The Funky Buddha Brewery and Lounge officially launches this Saturday at 7 p.m., bringing hand crafted brews to thirsty South Floridians. Owners Jim Bast and Ryan Sentz have been working on relaunching the loungey spot as a complete brewpub for the past year. With the lengthy permit process finally behind them, they're focusing their attention on the beers.
"It's insane," says Bast. "We kept thinking it would be open by this date or that date. But we're really, really happy that the day is finally here."
To operate their brewery, Funky Buddha's owners purchased a 40-gallon
all-grain brewing system from local brewer Bob Gordash. Gordash, the
owner of Fort Lauderdale-based Holy Mackerel, once used the system to
win the Sam Adams Long Shot homebrew contest. The relatively small size
of the brewery operation will allow the Buddha to experiment with
creative batches in a way that larger systems do not.
That lightning-fast, small batch operation has already paid off. Bast
and Sentz will launch on day one with a staggering 10 beers on tap.
Fans of the Buddha may have already be familiar with some of them --
the lounge has been perfecting its formulas by giving away test samples
at festivals and special events for the past year or so. Those headline
beers include Hop Gun, a crisp, hop-forward IPA, and the Floridian, a
hefeweizen made with Florida orange peels, honey, and vanilla.
Also on tap: a dark ale called Piiti Porter, brewed with milk sugars
for a creamy/sweet flavor. Another version of the porter will be imbued
with rich, roasty espresso. Bast is equally excited about his double
rye IPA, light ale, and a big imperial amber ale that demands slow
Pints of Funky Buddha's homemade brew will come at an equally homemade
price: $4 to $5, depending on the selection, with $1 off during happy
hour (5 to 7 p.m. daily). Fans who plan on trying them all can also
join what Bast calls "the Snifter Club." This limited membership plan
gives Buddha-ites a name-engraved, 18-ounce snifter to be kept at the
bar (for those keeping track, that's a 2-ounce larger pour), plus an
extended happy hour that runs until 8 p.m. That plan costs $25; and
Imperial version of the membership for $50 adds a T-shirt, a branded
32-ounce growler, a membership card granting discounts on food and
merch, and free entry to the Buddha's special events like concerts and
Bast and Sentz plan to keep at least five handcrafted brews on tap at
all time. The pair will also keep local beers on draft from makers like
Cigar City and Holy Mackerel, in addition to stocking their already
wide array of bottled craft beer.
Customers can also expect more of what has made the Funky Buddha an
loungey institution over the past four years. The place is full of
couches and chairs will comfortable pillows and unique art all over the
walls. You can rent out hookahs in a variety of flavors and nibble on
bar bites while live entertainment performs almost nightly. The joint
hosts open mics, live national music acts, and plays movies on its huge
projection screen. All this means there's as much to do at Funky Buddha
as there is to drink.
But make no mistake: the beer's the star now. South Florida's lucky to
have grown another brewery larger. So get out there and raise a glass
The Funky Buddha Brewery and Lounge
2621 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton