This weekend Boca Raton’s Mad Robot Brewing (formerly Robot Brewing) will celebrate a well-deserved one-year anniversary. It’s the space formerly occupied by the original Funky Buddha Lounge, a very eclectic mix of beer, art, live performances, and a homebrew store.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff, and owner/brewer Allen Steen juggles at all fairly well. The recipes are all his own, making his own mark instead of just trying to keep doing what Funky Buddha had been doing for many years quite successfully.
The artwork is there, and the stage is their adorned with a new painting done by the same artist responsible for the incredible kinetic mural at the Brewhouse Gallery in Lake Park (If you haven’t seen that, you owe it to yourself to check it out). He still has the same brew system in the back, using well-worn grocery store coolers as fermentation tanks space. He has a small kitchen as well, with a nice array of pizzas available for patrons.
If you go far enough back, we did an interview with Allen for the Florida Beer Podcast, one of the first on-site interviews we did. And while that was a while ago, it is important to review the beers we tried there, for reasons that will be made clear soon.
It was fascinating to be able to sit and chat with him for a bit, and to try a few of those beers, such as Mother’s Oil (Milk Stout, 5% ABV, 37 IBU), a milk stout that contains a luxuriously smooth mouthfeel and slightly sweet milk chocolate body in a solidly bold and hearty ale base. Lots of good malt flavors that swirl and swim in this beer.
The other beer we tried (and just keep this one in mind) was Origin Story 2: The Great Wheat Hope (Wheat Ale, 6.4% ABV), a wheat ale with Seville oranges sourced from Allen’s childhood home near Gainesville.
Those Seville oranges are prized for being distinctly more bitter than the oranges most common here in Florida, and is the variety usually used in making marmalade. It’s not something usually used in a citrus wheat ale here, but these oranges gave such a distinctly different flavor to the beer I haven’t tried before.
It tastes very dark, almost like a blood orange but not as fruity and tart. The bitterness is more like the tang you get from HP Sauce, in a way, bringing a beefy backbone to a beer that is awash in light wheat flavors and buoyancy.
Those two beer are a great example of what Allen is doing at Mad Robot Brewing; a little of standards brewed perfectly to style, and a little thinking outside the box and keeping things different.
How different will he get? Well, it’s up to you to see what he does for his 1st anniversary. And you’ll have to be patient to see the other information that is coming relatively soon.
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