I studied at the University of Miami during our back-to-back trips to the football national championship game in 2002 and 2003, so it was no accident that we were in Miami for the first Notre Dame-Miami football to be played in Miami in a couple of decades. We had talked about going for months, especially since it lined up with opening weekend for basketball as well. In the end, circumstances and travel points allowed us to make a last-minute decision to attend the games, visit friends, and check out some brews.
Funky Buddha was first on our list for obvious reasons, so we trekked up to Oakland Park (north of Ft. Lauderdale) to check it out. The company began in 2010 in Boca Raton and still brews at its smaller original location there, but opened a massive tap room and brewery further south in 2013. The original Funky Buddha Lounge is supposed to be great, and they brew some of their smaller-batch, experimental stuff there, but we didn’t have the time to go all the way to Boca, so it was off to the brewery in Oakland Park for us. The Funky Buddha Brewery has a huge space, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and quite the capacity for production. Its known for beers like Maple Bacon Coffee Porter (a seasonal specialty), and Hop Gun IPA (one of the usual offerings).
On a Saturday afternoon with plenty of sports on, the tap room was crowded, but we managed to snag two seats at the bar, which was perfect, since we wanted to taste a lot! After the Russian River Fiasco of 2017, we try not to order too many tasters at once, because warm beer is no fun, so we got two flights of five, but had them one at a time. We also ate lunch there, and the food was solid.
Imperial Colada Cream Ale: sweet and fun, like a melted pina colada creamsicle. Limited release; seems like it’s no longer available. 4/5
OP Porter: subtle coffee—I usually like porters to smack me in the face with coffee. Really smooth and drinkable, though. 3.5
Butta’ Cup (double brown ale with peanut butter): I’m not a huge peanut butter fan by itself, so I wanted more chocolate in this, but it was fun. 4
Android 3000 (black saison): Definitely different. Brewed with peaches, black pepper, coriander, and orange peel. Spicy and dark, but the finish was a little bitter for me. Limited release collaboration with a homebrewer. 3.5
Last Snow (coconut & coffee porter): Seasonal. One of my favourites from our visit; we brought two bottles home. I found it smooth and boozy, with present coconut that didn’t overpower the coffee. 4.5
Pineapple Beach (Blonde Ale): I wanted more pineapple and less bitterness from this. Expected more tropics. 3.75
Undefeated Saison: Aged in Chardonnay barrels, but I wanted more flavour from that. It was a nice saison, though. The name and style are a nod to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only NFL team with a perfect season in the super bowl era, and since I’m a ‘Canes fan, I’d like to think it also applies to the Miami Hurricanes, who have had 3 undefeated seasons. (Sorry, in addition to being a beer nerd, I’m also a sports nerd!) 3.75
Buddhafest Marzen: Seasonal, obviously. I wasn’t expecting much, since I have my doubts that Oktoberfest and Florida typically go together, but this was pretty strong and flavourful. 4
42 Truths (Pale Ale): Collaboration with The Bier. Added orange peel to make it Floridian, which was why I wanted to try it. It’s still too much of a pale ale for me, though, and I thought it had a weird aftertaste. 3.25
Pearl Diver (saison with oysters): First time having oysters in a beer that isn’t a stout. I wasn’t sure about it, and commented that I would need oysters to see if it paired well. They did not have oysters. 3.5
Strawberry Hop Gun (IPA): This is a limited release version of their popular Hop Gun IPA. Obviously, it has strawberries. I’m not a fan of hoppy beers, so I wasn’t crazy about it, but the strawberry flavour helped. 3.5
After our flights, we sampled just a few more:
Dry Hopped Berliner (Berliner Weisse): Well, I found out that I prefer berliner weisses without dry hops. 3.25
Fuhgeddaboutit (Red/Amber Ale): Mild and drinkable. Brewed for a pizza joint, and I think it would go well with pizza. 3.75
Doc Brown (Brown Ale): One of their usuals. Standard brown ale, which I generally like. A little bitter. 3.75
Overall, the experience was top-notch and we enjoyed most of the beers, especially the darker and more seasonal or limited-release brews. We took home a tee-shirt and about 5 or 6 beers, I think, including a few that we hadn’t tried yet, like the much-lauded Uncle Vucub. I think a few are still in our beer cellar, but we’ve had some of the bottles over the past couple of months, and I’ll have to post a brew review of BBA Uncle Vucub soon.
Visit The Funky Buddha Brewery:
1201 NE 38th Street
Oakland Park, FL 33334
Open daily 11:30am-midnight
Bring your kids until 8pm, bring your dogs (but they have to stay outdoors)
Full Disclosure: The fella works for Funky Buddha’s parent company. We had never had their beers before our visit, though, since the fella doesn’t work in the beer division, and Funky Buddha doesn’t have national distribution. We are grateful to the staff at the brewery for the excellent service and many samples, along with the company discount. This blog was not mentioned during the visit, and I’m writing this post without the fella’s input or comments, just to keep things fair.