Vacation - Buffalo Bill's Brewery
The last stop we made (just before heading to the airport) on our recent trip to San Francisco was at Buffalo Bill's Brewery. It's taken a while to sit down and write this post and it's hard to say specifically why. The visit was a bit of a let down though. Was it because it was our last stop on a busy trip? Does everything pale in comparison to our trip to Russian River? Or was the brewpub just not that exciting?
Of all the places we went while out in San Francisco, Buffalo Bill's was the only one that had been on our bucket list. Orange Blossom Cream Ale and Blueberry Oatmeal Stout are two of our favorite beers. We wanted the trip to feel like a pilgrimage of sorts and it didn't live up to that.
We knew going in that the beers we had enjoyed weren't necessarily brewed at the brewpub anymore. It makes perfect sense that a small operation in San Francisco would need some help if they were going to distribute throughout the country. That help comes from Pyramid Brewing, which, oddly enough, is owned by North American Breweries headquartered in Rochester. What we didn't expect was to witness the odd separation between those beers and the ones available at the pub. We couldn't get Orange Blossom of Blueberry Stout on draft. If we wanted one of those they would just crack open a case and hand us a bottle. The waiter explained to me that none of those beers were ever brewed on the premises anymore. Should that matter? I'm not sure. It sure hurt the "going to the source" vibe we were hoping to get.
It was very cool to get to try some beers that we had never had before though! In a sampler, we got Tasmanian Devil, Ricochet Red, and Johnny Midnite Oatmeal Stout. My favorite of the bunch was the red. It was reminiscent of Oskar Blues G'Knight which is a good thing. I love the sweet maltiness of over-the-top reds. The other two were nice beers but nothing to really freak out about.
The place was decorated well. Large banners of all their flagship beers were hanging from the ceiling (including both the local and national brews). Retro looking signs adorned the brick walls. Cases of beers were stacked as decorations all over the restaurant. It was cool, if not a little bit overly commercial. At least you knew they had plenty of the beers that were brewed elsewhere.
The food offerings weren't especially unique and kind of fell victim to that "bar & grill" heaviness. We did start things off with a pretty cool appetizer called Buffalo Poppers. We expected standard fried jalapeno poppers but instead got gigantic, eat with a fork, stuffed jalapenos. They were really good and probably the best part of the meal.
I had been craving quesadillas for some reason and was happy to see them on the menu. They were described as featuring a mole sauce which got me even more excited. Oddly, when they arrived at the table, the first thing to stand out was the insane amount of what appeared to be paprika on the edge of the plate. Garnish gone wild! It made the whole thing a bit of a challenge to eat. I had to avoid getting that red dust everywhere. The quesadillas were good but I really didn't pick up any sort of mole sauce on the plate. As previously mentioned, they were quite heavy, but got the job done as a pre-flight meal.
Heather got the Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich. It was divided into four small sandwiches on her plate with tortilla chips . From my point of view, it looked pretty hearty for a veggie only meal. She enjoyed it. It was kind of a shame that the leftovers had to get tossed because we were heading to the airport.
Buffalo Bill's wasn't exactly what we expected but we are still glad we went. It definitely had more of a local bar & grill feel than it did a brewpub and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In that sense, it is kind of reminiscent of Rohrbachs, though the food style and beer selections are significantly different.
Pale on April 11, 2012 at 7:53pm EDT
buffalo bill's brewery