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Buffalo Bayou Brewing celebrates two years of adventure

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There are some things in life you just don’t do.

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You don’t keep old photos of ex’s. You don’t blow your nose in public without a tissue. You don’t tell your secretary what you really think about those pictures of her grandchildren she proudly displays on her desk.

Oh, and one other thing: You don’t tell the people at Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Brewing that something cannot be done. When it comes to beer, Buffalo Bayou Brewing is the daring kid on the block; the somewhat rebellious but always confident member of an otherwise agreeable bunch of comrades who dares to go where his friends fear to venture. No matter what the idea involves, Buffalo Bayou Brewing is willing to consider its merits and this spirit of adventure has surprised most of the brewery's early naysayers and led to two great years of brewing success.

Just this past Saturday, Buffalo Bayou Brewing celebrated its second year in operation and I was fortunate enough to join in the fun. After a few days of frigid temperatures (for Houston that is) earlier in the week, Saturday, January 25, 2014 turned out to be a pleasantly warm day. Arriving at Buffalo Bayou Brewing, I was ready for an entertaining evening of food, fun, and of course, delicious craft beer.

Welcome Everyone

Buffalo Bayou Brewing set things up in a different way than expected. Rather than have everyone form a line at the entrance to the brewery, check in, and proceed to the tasting stations, the brewery personnel set up a couple of tables outdoors, underneath a red tent. Here, guests could check in and get a glass, but one nice surprise is that the glass was already full! Yes, they had a set of different beers waiting for guests, to start the evening off right. Talk about customer service- most breweries just hand you a small glass and then, well, you’re on your own. Without any further ado, I had my first glass of beer and was ready to wander through the crowd, talk to other guests, and eventually make my way indoors where the beer taps were lined up, ready to serve.

A Beer for You, a Beer for Me

Buffalo Bayou has brewed a large number of beers over the past two years and they served up more than thirty of them on this special evening. Some of the popular crowd favorites were available, like Gingerbread Stout, 1836, Buffalo Sunset, More Cowbell, Smoke on the Bayou, and others. But there was a host of other beers available and most were often modified versions of the popular brands/styles. Vanilla Mocha Sunset was a variation of the Buffalo Sunset, aged on vanilla beans and cacao nibs. White Oak aged More Cowbell utilized white oak to age Buffalo Bayou’s popular double IPA and turn it into something different, yet every bit as good. These and other variations kept guests curious and intrigued throughout the evening.

Other beers returning for this anniversary celebration included Grape Crusher, Ginger Citrus IPA, Belgian Black Rye IPA, and many more. These beers were served in sets of four and gradually rotated during the evening. You couldn’t spend too long pondering the complexity of the Vanilla Buffalo Rye’d in the glass in front of you, as tempting as it may have been. The next round would be ready to tap very soon and you needed to move quickly before the kegs were changed once more.

For Your Musical Enjoyment

No celebration is complete without live tunes and for this special occasion, local band Yello Echo supplied the music with a mixture of funk, punk and soul, an eccentric mix perfectly fitting for a Buffalo Bayou Brewing affair. The sellout crowd probably would have grooved to the music more if both hands were free. But with a Buffalo Bayou brew resting between the grip of fingers on one hand and a serving of food from Phamily Bites and Grillmaster Quy in the other, it was difficult to do anything besides eat, drink, and converse.

Never say Never

Buffalo Bayou Brewing has now reached the young age of two and as it looks to the future, the company has much to look forward to and much to celebrate. The brewery started with owner/founder Rassul Zarinfar’s vision to offer something a little different and its legions of fans have responded in kind. Rather than brew the usual amber, red, hefeweizen, and porter, Buffalo Bayou Brewing serves up artisanal beer that pushes the limits and its loyal and growing fan base couldn’t be happier.

Other breweries tend to play by the rules and consider even a beer made with fruit as a risky departure from the norm, but Buffalo Bayou Brewing has never been the type of company to play by the rules. Its “think outside the keg” philosophy has resulted in interesting and memorable beers, including some made with figs, grapes, and other less conventional ingredients. You can say a lot of things about brewing beer, but don’t ever tell the folks at Buffalo Bayou Brewing that something cannot be done.

They can, and will, surprise you.

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