The microbrewery scene has taken off across the United States in recent years. New York state has been seeing a rise in microbreweries for about 10-20 years, particularly in Western New York. It’s a great way to renovate and re-use old industrial spaces in cities that are primarily declining from industrial shifts in the 1900s. Breweries in Upstate New York are creating and supporting shifts in the economy, agriculture, and social culture of New York. But where to start!? There are so many of them! Here’s a list to help you start, but there are loads more out there so you’ll be busy for a long time.
Breweries in the Adirondacks
We are absolutely in love with the Adirondacks. So don’t forget to check out our guides to the best places to visit in the Adirondacks. This special region feels like a whole other world but is just 3-5 hours north of NYC. Come here for the outdoors, the small towns, and the breweries!
Ausable Brewing Company (Keeseville) ★
After a day hiking or tubing down the Ausable Chasm, visit Ausable Brewing Company. Ausable Brewing Company is housed in a renovated barn from the 1800s and is open spring to fall from Thursday to Sunday. It has a rotating list of beers ranging from fruity IPAs to stouts on tap to pick from. Plus, there’s usually live music during the weekend and different food trucks depending on the day. It’s the perfect place to sit in an Adirondack chair outside and unwind after a day exploring the Adirondack Mountains.
Bonus: Consider stopping by Asgaard Farms while you’re in the region! It’s one of our favorite farms in Upstate New York.
Hex & Hop (Saranac Lake)
Hex & Hop has two locations in Bloomingdale. So it’s easy to fit at least one of the locations into your Upstate New York road trip itinerary. There is a tasting room and farm co-op in the beautiful Adirondack town of Saranac Lake. Come here for the beer, as well as the year-long farmer’s market. Their popular home base is the brewery and meadery in Bloomingdale. You can eat some filling pub food, try a flight of their beer and mead, and listen to live music.
Raybrook Brewhouse ★
Hands down, one of my favorite breweries in New York. We loved almost every single beer we tried at Ray Brook Brewhouse! And the food? Delicious. Gerry is obssessed with the chicken wings here. Order them with the parmesan-garlic + buffalo sauce. Thank her later.
This brewery is also conviently located on your way our of Saranac Lake, so it’s an easy stop. They have an indoor and outdoor section. And the service was amazing. We loved our server!
Raquette River Brewing (Tupper Lake)
Raquette River Brewing is in Tupper Lake, one of the many charming small towns in Upstate New York. Raquette River Brewing is one of the best breweries in Upstate New York to visit and it’s open seven days a week. Like other breweries, they smartly joined forces with some local food trucks so while you sip on a pale ale, you can also get some tacos, pizzas, and more from the food trucks located on-site. Check out their events calendar for events including live music and sponsoring local marathons to raise money for a food pantry.
Breweries in the Finger Lakes
Prison City Pub & Brewery (Auburn)
The wineries in the Finger Lakes usually get all the attention, but there are also some great micro-breweries in the area that you should visit. Prison City Pub & Brewery is in Auburn, one of the best places to stay in the Finger Lakes. Prison City has two locations: a pub on State Street and a taproom on North Street. Both have a variety of their local brews and food, but State Street has more food options. State Street also has an excellent Sunday brunch, including their take on the classic brunch staple – a mimosa, but with a beer instead of bubbly.
Upstate Brewing Company (Elmira)
There are so many breweries in Upstate New York to choose from that it might be overwhelming, but Upstate Brewing Company should be on your must-visit list. They won the SEO game with their name, and they have a small, but stellar, rotating list of beers on draft including some tasty IPAs. They’re open Tuesday-Sunday and there is a different food truck on premises almost every day of the week. If you’re visiting on a Wednesday, take the time to visit and participate in the weekly trivia game.
Ithaca Beer Company
This is one of our favorite breweries in the Finger Lakes for both the ambiance and beer. As soon as you enter you are greeted with stunning views from their outdoor seating area. You can sit either by a picnic table in the field or by a grapevine decorated seating area for small or larger groups. You can order some fast food here as well. The beer selection was extensive and delicious. And they have some board games! Perfect for families with kids or pets.
Climbing Bines Craft Ale Company and Hop Farm (Penn Yan)
Visit Climbing Bines Craft Ale Company and Hop Farm (it’s a mouthful!) to really get that Upstate New York farm vibe and relax surrounded by farmland. Climbing Bines is on the western side of Seneca Lake. They’re committed to creating fresh-off-the-farm brews, which is what makes the location even more special. There is live music throughout the summer so check their social media to see who’s playing. Climbing Bines doesn’t have a food menu, but there are some snacks like popcorn. Their specialty is obviously ales, and the tap options change frequently so taste test as many as you can.
Two Goats Brewing (Burdett)
If you want to watch the sunset on Seneca Lake while you sip a craft beer, then stop at Two Goats Brewing for the evening. Get a flight so you can sample a bunch of their options, including the year-round Go Easy Blonde. Two Goats only has one food item available – the beef-on-weck. It’s a beef sandwich that inspires some mild fan-girling on social media. They are open every day except Wednesday so keep that in mind when you visit. There’s usually live music on the weekends so you can sit outside on the porch listening while you chow down on their famous sandwich.
Grist Iron Brewing Company ★ (Burdett)
One of the best things to do in the Finger Lakes is visit Grist Iron Brewing Company. Dominican Abroad swears by the grape beer and the mac and cheese. Grape beer sounds a bit odd, and you might assume it’s sickeningly sweet, but it’s not. It’s delicious and refreshing. Grist Iron is less than a mile away from Two Goats Brewing so you could spend the whole day checking both locations out.
Grist Iron is unique in the Finger Lakes. It is the only place in the region that has both a place to stay and a microbrewery. You can book a room at The Lodge and try a different beet every day. It’s an amazing experience that will make your time in the Finger Lakes memorable.
BEST Breweries in the Hudson Valley
Suarez Family Brewery (Hudson)
Suarez Family Brewery has excellent unfiltered lagers so make sure to try at least one. As of 2022, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the taproom is closed. There is an outdoor patio open on Thursday evenings. Things might change so keep an eye on their website, but for now make sure to stop here on Thursday and drink a crisp beer. Once you know what you like, if you’re back in the area on the weekend, they do sell their beers by the can in a drive-through on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m positive you’ll come back to pick up several 4-packs after you’ve tried some of their brews.
Plan Bee (Poughkeepsie)
Plan Bee is the perfect place to visit on your weekend trip to the Hudson Valley. It’s open Friday-Sunday. Plan Bee only uses ingredients they grow themselves or from New York state. They owners put a lot of care and effort into making sure they stay true to the local craft beer ethos by only using local ingredients. There is a large outdoor space and an incredibly cozy indoor space. There’s usually a food truck on Saturday and Sunday from the area and sometimes there’s live music. The taproom is surrounded by woods ensuring an incredibly peaceful day drinking and relaxing.
Industrial Arts Brewing Company (Garnerville & Beacon)
Industrial Arts Brewing Company has two locations ensuring maximum opportunity for visiting. If you want to visit a brewery in Upstate New York, but not go any further afar than Rockland County, check out the brewery and taproom location in Garnerville. You can also visit the location in Beacon, which has an incredibly view of the Hudson Highlands and the Hudson River. Industrial Arts has 7 core brews that you should try out, as well as a rotating list of additional options during the year. Both locations are open Thursday – Sunday and don’t serve food.
Industrial Arts also supports New York state agriculture with its cool Landscape Lager Series. It’s a seasonal release of traditional lagers made with 100% New York ingredients. Like many of the other breweries on this list, Industrial arts wants to highlight New York ingredients, agriculture, and farms.
