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Mar 20, 2018
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Smooth microbrews are a sure bet for summer
By Matt Berkley • Photo by Jonathan S. Pollack
Posted On: 06/01/2008   

At the risk of sounding tragically unhip, I have to admit something: I’m really not that big a fan of microbrews. Maybe it’s the thick hops. Maybe the mixture of malt. Maybe the bitter, unfamiliar finish. Chalk it up to poor taste on my part, but there’s just something in those distinctive regional brews that never quite clicked with my palate ... until now.

On a warm spring night, I found myself pulling up a chair on the patio at Buffalo Brewing Co., a newly minted Midtown brewpub just a stone’s throw from SLU’s campus. It seemed an ideal spot to sit outside with a cold beer and wait for my friends to pull up. Before they even arrived, I found myself three mini beers deep into the “sampler platter” of house brews, a suggestion from the waitress I was happy I took. For only $4 it includes six 4-ounce sample glasses of Buffalo’s house beers: Buffalo Gold, Chili Beer, Buffalo Drool, Buffalo Red, hefeweizen and rye IPA. Each definitely has its own personality, even a little subtle charm, but the consensus among my party as to the top picks were: the Gold, the Drool (surprisingly wonderful taste regardless of name), the Chili and the hefeweizen. My favorite was the Gold, a smooth, light little ale that I could definitely get used to. I’m also looking forward to another Drool, a darker ale that struck me as more of a light Guinness.

What impresses me the most about Buffalo’s beer is the fact that it’s not trying to impress me at all. The beers are easy, accessible, utterly devoid of ostentatiousness. I like ’em for the same reasons I like Budweiser – they’re strong, they’re solid, they’re how beer should taste.

Buffalo, which opened its doors this March, is the brainchild of Dushan Manjencich, a longtime player in the nightlife scene who has owned and operated a slew of local bars and restaurants like Mike and Min’s. His goal with this newest venture was to open a super-laid-back beer joint, “very unpretentious,” he said, “lots of comfort food with beers that have a lot of flavor and speak for themselves.”

A relatively small space – only 2,400 square feet – the bar is a terra-cotta-smothered concoction, dotted here and there with Southwest kitsch and sepia stills of 19th-century prospectors, cowboys, buffalo soldiers and the like. Flanking the dozen or so tables and booths is the bar itself, above which hangs, you guessed it, an enormous stuffed bison’s head. Tucked behind the bar is the brew room, complete with double-stack fermenters, boiling kettle, mash tun and six bright cooling tanks, all of which Manjencich liberated from a brewery in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Dave Johnson, Buffalo’s brewmaster, crafts each 100-gallon batch completely unfiltered, tweaking them to his own specifications.

The crowd is somewhat older than you’d expect for a beer joint in such proximity to a college campus – think 25 and older. And though the motif is a decidedly Western flavor, this definitely isn’t the type of place you’d expect to see Jose Cuervo shots being tipped back at 1 in the morning by rowdy undergrads. Buffalo is much more casual and best enjoyed early in the night.

The happy-hour specials, like the beer, speak for themselves (definitely the best time to go): Complimentary appetizer samplers make the rounds from 4 to 6 Monday through Friday, along with 14-ounce house brews at $2.75 and monster-sized 22-ounce drafts at only $4. Personal suggestion: Order the Buffalo Wings N Chips.

Though it’s off to a slow start, it’s a sure bet that Buffalo’s volume will continue to ramp up as the summer rolls in. In the next few weeks, Johnson plans to introduce a Belgian dubbel (which is higher in alcohol content). Another sure bet: When that happens, I’ll be reserving a table.

Check it: Fantastic happy-hour deals.
Hipster or Hoosier: Thirsty grad students, baby boomers, urban professionals.
Suds or ’tinis: Suds, house brewed.
Where: Buffalo Brewing Co., 3100 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.534.2337
When: Mon. to Wed. – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thu. and Fri. – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sat. – 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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DATE: 12/05/2009 10:52AM    POSTED BY: TierneySTL
We are regulars and recommend the Buffalo for lunch or on the way home. Good selection of house brews and always a new brew being tried out. The Buffalo Drool is a classic. Appetizers are excellent but go easy, the Buffalo Burger and Chimis are huge. Recommend splitting a pizza and the salad bar if your not super hungry. Soups at salad bar are also very good. Always great service from Dushan and his staff. Designed for fun and conversation, not watching football.

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