In case you (somehow) missed it, Hofbrauhaus Buffalo, a massive authentic German beer hall with an open air beer garden, has opened their doors after years of planning and a lot of waiting. I had the chance to tour the space with Brau Meister Scott Shuler and, let’s just say, they made one hell of a first impression.
And judging by the results, the wait was worth it.
If you’ve yet to head down to 190 Scott Street, then let me show you around. First off, the space is impressive to say the least. It’s enormous, with more seating both outside and in, upstairs and down, than you could possibly ever know what to do with, though, when this place has the chance to fully open, I’m sure they will fill it. Outside, you’ll find seating under a covered patio, and in the beer garden, under a tent, and inside, which is not open yet, features an immense amount of tables and seats, both in the Bier Hall and up on the Mezzanine. In the future, there will be bookable banquet rooms to accommodate all sizes, including the opulent King Ludwig II room, which is quite the space. There are bars outside, and on both levels inside.
My intensive and intimate tour extended beyond to include the upper levels of the building, which are currently being renovated into mixed-use space. It was like opening a time capsule into Buffalo’s past. The building, which formerly housed the Upstate Diary Co-Op and Bison Chip Dip production facility, was a beautiful decaying landscape filled with peeling paint, broken windows, old pipework, and abandoned machinery, which will all soon be brought back to life. There was an old locker room, dilapidated bathrooms and showers, a huge dark room with an ominous fence that used to house chemicals, former lab and office space, and more. At one point, I was level with the I-190; watching the cars zip by in front of my face was surreal. On the third floor, a pair of larger than life ammonia generators took up nearly half the floor, which was quite the sight. I do wish though, that the catwalk to the neighboring Fairmont Creamery still existed. I would have loved to have seen that.
My favorite portion of my tour was the roof. I honestly have never experienced views of the Buffalo skyline in that fashion, and it’s something I won’t soon forget.
Right now, Hofbrauhaus Buffalo is offering three beers – Lager, Oktoberfestbier and Hefeweizen, all brewed in traditional German fashion adhering to the Reinheitsgebot. Hofbräu Original, is a Helles Lager; clean, crisp and a touch bready, the Oktoberfestbier is classic; easy drinking with some sweet malt touches, and the Hefe, while a bit darker in color, is traditional with huge pops of clove-forward spice, bubblegum, and banana. I’m told their Dunkel is coming soon.
You’re going to need some hearty sausage to soak up all that lager. Food options include Nurnberger Pork Sausage, Grilled Chicken Bratwurst, Vienna Style Frankfurters, and Grilled Sausage Loaf (Leberkasemmel). The sausage comes courtesy of Wardynski, who had to get certified by Hofbrauhaus to prepare and serve the food.
They are currently open at 4pm weekdays and 12pm on weekends, and will be open until 10pm nightly (for now). They will have live music in the beer garden nightly and during the afternoon (and at night as well) on weekends.
This was perhaps the best brewery tour I’ve ever been on. A few immediately come to mind – Ommegang was cool, Hardywood was beyond memorable (thanks Tim) and Anchor was tremendous because I got drunk at 10am on a weekday, but that’s a story for another time. I’m already looking at my schedule to see when I can get back down to Hofbrauhaus for more lager.
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).