As you take Genesee Street out of Buffalo, past the airport and into Lancaster — the road gets smaller and the trucks on it get bigger. With so few buildings on this stretch of road, it’s a bit surprising when the massive, modern, new Brazen Brewing building comes looming out of the woods.
Set in from the road, the new brewery is an impressive mini-campus. In addition to a bar and indoor seating area, there’s also an elevated loft area for private events, an outdoor covered patio, and an outdoor rock patio with oversized beer pong. It’s modern and upscale yet slightly rural — fitting well with this part of the outer suburbs.
Owners Ashleigh and Dave Schaub come from a homebrewing background and when it came time to develop a brewery showcasing the modern styles they love; location was the name of the game.
“The concept started as maybe doing a small taproom in a strip mall somewhere, and it grew into buying land and building what we have now,” Ashleigh told me in a recent phone interview. “This area of Lancaster was a little bit of a craft beer desert, we felt, especially for a larger concept. There is a meadery and small brewery in the Village of Lancaster, but really there isn’t a large taproom with an outdoor space anywhere in the Lancaster, Clarence and Alden areas.”
Of course, if you’re coming here, you’re coming for the beer. The brews at Brazen Brewing tend to be modern and approachable. Caddywampus is a pineapple ale with subtle pineapple notes that segue into mild hops and a pillowy sweetness. It’s Fine is a classic New England IPA that isn’t overly juicy or hazy. Super Basic Peach ships sweet peach flavor that dissolves into sour and echoes of funk. As the only Dad Beer of note, It Doesn’t Fit is crushable English Mild as light and crisp as falling leaves in autumn.
In this semi-rural part of Western New York, you might expect a craft brewery that’s decked out with masculine, blue-collar vibes, taking cues from the surrounding agriculture and industrial operations. But Ashleigh says there’s more than enough masculinity in craft beer, and she wanted to create a space with a broader appeal.
On my visit, a mix of older golfers, young couples and people in work gear socialized over a background music playlist that included pop hits, indie rock and techno.
“As a female owner of a brewery and someone who’s passionate about beer, I can say that brewing has been a traditionally masculine space for a really long time. Over the past 5 to 10 years, women have really grown in the industry, but tap rooms haven’t reflected that. There are still a lot of rustic and industrial tap rooms out there with a lot of beards and flannel. When I go out with my husband, that’s fine. When I go out with my girlfriends, we tend to choose a space that’s a little more upscale or elevated. We like to dress up and go somewhere we can get a nice meal, or some cocktails.”
Food? Cocktails? Yes, Brazen Brewing serves up more than lovingly crafted brews. The food menu includes an assortment of pub munchies, salads, sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads. Current cocktail offerings include proprietary takes on classics like the Aviation, Strawberry Smash and Whiskey Sour.
Brazen Brewing is also providing a lot more than just local craft beer to the area. A busy events schedule includes boozy bingo, yoga events and dog rescue opportunities. At the bar, a special Love Handle tap will feature rotating beers with $1 from each pour going to charity.
With all that it’s offering, the new brewery is more than just filling demand in this part of Western New York. It’s putting forward a bold concept that’s meant to be as inviting as it is fun.
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. – 11 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
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