smoother and easier to drink, and the oatmeal can be thanked for a lot of that. The rest can be put on the shoulders of a wonderful list of adjuncts like raspberries, cocoa, coconut, and vanilla. Of those, the raspberry is definitely the most notable, providing a significant sweet tartness to the beer. the cocoa and the coconut brought a more mature, rounded sweetness as well, and it made the beer easily drinkable and approachable, even through the high alcohol content.
Funky Buddha has a lot to be proud of, and they’ve done a lot of growing in the past two years. Here’s to celebrating many more years of brewing quality beers.
Some of which they owe me for being subjected to that half-naked guy.
Drink Florida Craft,