Going into Brewvival 2012, I was plenty excited about a lot of the stuff on hand - Bell’s Black Note, vintage stuff from Stone and COAST, new offerings from Green Flash and Westbrook, and so on. But in the week leading up to the festival, there was one brewery my friends touted as the likely surprise hit: Funky Buddha.
I had never heard of Funky Buddha before, which isn’t surprising. Located in Boca Raton, FL, Funky Buddha is a lounge and brewpub that offeres everything from handmade beers to teas and tobaccos, in addition to live entertainment and other things you’d expect from a lounge. They don’t distribute their beers anywhere else in Florida, so you have to go to the brewery itself to enjoy. My friends guaranteed me I wouldn’t be disappointed once we tracked them down at the festival.
I certainly wasn’t. Funky Buddha was not only the single best brewery at Brewvival, but they’re one of the best breweries I’ve ever tried.
To start off, Funky Buddha wasn’t even listed on the website or the guide you got at the festival. (Neither were their Floridian counterparts, Cigar City Brewing.) They had a big banner behind their table and plenty of merch for sale, but for the first couple hours, you could get up and get your beer without waiting more than a minute.
That changed as the day went along. I would constantly hear people excitedly telling their friends how amazing Funky Buddha’s stuff was. By the end of the day, the lines at their table were so long they doubled back on themselves. Needless to say, word caught on fast. Easily the longest lines of the day, rivaled by only Black Note.
Here’s what they had on hand throughout the day:
- Hop Gun, a 6.5% American IPA with a deep amber color, a biting citrus smell and a sweet but piney tastes;
- Ich Bin Lime, a 4.0% Berliner Weissbier with a hazy greenish yellow color, a tart citrus smell and a very tart, biting lemon lime taste like a liquid key lime pie;
- Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, a 6.3% porter that poured fudge brown, smelled like coffee, maple syrup and chocolate and tasted like biting into maple bacon donut. Amazing stuff;
- No Crusts, which smelled and tasted exactly like a PB&J sandwich. A 6.0% brown ale, it poured a deeper brown and smelled nutty with a sweet jelly smell. The taste, as expected, was phenomenal. Sweet grape and strawberry jelly, nutty creaminess. Damn;
- Bonita Applebum, which much like No Crusts was liquid apple pie. Another 6.0% brown ale with that cloudy brown color. It smelled like cinnamon, spices and apple and tasted just the same. Another astounding beer;
- Red Dawn, a 5.2% Irish red ale. It was a sweeter red ale that poured a deep brownish red color. There was a nice roasted and caramel smell to it and a nice malty sweetness throughout;
- The Last Snow, one of the first beers I had at the festival. An American porter coming in at 6.5%, it’s dark brown, almost black in color. The smell was coffee, toasted coconut and slight chocolate. The coffee and coconut dominate the taste and it ends amazingly smoothly.
Reading over all those descriptions makes me really upset I didn’t go back for seconds. For a brewery that I didn’t even know about until a week ago and had no prior promotion, the folks at Funky Buddha easily won over the crowd. If anything, they sure as hell won over me.