Monday, February 27, 2012

Funky Buddha Night Out and Beer Reviews

Last Thursday, I met up with some local beer geeks to check out The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in Boca Raton, Florida. I also took the opportunity to make the evening the subject of my first article on This was my first trip to "The Buddha" despite its awesome reputation and massively hyped beers. I arrived around 7 pm when there was only a handful of people there. I immediately recognized a guy I had met a few weeks back at Coffee District Monday Night Bottle Share. Just attests to the fact that the locals know the great beer spots!

Anyway, I checked out the beer options for the night on the chalk boards above the bar. I was most interested in the Funky Buddha's beers, since I had never had any and they don't bottle yet. I was a little disappointed to only find six of the Buddha's beers as options, and none of their specialty beers that you hear so much about. We were told that "those beers" were sent to Boston a few weeks ago for Extreme Beer Fest and more just recently for Brewvival in Charleston, SC. That fact seemed to bother some of the regulars. For me, I just decided to make the best with the five I'd never had anyway. Good idea right? There's always a next time, and I know these guys are stretched thin and to capacity.

I decided a flight of 5 samples was the best way to approach a bunch of new beers. I picked the first 5 on the board and only passed on the Mixed Berry Wheat. Here is a brief review of each. I drank them the way they were served, in order (starting top left in the picture). The server told me he just did them in the order of the board to make it easy to refer to. Good idea.

1. Floridian Hefeweizen (5.6% alcohol). Lemon and wheat flavors dominate the beginning, with a nice wheaty texture also noticeable right from the start. Some banana flavors are also a main player right away. After a few sips, you start to notice a nice citrus component, both sweet and bitter, like candied lemon rind. Good carbonation. Nice the way the flavors all came together, none being overbearing. Very refreshing.

2. Hop Gun IPA (7.7% IPA). Nice peppery bitterness up front. Very fresh. Spicy. Sweet caramel and tropical fruit flavors, big body and a little syrupy. It did remind me a bit of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, but a little thicker. Spicy, booze, heat, low carbonation, decent balance. I liked the flavors and ordered a full glass later on in the evening.

3. Piiti Porter (6.3% alcohol). Nice roast with some coffee and cocoa flavors. Burnt sugar. Sweet yet balanced with good bitterness at the same time.

4. Cream Ale (4.6% alcohol). Smooth but very light. Faint fruitiness but a bit soapy. Bitter aftertaste. Easy drinker but my least favorite of all of them.

5. Red Dawn Red Ale (6.8% alcohol). Nice aroma of toffee and caramel. Nice flavors too. Caramel, spicy with some light peppery flavors to start. Rich body. Toffee and honey flavors take over in the middle. Very nice beer. I liked this one.

I actually almost finished my flight before any of the people I was meeting arrived. Plenty of time to reflect and ponder the beers. My favorites in order: Hop Gun IPA > Floridian Hefeweizen >Piiti Porter > Red Dawn Red Ale >> Cream Ale . I actually thought they were all great--flavorful, enjoyable and fresh. Only the Cream Ale was not one I'd repeat.

Besides trying all of the Funky Buddha beers, I also had a few glasses of Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, a new guest tap starting that night. What a delicious little morsel that beer is! And finally, a surprise for the evening... Our host and owner Ryan (who was on that South Carolina trip) left a few rare bottles of beer from his collection for the gang to try.

This time we were treated to Chimay Red from 2001, Rochefort 8 from 2005 and Westvleteren 12 from 2003. The Chimay was definitely way past its prime. Flat, fruity, yeasty and I heard diaper and laundry thrown into the mix of descriptors, LOL. The Rochefort was well carbonated, spicy raisins, prunes, nicely sweet. And it smelled great.

The Westy was the topic of much discussion. It was flat and most of the gang didn't really like it. The label brought much suspicion to the bottle, as this brewery doesn't label their bottles and definitely didn't in 2003. The importer in Palm Beach Gardens was also suspicious. So with three strikes, we decided that Ryan was playing a trick on us and it may have been one of his home brews from 2003. Good one, Ryan! And thanks for the nice evening.

Update, a few hours later: Osama bin Lager, aka Brewkkake, one of the guys in our group, managed to track down an alternate theory about the Westy 12. I personally like the original theory better but thought I'd share this crack reporting with you.


Bernie said...

I was lucky enough to be at Brewvival Saturday and all I can say is I wish I lived closer to Funky Buddha. These guys know what they're doing. Each one was a treat. So much so that when we saw them at breakfast the next morning we gave them an ovation as they entered the restaurant. Hard to pick a favorite. Probably between Last Snow and Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Wow, just delicious.

I hope they bottle soon. The world could use more Funky Buddha!

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Yeah. They are great brewers and great guys. Those two I'd really like to try myself. I live an hour from the brewery so it's not easy to go very often.