Barely a full week into the new year, South Florida beer fans from have reason to rejoice: The Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park will throw the first day-long beer festival of 2014, and only craft will pour from the taps.
The Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Release on Saturday, Jan. 11 – featuring food trucks, live music and ample parking -- could arguably have been named with enough flare to suggest the kind of blowout it’s likely to be. But, partly because of its simple name, the thick, smoky blend celebrated that day helped popularize the brewery.
A few years ago owner and brewer Ryan Sentz brought the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter to beer festivals throughout the country, and the mix of ingredients in its name intrigued enough guests with intrepid palates to form long lines at Sentz’s tasting tents.
“The idea of putting bacon in the beer is provocative,” says brand manager John Linn.
MBCP is the Funky Buddha’s first taste of beer-world fame. So Saturday’s fest is named after the brew, and born from it, too: The party’s raison d’etre is to sell the porter, available rarely and in bottles for the first and only time.
Starting at 11 a.m., anyone interested will have to stand in line with $15 or $30 cash in hand to purchase no more than two 22-ounce “bombers.” Limits per person are common at rare-beer release parties – Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Co. does the same for its annual Hunahpu’s Day, when the brewery sells a coveted stout that lures collectors from overseas.
Linn knows hardcore beer drinkers in the area will be interested, but he says the Funky Buddha’s regulars are mostly new to the cult of craft beer, and the brewery welcomes the curious.
“[Some] people still will probably just come out because they think it sounds like something a little crazy,” he says. “Like they gotta try it.”