I may not be the biggest beer drinker in the world, but I love a beer tour and tasting. No matter where I am I always ask to try the local beers. It is fun trying all these unique craft micro brews. My adventures in Florida are no different. There is a Fort Lauderdale brewery called Funky Buddha that has risen from its humble amateur home brew beginnings to the 2nd largest craft brewery in Florida. All in under 10 years. How does this happen? They brew great beer and you can get it almost everywhere. The best place to sample it is right at the brewery. Start with a brewery tour and finish up with a few pints in the lounge of some of your favourites. Did I say I don’t drink a lot of beer? Maybe I should amend that to say I love sampling craft beers. So, let’s get zen and take a tour of Funky Buddha Brewery.
The actual Funky Buddha Brewery is located just outside of Fort Lauderdale proper in the suburb of Oakland Park. The only time I used my car during my entire stay was to visit this Fort Lauderdale brewery. The only time. Everything else I wanted to do I could see car free.
I have been on plenty of beer tours before, but rarely have I been on one that had so many people in it. We were at capacity. It just goes to prove how popular this brewery is. Wearing beer goggles and armed with a tasting glass the tour begins inside the brewery.
Our guide starts off with the history of the company and the beer. Actually, he starts us off with a taste of the OP Porter first. I normally don’t like the darker and heavier beers but the OP Porter wins me over.
Our next stop takes us into the barrel ageing room. There are a whole lot of barrels filled with beer here. Wine, bourbon, you name it they have a large variety of barrels all lending their essence and flavours to the beers inside of them.
We move on to the assembly line where they bottle and pack all the beers. Another sample here, this time it is the Floridian Hefeweizen. Probably their number 1 seller and the beer I have seen on every restaurant menu I have looked at in Fort Lauderdale so far. I can tell right away this is going to be my “Florida beer“. With a hint of orange citrus, it just tastes like Florida. Plus it is light enough I can drink a few by the pool or at dinner and not get that beer full feeling I don’t like.
The tour continues and our guide walks us through the beer making process, including the mash tanks, hops etc… There are some more samples here to enjoy as well. Unfortunately, the beer that put them on the map is not available. The Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is only brewed once a year and it was being bottled s we are in the brewery but it won’t be released for another week or so. It sells out in a flash so if you ever get the chance to try some, buy it up!
At the end of the tour I grabbed a seat at the bar to try a tasting flight of some of their other beers. If you are hungry they have a killer kitchen staff that makes some mean pub food as well.
I don’t want to give it all away but if you are willing to try some unique flavoured beers, this is the place to do it. They have a Sweet Potato Pie beer and I swear to god it tastes just like Sweet Potato Pie.
I can see why Funky Buddha has grown from a home brew enjoyed privately and among close friends to the 2nd largest craft brewery in the state. No matter where you are in Florida chances are good that this Fort Lauderdale brewery will have at least one beer on the menu, probably the Floridian. It tastes just like the what I think of when I think of Florida, bananas, bright, sunny and a hint of orange. It is the Floridian.