This weekend, Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery will celebrate its seventh anniversary with more than 40 rare Funky Buddha beers, food trucks, and live music from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, October 7.
For Funky Buddha founders and husband-and-wife team Ryan and Giani Sentz, who opened the original concept in Boca Raton in 2010, the recent sale of the Oakland Park-based Funky Buddha Brewery to Constellation in August has allowed the two to reinvest their time into the space that made the brand what it is today.
"I've been so engulfed in the brewery these last few years. I want to invest some love back in the lounge," Ryan says. "It's time to embrace the creative thing again. We want to reinvest our time and energy into where it all started."
Although a complete rebrand of the lounge is in the works, Ryan says the idea is to keep everything the same. "We want nothing to change about the place," he says. "This was our first idea and something we want to stay true to, from the laid-back atmosphere and the small-batch beers to the live music."
Some change is good, however. Beginning in January, a two-person brew team has been working feverishly at the lounge — also a homebrew shop — helping Ryan achieve his goal. In addition to adding more fermenters and refrigeration to amp up in-house productivity, earlier this year Ryan hired Scott Chadwick, 28, and Christine Roark, 30, as head brewers.
Together, the two use the lounge's original one-barrel system — the same one used to create Maple Bacon Coffee Porter — allowing them to offer a constantly rotating selection of new and interesting beers in the Funky Buddha Lounge tasting room.
"I'm really hoping to bring back some new and different stuff: more special beers, more beer events, and focusing on what we did at the beginning and what we moved away from," Ryan says. "In the past, people who have brewed here have been comfortable using our recipes. But we want to be risky. If you need to dump, it's OK. I'd rather them do that than play it safe."
One example would be Chadwick's recent attempt at a high-gravity beer. Clocking in at 17 percent ABV, the imperial stout brewed with molasses will be available during the seventh-anniversary draft lineup, including a rye-whiskey-barrel-aged version.
"I like brewing stouts, porters, and Scotch ales. Those are the fun beers to brew," Chadwick says. "But most of all, it's just about keeping the tradition of the lounge alive and the creativity flowing. We've kept that the whole time, but now people can expect to see more volume and lot more fun stuff on tap."
"Today we both brew our own recipes, along with some of the lounge's recipes," Roark says. "I like IPAs. Scott does a lot of stouts and tackles the sours. But we also work on creating the core beers the lounge has been known for, like the Doc Brown brown ale, Red Dawn Irish red ale, and Piiti Porter."
Although some names will be changed for branding purposes, the lounge's original recipes for many of its most popular beers will remain consistent, Ryan says.
That includes the beer that started it all — Maple Bacon Coffee Porter — which will be on tap alongside longtime lounge favorites such as No Crusts brown ale, Sour'd the Duck Berliner Weisse, Chocolate Whiskey Cake imperial stout, Key Lime Pie Berliner Weisse, Fluffer Nutter brown ale, Drum Stick vanilla/ chocolate/peanut-butter brown ale, and Rum Raisin imperial stout during this weekend's anniversary party.
Also keep an eye out for the new brews, including Roark's Peter’s Enlightenment imperial red ale and Chadwick's Salad Fingers Berliner Weisse. "We want to push the envelope again," Ryan says.
Funky Buddha Seven-Year Anniversary Party. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, October 7, at Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery, 2621 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-368-4643; thefunkybuddha.com. Admission is free.
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