As Western New York’s burgeoning local craft beer culture expands and breweries start to grow their molars, tours have begun to pop up at a few local favorites. If you’re at all interested in the process behind the beer, these tours (often including glassware, samples and brewer insight by the pint full) are an excellent place to start.
Hamburg Brewing Company
Location: 6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg, NY.
Brewery Tours: Saturdays and Sundays 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm
Cost: $15 per ticket, to be bought at bar no later than 10 minutes before tour. For groups of 16 or more, email HBC at info@hamburgbrewing.
A behind the scenes look as they call it. HBC tour goers can expect to see everything that is involved in the beer crafting process. This includes a complete look at the brewing facility and one of Western New York’s biggest model trains. The Hamburg-Colorado Railroad has what HBC says is over “800” feet of track on display. Visitors will also receive an official HBC Pint Glass to go along with a fresh pint of craft beer. After, you can stop in there taproom which is safe to say probably the finest looking in Western New York. With a beautiful wood interior and large stone fireplace, the enormous cabin like feel along with a delicious IPA warms up just about any winter night. Overlooking a pond in the back of the property, fire pit tables fill their patio as a nice variety of vegetation brightens up the outside.
Visit HBC’s website for the most up-to-date tour info.
Location: 1250 Niagara Street, Buffalo NY.
Brewery Tours: The tours are to be scheduled in advance by those interested. There is a 15 person limit. Forms can be found at the Tours link on their website.
Cost: $5 per ticket, payment to be given at tour’s start. (Cash and Credit accepted)
Just opening in 2014, Resurgence is now becoming a hit among the Buffalo Brew community. Their small batch beer is made with pin point focus and a quality that beer enthusiasts appreciate. A tour will include a Resurgence Pint Glass as well as 3 of their beer samples. All visitors will appreciate the transformation of what was once a run of the mill factory turned Brewery. A beer garden even graces the outside for customers who’d like to take their Resurgence IPA or Sponge Candy Stout out for some fresh air.
Visit RBC’s website for the most up-to-date tour info.
Community Beer Works
Location: 15 Lafayette Ave, Buffalo NY
Brewery Tours: Done during retail hours, 3-7 on Thursdays or Fridays, and 12-4 on Saturdays
Costs: It’s based on numbers. For 1-3 people a tour may be accommodated for free anytime during retail hours (as long as their not swamped of course). Beyond that, larger parties must request a private tour during non retail hours. A minimum of 10 people while maxing out at no more than 35, tickets are $10 a piece. Call them at (716) 759-4677 or shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Beer Works are what one would call a nano-brewery. This beer is made in very small batches in order to secure the taste of expert quality like home brews. With these unique batches, nano-breweries can have the opportunity to hone their craft and try different formulas and flavors without the fear of losing money. Thus resulting in excellent beers. Tour participants will have an opportunity to try a free glass and bring home a pint glass of their own. Growler fills are welcome, $12 for a 64oz ($4 extra if you need your own), $7 for a 32oz ($3 if you need your own). Their current winter seasonal is the Stout Affective Disorder. They call it “dark beer for dark” days, “roasty, toasty, and a little nutty”, the perfect drink to get you to spring and past this arctic air.
Visit CBW’s website for updated tour info.
Flying Bison Brewing Company
Location: 840 Seneca Street, Buffalo NY
Brewery Tours: Thursdays and Fridays 6pm, Saturdays at 1pm and 4pm
Cost: Tours are free!
With a handful of new brewery openings in just the last few years, the Flying Bison can be attributed with helping initiate the Buffalo brewing rebirth back in 2000. FBBC Owner Tim Herzog is an award winning brewer with over three decades of expertise. Their beers can found in places like Wegman’s, to Consumer’s Beverages and in many notable Buffalo bars like that of Ulrich’s, the Century Grill, and Mr Goodbar, to name a few. On the tour beers are free for sample in a 1oz cup, and available in 3oz cup for a modest fee. One of their best beers is said to be the Aviator Red. They call it “Buffalo’s favorite red ale.” A good opportunity to be your own judge and compare to the red ale just above.
Visit Flying Bison’s website for up-to-date info and touring hours.
Big Ditch Brewing Company
Location: 55 E. Huron Street
Brewery Tours: During retail hours, Wednesday through Friday 4-7pm, Saturdays 11am-4pm, at the top of each hour.
Cost: Tour is free!
As a new brewery, Big Ditch has quickly become one of the best rated in the area. With a 620 gallon Criveller brewhouse, and five fermentors good for 40 barrels, the inside is a sight to see. Samples come by 2oz, and growler fills will be available for purchase. The tap room is currently under construction but is scheduled for a spring 15 opening. With 6 to 12 beers said to be on tap, and seating for 200 on 2 different floors, all indications suggest it will be immaculate. A picture on their website shows the soon to be product. Their current winter seasonal is the Vanilla Oatmeal Stout. It helps combine the unique flavors of roasted barley, extract from Mexican vanilla beans, with that hearty oatmeal.
For up-to-date info on Big Ditch’s progress and tours, visit their website.
Ellicottville Brewing Co.
Location: 28 Monroe St. Ellicottville, NY 14731
Brewery Tours: Fridays at 2pm and 4pm, with a special summer 6pm evening spot and Saturday & Sundays at 12pm, 2pm, & 4pm. Book online ahead of time.
Cost: $10 per person
If you have yet to see the expanded Ellicottville Brewing Co., you should make the trip sooner than later and take a tour while you’re at it. While EBC is one of the more established breweries in the area, tours are relatively new on the agenda. They last about an hour and allow you to explore the (beautiful) behind-the-scenes brewing operations and include a custom beer sampling and free souvenir EBC glass. As for after the tour, have a seat at the bar or in the beer garden and enjoy several fun brews on tap like their Pantius Dropups, or everyone’s favorite, Blueberry Wheat (fresh blueberries included). It’s likely you won’t be leaving any time soon.
For up-to-date info on EBC tours, visit their website.
Lafayette Brewery Tour
Location: 90 Pearl Street, Buffalo NY
Brewery Tours: Last an hour and must be of parties 8 or more. Tour reservations can be made at buffalohistorytours.com/brewery-tours.
Cost: $15 per person (cash)
Tour begins in the Pan-American Grill. Before heading into the brewery, members of your party will get a brief tour of the Hotel Lafayette and its 100 odd year glory. Also available will be 3 craft beer samples. They have a unique signature beer called the Roosevelt Red that you should try. It is an Irish Red Ale and they say the dark red color comes from “a mix of roasted, caramel, and chocolate malts.” It is combined with a light flavor from “traditional” English hops. If the tour isn’t enough, you can stop back in the Pan-Am Grill and soak in their early 20th century décor, which also includes a Teddy Roosevelt trophy room and fireplace as well as a murals room.
Visit their website for more info on everything going on inside Hotel Lafayette.
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