It's Monday. You're tired, the week just got started, and Friday happy hour seems like a lifetime away. But good news! You don't have to wait five more days.
Tonight, head on over to OTC from 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. and check out a very special happy hour hosted by Esquire beer columnist and Miami Herald writer Evan Benn.
The guest of honor is Funky Buddha's award-winning Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. Only today will you be able to taste one of the most anticipated brews of the year paired perfectly with a dish conceptualized by OTC's chef, Jacob Anaya. Short Order spoke to Anaya and Benn about the event, Funky Buddha's funky brew, and what other special treats they have planned.
For the pairing, Anaya concocted Mexican style coffee-rubbed hanger steak sliders.
"The beer's sweetness of the maple, bitterness of the coffee, and meatiness with smokiness of the bacon needs a bold dish that can stand up to its characteristics," says Anaya. "With the similar ingredients of the beer, I made a dish while living in Hawaii, encrusting Big Island Steaks with Kona coffee and Maui sugar served with Kiawe wood smoked-mashed potatoes."
Foodies and beer fans can enjoy the porter for $10 or order the pairing for $15. And for something else sweet to pair with your brew, Anaya's created a couple of more things. "Since we created a savory dish, we thought it would be fun and challenging to create a couple dessert dishes."
The Funky Beer Float has two scoops of homemade chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and cranberries, and also vanilla ice cream with white chocolate chunks and Hawaiian sea salt. It's topped with Funky Buddha's Special Maple Coffee Bacon Beer.
Funky Buddha's open palm ice cream sandwich fuses a homemade open-faced chocolate chip cookie, smeared with cherry jam and chocolate ganache, topped with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Want to know more? Read on for our Q&A with Benn!
Short Order: So you're hosting OTC's happy hour featuring Funky Buddha. Any particular reason for this event?
Evan Benn: OTC's beer program is one of the better ones in South Florida, and I'm on a mission to spread the gospel of good beer. Owner Michael Sullivan works hard to get fun, limited releases like Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, and chef Jacob Anaya does a really good job of creating beer-friendly food to go with them. The original plan was for me to pick some of my favorite beers and pair them with items on OTC's happy hour menu. But when Michael said he managed to get his hands on a keg or two of Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, we knew we had to feature that beer. Chef came up with this really excellent coffee-rubbed steak sandwich that's going to sing with this brew.
What does you hosting consist of? Anything interesting we can expect you?
My hosting consists of me posting up at a table and taking full advantage of this amazing beer and happy hour-priced food. Kidding (sort of). I'm really looking forward to meeting some folks I've only interacted with on social media, hanging out with some friends, and introducing people to a beer that beer geeks around the country are salivating to try. I'm happy to suggest other beer-and-food pairings from OTC's happy hour options, too.
How would you describe this beer to someone who's never had it before or is uneducated in beer?
Like breakfast at a highway diner. That's the flavor profile/taste memory that the Funky Buddha brewers were going for when they crafted this one. And they nailed it. You can smell the coffee on the nose of the beer, and you taste it, too, as well as some sweetness from the maple syrup they use in the brewing process. Fun fact: While the beer is brewed with real coffee and maple syrup, it contains no actual bacon. Vegetarians can come on Monday, too! Funky Buddha uses smoked malts to achieve that bacony, smoky flavor. It's a trip.
It's available for just this one night. How many do you intend to have?
Moderation is imperative in any drinking environment. That said, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter contains about 6 percent alcohol by volume (a plain-ol' Budweiser is 5 percent ABV), so having one is not going to lead to drunken foolishness. It's a common misconception that dark beers are "heavy" or high in alcohol. Not true; they're just darker because of the color of the malts that brewers use for certain beers. Guinness only contains 4 percent ABV -- low enough to be considered a session beer, which means you can consume several in a drinking "session" without fatiguing your palate or liver.
Besides this one-day and happy hour, what's the best place to have happy hour in Miami?
The happy hour at Khong River House is cool in its progressive pricing ($4 a drink from 4 to 5 p.m., $5 from 5 to 6 p.m., $6 from 6 to 7 p.m.), but go there for cocktails, not beer.
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OTC's special happy hour featuring Funky Buddha's award-winning brew is today only and goes from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Regular happy hour will be available 50% select beers and wines and $5 plates.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha