The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Microbreweries
New York

 

Buffalo

Cortland

Dryden

Geneva

Hammondsport

 

Ithaca

Lakewood

Penn Yan

Syracuse

 

 

 

 

 

Baachus Brewing
Company

15 Ellis Dr.
Dryden, NY 13053
(607) 844-8474

Bacchus Brewing Company is a micro- brewery in Dryden, NY, just outside of Ithaca.
They have recently been purchased by Americana Vinyards in Interlaken. So if a Questor is imbibing on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and becomes thirsty, said Questor can stop at the Americana Vineyards, and go downstairs to the beer tasting room and have any of the 10 Bacchus beers on tap.
The taproom at Baachus is the size of a large one-car garage with a bar that seats 6, several tables and a shelf along the longer wall.
The Americana has a cafe in a nearby building. If one desires a beer with lunch, tell the waitress - she will travel to the bar building, go downstairs, get your beer, and return.

Baachus beers are also available on the other side of Cayuga Lake at Americana Vineyard's Crystal Lake Cafe, as well as on tap at local watering holes.

 

 

 

Willow Rock Brewing Company
115 Game Rd
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 928-6948

Willow Rock Brewing Company is a microbrewery just on the city limits of Syracuse, NY.
It's a kinda new, small warehouse-style building.
Just inside the warehouse door is a glass- enclosed, climate controlled bar room. The bar seats about 10 patrons, and there are several tables.
Half of the warehouse is brewing operation, housing the 1-barrel brewing system, and several one-barrel bright tanks.
The other half of the warehouse has several great tables as well has 8 church pews for seating.
They have six brews on tap with the promise of more to come.

 

 

 

Red Hawk Brewing
4504 Bussey Rd
Syracuse, NY 13215
Phone: (315) 491-5158

The Red Hawk Brewery is a micro brewery about 5 miles from Syracuse, NY.
The barnlike building has absolutely no signage of any sort to identify it as a commercial establishment.
Red Hawk specializes in Belgian style beers, with 6 full time taps and several seasonals, most of which have fairly high ABV's.
The taproom has one rather large room as well as an alcove with tables. There is room for ten or more to stand at the bar, and lots of standing around room.
The room is rather stark, and except for the lack of seats, could be a
Veterinarian's office.
We stayed until closing without seeing any other customers; the owner seemed embarrassed by this and said they are usually busier.

 

 

 

 

Cortland Beer Company
16 Court St
Cortland , NY 13045
(607)662-4389

The Cortland Beer Company is a microbrewery on the edge of the downtown business area in Cortland, NY.
It's an old store front with several small tables and chairs, but mostly standing around space.
There are several tables out front for sidewalk drinking and eating.
Cortland has 10 of their own beers on tap and can a few of their brews as well.
All beers are brewed in a room in the back.
The food menu consists of popcorn and hot dogs.

Cortland has live music every Friday, at least in warm weather...bring a lawn chair.

 

Climbing Bines Hop Farm
511 Hansen Point Rd
Penn Yan, NY
(607) 745-0221

Climbing Bines is a farm microbrewery that produces it's own hops which are prominently growing out front. The brewery also uses locally harvested barley.
To get to the tasting room, one walks down the drive from the parking lot to a large open room in the side of the barn. It's newly paneled, bright and cheery, but also plain and simple.
Available in the tasting room are samples, pints, 32-oz. grenades, and growlers.
Taps are on the back wall, and the bar separates the workers from the tasters.
Climbing Bines has a big lawn which can be set up with a band and picnic tents.
They have 6 of their own tasty beers on tap, among which are a blonde, pale ale, IPA, amber, and hefeweizen.

 

 

Finger Lakes Beer Company, LLC
8462 State Route 54
P.O. Box 356
Hammondsport, NY 14840
(607)569-3311

Finger Lakes Beer Company is a microbrewery near Hammondsport, NY, in a modern building just off the highway.
The visitor enters into a large room that has some brewery merchandise and a cash register.
Large windows to the side room offer views of the brewing operation.
In the back is the tasting room. By license they offer 3 oz. pours of your choice of 6 brews for $3.00.
Growlers can be filled, but they have none of their beer otherwise packaged.
They provide lists of retailers selling their beer.

