Funky Buddha Brewery’s Barrel-Aged Last Buffalo In The Park
Nothing compares to weekend, holiday, or snow-day mornings when we’re able to partake in a grown-up breakfast or brunch beverage. The well-known bloody mary, mimosa, or amped-up coffee usually do the trick, but brewers have also been making breakfast-inspired beers for a good while now. This flavorful beer brings next-level adulting to your a.m. drink game.
I had the pleasure of trying Funky Buddha’s Barrel-Aged Last Buffalo In The Park at our Extreme Beer Fest in Boston last month. There was a lot of hoopla from the crowd, so I knew I had to check this one out. It’s an Imperial take on the brewery’s Last Snow, a Porter that’s brewed with coconut and coffee, another great example of a beer that’s primed for breakfast. But while Funky Buddha has brewed hundreds of different beers using all sorts of ingredients, these guys aren’t just shooting from the hip. “We were given some barrels from a great account for us, [Park Tavern] in Delray Beach,” says co-owner and head brewer Ryan Sentz. “So [the name] was a combination of it being a take on Last Snow using Buffalo Trace barrels from our friends at Park Tavern.”
Last Buffalo is clearly an Imperialized beer with a warming alcohol hitting 11.5 percent alcohol by volume and a lush, full-bodied mouthfeel you’d find in a souped-up adult coffee drink. Serving it at cellar temperature is the secret to hitting the sweet spot; every aspect came forward for full enjoyment. From the roasted coffee and coconut, to the faint booziness of bourbon, roasted grain, and even a bit of vanilla from the barrel aging, there’s a lot going on here. Sentz didn’t find it especially difficult to balance all of these flavors, though. “We had experience with these ingredients with Last Snow, so it didn’t take much tinkering to get it right.”
Despite everything that is going on in this brew, it still stays very true to its style as a Porter. This latest batch was a limited run, but I certainly would not mind running into Barrel-Aged Last Buffalo more often. Trying to think like a dedicated beer geek, I asked Sentz about increasing its availability and whether there might be some variants to come from this brew in the future. “There is so much going on with this beer that I think doing a variant might be difficult,” he says. “That being said, we will definitely attempt a few. As for availability, I think we will continue to increase production if there is enough demand.”
I don’t want to pigeonhole this Porter as solely a breakfast brew, though it definitely qualifies. I will say, however, that the first beer of the day is often the best.
Barrel-Aged Last Buffalo In The Park
Funky Buddha Brewery | Oakland Park, FL
STYLE: Imperial Porter
Look: 4 | Smell: 4.25 | Taste: 4.5 | Feel: 4.75 | Overall: 4.5
Jason’s Score: 4.44/5 ■