While some new breweries get air-dropped into the Western New York landscape by property developers and restaurateurs, others are more grassroots affairs founded by people who fell in love with homebrewing.
That’s the story behind the new BriarBrothers Brewing in the Old First Ward. After trying out homebrewing on a lark, brother-owners Joel and Dylan Betti recently opened their nanobrewery thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and Beer Mile fundraising stunt.
It all started with Joel Betti giving his brother a homebrew kit as a last-minute Christmas gift. As with many homebrew newbies, those first few batches were barely drinkable, and for many people, that’s where the homebrew journey ends. But the brothers, especially Dylan, persisted.
“Dylan is a very persistent, or passionate, or stubborn — however you want to put it — individual,” Joel says. “He wasn’t satisfied with making barely-drinkable beer and took a keen interest in the brewing process. He started researching better ways and more efficient ways to make a beer.”
Focusing on newer styles like fruited sours, the brothers started woodshedding ideas, sharing brew experiments and dialing in a few recipes. In the process, Joel says, they gained a cult following.
“There became a very strong support group that not only liked craft beer, but also took a liking to our persistence and trying to do things the right way,” he says.
Seeing some support in the community, the brothers launched a Kickstarter campaign and explicitly told friends and family not to contribute. According to Joel, the brothers wanted the campaign to stand on its own. Ultimately, it did, surpassing its goal in less than three weeks and raising nearly $15,000 from 144 contributors.
That campaign was followed up by a Beer Mile fundraiser. The Betti brothers and friends pledged to run a mile, stopping to chug a beer every quarter mile, if their fundraising goal was hit. The goal was hit, the Beer Mile was run, and there’s a video to prove it.
“We had participated in a beer mile at the Outer Harbor a few years ago and were remembering how terrible it was.” Joel says. “Neither of us are big cardio people, but we figured: Who doesn’t love a good self-deprecating video?”
Now that the brewery is up and running, the Betti brothers are more focused on making beer than chugging it. The current draft menu at BriarBrothers Brewing features a mix of new and classic styles: blonde ale, brown ale, New England IPA, double IPA and a pineapple-mango sour. While those are all great beers, Joel Betti says he’s particularly proud of the stouts his brewery has developed, like the current one on tap—an imperial stout called Public Secret.
“Our stouts have a full body and rich taste, but you don’t feel bloated or like you had a full meal after drinking one,” he says. “So we use an oxymoron when naming our stouts. Because they seem like this isn’t possible.”
Those looking to switch off of beer can also opt for one of the brewery’s hard seltzers. There are some light snacks available and the brewery hosts food trucks on weekends. The brewery will also be hosting musical acts on a small patio stage.
Coming out of the grassroots, the current BriarBrothers Brewing may not be a massive hospitality operation. But what the brewery doesn’t have in amenities, it makes up for in heart, according to Joel Betti:
“The size of our operation and our brewhouse allows us to continue the experimental brewing that we fell in love with.”
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
BriarBrothers Brewing Company
50 Elk St Buffalo, NY 14210 • $$$$$
A craft brewery with a passion for quality beer and a love for Buffalo, NY! Read Our Article About Their Opening [sm_anypost columns="1" posts="1" ...
- Bar Area
- Dog-Friendly Patio
Want to share info or news with us? Send us a note!