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