If you’re even mildly aware of craft beer, you can probably rattle off the various go-to spots to get it around Western New York: The Moor Pat, ABV, Cole’s, Brennan’s Bowery Bar, Colter Bay – basically anything owned or operated by restaurateur Mike Shatzel. And then, there are both local breweries and bottle shops like Aurora Brew Works and Fattey Beer Co.
However, there are a lot of other great places to get world-class beer in WNY; from dive bars to Southern Tier outposts. Below is a short list of craft beer spots that may not be on your radar and are worth a visit.
12443 Broadway, Alden, NY
Out in Alden, Black Water Tavern and Tap is the only dedicated craft beer spot for several miles, but don’t let the lack of competition fool you. The tavern’s taps list always features beers from in-demand breweries like Other Half, Prairie Artisan Ales and Three Floyds Brewing, as well as local brews from Thin Man, 42 North and others.
People also rave about the unique layout and décor, which adds more than you’d think to any craft beer experience.
3298 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY
With a name like Crabapples, it should come as no surprise that this Cheektowaga establishment is about as divvy as dive bars get. But what Crabapples lacks in appearance, it makes up for in craft beer selection, and then some. For example, Crabapples has several Spanish ciders available, but your favorite craft beer spot most likely doesn’t carry any.
1187 Tonawanda St, Buffalo, NY
Located in the “Is This Riverside?” area of Tonawanda, the Dalmatia Hotel is well known among chicken wing geeks and employees from the nearby GM plant. However, it is also low-key amazing for craft beer, featuring both nu-skool breweries like Other Half and Tree House, as well as classic craft beer from Unibroue and Ommegang.
8815 State Rd, Colden, NY
When you think of Colden, you probably think of skiing in the winter and camping in the summer – not craft beer. But Colden Country Inn just might be the craft beer flag planted in the sand to change these narrow preconceptions. Expert to find a lot of the usual suspects, like beers from Great Lakes Brewing Company, and a few beer geek gems, like beers from KCBC (Kings County Brewers Collective). The food menu is similar, with pizza, wings and the occasional surprise – like elk meatloaf.
5) Cask + Cow
840 Center St, Lewiston, NY
Lewiston can be a bit extra, and Cask+Cow fits that bill. The draft beer selection is typically a combination of local highlights and trendy picks from across the United States. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of American craft beer, this is a good place to do it. Also, don’t sleep on the lengthy range of burgers.
6) Chautauqua Harbor Hotel
10 Dunham Ave, Celoron, NY
The current American craft beer scene has urban roots, and we often associate it with big old factories that have been retrofitted with the latest modern furnishings. At the end of the day, there just isn’t a lot of picturesque spots where you can sip on a fruited sour from The Answer or an IPA from Southern Tier Brewing Company.
Opened in 2018, the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is one place where you can do just that. With spaciousness both inside and out, the hotel is the ideal craft beer spot to hit up as COVID-19 (hopefully) winds down.