From Food Truck Tuesday to Larkin Live, the Larkin neighborhood is home to some of Buffalo’s most beloved events, happenings only enhanced once a fresh beer is in hand. Luckily for all of us, Larkin is home to more than one fine purveyor of the craft, all of which are pulling out all the stops to get ready for this short summer season of ours. Hydraulic Hearth, which you should know by now is home to a Community Beer Works satellite brewery, have added lunch service on Fridays, and the beer gardens at both Flying Bison Brewing and Buffalo Brewing Company have undergone extensive facelifts to ensure every one that enjoys a pint can also enjoy some sun.
Flying Bison expanded upon their front patio with a full-blown beer garden along the side of the brewery. The new space features soft stone, eight wooden picnic tables, resin Adirondack chairs, barrel tables and plenty of games including locally made OnTop Ball Toss, KanJam, Washers, and six sets of cornhole boards.
The front patio also got a few sets of patio lounge furniture and some more greenery, with new hops plants taking off in planter boxes alongside the pergolas. The extra seating on both patios will come in handy for a busy season of Food Truck Tuesdays. Flying Bison also hosts live acoustic music outdoors every other week. Flying Bison will host Strictly Hip outside in the beer garden on July 12, Scarlet Begonias & Neville Francis and Riddim Posse as part of Summer Sun Splash on July 14, and the Buffalo Booze and Brews Music Festival in conjunction with Buffalo Distilling on August 4 featuring eight bands.
Flying Bison patriarch Tim Herzog says that the new space was simply the next step of the plan they have been working on for the last three years, and adds that they have been looking to add more outdoor space for customers.
“For the patio Biergarten on the front of the building, we finished what we have been slowly working on over the last 3 years,” Herzog says. “We planted some hops to show people what an incredible plant they are, and some flowers to soften the look of all the stone work. We got some comfortable furniture so our guests can relax a bit, and on the side, we added some seating in the form of picnic tables, and put a decorative, yet S.L.A. approved [barrel and chain] fence. Our guests wanted more outside space, so we made it. We also added a giant planter box, and space for outdoor beer friendly games. Our whole motivation is to give our visitors a comfortable space to sample our beer and enjoy time with family and friends.”
The brewery had also extended their summer hours so everyone can take advantage of the new beer garden area. Flying Bison’s new hours are 4-9pm, Tuesday through Thursday, and 12-10pm Friday and Saturday.
Around the corner from Flying Bison, Larkin brewery neighbor Buffalo Brewing has also revamped their outdoor space in a continual effort to ensure we all spend more time out in the sun drinking beer. The new space, located along the side of the brewery, features plenty of seating (owner John Domres say roughly 40), including picnic tables, custom made high top keg tables and wooden Adirondack chairs, all housed under a giant shade sail. Domres says that this project has been something he has been working towards since shortly after they opened a few years back.
“The beer garden has been a project in the works since August of 2016 shortly after we opened. We knew we needed a spot for people to enjoy the outdoors as Buffalo has an extremely short summer, or so it feels like,” Domres says. “We began planning and ran into some obstacles along the way, but it’s a fun place with lots of games; a dog friendly space for them to use the bathroom and drink some water with plenty of seating for enjoying numerous BBC beers. It is large enough to house 40 people yet still feels intimate.”
And you are going to want to get to Hydraulic Hearth before, or after for that matter, you visit both Flying Bison and Buffalo Brewing, especially on Fridays, because you can now enjoy lunch in the beer garden as part of Casual Fridays. Every Friday, Hydraulic Hearth sets up the grill in the beer garden for lunch to serve their take on a classic fast food burger menu, which includes the Larkin Burger, a classic double cheeseburger, a regular Cheeseburger, Veggie Burger, Hot Dog, Italian Sausage and Grilled Potatoes, all of which pair pretty damn perfectly with any one of the Community Beer Works’ beers that are brewed in house at Hydraulic Hearth.
“Summer in Buffalo is a magical thing,” Flying Bison adds. “Make it count enjoy the outdoors! Do not forget the bug spray and sunblock, but if you do, we will have both available next to the doors leading outside to both our patios. Gotta soak up the sun while it’s available.”
Flying Bison, Buffalo Brewing, Hydraulic Hearth, and that’s not even to mention Buffalo Distilling Company (their Straight Bourbon Whiskey is fantastic) and Tommyrotter Distilling, who also call the Larkin neighborhood home. Great locally crafted beer, food and spirits – what else could you possibly ask for? How about warm temps, sunshine, good friends and laughter? While the Larkin craft scene and Mother Nature can supply most of those, it’s up to you to supply the latter two. Spend a day in Larkin sometime soon and you can thank me in the future, preferable over a pint.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, 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), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.