Buffalo Brewing Company, the brewery attached to The Water Buffalo on Rodney Parham, is coming to the Heights. Owner Nolen Buffalo has signed a lease for the space that once belonged to The Painted Pig next to Burge’s Restaurant. The new taproom represents an expansion of Buffalo Brewing Company, as The Water Buffalo will continue its brewing and gardening supply business at its current location. It also represents the first brewery to set up shop in the Heights, one of Little Rock’s most desirable business neighborhoods.
“It’s absolutely a coup,” said Nolen Buffalo. “We came into the lease process late. There were several other businesses looking at it, and we really didn’t think we had a chance. But all of those things that usually slow the process down, they didn’t happen. Everything moved right along, and now we’re here.”
Buffalo is targeting this June to open the new taproom, which will feature up to 20 taps and seating for 80 people. Buffalo Brewing has a robust menu now with eight beers that are always on tap and many more that are in regular rotation. The new taproom will likely not have much in the way of retail, leaving that aspect to the Rodney Parham store. It will also not have a kitchen. Buffalo is hoping to work with food trucks and caterers to service the taproom, but he also wants his patrons to enjoy the great restaurants that are already in the Heights.
“Go to Burge’s next door, pick up some food and bring it over,” said Buffalo. “I want people to buy from Burge’s, I want Burge’s to sell even more food than they are now. We want to be that good neighbor.”
Homebrewers in Little Rock will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief that the Rodney Parham location will remain open. The Water Buffalo and Fermentables in North Little Rock are the only two homebrew supply stores in Central Arkansas. The current taproom and the brewing facility will also remain. Still, Buffalo is looking to move the brewery’s identity to the new location.
“I’m ready for the brewery to be its own thing, and not just a wing of the homebrew supply store,” said Buffalo. “We attended an event recently, and I realized that we’re always placed by the homebrewers. And I love my homebrewers, but I think we’re also sometimes viewed as a glorified home brewery, and that’s not the case.”
It certainly isn’t, as the beer coming from Buffalo Brewing Company lately could go head to head with just about any game in town. In particular, the new Flying Monkey Venom Imperial IPA is flat out fantastic, and the brewery’s recent take on Resilience IPA was also very well done. Now that quality and creativity is heading to the Heights this summer. We will keep a close watch on the new Buffalo Brewing taproom and let you know as soon as we have an opening day.