Funky Buddha Brewery – Oakland Park comes alive

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This first evening of June ushered in what we are certain is a major milestone in the coming rebirth of downtown Oakland Park as “The Tasteful Destination,” as South Florida’s largest production craft brewery opened its doors and, in conjunction with the City, celebrated the newly completed, City constructed, 38th Street Plaza.

Being the real journalists that we are (not), we did not think to bring a camera or even a smart phone. Hey, we were visiting a BREWERY! Journalism was about the last thing on our minds.

It’s difficult to describe the feeling in the air – part festival, part college party, part “this is the start of something big, and we know it as it’s happening, and we are so glad to be a part of it!” Almost more than the beer – and calling Funky Buddha’s brews “beer” seems a vast understatement – were the smiles.  EVERYONE was smiling. We’re not sure the last time we were at such a joyous event.

And the crowd – oh, the crowd! Twenty-something hipsters mixing with urbane professionals mixing with baby boomers mixing with – well, you name it – and everyone just happy, happy, happy. The Funky Buddha Brewery is, not to be trite, simply awesome.

We were reminded of Richard Florida’s book, The Rise of the Creative Class (see “The Rise of the Creative Class–Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition–Revised and Expanded” – learn more on Amazon.com). Called “the manifesto of progressive urbanists” by Erika D. Smith of the Indianapolis Star, the theory, in a nutshell (and we are vastly oversimplifying here), is that what makes places great is people like – well, people like the ones we saw tonight. If this is the future of Oakland Park, then get out your sunglasses, because it’s really bright.

According to the Funky Buddha website, “This Brewery’s focus is on two main aspects: distributing our beers locally, and later regionally (to which end we’ve signed statewide Florida distribution with Brown Distributing — more on that later), and our tap room. In the tap room we to hope create a public house of sorts where the local community and supporters of craft beer can converge and share a pint. Our design philosophy from the Lounge will remain intact in some main areas: we want the tap room to feel inviting and relaxing, the sort of venue where one may just as easily discuss beer styles with a fellow fan or join some friends for a relaxing evening out. To that end, we’ve employed and expounded upon some of the natural materials we’ve used in the past such as live-edge wood, aged tin, raw concrete, and galvanized piping. The goal is to give the tap room a classic feel, but also remind people they are in a brewery — a fact that is hard to ignore when peering through the tall windows that look into the main facility. . . .The Lounge will remain relatively unchanged, if not for the fact that our large-scale production at the Brewery will allow us to focus more on experimental and test batches with the Lounge’s more diminutive brewing system.”

Thanks, Funky Buddha, for choosing Oakland Park. We’re ten minutes away, and we can’t wait to go back!

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