This weekend saw the beginning of a new era in beer for Broward County, when the Funky Buddha opened their new state-of-the-art facility in downtown Oakland Park Saturday night.
If there was a theme for the night, it was beer, people, and rain. Coming from Palm Beach County, I was expecting the worst; after all we had gotten so much rain up there the roads were flooding, and on the way down to Oakland Park there were areas where you could barely see 200 feet in front of you. However, the beer gods were placated, and down off 38th street, in the newly christened food district of Oakland Park, the rain slowed to a Seattle-like drizzle.
After the requisite ribbon cutting, and excited cheers of the crowd, the doors to the tap room opened allowing a wave of humanity to funnel into the building.
What a sight. This is probably the largest tap room for a brewery I have ever seen. It's big, spacious, and modern. Digital televisions on the wall behind the bar showcase the beers on tap and the special releases available. I spot a pressurized growler filler, which will make people very happy when they come to fill up on the way home.
Tickets get exchanged for glasses of beer, in scenes similar to the Chicago commodities exchange, or a chilled game of Pit. However, despite the seeming chaos, the staff handles it all with aplomb.
The facility is divided into two main sections; the main tasting room and bar, that features ample table space and room for seemingly hundreds of people, and the more warehouse-y game area that contains a large indoor bocce court and multiple cornhole boards.
Near that games area were the 'secret' taps manned by Sean, a new face to the Funky Buddha team. He was hired as part of the recent expansion and is personally a huge fan of IPAs. However, conversation turned quickly to the Berliner Weiss that was on tap.
"It's an absolutely good berliner," he said. "Especially tonight."
He wasn't wrong. So on that, it's time to delve into the beers.