Funky Buddha Serves Thousands Over Weekend Festival (Photos, Video)
Saturday was a completely different experience. At the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, 'out' were usual comfortable couches and the bar-like atmosphere, and 'in' were the masses of sweaty people and lines for timed releases. Though I might shine a light on some issues, Buddha runs a fairly well organized event considering the amount of people that participate.
As is usual with a large beer festival, parking was a fun mini-game to partake in, though not impossible to find a spot. After that, maneuvering throughout the brewery grounds could be a challenge, especially in the minutes before and after a scheduled beer release. Throngs of sweaty people -- it was the last day of May in South Florida -- packed in to the taproom space grasping their drink tickets like they were sales invoices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Eventually, if you waited in line and smartly maneuvered through the masses, you could procure your sought-after beer and be on your merry way.
Out of the dozen or so beers consumed and shared that day, a few stuck out, both in the good category and the not-so-good one.
For the good, there was the Baklava Braggot, a mead and beer hybrid style that was treated with walnuts, cinnamon, and some other goodies that came out super decadent and delicious. I also was surprised with the balance to Fire in Your Hole, an raspberry infused red ale with habenero peppers, of which the malt balanced out the heat to kick your senses and bring you back to earth. I'm not normally a huge fan of pepper beers, but this one wasn't too bad.
Overall the beers were on point, the crowd was favorable and behaved itself. With a more refined layout and crowd management tactics over Maple Bacon Coffee Day and their Opening Day celebrations, Funky Buddha is getting to become experts themselves at throwing a bash. Unfortunately the better they get, the more people show up, and the enjoyability factor starts to go down.
As long as the beer is good, dealing with a large crowd is worth it.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.