The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs
New York

 

Buffalo

Cooperstown

Corning

Ellicottville

Fort Drum

Ithaca

 

 

 

Lake Placid

Lodi

Sackets Harbor

Syracuse

Watkins Glen

Williamsville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brewery Ommegang
656 County Highway 33  Cooperstown, NY 13326
(607) 544-1800

Brewery Ommegang is a stellar fixture among American regional breweries.
Nestled in the beautiful Susquehanna Valley, just south of Cooperstown, NY, the brewery was sold in 2003 to Brouwerij Duvel Mortgat, makers of the popular Duvel Golden Ale.
Brewery Ommegang is a pioneer in the brewing of Belgian-style beer in the U.S.
The brewery's setting is picturesque, and is built along the style of a Belgian farmhouse. Tours are given, and there is a tasting room in which to consume samples.

Ommegang now has a cafe in which to enjoy lunch.
A Questor will find Ommegang beers well-represented while crawling through the pubs of baseball-centric Cooperstown.

 

 

Buster's Brew Pub
Bldg P-4350, Commons, 2nd Street
Fort Drum, New York, 13602
(315) 772-1900

This little brew pub is located at Ft. Drum, just outside of Watertown in New York's north country.
You need to have someone escort you on base, or call the brew pub ahead of time to request access, otherwise you'll be shot and killed at the gate. Well they may not shoot you, but they certainly won't let you in.
The small selection here includes 6 taps, 5 of which are fairly standard while the 6th is a rotating seasonal.
The beer and food were very low priced, but that was reflected in the quality of the beer.
No matter, in the Questor's world, new beers = data, so find a way to get on base and visit this pleasant brew pub.

 

 

Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
813 Mirror Lake Dr
Lake Placid, NY  12946
1-866-4UBUALE

Known for their Ubu Ale, the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery is located on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, Maryland.  With 5 or 6 different beers on tap, there aren't a ton of options, but what they do have is well worth the visit.  The award-winning Ubu Ale, an English Strong Ale, alone makes the trip worthwhile.


 

Great Adirondack Brewing Company
2442 Main St
Lake Placid, NY 12946
518-523-1629

The Great Adirondack Brewing Company
is located in downtown Lake Placid at the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood Restaurant. The 7-barrel brewing system is located in a separate building behind the restaurant. The bar is small but boasts 7 taps with several different seasonal brews available throughout the year.  A great little place to visit when up in the area.

 

Syracuse Suds Factory
320 S. Clinton St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
ph (315) 471-AALE [2253]

 

Just around the corner from Clark's, you'll find the Syracuse Suds Factory. They offer 7 taps of their home beer, and 6 macros, along with an extensive bottle list. A long, L-shaped bar seats about 20, and the large room proffers numerous booths and tables. The setting could be described as Industrial/Urban-Casual, with lots of brick, glass, and metal. A jazz band was playing during our visit, which augmented our experience. Our barmaid, Heather, was helpful and informative. The Suds Factory definitely merits a stop on a Questor's Syracuse beer tour.

 

 

Empire Brewing Company
120 Walton St
Syracuse , NY 13202
(315) 475-2337

The Empire brewpub has reopened in the tavern district of Syracuse. The facility is in the basement of an old brick building with bare brick motif. Although there is a large bar in the center, about half of the space, in several rooms, is for food service. The brewer, Tim Butler, was the head brewer at Middle Ages. He is re-creating some of the original Empire beers and will make several of his own unique brews. Some of his creations have already won prizes. In addition to eight of there own beers on tap, they have several guest beers from the local area.

Scale House Brewery
23 Cinema Dr
Ithaca , NY 14850-1682
(607) 257-0107

In the Lansing section of Ithaca, in a strip mall behind another mall, wedged between an Asian tofu parlor and a laundromat, you will find a hidden gem...the Scale House Brewery. The Pub joins Northeast Pizza, so the Questor can satisfy his hunger and thirst simultaneously. Scale House cooks, ferments, and dispenses their beers from shiny 5-barrel tanks behind the bar, and there are three of them...pils, bock, and a red ale. Owner Steve Fazzary was glad to explain his system of fresh beer and tasty pizza. Scale House seemed like a fun place with something always going on; live music ranges from bluegrass to blues to jazz, and there's a karaoke night too. If you are visiting the vibrant beer community of Ithaca, Scale House is worth searching out.

 

 

Pearl Street Grill and Brewery
Pearl Street
Buffalo , New York 14202
716-856-2337

My expectations were low. Buffalo is a nice little big city. They have an NFL team best known for reasons best forgotten. So we sojourned into what natives once proudly proclaimed as the country's most dangerous square mile. The menu says up to 70% of the crime in the nation was believed to be committed in the vicinity of this brewery's location. If that won't pack ‘em in, what will?
Relax that was 1841 it is only half that bad now.

Pearl Street is in a big old brick building. It fronts on a corner but the upstairs seems to run the entire block. It is a pleasing-looking place, lots of wooden furniture, turns and twists, raised levels, a couple bars and the brew works behind glass right on site and plenty of bricks throughout.

There is some old time rock and roll playing when we walk in.
The first thing you notice is the serving options...10 oz., 16 oz,. 22 oz., 32 oz., 100 oz. and 180 oz. None of them are pitchers by the way, they are glasses, yards plus. My choices are the regular rotation of Lake Effect Pale Ale, Lighthouse Premium Blond, Saber's Edge Double IPA, Street Brawler Stout, Trainwreck German amber, Wild Ox Wheat with today's seasonals Rye Wist of Fete, Lune d'Bleu, and Spirit of Buffalo Summer Lager.

