Our Dream

A destination for family, friends, and craft beer lovers.

Our Dream 

Hairy Cow Brewing Company began in 2016 when Todd McLester, a retired Rockford Police sergeant, hatched a plan to create Ogle County’s first craft brewery in Byron, Illinois. Todd enlisted the help of friend and avid home brewer Jon Lambert. Soon Jim Orlando joined the team as Hairy Cow’s resident foodie, dough-maker, and colorful host.  

Originally, the team looked for a building to renovate in downtown Byron. That plan changed dramatically when a city park became available on the banks of the beautiful Rock River. The project then required a brand-new building and a lengthy construction process.

Hairy Cow Brewing Company quietly opened its doors on December 18, 2018 with little fanfare. Immediately the taproom was filled with supporters, patrons, friends, and craft beer lovers. As Hairy Cow Brewing Company continues to grow and thrive, the original crew of 10 employees has expanded into a brewpub family of 50. 

Why Byron, Illinois?

Todd moved his family to Byron in 2004, raised his children here, and found kindred spirits who shared his post-retirement vision of creating a hub of local activity. The partners dreamed of a community gathering place, where family, friends, and foodies meet to share locally-sourced, homemade food, as well as a destination for craft beer lovers to sample new seasonal draughts along with tried and true Hairy Cow specialty brews which are always on tap.

No Longer Just A Dream

The team’s dream has become a reality. Today, Hairy Cow Brewing Company is the most popular brewpub in the area, and so much more. Guests travel from far and wide to experience the tastiest artisan brick oven pizzas, craft cocktails, coffee specialties, and farm-to-table delicacies, in addition to our ever-changing craft beer offerings.

Recently, our dream expanded again with the addition of our outdoor beer garden and river deck which offer amazing views of the tranquil Rock River in beautiful, outdoor spaces where you can enjoy your Hairy Cow experience. Summer 2020 will bring access from the Rock River via a boat dock, as well as more outdoor dining and entertainment on our soon-to-be covered back deck. We can’t wait to share our dream with you. Come visit us today!

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Hairy Cow Brewing Company
450 E. Blackhawk Drive, Byron, IL 61010
Opening Hours
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm