Former Lakers cheerleader readies for master sommelier exam

Super proud of my amazing wife! this is an article by Robin Leach for the Las Vegas Review Journal.


It’s tough enough guessing if the red wine is a pinot noir from Oregon or a merlot from Santa Barbara. But try and decide if the red is from Argentina or Italy. Then pronounce the year, reveal the region and name the soil content. Impossible you say? Not for the handful of master sommeliers around the world who have passed the hardest examination in the world. And, you can’t ask to take part in it — you have to be chosen for the test.

It’s not called the toughest examination in the world for no reason. Vegas is blessed with just a few of these wizards of wine — even though we probably have more of them than any other city. It’s the most prestigious challenge in the world, and now, an unlikely former Lakers cheerleader is about to face the ultimate contest.

Raquel Jacobs, the sommelier at STK in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is finalizing her attempt at November’s master sommelier examination. It’s a tremendous story of courage, dedication, determination and an insane commitment of long hours. It’s also rare for a Vegas girl to attempt pulling off the toughest exam in the world, which has already been the subject of two movies.

Check out the Master Sommeliers of America at

Q: I asked why the one-time Lakers starlet chose the superior knowledge of wine over the bright lights of Hollywood that lured so many of the past lineup.

A: It started off with my parents. My parents were really into wine and I was cracking bottles and kind of helping them pull bottles at a young age. But It really wasn’t until I started off working in the industry, when I was 18 and a hostess, and started kind of moving up the ladder. My previous restaurant, Mastro’s, was kind of persistent on wine education. And as soon as I took those classes, it just really, really peaked my interest.

There’s one in Crystal’s at Aria I actually opened (and) a few different locations in Southern California, Costa Mesa , Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks and Newport Beach.

Q: How old were you when your interest in wine first piqued and did you have any idea how difficult, how tough it was going to be?

A: I was 18 years old and had no idea. It was something that I was interested in, so it was easy to dive into it, and as the process started to take off and (I realized how in depth it was), then I knew. It was the more I dove in(to) (it), I started to realize, oh yeah, this isn’t gonna be easy. But I like the challenge, so.

The first memory that I really have, as far as getting into it, we had a mandatory class at Mastro’s, and I didn’t really know anything about wine, and I realized as a server or a bartender or cocktail server, or to even move up, you had to have a certain amount of knowledge. So, I actually pulled a friend aside, who I thought was extremely knowledgeable, and she took me to the Starbucks. We spent about an hour, and I still have those notes to this day, and it was the process of Champagne, actually. That was what really, really interested me, and I just couldn’t believe how intricate and how complex and how beautiful Champagne could really be.

Q: I described it as the most difficult examination in the world. Is it? How tough is tough?

A: I believe it is. I think that it starts to test your mentality and it starts to really test you as a person and it starts to get inside of you. I tend to second guess myself a lot and I start to really. … When it starts to affect everything around you, I kind of realized, oh, this is not just a test that I need to pass. It’s more than just a test. It’s about really understanding wine and what goes into it, and not only that, but the business.

Q: What is the toughest part of being a sommelier, in terms of this examination?

A: There are three parts to the examination. There’s the theory part, there is a service part and there’s the tasting, and I think the tasting, for me, personally, is something that I’m constantly learning. So, I find that the most challenging, but I’m starting to find ways to help me get better. But, for me, it’s the tasting part of the exam would probably be my hardest.

Q: That’s where I joked with you about picking any bottle and tell me where in the world it came from and what year the grapes were harvested. Have you had people tell you that you’re insane?

A: Yes and yes! All the time. I think people start to underestimate me, just because I’m a little bit younger and a female and it’s not the typical mold for a sommelier. Especially for a professional dancer to go from the entertainment world to this profession. So, I’ve been told that many times. I was a cheerleader all my life from middle school all the way through professional. So, I actually taught around UCLA and universities in Southern California, and then I became a Laker Girl from 2009-2010, and that was my long-term goal, the childhood goal and dream of mine to become. A dancer. And I wind up in Vegas, yep. Instead of being a showgirl on the Strip I become a SOM on the Strip.

