If you look at an Upstate New York map of breweries, as compared to one just printed only a few years ago, you’ll quickly notice a surge in the number of craft beer stops. I’ve put together a collection of breweries visited on our semi-annual brewery pub crawl and tips just for you.
Iron Flamingo Brewery (196 Baker St. Corning, NY)
The Blonde Ale has an after-taste that was crisp but a bit bitter. I wish I had ordered the Belgian Wit Ale, an unfiltered beer flavored with orange peel and coriander similar to a Blue Moon. Other guests in our party ordered the IPA but said it wasn’t their favorite during the beer tour. Six brews on tap. Check the chalkboard to try seasonal sips.
Note: They are open every day of the week. Seating is limited. The unisex bathroom is located right off the bar area.
Corning Market Street Brewing Co. and Restaurant (63 W. Market St. Corning, NY)
This super popular watering hole is more than a bar, it’s a restaurant with an extensive menu of pub grub and craft beers. They also have a full bar. We visit CMSB twice a year and I consistently order their Blackberry Lager, a year-round favorite. It’s a smooth, refreshing beer that is easy to drink and finishes with a fruity note.
Several members of our group ordered the Beer B Q Burger with homemade sweet potato fries to go along the hoppy Wheelhouse IPA.
Note: The brewery is closed Mondays. I recommend requesting a rooftop patio table for your dining experience. The views of downtown Corning are the perfect compliment to an ice-cold brew.
Ithaca Beer Co. (122 Ithaca Beer Dr. Ithaca, NY)
Near Cayuga Lake, this brewery is popular because it was one of the first craft breweries to open the east coast in the 80s. Famous for the uber hoppy Flower Power IPA, they are also known for their hop garden on the property. Grab an Apricot Wheat and head outside to enjoy the expansive view of the treelined landscape. Adirondack chairs and tables make for community seating and opportunities to meet other patrons.
Note: Plan your travel plans accordingly because this brewery is off Route 13 off the southern end of Ithaca. Expect the bar to be busy. Bartenders work quickly to help you.
Binghamton Brewing Company (15 Avenue B. Johnson City, NY)
Try the Citra Pale Ale that promises a well-balanced finish with a few citrus notes on your tongue, the perfect drink for a warm summer day. I loved the Purple Rain, a Concord grape beer, that was reminiscent of a grape Sweet Tarts candy thanks to its tart finish. A unique brew, the Smoked Hefeweizen, is a wheat beer that the owners claim stretches the boundaries of its category.
The BCC’s building is historical as it was once a firehouse. The owners, engineers who are fixing up a 34′ sailboat in their backlot, are celebrating their second year of business and the one-hundredth year of the building this summer.
Note: They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. You must walk through the backroom brewing area. You feel like you’re not supposed to be in this space as you search to find the bathroom entrance because you have to walk past the brew kettles.
Galaxy Brewing Company (41 Court St. Binghamton, NY)
Known for their Belgian brews and decent food menu, the large bar, and restaurant has plenty of seating. This is a smart location for a lunchtime work meeting as it is nestled in downtown Binghamton. A lighter brew option, St. Stusan Ale, is a wise choice. It was a Silver Medal winner at the 2014 World Beer Cup. Thirsty patrons seeking a stronger Belgian beer should opt for the Summer Solstice. It is so popular that it was sold out on our last visit.
Tip: Call to confirm their hours. Great place to go on a first date. It is a darker venue in the bar area as compared to the dining room.
Water Street Brewing Co. (168 Water St. Binghamton, NY)
Summer Wheat Ale, a seasonal local favorite, didn’t stand up against their more flavorful Hefeweizen. It is an excellent balance of banana flavor with wheat due to the specialty yeast they use in the fermentation process.
One drawback to the experience is that is self-serve and I don’t mean the taps. You have to pick up your food and pay for it at the counter, but the waitstaff with clean up your table. Expect to seat yourself when you walk in.
Tip: The pub is open every day of the week, but the kitchen is not opening on Sundays. Sit near the fermentation tanks to get a better view of the brewing process.
Horseheads Brewing Company (250 Old Ithaca Rd. Horseheads, NY)
Opening its doors in 2007, the brewery is the town’s namesake and has an extensive selection of flagship beers that are consistent in taste. Due to standing room only over the years, they expanded their tasting room and production. You can find their selections on tap across the state in restaurants.
The Pumpkin Ale and the Hot-Jala-Heim are stand-out beers. The fall pumpkin brew has won numerous awards, which adorn the walls of the tasting room. A chili beer, the Hot-Jala-Heim brings a bite due to the jalapenos and anaheims and includes a high alcohol content. It won Best Beer at the Hamburg, New York beer festival. Whenever I drink a pint of it, I crave buttered popcorn for some reason.
Note: They are open every day of the week, but on Mondays they only provide takeout. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and courteous. The owners play a collection of their music while you sip on suds that includes hard rock hits.