Brewery Review of Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, FL.
As a New England resident I’d say that prior to this trip to Florida Funky Buddha was only on the periphery of my awareness, but when I realized I was staying only 5 miles south (in Ft. Lauderdale) I decided to give them a try. Upon arrival it was very obvious that this is a pretty large operation, with a cavernous two-room brewery & restaurant and plenty of outdoor seating. Funky Buddha was clearly a commercial success long before I visited.
Upon entering I wasted no time, heading straight for the bar to get some beer and grub. Getting the beer was easy, as they had 18 of their own beers on draught with a lot of variety. They have everything from a Pineapple Blonde Ale to a Cocoa Milk Porter to a Barrel-Aged Gruit, and even a beer called “Sweet Potato Casserole“. I felt like a flight would be the best way to sort through the selections, and thankfully they offer flights, so I was off and running.
Getting the food was a little trickier, as it took me a few minutes to realize that you had to order at a counter in the second large room and go pick it up when it’s ready. The bartenders don’t take or serve food orders, you basically do it yourself. Once you know the system it’s not a big deal and the small menu of gastropub fare is actually quite good and reasonably priced. The bartending staff was quite intuitive when it came to the beer. As soon as I had finished my flight they asked my what I liked and didn’t like and then made recommendations for things I had not tried based on that. For the most part I’d say they were right on the money and definitely were in tune with the product they’re selling.
After a few pints I started to wonder where the “funky” in “Funky Buddha” came from. After all, they are not a sour beer brewery nor do they favor the musical stylings of George Clinton or Sly & The Family Stone. This is a good Brewery/Restaurant with quality beer, but fairly conventional all things considered. It’s an everyman’s brewery. It’s the kind of place you’d expect to see six office workers from a local cubicle farm grabbing beers after work, or maybe a married couple out on “date night” or even a family getting together for someone’s birthday. There is nothing wrong with any of this. Every community should have breweries like this one which are great places for all to gather. I was just saying don’t let the funky name make you think that eccentricity and peculiar oddities live here, as they do not.
As for Buddha’s involvement, I’m not really sure how he plays in either, unless drinking beer is how he got that belly in the first place (oh, wait, I think that’s the wrong Buddha). Although there is a famous Buddha saying that applies to drinking in a place like this: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”. After all, aren’t all of our best drinking experiences always shared with friends? Therefore, Buddha would want you to gather up some friends and head to Funky Buddha for a large helping of happiness (I think).