Q: How many of there are you?

A: I’m certified, so as far as my level and where I’m at — there are four levels to the horde of master sommeliers — there’s quite a few of us. But, as you progress for the certification, the number starts to dwindle down. As far as certified, I would say there’s, maybe 50 or so in town, but that’s just a guess. I wouldn’t know exactly how many certified sommeliers. I think we’re now up to 15 girls. It’s starting to increase. We’re starting to take over!

… Last year I took the exam (to be a ) certified sommelier, so, as of right now I’m certified. My next step is advanced, and in order to proceed to the advanced level for level three, you have to complete a course, in which you have to apply, and I’ve already completed the course this past year in Dallas. Now, my next step is to apply for the exam, and I have to be accepted to even take the exam. Not everybody can take the exam. I’m waiting to apply. They haven’t opened the doors up yet to apply sometime in the next week or so. I will submit an application and take an online exam, and then I think they will probably tell us by the end of November or December, maybe, hopefully. I am anxiously awaiting, but I think I have a good chance. I hope I do.

Q: What has it taken you, so far, to prepare for this?

A: I have a really good support. Structure. My husband’s super amazing at allowing me to take the time to study and to do the things that I need to do. I have a study group, we meet at least once a week to taste, and we all blind(fold)each other. I’m constantly doing classes in town. Certain people will hold tastings. So, I’ll try and attend anything (when) I can — at this point — and then I pretty much study every single day at home.

Q: Does it consume your life?

A: I try not to let it, but it does. I think I have a good balance because I do have family at home. I think as the exam starts to get closer, it starts to consume my life, and I think that’s where my husband, Chris, really, really is supportive and he kind of picks up everything for me and he allows me to just do that.

Q: Do you have flash cards all over the house. Is there even one space in the house that is not covered with flashcards?

A: My husband is in the craft beer industry — completely the opposite, eh? We definitely have a good time between both of our cellars but I keep the flash cards out of his office. There everywhere else though all over the house.

Q: Do you even admit that it’s very unusual to find a girl who set out to become Lakers cheerleader being this studious? This educated?

A: I think definitely from an outside perspective, I can definitely see how one could imagine that. The girls that I’ve interacted with, as far as on the team and Lakers and … they’re a very particular bunch of girls, or ladies, I should say. They’re all either in college or working full time, and a lot of the women that I’ve met have really gone on to do wonderful things, besides dancing and being in entertainment. They’ve gone to get master’s degrees, so. In this field, though I’m the only one that I know if.

Q: Your reaction from seeing the SOM movies? Didn’t it frighten you?

A: No, it actually inspired me. I looked at my mom and I remember telling her, and I said: “You watch. I’m gonna do that.” And she does tell me that all the time, actually. She said: “I remember when we first watched the movie, you told me you were gonna do it and you’re doing it.”

Q: I have such respect for you and it. What is the most difficult part of this whole project for you?

A: I think the hardest part is taking the time to understand that there’s more to wine than just what’s in the glass. There’s so much more than that, and I think it’s understanding where it comes from and how it’s made and remembering everything. It’s constantly evolving. So, for me, it’s keeping up with the evolution of wine and just remembering every little detail about every single region and wine that’s out there.

But there are thousands of bottles of wine. There are hundreds of regions. How do you possibly remember where a bottle of a 1935 something came from, and what flowers were growing in the region on that day when they picked the grapes?

That’s where those flashcards come in handy. I have an app on my phone, and it’s a memorize app, or it’s a voice recorder — and in my car, I’ll play it through the speaker and I record myself with whatever it is that I need to memorize, and I’ll listen to that. I won’t even listen to music while I’m doing my studies. That’s all I’ll listen to, is myself, and repeating everything that I need to remember. If this is a pinot noir, where is it from, what was the climate, what was the soil, if that year was a sunny year, they got ample sunshine. So, I kind of just try and do that, as well as my flashcards, and I do a lot of maps. I draw a lot of maps.

