Buffalo’s brewery scene is getting to the point where new and established breweries are now staking out territory.
Downtown? Check. Larkinville? Check. The area between Larkinville and downtown? Check… aaand check.
Froth Brewing Company is the latest brewery to stake its claim in Western New York’s liquid gold rush, laying its foundations on Military Road, where North Buffalo hesitantly shakes hands with Riverside.
While WNY is currently being balkanized by various breweries, that doesn’t mean the brewery scene is divided. In fact, far from it, according to Froth Brewing’s co-owner Jesse McLaughlin.
“I love the beer scene here in Buffalo,” he told us in a recent phone interview. “We greatly appreciate the fact that everybody’s been super warm and welcoming. That’s the great thing about the local craft beer community: Everybody’s willing to help each other out.”
Despite all the kum-ba-ya in the local brewing game, basic business principles demand that Froth Brewing distinguish itself, and McLaughlin said his company plans to do that through both a progressive approach to brewing and an emphasis on high-quality, seasonal food.
“I don’t want to chase the tail (of the latest trend),” he said; however, “we definitely want to evolve as a brewery, continue being progressive with respect to different beers and different styles of beer.”
McLaughlin spent nearly a decade out in San Diego’s brewing scene, learning the industry and woodshedding his beers. The result is both a working business plan, rolled out with partners Eli and Travis Hale, and a full roster of beer recipes he repeatedly stressed are “dialed in.”
On our recent visit, Froth was serving up four nu-skool beers and a classic-tasting pilsner. The Autograph blonde ale stood out for its full spectrum of flavor, running the gamut from juicy hops to sweet, earthy malt. The DiMaggio was a next-level double IPA, with citrus pith hops anchored to a solid malt backbone. The Mounds Bar stout did what it says on the label; shipped sweet, toasted coconut and softly smoky flavors that masked a diabolical 6.8 percent ABV.
Froth also looks to separate itself from the pack by trying to avoid the now-conventional warehouse feel of brewery tasting rooms. Walk in and you’ll find dark-stained wood, exposed brick and multi-hued LED lighting. On our visit, buckets of natural light poured in from two large, windowed garage doors while a classic rock soundtrack pumped out overhead and playoff football flashed across large TV screens.
“What we wanted to achieve with this place is to make it warm and cozy for the long winter months,” McLaughlin said. “It was a stark warehouse space to start. We wanted to incorporate a lot of wood and stone; almost make is feel like a lodge.”
Culinary arts are also a focus at Froth. Prime-rib sliders ($14), fried calamari ($12) and a charcuterie board ($14) were opening weekend highlights, and McLaughlin said the brewery’s two chefs will focus on seasonality moving forward.
The brewery is currently waiting on regulatory approval to build out a patio for the warm weather, and McLaughlin said we should expect to see a lot more beer offerings in the future.
“We’re going try to keep bringing new beers on every few weeks, just to keep evolving and growing and trying different things,” he said. “I have a lot of recipes that I’d like think are dialed in because I’ve brewed them for a while that we haven’t had the chance to release yet. I also didn’t want to come out with 10 or 12 beers. I just wanted to keep it small and offer something to everyone.”
All of that sounds like good reasons to head out to the newest local brewery, in the Riverside-meets-North Buffalo area.
700 Military Road, Buffalo, NY, 14216
Hours: Wednesday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Tuesday CLOSED