Partners Mike Paetow, Mike LeRoy and Tom Derby of Stout Beard Brewing Co., Syracuse
By Don Cazentre
As anyone who has traveled north of Albany knows, Interstate 87 heading toward Montreal is also known as the Northway. Now the 4-year-old Lake George Brew House (formerly known as the Lake George Brew Hub) just off I-87 in Queensbury launched March 1 a lineup of beers under the name of Northway Brewing Co.; they are Northway’s Sunrise Session IPA, Perfect Day Pilsner, and Burly Beard Nitro Oatmeal Stout, all in draft and cans. That brew house is also the production facility for Cooperstown Brewing Co. of Otsego County and Davidson Brothers Brewing Co. of Glens Falls. The Northway beers will be distributed across the eastern half of Upstate New York, said Northway state manger Matt Conroe. That includes the Adirondacks, the Capital Region, the Hudson Valley and west to the Syracuse area.
In Syracuse, Buried Acorn Brewing Co. is expected to open this spring with a brewhouse and taproom in the city’s Inner Harbor area, near the Destiny USA mall. Buried Acorn’s Tim Shore and Sam Kin have already started brewing, and have some beers aging in used oak wine barrels. While they will make some “standard” beers like IPAs and stouts, they will specialize in barrel-aged beers, plus sours, farmhouse ales, and various Belgian styles. “We’re going to be a mixed fermentation brewery, with a Belgian focus,” Shore said. “But in the end I think we’ll make ales of almost any kind you can think of.” Buried Acorn is a little larger than many recent brewery start-ups. It has a 20-bbl brewhouse, and five 40-barrel closed fermenters, plus smaller open fermenters.
Also in Syracuse, Stout Beard Brewing, a 2-year-old brewery with a production facility on the city’s West Side, has opened a taproom in the Westcott neighborhood, not far from Syracuse University. The Westcott tasting room has 12 taps. Typically, 10 will offer Stout Beard brews – they specialize in stouts, porters and other beers on the dark side – and two will be “guest taps” from other local brewers, such as Sahm, Full Boar or Willow Rock.
In the Finger Lakes, Bandwagon Brewing Co. has closed its downtown Ithaca brewpub – where it got its start nine years ago – to focus on its production brewhouse and taproom in Interlaken, Seneca County. The pub closed on Valentine’s Day. The production brewery, which opened in 2016, and the taproom, launched in 2017, are located in a restored red barn at 3582 West Ave. (Route 96A) in Interlaken. That’s north of Ithaca on the west side of Cayuga Lake. It’s open Fridays to Sundays for the winter, and will likely expand to Wednesdays to Sundays. “Our goal was always to have a production brewery,” said Nick Antczak, co-owner of Bandwagon with Will Olson, Alex Johnson and Michael Johnson. “This lets us focus on that.” The brewery has a 10-bbl brewing system, and can ferment 60 barrels at a time. It supplies beers to its own tasting room and has a handful of draft accounts around the Ithaca area, at locations like Ithaca Ale House, Northstar Public House, Atlas Bowl and others.
Southern Tier Brewing Co. is expanding – all the way to Cleveland. The large production brewery just outside Jamestown in New York’s far southwest corner is opening a new “innovation brewery” and tasting room in downtown Cleveland this spring. It will be in Cleveland’s Gateway District at 811 Prospect Ave. It’s across from the Winking Lizard, a well known Cleveland beer bar. Southern Tier’s new location will feature a line of ‘Cleveland Brew’d’ local specialty beer, plus the full Southern Tier roster, which includes beers like 2XIPA, Unearthly Imperial IPA, Pumking, and many more. In 2017, Southern Tier, part of a joint venture with Victory Brewing Co. called Artisanal Brewing Ventures, opened its first satellite location with a brewpub located in downtown Pittsburgh.
In Buffalo, the upcoming Labatt USA Pilot Brewery is expected to open this fall at 79 Perry St. in Buffalo’s Cobblestone District. It is now seeking an experienced brewmaster for what it’s calling an “innovation” brewery. The Buffalo brewery will be the first making Labatt brand beer in the United States and will develop new products. It will be the ground-floor anchor of the John Labatt House project under development by Pegula Sport & Entertainment, which also owns the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. Labatt USA markets Labatt brand beers and imports Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light from Canada. It is owned by North American Breweries, the Rochester-based company that also owns Genesee Brewing Co. Labatt USA will run the pilot brewery, while PSE will operate the restaurant and the rest of the project. The restaurant will highlight “authentic ethnic foods from Buffalo’s storied past,” according to the news release that initially announced the project last April. The project as a whole will focus on the city’s industrial heritage.