The exercise is both for self-satisfaction and guest interaction.I definitely am doing it for myself, because it is something that I want to achieve, personally, but I think something that I bring to the table for the guest is … it’s up to me to let them find, to explore something that they maybe have never tried before. Not doing it in such a pretentious way, but leveling with the guest and finding something that they like. That’s the biggest satisfaction, with me. When a guest tells me: “Raquel, I’m looking for something that’s big and robust, but still feminine and has silky tannin,” and they’ll just describe this wine, and it’s my job to find something for them, and I think I really look forward to doing that, because now I’m up for a challenge and now it’s up to me with my knowledge and everything that I’ve studied and everything that I’ve tasted. OK, let’s take you here. Let’s get you to this wine.

Q: Is it Sherlock Holmes over James Beard? Literally, can I pull a bottle out of my fridge and ask you about its heritage?

A: I should be able to tell you that. It just depends. I think it’s … my husband’s always told me that I need to dive into the background a little bit more. I could tell you everything about how the wine is made, about the year and what kind of year it was as far as the climate and the conditions, but sometimes I forget a little bit about well, how did this winery come about? I know the big ones, but sometimes those little producers, that have really great wine but they may not get distributed to us, that I haven’t tried, I think I can dive into that. But, I’ll be honest, with the tasting — the tasting is what really drives me nuts sometimes.

Q: Do you drink a lot of wine, yourself? Do you try to drink different wine every day?

A: I do. Or what I’ll do is, if I’m having trouble identifying, let’s say a sauvignon blanc, let’s just say, from France, and I didn’t get it on one of my tastings, I’ll go and I’ll do that for a whole week and that’s all I’ll drink, until I’m sick of it.

Q: And what’s the correct way for Raquel Jacobs to drink a glass of wine?

A: I think just using that deductive method, that grid that The Court of Master Sommeliers provides for us — and they provide this tool — and they allow us to go through this grid, they call it. You have to look at the wine. You have to kind of assess the color, and you can tell a lot about the wine through the color. You can tell maybe its age, whether it’s youthful, whether it’s developing, whether it’s matured. Then, I would go to the nose. Look for any flaws. Think about the aromatic intensity and how vibrant it is in the glass. I would go through the fruit components. There are non-fruit components. There are so many elements there. I would assess, they call it structure, and so, you would go through the essence, you can go through the tannin element.

Then I would taste it. Kind of reassess what I did on the nose, those fruit components, structure. And then I would come up with a few different potential varietals. I would hone down on whether it’s Old World or a New World climate. Whether it’s either from France or Italy or Spain, or am I going to U.S.? then I would assess the age. Then I would decide from there. I would say this is a 2015 William Fevre Chablis, from Burgundy, France.

Q: So, it’s a little bit like being a detective, backwards?

A: Exactly, and I think that’s why I like it. I think that’s what really excites me about it, is that I have to figure something out, like a puzzle. It takes a few glasses of wine just to enjoy it rather than think about it. I think when I take my first sip of wine for the day, I’m like, just automatically thinking and racking my brain, and then after a few glasses, I think I loosen up and I’m just enjoying the wine.

Q: You ‘re getting so close now to the toughest experience in the world. What frightens you most?

A: I think the only thing that would frighten me is, I don’t like to lose, and I know it’s the journey and it’s not how quickly I get there, but I’m just afraid of failure. I really am. Everyone is probably thinking it and doesn’t want to say it, but I’m afraid to fail. I don’t like to fail. I really like to succeed and just … and I really want … I don’t want to disappoint a guest. If there’s anyone that I don’t want to disappoint, it would be a guest.

You know it’s a three-day test for the master! So, there are three parts to it, and actually, it’s over a course of quite some time. You have to take the theory first. You have to actually be invited to sit for the master diploma. But, when you first get accepted, you have to take the theory part, and the theory part, once you complete that or if you complete that, then you’re asked to sit for the practical, which is like the wine service and salesmanship, and the tasting. Then, you kind of just have to … then they kind of assign you a time, and a few months after that. So, it takes some time to … it’s quite a process. I would say it’s about, within the year.

