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What: Buffalo-area beer used to be a much bigger industry than it is now, unfortunately. Today you’ll see lots of Canadian beers in bars and a handful of Rochester-based beers, like Genesee, aside from the usual suspects. But before you reach for that Molson Ice, look to see if any beers from Flying Bison Brewing Company are available—the city’s one and only distributing craft brewery (there are a few good brewpubs in town too; see below). Its flagship beers remain the strong, full-flavored Aviator Red; the nutty Rusty Nail (Vienna-style amber); and the light-bodied Buffalo Lager.
Where: Many area bars carry their brews, but it’s fun to visit the Flying Bison brewery (716-873-1557; 491 Ontario St., map) and meet some of the friendly staff. (Bonus: There’s a soda guy there who makes excellent ginger, root beer, and orange cream sodas; ask about ’em if you go.)
When: Flying Bison: Thurs, noon-6pm; Fri, noon-7pm; Sat, 11am-4pm; call to confirm tours (also, the brewery sometimes holds fun events on Saturdays, so check its schedule if you’re in town). Buffalo Brewpub: Mon-Thurs, 11:30am-midnight; Fri & Sat, 11:30am-1am; Sun, noon-midnight. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery: Mon-Sat, 11am opening; Sun, noon opening; closing times vary.
Alternatively: Buffalo also has two brewpubs: the Buffalo Brewpub (6861 Main St., Williamsville, map), which carries 30-plus beers on tap—about five house brews and the rest a mix of good American craft beers (including Flying Bison) and larger commercial beers, including imports—and the nifty four-floor, high-ceilinged, multi-patio Pearl Street Grill & Brewery (76 Pearl St., map), where a 10-beer tasting costs $7.50 (we liked the stouts, cherry wheat, and double IPA). When you visit the latter, also check out the nearby downtown architectural gems, like Louis Sullivan’s striking terra cotta-molded Guaranty Building (28 Church St.), completed in 1896.
Good to know: If you’re in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario) and want a break from the local wine, check out the Olde Angel Inn Restaurant & Pub (224 Regent St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, map); its 24 beers on tap include Ontario microbrews and a few house beers, which come courtesy of nearby Niagara Falls Brewing.
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