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Over the Weekend: Funky Buddha Brewery Grand Opening

To see more photos from the grand opening of Funky Buddha's Brew Pub, click here.

Who would've thought coconut-rum-infused red ale would be so damned good?

The Funky Buddha Brewery, South Florida's newest brewpub, arrived with a bang Saturday night. The long-popular lounge added 13 homespun beers to its repertoire -- creative and inspired interpretations on craft brews that leveraged rum and brandy as well as Florida oranges and honey. The celebration, which included live music and, of course, hookahs, drew a sizable crowd to East Boca.  

Owners Jim Bast and Ryan Sentz went above and beyond their opening-day

expectations, showcasing more than a dozen brews. I had the opportunity to

try each of them as part of a series of samplers (five beer shots for $5,

essentially). All were great, but I definitely had some favorites among

the bunch.

The Buddha's beer list was smartly set up from light, smooth-drinking

beers up toward bigger, darker brews. At the top of the list was

Missionary Ale, an everyday drinker that was light and crisp. Moving

down, we loved the Florida Hefeweizen, a brilliant take on an orangey

wheat that was infused with Florida honey, oranges, and Madagascar

vanilla beans. The result tasted like an adult Creamsicle. Hop Gun,

which Bast and Sentz have been perfecting for a few years now, was a

mild and hoppy pale ale with surprising crispness.

A red ale appeared on the menu twice, first as a sweet and malty red

and again as an aged version infused with coconut rum, affectionately

called Red Rum. The coconut flavors actually paired perfectly with

the sweet malt -- an interesting and highly drinkable brew.

A trademark Piiti Porter made with lactose got two extra treatments as

well: one with a hefty dose of espresso and another aged two weeks on

brandy barrels for a rich, cherry-like flavor.

The brewery really shone in the bigger, high-alcohol beers. Its Don't

Try Amber was a supermalty double amber with tons of floral, honeyed

New Zealand hops. The Kluster Fuck Rye IPA brought a spicy/citrusy take

on hoppy Imperial pales, while the Funky Buddha Stout combined rich

flavors and high drinkability in a dark brew. A pair of barleywines,

one aged six weeks on oak, were killer. At 11.5 percent alcohol and

plenty of deep, ripe, dark fruit flavor, these sweet and hoppy

barleywines were absurdly good -- and very dangerous.

Overall, I can't wait to get back to the Funky Buddha Brewery again.

The inexpensive pints coupled with the chilled-out setting make for a

great place to hang and drink. Some visual overhauls like

custom-designed tap handles and a series of mad scientist photographs

depicting the brewmasters at work add to the fun.

For more on the Funky Buddha, read our preview here or check out our new slideshow from the evening.

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John Linn

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