Q: You’ve already taken the advanced course which permits you to call yourself a sommelier

A: Yes, I am certified. But, yes, an advanced … the jump from certified to advanced, Robin, is absolutely insane. It’s, I would say, the jump is quite vigorous. It’s very, very difficult, as far as the increase in knowledge that you have to know. And then from advanced to master is quite a bit after that. It’s very intense.

I’d love to wind up an educator. I think that’s where my heart is. Teaching people how to enjoy and appreciate wine. It’s quite a journey for a Laker cheerleader. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I’d be like “Wait, what? What am I doing?” After I passed my certified, I think it was 80 people in my class, and about 40 people passed and I ended up receiving the highest score for the certified exam, and so I think it was after that. It really gave me that boost of confidence that I really wanted and needed to move forward because a lot of people stop after certified. They get that recognition, they get that title and then they’re done. But, after completing with top honors, I just knew this is something I have to go forth with.

Q: It’s cruel, it’s backbreaking, it’s time-consuming, it’s everything that you would imagine is the worst in life, and yet you revel in it, yes? What does it say about you?

A: Yes, and I love it. I don’t settle. That I always want what’s the impossible. And I don’t think it’s impossible. I know I can do it. I’ve seen the movie 80 times. No joke, 80 times, probably throughout the years. Oh, yeah. Even when I’m doing laundry, I’ll just throw it on, just to listen to it.

Q: All for a bottle of plonk! Do you have anybody in Las Vegas giving you coaching, teaching?

A: Yes. There’s a lot of people (who) have definitely contributed. Especially people who are above me and mentoring me. There’s a couple of master sommeliers in town (who) have really helped me. People who are studying for their masters and people who are on the advanced level that mentor me and I’ll go to their restaurant or we’ll set up a tasting and they’ll critique me and they’ll really help me. There’s only one other girl in my tasting group but I know about 20 women in Las Vegas that are definitely a force to be reckoned with. And a lot of my mentors are women.

Q: And they gave up everything in their life for this, too?

A: I think a lot of them are. I think I’m one of the few women who have a family. I have a husband and three step-children. So, it’s definitely not the norm to be a step-mom and a wife … kind of do this and go through this process.

Q: Do you ever stop for one second and scratch your head and say, “why?”

A: No, I actually don’t. Someone had just asked me that recently, too. I said, “I don’t even think I have time to think, to be honest.” I’m just going. I’m always going.

Q: In a quiet less studious moment what is it you like about wine?

A: I love boutique wines. I love wines that people have never heard of. I love grape varietals that people have never heard of. That’s kind of what I look for when I’m not drinking to study and I’m just drinking to enjoy, that’s what I’m drinking. I’m drinking Guava or something obscure. I can’t even remember the last time I went out. If I’m going out, I’m usually drinking a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne or Ruinart Rose. My favorite — Champagne. I just love bubbles.

Bubbles can go with anything. Bubbles can go with an appetizer, an entrée, you can do a whole flight with Champagne, and really you can do it with Sherry that I’ve discovered. Sherry is kind of my new go-to right now.

There’s a lot more to it than just wine. We have to know spirits, sherry. We have to know beer, now. We have to start learning how to make the cocktails. So, it’s definitely more than wine. It’s a whole beverage program

I just got accepted to go to SOM camp in November. That’s the first step. SOM camp is something that the SOM foundation actually allows certain people who apply and who get accepted, who are intending for the advanced exam for the following year. So, I have the intent to apply for the advanced exam next year, so I applied and I had to answer a series of questions, send my background and my resume. It’s three-day wine trip to Napa and Sonoma, all expenses paid, and we get to go into the vineyard and go into the wineries with the winemakers and dive into what goes into the wine, and it’s a pretty prestigious collection of wine.

Beer Zombies craft beer festival 02.18.17

Come for the festival, stay for the bottle share! Beer Zombies 3rd anniversary beer festival and following day bottle share at The Atomic in downtown Las Vegas.  Purchase tickets here Beer Zombies Festival Tickets



2016 The Roaming Pint craft beer lover’s holiday gift guide!

All your craft beer lovers holiday shopping in one place! Beside Beer Zombies there is an amazing variety of craft beer gifts. trp-logo-header-dark-1260


Thank you for visiting The Roaming Pint’s Holiday Gift Guide for Craft Beer Lover’s. Each year we try to assemble the best craft beer products to help you find the best gift for the craft beer lover in your life (even if it’s yourself ;).
We will be adding products as the holiday season rolls on so be sure to check back periodically. Cheers!

