Our Story

Hairy Cow
Brewing Co.

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At Hairy Cow Brewing Company, Ogle County’s very first brewpub, we strive to make the best craft beer possible. But we’re so much more. Whether you’re hoping to snuggle up to a cozy fireplace with a steaming cappuccino this winter, or craving a cold beer by the river bank on a warm summer evening, Hairy Cow Brewing Company is the place for you. No matter the season, you’ll enjoy amazing river views year-round while you…

Why Hairy Cow

The partners settled on the name Hairy Cow in honor of the Scottish Highland cattle Todd raised on his property just outside Byron, Illinois. These adorable creatures formed the inspiration for the brewery and several of the beer names.

For example, Denmar is the herd bull, and a perfect choice for the name of the seasonal Oktoberfest brew. The bangs which cover the Highland’s eyes, and give the cattle their iconic look, are called a dossan, hence the name Dossan Amber. We also offer a Highland Hairy IPA, an American Hairy IPA, and most recently a double chocolate milk stout named Dos Dookies. We’ll let you figure out that name for yourself.

Using locally produced ingredients whenever possible and in season, Hairy Cow Brewing Company also prides itself by donating our spent brewer’s grain to local farms, where it is used as cow feed, as well as a local artisan bakery.

Owner-Todd-McLester

Todd McLester

Todd McLester is our salty founder. After 25 years of protecting the fine citizens of Rockford, Illinois in a variety of positions with the Rockford Police Department, Todd decided to take it easy and build a little brewpub in Byron. The brewpub is fondly named after Todd’s Scottish Highland Cattle.

Jon Lambert

Jon Lambert

Jon Lambert is Head Brewer and partner at HCB. He started home brewing in 2010 before taking it up a notch (or ten) and turning pro. Jon’s thoughts about brewing… “I love the process, but more than that, I love sharing beer with friends and family”.

Jim Orlando

JIm Orlando

Jim Orlando is our resident foodie, dough-maker, partner, and colorful host. Jim retired from a career spanning 38 years at Woodward Governor where he acted as photographer and safety director. When he’s not out on the town entertaining friends and family, you will find Jim schmoozing with customers at HCB. Our social butterfly, Jim is always the best-dressed man in the room.

Join Our Team!

We love our Hairy Cow family! We are looking for new personalities who want to have fun bringing the Hairy Cow experience to the world! Join us in serving great beer and amazing food to smiling faces.

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Join Our Brew Crew!

Do you love people, great food, and beer? Would you love to help us deliver the Hairy Cow experience? Apply today to join this amazing Hairy Cow crew.

Building Community Around Quality Beer.

Business Hours:
Sunday11am – 8pm
MondayClosed
TuesdayClosed
WednesdayClosed
Thursday11am – 9pm
Friday11am – 10pm
Saturday11am – 10pm