Everyone loves a good beer – and in Buffalo, NY, it’s easy to find some of the best breweries in New York State. Many of the breweries here offer award-winning beers, good food, cute atmospheres, and sometimes live entertainment! If you’re in Buffalo and love beer as much as we do, here’s a list of the best breweries in Buffalo, NY.
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History of beer & breweries in Buffalo
Buffalo’s beer history is a unique one. Before the Prohibition era (1920-1933) killed the industry, Buffalo had 2,152 saloons, 150 hotels, 129 stores, and 97 boarding houses. Looking at these numbers from a modern perspective, they don’t seem like much, but in 1893 that’s huge! In recent years, the number of breweries in Buffalo has surpassed the pre-Prohibition numbers. This is partially thanks to Cuomo’s Craft Act which has incentivized brewers across New York State.
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Best Breweries in Buffalo
The below Buffalo breweries are in no specific order! But they are all the best in Buffalo that offer a variety of brews, food, and entertainment. Enjoy sipping and snacking!
1. Thin Man Brewery
Born and raised Buffalonians opened Thin Man Brewery in 2016. At their two locations on Elmwood and Chandler, they strive to provide a fun portfolio of beers (17 flavors), both new and intriguing and old-world styles to suit everyone. With fun names like Minky Doodle and Trial by Wombat, you can get a taste of Buffalo from a pint glass as well as a plate. Each location features a different menu.
The Chandler location features choices from the local Tappo Pizza and, of course, true Buffalo Wings. With a variety of regular events like a Drag Queen Brunch, rooftop dining, good food, and good beer, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for an authentic Buffalo experience.
P.S. If you’re visiting in the summertime, don’t miss their annual Summer Solstice Street Festival.
2. Community Beer Works
If you’re looking for award-winning beer from Western New York, try out Community Beer Works. This City of Good Neighbors brewery prides themselves on being part of the community that brought them success. They even named one of their IPAs “Good Neighbor”. “The Whale”, a personal favorite, is a brown ale that was awarded the 2017 TAP NY Governors’ Cup for being the best craft beer in New York State. They offer tours during retail hours, and they team up for regular events with other local restaurants, like BBQ tailgates on Wednesday nights with Southern Junction. Open Thursday – Sunday with two outdoor seating areas, they’re a top choice whether you want a night out or dinner with the kids.
3. Big Ditch Brewing Company
Named after the Erie Canal that changed the city of Buffalo forever, Big Ditch Brewing honors those traditions with well-crafted beer. Their brewing process is all on-site with a 15,000 square-foot brewery on East Huron Street alongside their taproom and restaurant. If you’re a fan of the science behind brewing, this brewery was launched by two scientists from a biotech lab. The canal theme appears throughout their image, including shovel handles on their 12 on-tap beers. Starting in 2017, they offer weekend tours for $15 where you can learn the history, sample the latest in a souvenir glass. The tours are first come, first serve, so make sure to call ahead and find out when the next one is available.
4. Resurgence Brewing Company
Want a tour? No need here. Their new facility on Chicago Street, which opened in 2019, allows you to experience the process right there in the restaurant. Resurgence started in the owner’s kitchen, where he brewed the first versions of two very Buffalo flavors: Sponge Candy Stout and Loganberry Wit. Get a flight with your family, friends, and furry companions (Yes, they’re pet friendly!) and enjoy a full restaurant, two-story taproom, and an indoor and outdoor beer garden.
5. Froth Brewing
Located in the historical Black Rock community, Froth Brewing is known for its amazing customer service alongside good brews and great food. Their selection offers something for everyone including stouts and IPAs to Pilsner, sours, and fruits. Enjoy a flight of fruity sours or seltzers on their patio with your dog. Many a non-beer drinker loves this place! Their restaurant offers huge portions of great food that you order via a QR code at your table. They’re famous for their fruit sours and lollipop ales all made in the milkshake fashion. If you really like what you’re drinking, there’s crowlers and four packs to-go.
6. Belt Line Brewery
If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Buffalo, NY + brews on tap, indoors and outdoors, to-go crowlers, and 4 packs Tuesday – Sunday at Belt Line Brewery on Swann Street. Get a flight with friends or you can wait until late night and access their special dine-in only menu. Their patio space allows your four-footed companions. Be aware, parking is on-street only so definitely plan ahead for that.
7. Pressure Drop Brewing
Buffalo’s Old First Ward, West Coast-inspired brewery. Their name has an interesting story: before lake effect snow can form there has to be a drop in barometric pressure, hence Pressure Drop. The head brewer learned to homebrew in California before expanding his venture and moving back to Buffalo. The taproom is located on Elmwood in Black Rock and features all their brews, including their fun one-offs. Pressure Drop has become known for its unique flavors and experimental collaborations with other Buffalo Brewers.
9. Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward Brewing Co.
The owners bought Gene McCarthy’s Irish pub with the idea of starting a brewery in the Old First Ward neighborhood, and it grew from there. Old First Ward Brewing’s drink list has grown since then to feature everything from light Pilsners to dark ales and porters. The menu even sports a nice illustration of their brewing process. Sip to live music every Saturday and enjoy trivia games in the beer garden every Tuesday.
This low-key establishment keeps it simple with no reservations. McCarthy’s is still a favorite of the grain workers (General Mills), firefighters, police, and politicians. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell the baking cheerios in the air.
Don’t miss out on their chicken wings!