2016 Craft Beer Lover’s Gift Guide

GO Keg USA – Go Keg Flex

It was nice to get back in to Las Vegas after a 10 day road trip from Arizona to California. Got a chance to get out to Red Rock for some hiking and brought along my new Go Keg Flex growler from Go Keg USA. This thing rocks, kept my beer cold for the hike and then delivered a freshly carbed glass! Super impressed with the product.

From the website:

 The Flex Tap Design- Makes The Most Portable Growler Even Easier For Travel. We Rid the Bulk For More Convenience And Portability.  The Light Weight Design Makes This The Choice For Beer Enthusiast That Are Taking Their Beer Up Mount Kilimanjaro For A Celebratory Cold One. Also Included Is A Charger CO2 System That Will Keep Your Beer Fresh So You Can Enjoy It Whenever You Would Like!

If anyone is interested in grabbing one you my  code BZGKUSA1 at checkout and you get 10% off any purchase.


Beer Zombies beard oil now available

The wait is over, Beer Zombies beard oil made by Beerd Co. is live! This all natural, hand made beard oil will help smooth any unruly beard while adding moisturizing oils to any facial hair. Head over to Beer Zombies Web Store to get your bottle now.


Upcoming Beer Zombies events August.

In the month of August, Beer Zombies will be having a booth at two events.

First one is Saturday August 20th at the Del Mar Pizza & Beer Fest. ( <- Link to website )


With more than 100 local and international brews served, beer aficionados will enjoy hard-to-find specialty craft brews alongside favorites from the San Diego brewing scene. For the first time, San Diego’s best mobile pizza ovens will be serving melted cheese goodness to add to the craft brew experience. Pair your beers with a variety of tasty pizza styles purchased directly from the mobile ovens.

  • Admission into the Pizza & Beer Fest area is free with track admission of $6.
  • Receive five 7 oz. tastings for $20. Full-sized beers may also be purchased
  • Purchase pizzas directly from mobile pizzeria’s


The second event that Beer Zombies is very honored to be involved in will take place Friday August 26th is, Bearded Villains Las Vegas second annual beard & mustache summer bash.

Bearded Villains Las Vegas


We are planning on launching our new Beer Zombies beard oil collaboration with Beerd Co. at the BVLV event!

Beard Oil Label


If you are planning an event and would like to have Beer Zombies attend please drop us an email @


Cheers, BZ

Modern Times DTLA expansion

Modern Times Beer is just the latest in a long line of breweries keen on setting up shop in Los Angeles, with paperwork today from the city confirming that the popular craft beer company will make a home for itself in the heart of Downtown’s South Park neighborhood.

042664eb-de38-4655-985a-f984dee93762The move itself is nothing new — Modern Times hinted at a big L.A. expansion back in September, but those were just teasers to keep their rabid fan base satisfied. Now comes the full meal: a nearly 6,000 square foot restaurant and brewery space with an outdoor patio and the ability to brew pilot and one-off beers on site. There’s also going to be bottle and growler sales straight from the facility, as well as all-day hours to accommodate the company’s plans to include coffee, vegan food, and more.

The location itself is also significant, as Modern Times will set up at 830 S. Olive Street in the South Park section of Downtown. The standalone structure is a block from dive bar legends Hank’s and Golden Gopher, and just blocks from other drink spots like the Ace Hotel and Mega Bodega. South Park has of late been keeping up with the Arts District in terms of construction and growth, quickly transforming from one of the area’s last old school holdouts into a massive mixed-use zone unto itself, with nearby restaurants like Barcito and Broken Spanish further leading the charge.

Overall the city continues to absolutely thrive with craft beer options (both on the brewery side and the bar/retail side) in popular pockets like Downtown and the South Bay — though the forthcoming Firestone Walker brewpub in Venice will certainly help to anchor that area as well. There’s arguably never been a better time to drink craft beer in Los Angeles, which means Modern Times — which will likely open this fall — could not be arriving at a better time.

