The website is back in action!

Hello, Flying Bison fans & webpage visitors.  As 2017 comes to a close, we thought we’d bring back the blog along with the updated look to the website.  Before we type on about our future, we’d like to acknowledge an important figure in our history.  2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the passing of our co-founder Larry “Red” Mrozek,  home-brewer, facial hair aficionado, and huge craft beer advocate in the city of Buffalo.  There are still a few kegs of Red’s Brown Ale at the tasting room, a tribute beer brewed in fall in honor of Red, with the classic recipe coming from the vaults of our Hop Jack (with tweaking by Red himself).  Bold, balanced, and supremely drinkable…come raise a pint for Red while you still can!

The entire brewery is going through some tweaks and changes to help start 2018 off on the right foot.

First off, our original bottling line from the Ontario Street days has left the building.  In an effort to get more efficiency in our packaging department, we are in the midst of installing a Krones bottler (to go along with the Krones labeler we picked up a few years ago) and a Criveller bottle rinser unit (to go along with our Criveller brewhouse).   By the new year, we’ll hopefully be bottling 4x faster than we have been.

Second, our tasting room is going to look a bit different.  We’ve updated our snack menu , using locally made products whenever possible.  We’ve added a monitor/TV.  By the time we open for business December 21, our extraordinarily tall serving counter/bar will have been lowered, to the delight of our visitors under 5’8.  By the time spring rolls around, we’ll be sprucing up our back lot patio space to make it more green, private, and lawn-game friendly.  We’re also building a stage so we can have some more musical acts in 2018, including a series of Happy Hour concerts on Thursdays in the summer.  Check our events tab on this webpage for our next fun parties and beer releases.

And last, but certainly not least, THE BEER.  Blackbird Oatmeal Stout recently saw its first release in bottles in about 10 years.  MacBison Scotch Ale just a few weeks ago was bottled and available in stores for the first time ever!  Three of our most exciting beers of the last year, Spot Coffee Stout, Bourbon Barrel Spot Stout, and Juice Caboose New England-style IPA are set to be brewed and released in the coming months

What are we working on beyond winter?

Next on the horizon are some international collaborations with two of Ontario, Canada’s most prolific craft brewers, Beau’s All Natural in Vankleek Hill and Great Lakes Brewery just outside Toronto in Etobicoke, ON.  These beers will be made as part of the Canadian American Beer Festival on April 7th, 2018 in Niagara Falls, NY.  Western NY and Southern Ontario breweries were matched together in two  lottery-style drawing or “draft.”  Each participating brewery will both host and travel to a brewery from the other country.

We’re working on another international collaboration with a brewery from ‘across the pond’.  We’ll let you know more as we work out some details.

As for spring beers from our regular & seasonal lineup, we’ll see Barrel Roll Maibock, Polonia Pils, Brindle Porter, and also the return of Aviator Irish Red back in bottles!

We’ll be updating this blog more frequently than the 3+ years it took us to write this post, so check back here to see what we’re up to.

Cheers!

 

About Time for Barleywine

Ah The Herc! Its history is as rich as the beer itself.

The Herc

In short, The Herc is our barleywine of British and American descent. By that I mean a substantial amount of British Pearl malt is the backbone with heavy-handed additions of high-alpha American hops supporting the malt assault. It boasts a substantial sweet and bready body with caramel tones and is balanced by a stiff bitterness. We let this beer sit and condition around four months before packaging it and encourage folks to buy several bottles: some to enjoy fresh and a few more to cellar. After a few months and years sherry-like flavors develop and the malty caramel notes really shine through. This beer has been a mainstay at Flying Bison since the first batch was brewed in 2005, but this is the first year we sent it out to the general public; it has been previously exclusively available in our retail shop ( I suppose retail ‘area’ is a little more fitting ).

The story of this beer begins with the mighty Paul Jackson, an original Sultans of Swig homebrew club member and Flying Bison investor. You can find him filling kegs and cups during brewery retail hours most Saturdays and can be described as nothing short of a force in the WNY brewing community. He brought his barleywine recipe to our hectoliter pilot system so we could brew something a bit more high test. With plenty of hops of course. Paul forewarned us about the amount of hops we would be using with an explanation: “I want to be able to taste ’em 5 years down the line.” So, once again, aging is as encouraged as fresh enjoyment.

Herc Strong Ale Bottles

Enter the United States Air Force. A group of Hercules C-130 pilots operating out of the Niagara Falls Air Base began frequenting the brewery in their off time. Upon asking to be involved in a brew, they were invited to take part in brewing a special strong ale on our pilot system. A few months later they tasted the results and emphatically approved. The enthusiasm inspired us to add the brew to our line up. So with Paul Jackson’s approval The Herc was born, not only as a special new offering for our customers to enjoy, but also as a tribute to our friends working hard and sacrificing in the armed services.

So come and snag some bottles from the brewery and keep your eyes peeled for it when visiting better beer establishments. But do so soon before it disappears for another year!

 

21 or over?