My first choice is an APA, Lake Effect, in the home wrecker size. You'll have to visit to find how many ounces that is, I will never tell. I sit facing a window and off in the distance is a jumbotron like screen showing the minor league baseball game of the Buffalo Bisons—I'll bet you did not see that one coming! An outrageous blonde walks by and she has the ability to cast a shadow as large as a beach umbrella, an amazing sight to behold and even more enjoyable because the APA is a truly good beer. Good body (the beer this time), consistent quality and taste with just enough chew to please you even if you weren't wondering how they can construct a bra to function so well under such a dynamic load. I am thinking Pearl Street is a nice surprise.

The Wild Ox Wheat is billed as a German Hefe is as good an American German as you're likely to find in a local brewpub.

After several more, I am calling Pearl Street a damn nice brewpub. We all eat and I go with a mussel and seafood creole that has more mussels and shell fish than any meal I have ever had. On a lark I finish the evening with a chocolate and raspberry stout. It has such a delicious chocolate and raspberry smell that I do not want to drink it. I drink. Bingo, dessert beer. Delicious, but my previous beer and beer size choices have done me in and it is difficult to finish as the sweetness and exploding favor needs to be in a smaller glass than I got. After you've had the wings, go to Pearl Street and enjoy some really fine beers in a pleasing variety of styles.

 

 

Pearl Street Grill and Brewery
Pearl Street
Buffalo , New York 14202
716-856-2337

Pearl Street has got to be one of the largest brewpubs in the land, and you can't miss it. On the corner above the main entrance is a massive replica of the Lake Effect Man beer tap. Elsewhere, porches surround the building (a la New Orleans ), offering a great outdoors view toward Lake Erie in the back. Inside there are four floors and a basement with six separate bars - the barkeep estimated close to 200 taps in the place. Seven year-round beers (amber, pale ale, stout, etc.) are rounded-out by rotating seasonals, which included a double IPA, double wheat bock, maibock, chocolate stout, raspberry stout, and porter on my visit. Each beer has its own specially sculpted tap handle - classy. Don't forget to look up and catch the belted ceiling fans - very industrial upscale Buffalo . The menu features top notch brown and white food - from pot roast and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy to sandwiches, pizza and wings. And each menu item is accompanied by a symbol for the year-round beer that makes a good pairing. Now that's the way to get people thinking about food and beer! Pearl Street always has a good crowd - located downtown and two blocks from Coca-Cola Field (go Bisons).

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Rooster Fish Brewing Company
223 - 301 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
607.535.9797

The Rooster Fish brewpub is located in the tourist section of Watkins Glen, NY. One door enters into the restaurant, and the other entrance is to the bar. The brewery operation is in the dining area of the bar, and makes only ales. Six of their ales are on tap, and there are several guest taps.
It was a fun place; I'd go back.

 

Ellicottville Brewing Company
28 Monroe St # A
Ellicottville, NY 14731
(716) 699-2537

The Ellicottville Brewing Company is in a building that has always been a tavern, located in a ski resort. It has a modest bar and nearly no dining area, but there is outside seating. The computerized brewing system is visible in the back. They have nine of their beers on tap and the menu is yuppie-style bar food.
The place was packed, so we couldn't talk to the barstaff.
The Ellicottville Brewery also has an outlet in Fredonia that is in a narrow old building,much akin a city rowhouse. The first floor of the bar has very little seating but there is more upstairs. They have 16 taps, all of the Ellicottville products plus three guest beers. Fredonia has the same menu as the main store. The staff was very friendly and the beers are good.
The website has music.

 

Buffalo Brewpub
6861 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
716-632-0552


The Buffalo Brewpub has been in business since 1996.They are in a large facility with a rustic flavor.The brewing equipment is in a room visible from the dining area.They display what appears to be five 7 barrel fermenters, although the sign says that one is a lauter, and another is the kettle. The food is good and not expensive; the service adequate. They have 34 taps, five of which are their own beer.

 

Sackets Harbor Brewing Company
212 West Main Street
Sackets Harbor, New York 13685
Phone (315)646-BREW

Sackets Harbor Brewing Company is located on the water in the tourist district. The restaurant has waterside seating. The bar is fairly small, high ceilinged and darkly paneled; a very comfortable place to drink. They have a 10-barrel system with four fermenters adjacent to the bar. The bar food was a little pricy, but good and plenty. Eight beers were on tap. All were tasty if not true to style. Their Scotch Octoberfest is a Scotch-stlye beer made with German ingredients.

 

 

Market Street Brewing Company
& Restaurant

63 West Market Street
Corning, NY 14830
(607) 936-2337



The Market Street Brewing Co. is located in Corning's entertainment district. As little as the place is, they have an easily-overlooked complete upstairs. The cooker and lauter tank in the front window seem to be about one-barrel size. The full service bar has 9 stools and 2 booths. The dining room in the back is small-10 tables-and rather stark... like an old diner. There is a patio with 4 tables. They have 5 of their own beers on tap, and have a seasonal rotation. The beers are true-to-style and tasty.

 

Wagner Valley· Micro Brewery · Restaurant

9322 Route 414
Lodi, NY 14860
607-582-6450

This is a microbrewery in the heart of New York wine country. Wagner Valley Brewing Co. produces both lagers and ales -- several "regular" brews (Dockside Amber Lager, India Pale Ale, Caywood Station Oatmeal Stout and Sled Dog Doppelbock), plus seasonal beers throughout the year. The small bar is in a corner of the brewery. Tastes are .25 or 1.50 for all six. When you find one you like, you can get a mug, pint, pitcher, or growler. They have tables on a very large deck overlooking Senaca Lake. Oh yeah...it's a winery, too.