Modern Times Los Angeles
830 S. Olive
Los Angeles, CA

Tree House News!


Here is the announcement in full about the expansion.


Good evening.  I’m Nate, co-founder and brewer at Tree House.  If I could just borrow a moment of your time, I’d like to share a few reflections on the past along with future plans Damien, Dean, myself, and the rest of the Tree House family have been working very hard to set in motion. . .


What a year!

We started 2015 in a garage with one employee and 55 barrels of cellar space.  We finished it with 13 employees and 650 barrels of cellar space.

I am happy to say that through an incredible rate of expansion we stayed true to our principles. We progressed methodically, carefully, and without compromise.  As a result, I believe our beer is better than ever across a spectrum of styles while becoming far more available than a year ago.

To achieve this has required an intense and herculean effort – and one that I am extremely proud of every member of the Tree House family for contributing to.  It’s impossible to overstate the amount of work and unrelenting focus that is necessary to prepare and present finished beer week in and week out.  Without a deeply committed crew Tree House would not be possible. I would like to use this opportunity to thank them for their incredible and continued efforts.


We have been looking forward to sharing this news for a long time. . .

We are building a new brewery!


It will reside in Charlton, Massachusetts on a very central yet secluded seventy acres of land true to the Tree House aesthetic with a mixture of woods, green space, and serenity. It is designed as an expandable and multi-faceted 45,000 square foot facility and will feature a state of the art 50 BBL brewhouse, a 5,000 square foot retail space where can sales, bottle sales, and full pours will be offered at least five days a week, and a large outdoor pavilion.  The retail shop will feel familiar, with an open space vista overlooking a tank farm of 60, 120, and 240 BBL fermenters flanked by a natural light-drenched brewhouse.

The facility will house 30,000 barrels of cellar capacity initially and by the end of the first year we plan to have 50,000 barrels of cellar space available. The theoretical maximum for the brewhouse and space is in excess of 125,000 barrels a year.

Despite massive gains in production and efficiency in Monson, it is not nearly enough.   The intent of the new brewery is to make our beer better than ever, vastly expand our range of offerings, make our core offerings more readily available, and to create a central gathering place of kinship and camaraderie for beer enthusiasts.

The brewery is being designed in conjunction with Austin Design, Inc. It will be entirely new construction on a parcel of land that is owned by us.  This will afford us creative control of the property now and hopefully very far into the future.

This project aims to break ground in the spring of 2016 and to be operational in the first half of 2017 (we hope).


The current plan for Tree House in Monson is to continue full operations into 2017 until the new brewery is operational and our classic beers are scaled, refined, and true to their original intent.

Once this happens we will slowly wind down major retail operations and clear the space as a barrel hall and center for special projects. We will have almost 10,000 square feet to age, condition, blend, and refine both clean oak projects and mixed fermentation creations.

The existing 30 BBL brewhouse will remain in place along with a number of 30 BBL tanks for wort creation. It will become a veritable nucleus of Tree House creative expression, experimentation, and exploration.  Our existing Wild Goose canning line, a bottling line, and a dedicated bottle conditioning bottling line will be in place so we may extensively carry out projects we have been working on for years but given space limitations have been unable to flesh out.

The grounds will be extensively manicured and maintained, and the facility will be continue to be used for retail with an option for special and private events, both by Tree House and by private parties.



Tree House began life as a group of friends making ten gallon batches of beer in a small barn on St. Clair Road in Brimfield.  We have come a long way since then, but now with a large brewery and an even larger one to come, we maintain a visceral connection to the beginning and what made us start down this road in the first place.  What began as a small project has become an absolute obsession we care deeply about.

Our new brewery is designed to allow us to continue doing what we have always done – just far more efficiently and on a much broader scale.  We have sold precisely no equity to fund this expansion, and creative control of our beer resides completely in our hands.  Imagine!  Beer brewed by us in a state of the art brewery designed specifically to carry out processes we have spent over four years refining!  We could not be more excited.

