March 12, 2008 > Buffalo Bill's Brewery
Buffalo Bill's Brewery
By Joe O. Ramos
Photos By Shari Wargo and Mark Fischer
As a bar, restaurant and brewery, Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward attracts a varied crowd from cyclists and soccer players to beer and sports bar enthusiasts. The brewery may sometimes feel like a college bar with signs such as Alimony Ale's, "Good beer, like true love, doesn't last," but it's much more. Buffalo Bill's serves food from its kitchen and brews its own beer which is sold in over 30 states.
Bob Stover, night manager at Buffalo Bill's Brewery says, "Buffalo Bill's is not a college bar, but we draw college students from Chabot College, Cal State East Bay, Alameda, and sometimes San Jose. Our Customers come from the North and South Bay, Tri -Valley, the Peninsula, and all over the Bay Area. They come mainly by word of mouth."
"In 1978 Buffalo Bill's founder, William Owens, a pioneer in the home brewers movement with [U.S. Senator] Alan Cranston and a group of home brewers set out to get the laws changed so that they could brew their own beer." said Stover. Owens, Cranston and other home brewers wanted to change these archaic laws. Cranston sponsored legislation that would change the laws to permit a brewery to serve homemade brew with character and spunk to the public. "Prior to this, the laws pertaining to home breweries had not been changed since prohibition." Stover added.
In 1983, Cranston sponsored a new bill, the laws changed and breweries like Buffalo Bill's were given the green light to draft beer on their premises. That year, Owens opened Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward. "It is the second oldest brew pub in the country. The first opened as the Mendocino Brewery Company in Mendocino County just a couple of weeks earlier, and is the oldest in the Bay Area. In 1994, Buffalo Bills was sold to Geoffrey Harries," said Stover, who has been with Harries at Buffalo Bill's for over twenty years.
Today, Buffalo Bill's is a landmark in Hayward, quenching the thirst of those who truly appreciate great beer. Buffalo Bill's brews their own beer and also promotes seasonal beers. Last fall, the promotion was "Pumpkin Ale." During the Christmas season through February, the brew was "Blue Christmas Stout," a blend of blueberries, chocolate and oatmeal stout. The new seasonal special is "Orange Blossom Cream Ale," which will be promoted throughout the summer. Additional brews on tap to spur the imagination and taste buds include Buffalo Beer, Ricochet Red, Tasmanian Devil, Hayward Heffe and Johnny Midnite Oatmeal Stout. Some food items on the menu to complement a Buffalo Bill's brew on tap or in the bottle are pizza, BLT sandwiches, burgers, presto chicken and soup or salad of the Day.
An eclectic mix of patrons can almost always be found relaxing at Buffalo Bill's. Recently, a group of bicyclists stopped by saying they will be back in June to participate in a cycling race that ends at Buffalo Bill's Brewery. "'Hills to Bills' is a 35 mile bike race that begins at a brewery in Berkeley, goes around Lake Chabot, and ends up at Buffalo Bill's Brewery," said Steve Blick, a bicycle enthusiast from Laguna Beach. Blick said he was in the Bay Area for the sole purpose of meeting other bicycle enthusiasts at Buffalo Bill's Brewery.
Stop by Buffalo Bill's if you are in the Hayward area and see what has been attracting customers from far and wide for decades. Buffalo Bill's also sells its very own glass gallon jugs, which can, for a modest price, be filled and refilled with a Buffalo Bill's brew.
With deep-rooted history in Hayward, delicious food, and specially brewed beers, Buffalo Bill's is a unique and fun hot spot that should not be missed.
For more information about Buffalo Bill's Brewery and the Orange Blossom Cream Ale, call (510) 886-9823 or visit www.buffalobillsbrewery.com.
Buffalo Bill's Brewery
1082 "B" Street, Hayward