Flying Bison Brewing Company Buffalo Reviews
How to Make the Best Out of a Weekend in Buffalo Nov 30, 2008
The Flying Bison Brewing Company is your typical western new york joint you know no frills, filled with joe six packs worried about their future, the "legendary" new york manners, poor grammar and shrill nasally voices.
It is also a rare gem in an area of the country that has fallen on hard times. The surrounding area is populated with hospitals, thrift stores, and small markets specializing in menthol cigarettes and malt liquor.
The brewery has both a tasting room, and a tour.
When you meet the brewery it does not come across as tourist friendly like the New Belgium Brewing Company or Big Sky Brewery, so you should remember that it is primarily a beer production facility, and not a tourist trap. So after you enter through the barbed wire fence, and find a parking spot where you won't get robbed find a door to enter the brewery. What inside was amazing, an ugly duckling sprouting into a beautiful swan swimming in a pond of beer.
Lucky me, turns out it was open house night. The brewery has one the Saturday after thanksgiving, which meant that the place was packed.
The tasting room looked like the inside of the car garage (well actually... I think it was the inside of a car garage) but who cares, the place was packed with the great people of western new york, nasally accents, everyone suddenly being family, excessive amounts of food, and most importantly, free (good) beer and lots of it.
The Food: Because it was open house, there was traditional food of buffalo, which means cake, brownies, polish and Hungarian sausage, beer-cake (my aunt loved it), beer soup, and of course, buffalo wings.
The Tour: The best thing about this place was the tour. Normally on brewery tours I feel like they only show you a little bit, and don't let you get a view of the production facilities, so it is more willy wonka than a cold, laconic, factory. Not this one.... there were buckets picking up dripping liquids, pipes held together with duct tape, and you know drains clogged with cruddy grains.
The tour guide really new his stuff, and gave the most detailed explanation of brewing I've ever heard, rather than stories about the owner and his wife ect...
The People: Buffalo around thanksgiving is an interesting place because it is the only time in the year the place is crowded. Everyone is coming home to see grandma... my parents fled to ohio, and I was in town from Washington. The brewery was very much a family environment whether it is george from Massachusetts, or adrian with her baby, drowning her sorrows. Everyone was friendly. The owner himself was a forty something mustached man, the kind of guy you would want making your beer.
The beer: The Flying Bison had 8 Beers on Tap; I of course tried each one, the drinks are free and they give you about a 6 ounce cup so you'll want to share or you'll be floored pretty quickly!
All the drinks have buffalo and flying themes to them, and are of Bavarian, and UK styles, so no lambics or wheat beers (what a sin, but I can forgive):
Aviator Red is their flag ship beer. It is an irish red ale, and comes either normal or cask conditioned for extra alcohol. It is a good drink that goes down easy. Try both versions for extra fun.
BARNSTORMER PALE ALE is your basic pale ale. It has a noticeable hoppy finish which makes me happy.
BUFFALO LAGER is their number one selling beer; it goes down easily, but nothing special.
BIRD OF PREY IPA is flavorful and well done. A lot of IPAs overload on hops, this one has a good balance too it.
SKYE PILOT SCOTCH ALE is light on hops, and has a malty finish.... very nice!
Pumpkin Ale is an Oktoberfest styled beer with pumpkin thrown in along with pumpkin pie spice. What the hell, doesn't that sound gross? Actually it is freakin' amazing and is their experimental brew.
Blizzard Bock, named after the buffalo winters are full bodied and downright delicious, my favourite drink they had available.
Overall the Flying Bison was a great time, and a great way to spend a day in buffalo. Check their website too see if they're holding any events as it will be packed, have food, and you'll make many new friends.
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