We feel a greater connection now to those who support us than ever.  We are perpetually grateful that you have embraced us and continue to give us the opportunity to pursue what we love, with the people we love. We will continue to pour our soul into the beer we make, the experience we provide, and the work we do. This is for you.

On behalf of everyone at Tree House – THANK YOU!


Follow @treehousebrewco

Media inquiries please e-mail

Funky Buddha Announces its 2016 Release Schedule

Goodness abounds!

Funky Buddha Brewery, based in Oakland Park, Florida has announced its 2016 release schedule. This long-awaited lineup will include a new year-round beer to add to the brewery’s portfolio of boundary-pushing craft brews, in addition to a whole year’s worth of entries in the “Little Buddha Small Batch” series.

Hop Stimulator Double IPA will join Hop Gun IPA and Floridian Hefeweizen as the third of Funky Buddha’s flagship beers. Generously hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Cascade hops, Hop Stimulator boasts intense passionfruit, grapefruit, orange peel, and pineapple aromas with a crisp, balanced malt body. This monstrously-hopped double (9.5%) India pale ale will make its debut on draft and in four-pack, 12 oz. bottles this April 19th with an MSRP of $11.99 per four-pack.

2016 will also see Funky Buddha grow its “Little Buddha Small Batch” series of beers. This culinary-inspired line of brews will feature such coveted and anxiously awaited beers such as Wide Awake It’s Morning (Imperial Maple Bacon Coffee Porter), Muy Bonita Apple Pie Double Brown Ale, and Don’t Tell Reece Peanut Butter Cup Ale. Available in 22oz bombers and on draft, these beers will see release in Funky Buddha’s tap room and in distribution across the state of Florida.

Beer Zombies year in review, Part 3 Porters


Part 3 of my favorite beers of 2015 will be jumping into porters. For this section it will be exclusively non barrel aged. When I post the Stouts list it will also be for the non barrel aged versions. I plan on doing a separate blog post on best of barrel aged Stouts/Porters, I feel like there are just so many delicious beers this is the only way to really break it down. So here we go with my three favorite non ba porters of 2015



Death By Coconut – Oskar Blues 

English Porter, ABV 6.5% IBU 25

This delicious beer has intense fresh cacao flavors swirling with popping coconut aromas, all supported by a semi-sweet porter made from loads of dark chocolate and extra dark caramel malt. I picked up a four pack of cans from a bottle shop in SoCal, they lasted two nights. Its such a perfect after dinner beer, gives you the sweetness of desert without being cloying. It really has a great balance of coconut and dark malts, don’t get me wrong you wont be left wanting more coconut its there in full force!

Maple Bacon Coffee Porter – Funky Buddha Brewing

American Porter, ABV 6.4% IBU 35

Evoking a complete diner-style breakfast in a glass, Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is a complex beer with a multitude of flavors at play. Aromas of sticky maple syrup, coffee, and cream creep forth from the glass. The mouth feel is luxuriously creamy, with layers of sweet malt, toffee, and roast giving way to waves of smoke, coffee, and salted chocolate. It finishes sticky, rich, and sweet, with the flavor of maple syrup lingering pleasantly on the tongue. Kaboom! this is outstanding, Im always weary of anything bacon infused, it has a tendency of coming off artificial to me. Not the case here at all, the saltiness and smoke gives you a sense of bacon without going over board. All in all a super delicious play on a porter.

Everett – Hill Farmstead

American Porter, ABV 7.5%

 Everett is crafted from American malted barley, English and German roasted malts, American hops, Hill Farmstead ale yeast, and water from the breweries well. It is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Decadent in its depth, with a complex backbone of chocolate, coffee, and malty sweetness. Up until I had this magnificent porter I always used the Founders Porter as the base on which to judge every other non flavored porter. This for me is the most perfect example I have tasted myself, there really is nothing that compare or can top it in my opinion.

There it is my top three porters of 2015, I love hearing feedback and suggestions for beers you feel I need to try or left out. Next up, Stouts! check back in a few days for part 4 of Beer Zombies year in review.