10. Buffalo Brewing Company
Buffalo Brewing Company is open Thursday through Sunday, you know the brews are good when they rely on word of mouth more than advertising. Their webpage is a single informational page. This small operation runs in Buffalo’s Larkenville district with a tasting room, beer garden, and a little wholesale distribution of old-world style brews with a few modern products thrown in once and a while. The inside seating only accommodates about 20 people, but if you like that outdoor beer garden atmosphere there’s plenty more room there, for you and your dog. Each beer is named for a year, one that is important to Buffalo, like 1856, the year that the Washington Market (Chippewa Market) was established.
11. Flying Bison Brewing Company
Schedule a tour with one of the best breweries in Buffalo, Flying Bison, a company owned by an amazing family Thursday through Saturday. Not only do they make great brews (including dessert-themed beers) with a growing distribution, but they also have the Flight Gallery. The Flight Gallery is a mini art gallery inside the establishment featuring local Buffalo artists with the aim to make art more accessible to a wider audience. With some food available in the form of snacks, you can also have food delivered to the brewery or sample from the list of regular food trucks they have available during open hours.
12. Southern Tier Brewing Buffalo
Located in the heart of downtown Buffalo, the new (2021) Southern Tier taproom supplies both Southern Tier brews on tap alongside other companies like Victory Brewing, Sixpoint Brewing, and Bold Rock Hard Cider. One of the best-known breweries in upstate New York, Southern Tier started in Lakewood, NY, and can now be found in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Charlotte. While it can be found in many local stores, the taproom features an amazing chef and beer-inspired menu designed to pair perfectly with whatever beverage you choose.
13. Hamburg Brewing Company
Just 15 minutes from downtown, Hamburg Brewing offers tours of their former golf course property on Saturdays and Sundays. The tour includes a complete look at the facility and one of Western New York’s biggest model trains. Enjoy more of their beer offerings and amazing food at the end in their cabin-like interior restaurant or their beer garden on the pond. You can stop in any other day of the week to listen to live music (Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) and enjoy the best beer and food south of Buffalo. You can even come out and enjoy Sunday brunch from 10am-1pm.
14. First Line Brewing
When talking about breweries in Buffalo, you need to venture out into the Southtown neighborhoods. Located in Orchard Park, First Line Brewing is a local favorite brewery for people who love specialty brews.
Each month they choose a new charity to donate a portion of their sales. They offer discounts to all front-line workers, from military personnel to teachers. Get the best beer, Buffalo area food, and support your community at the same time in a relaxed atmosphere.
15. Rusty Nickel
Rusty Nickel Brewing has the best beer garden in Buffalo, hands down stunning location. Not only do they brew beers, but have a selection of cider, hard seltzers, and meads too and a small menu of food prepared there or, you can order take-out from nearby Ebenezer Ale House. If you’re looking for things to do in upstate New York, how about trying out a heated outdoor beer garden that rivals any other brewery in Western New York.
16. 12 Gates Brewing Company
Located in Williamsville, just outside of Buffalo, 12 Gates is an independent brewery with 18 rotating taps offering something for everyone. The “12 Gates” is in reference to the great alchemist, George Ripley’s works called Ripley’s Twelve Gates, the ninth gate being fermentation. They offer brewery tours occasionally, but you can see the work in progress via large windows in the adjoining taproom. Pilot batches are only available in the taproom and sometimes you’ll find a tap reserved for a rare beer. Like many of the breweries in Buffalo, a dog-loving city, leashed dogs are welcome on the outdoor patio.
17. Pearl Street Grill and Brewery
This would not be a complete list of the best breweries in buffalo or breweries in upstate New York for that matter if Pearl Street wasn’t included. This historic and noteworthy building offers indoor and outdoor dining on multiple levels in a great downtown location near the sporting events centers. It’s not just good beer either, their menu features award-winning Buffalo area food, and they host several Buffalo-area events, as well as, private parties. Why not make it a full adventure and visit other parts of the Pearl Street family like the Lafayette Hotel and Brewery.
18. Lafayette Brewing Co.
Lafayette Brewing makes all its beers on-site in the basement, and their grain silos are in the back parking lot. Right on Washington Street and in the Hotel on Lafayette, the brewing company brings more life into the historic buildings of downtown Buffalo. The best part? This Buffalo area tour includes the Pan-American Grill and the Hotel with its 100-year-old history with three craft beer samples at the end. Be aware tours last for an hour and require a minimum of 8 people.
Frequently Asked Questions
What beer is Buffalo, NY, known for?
While Buffalo is not home to a large beer manufacturer, several craft breweries are growing in popularity. Big Ditch, Pearl Street, and Southern Tier can be found further out into other areas of the country and are gaining popularity through Buffalonian transplants everywhere.
How many breweries are there in Buffalo?
From the 29 breweries that existed just as Prohibition started, we have recovered them and then some. Buffalo is now home to almost 50 craft breweries. Buffalo is also home to several wineries, cideries, and meaderies.
What beer is made in Buffalo?
With the west coast inspired breweries popping up in Buffalo, the city offers every type of beer imaginable. Whether you like the Belgian brews, Irish fare, or fruity sours, there is a craft brewer in Buffalo that will satisfy your tastebuds.
What is the beer consumed most often in Buffalo?
Despite the deal between the Buffalo Bills and Budweiser, Labatts and Molson, both Canadian brands, are the highest consumed beers in Buffalo. Being so close to Canada, this does make sense compared to other cities in upstate New York.
About the Author: Heather Menz
Heather Menz has called the Buffalo area home for over 35 years. With a degree in archaeology and a keen interest in history, she has explored sites that are both easy to find and those hidden deep in Buffalo and Rochester’s history. As part of an active and outdoors-oriented family, she has traveled and hiked much and learned more about all that the Western New York area has to offer.