A snowy late March day did not stop me from traveling to Flying Bison Brewing Company’s new facilities, located at 840 Seneca Street just off Larkin Square center in Buffalo, NY. I visited Flying Bison Brewing Company’s new facility for the first time last January at Larkin Square’s “Ice Fest”. Please see my review of that event by clicking here. I earmarked a return to Flying Bison Brewing Company when the brewery wasn’t as crowded, so I set aside the majority of a late Thursday afternoon to go scouting. Flying Bison Brewing Company is a Buffalo beer staple and well known for production of such popular beers as Rusty Chain and Aviator Red.
Flying Bison Brewing Company was opened in 2000 in Buffalo’s west side on Ontario Street. You can still visit the website for their former location here. The Ontario Street building was less than optimal for numerous reasons and Flying Bison Brewing Company recently moved to Seneca Street in October of 2014. The new space is immense, state-of-the-art, and incredibly impressive.
You are immediately enveloped in ample space as you enter Flying Bison Brewing Company. Banners and other beer signage adorn the walls in every direction, and beer paraphernalia pings your peripheral vision at every angle. There are a few picnic tables and high-top tables to rest your pint glass as you enjoy a Flying Bison Brewing Company offering. The brewing facilities can be seen through the glass behind the bar.
I approached the bar and was immediately greeted by Vincent, a person whom I had met previously at Village Beer Merchant, but had not associated with Flying Bison Brewing Company until after my first beer. Just next to us, Flying Bison Brewing Company’s Tim Herzog was “talking shop” with a couple about crafting beers. I’ll admit to eavesdropping. Conversations like this reassure me that I am in a beer space where people enjoy their craft and patrons visit to share tips and exchange tricks of the trade with professionals.
I decided to try a flight of Flying Bison Brewing Company beers, including: Helldiver Oatmeal Pale Ale, Walk on the Mild Side English session ale w/U.S. hops, Barnstormer American Pale Ale, and Crème de Bison Milk Stout (limited and now gone, cask). Assorted snacks are available at the brewery, such as pretzels and cheese.
What I have learned to appreciate from Flying Bison Brewing Company is that their best-selling beers stay true to form while being adaptable. After doing a review of Flying Bison Brewing Company’s Aviator Red, I appreciate the craftsmanship required to ever-so-slightly modify an Irish style red ale and successfully complement a traditionally-intense malt sweetness with spicy hops. To achieve this level of product takes time, tweaking, effort, and the willingness to adapt.
I decided to go with a pint of the Helldiver Oatmeal Pale Ale and was not disappointed. I was happy to also be privy to a couple of experimental batches of beer, including a lactic acid laced sour and the star of the night, a milk stout entitled Crème de Bison. You know the beer is good when the employees trickle from every corner of the building to pull a pint. Crème de Bison was indeed delicious. This also is testament that you can stop into Flying Bison Brewing Company on a random Thursday afternoon and score some sweet one-offs (pun intended). Crème de Bison was drained before I exited the building.
Perhaps most admirable about Flying Bison Brewing Company is their commitment to consistency. And behind any brewing consistency must be a well-managed and maintained facility. I requested a facility tour from Tim Herzog and he eagerly complied. Although you can view the brewing facility from the tasting room, you really don’t appreciate the vast expanse until you walk through the doors.
Tim exuded a proud parent vibe as he escorted us through the new Flying Bison Brewing Company production facilities. I gathered the sense that all employees were happy to be in their new space, as well they should be. Tim exhibited confidence as he returned every question I hurled in his direction with a swift and knowledgeable response.
I was surprised to learn that all the vessels shown here are barely sufficient to supply the Buffalo area demand for Rusty Chain. This summer, beer drinkers can look forward to Flying Bison Brewing Company in can format. This mixed pack of cans is currently being distributed all over Western New York and will definitely have a place in your backyard BBQ festivities.
Flying Bison Brewing Company is truly a Buffalo brewing cornerstone. A tour of the new production facility is worth the visit. If available, grab an experimental beer while you are there. You never know, maybe that beer will become the next Rusty Chain or Buffalo Kolsch.
Flying Bison Brewing Company
840 Seneca Street
Buffalo, NY 14210