 

Keuka Brewing Company
8572 Briglin Road  
Hammondsport, NY 14840
(607) 868-4648

Keuka Brewing is a microbrewery several miles from Hammondsport, NY. It's in a one-family house far into the country.
The owner has changed the front lawn into a parking area.
The brewing operation and tasting room are in the basement.
By license he is allowed to serve to tasters 3 oz. samples of each of his six beers. He charges $3.00 for a complete tasting.
One can buy 12 oz. bottles of the year- round beers and bombers of the seasonals, as well as fill growlers.
The beer is fairly tasty and seemed true to style.
Also available is beer paraphernalia and lists of retailers carrying Keuka products.

 

 

Gaël Brewing Company
4180 State Route 14
Geneva, NY 14456
315-220-0190

Microbreweries come in all sizes and styles...there are breweries with a British slant, those that specialize in German lagers, and those that proffer Belgians.
And of course we have an abundance of American craft breweries.
But when was the last time you were in an Irish microbrewery?

Gaël Brewing is a microbrewery in a small stand alone building several miles outside of Geneva, NY.
One room large, the small bar has no bar stools but there are several chairs scattered about.
Gaël serves six of their own Irish style beers.
The brewing operation is in the back and not visible to drinking customers.
The beers are tasty, if not true to style.
Gaël's tasting room serves up their beers in pints or half-pints, as well as filling growlers and grumblers.
Flights are available.
Tours are given on Saturday.



 

 

 

War Horse Brewing Company
623 Lerch Rd
Geneva, NY 14456
315-585-4432

The War Horse Brewery has it's tasting room at the rear of the Three Brothers Winery near Seneca Lake.  
It is not a brew pub.
The beer is contract brewed, and is for sale at the tasting room. 
They sell growlers and have one beer in bottles.  They can also sell a round of samples.  And they have a fair amount of samples. 
The draft was tasty and seemed true to style.  The bottled beer also contains a grape juice. 

 

Ithaca Beer Company
606 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-0766.

Ithaca Beer Co. is hard to pass up as it is right on the highway near Ithaca, NY, a charming, beer-friendly college town.
Ithaca is not a brew pub, but you can sample and purchase the beers that they make right here.
The store front is as large as a 7-11, and sells home brew supplies, Ithaca logo souvenirs, and of course Ithaca beer.
In their sampling area they have 8 taps and their rootbeer.
Everything they make is on tap, everything they bottle is in the cooler.
The seasonals, which aren't bottled, are available on keg or by growler. Mix and match 6- packs or cases are available.
It's a wonderful beer store!

 

 

Flying Bison Brewing Company
491 Ontario Street
Buffalo, New York 14207
716-873-1557

You gotta really want to visit Flying Bison.
The sign on Ontario Street says the brewery is at the back of the building, and so it is in many ways. Still, once safely inside you're treated to the innards of a working brewery.
Owner and head brewer Tim Herzog is proud of his facilities and his beers. He built the place around the wish-lists of other brewers and so it has such things as its own lab and a one-barrel system for test brewing. There's no restaurant but there is a small bar with Flying Bison beers on tap for samples.
On our visit seven taps were pouring the Blizzard Bock and Barnstormer Pale Ale were favorites.
Pint glasses, ball caps and similar beer paraphernalia are also available for purchase.
Tim and his crew give tours on Saturday but they were happy to indulge us on a dreary Monday morning.
If you fear the back of buildings in industrial areas, you can also find Flying Bison in restaurants, bars and grocery stores throughout Western New York.

 

 

Southern Tier Brewing Company
2051A Stoneman Circle
Lakewood, New York 14750
Telephone 716-763-5479

The Southern Tier brewery is a stand alone building about a mile from the highway in Lakewood, NY.
It's a pretty large building with lots of fermentation tanks out back.
The parking and public door are on the side near the back. One enters a vestibule that has seats, the restrooms, and a door to the bar area.
The 30 foot square bar area has rustic wood beams but otherwise of a modern decor. The walkup bar is on the entrance end, and there are about a dozen tables.
There is also a station where one can order from a very limited pub grub menu.
Southern Tier has about 15 of their own beers on tap, most available in growlers.
There is also a cooler with many of their products available for carry out.
At the opposite end, big wide doors reveal a partially covered patio larger than the bar room itself.
Also revealed is a very large lawn for picnicking with a bandstand perhaps 100 feet away.
On this summer weekend, even the lawn was crowded.

 

 

 

 

"They who drink beer will think beer ." ....Washington Irving