Hudson Ale Works (Highland)
The perfect Saturday in the Hudson Valley consists of a walk along the Walkway Over the Hudson followed by a flight and food at Hudson Ale Works. It has a small outdoor space, but in the summer, they open the windows so you can sit inside at the windows and look out. Hudson Ale Works is open Friday – Sunday. They have a rotating list of options, some of which you can see being brewed in the barrels in the back through the glass walls. It’s a welcoming space with bartenders eager to help you pick out options. One of my personal favorites is the Hazy Boi draft.
The Drowned Lands Brewery & Tubing (Warwick)
Why not enjoy a day of tubing along the Delaware River, combined with a trip to The Drowned Lands Brewery in Warwick Valley? This tour will take you from NYC, to the Delaware River where you’ll get to tube along past some of the rivers most beautiful scenery. Afterwards, you’ll get to enjoy a riverside lunch, and then head off to the brewery where you can sample a free 12oz beer.
The Drowned Lands Brewery is housed in what was once the administration building for a reform school for boys. The building is 100 years old, and has been refurbished into a brewery and taproom. The brewery has won awards, such as the Vassar Cup for the Best Brewery in the Hudson Valley so you can be sure to find some good beer here.
The tour includes transport to and from NYC, lunch, a 12oz beer and the tubing equipment. Book this tour here.
Breweries in the Catskills
Crossroads Brewing Company (Catskill)
Crossroads Brewing Company is one of many Upstate New York breweries on this list that has won awards. Crossroads won a bronze medal in the Great American Beer Festival in 2013. You could visit their Athens brewpub on the western shores of the Hudson River, or you can visit their taproom in the beautiful small town of Catskill in the Catskill Mountains. There are usually food trucks on the weekend at the taproom and it’s housed in a beautiful location – the former Catskill Daily Mail printing facility. They have 10 rotating taps and make sure you try their IPA as that has also received a few awards.
West Kill Brewing (West Kill)
One of the best breweries in Upstate New York is West Kill Brewing. It’s housed on a 127-acre historic dairy farm in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. It’s the perfect addition to your weekend in the Catskills with its heart-stopping views of the surrounding region. Their tap options rotate often so you’ll definitely want to visit more than once to try them all out. They even use the glacial water run-off from the Catskill Mountains in their beer. It’s delicious. They’re open Friday – Sunday and there’s usually a food truck on-site. Check out their events listings for the food truck option and special occasions like That Pasta Club Pop-Up!
Honey Hollow Brewing Company (Earlton)
On the border of the Catskills region and Capital Region is Honey Hollow Brewing Company. They’re only open Friday and Saturday so ensure you’ve timed out your visit. Saturday is the best day for your visit as they usually have live music and woodfired pizza. They are frequent contributors to their local food pantry so when you buy a pint, you’re also supporting the food pantry. Sit in a hammock in their outdoor space and sip the Empire Honey Ale for the perfect Upstate New York brewery experience.
Breweries in Buffalo, NY
Buffalo is one of the most interesting cities in New York state to visit right now in the microbrewery scene. The breweries in the city are leading the way in revitalizing one of the many Upstate New York cities that has been in an economic downturn since the mid-late 1900s. A Buffalo brewery tour is one of the best things to do in Upstate New York. There are over 40 breweries in the city so you’ll have loads of options.
Thin Man Brewery (Buffalo)
Thin Man Brewery won’t just satisfy your taste buds. It will also satisfy your social media. It’s a picture-perfect venue to hang out in all day. They have a core set of five flavors that you should ensure you taste. In addition, they produce a few beer options using former spirits barrels making unique and diverse flavor profiles. They have two locations – one on Elmwood Ave in the heart of Buffalo and the other on Chandler Street in northern Buffalo. Both are open every day of the week and serve food. Thin Man is founded and run by Buffalo natives so you can feel the love and care in their beer.
Community Beer Works (Buffalo)
Community Beer Works opened its doors in 2012, the first microbrewery to open in Buffalo since 2000. They’ve been leading the brewery scene in Buffalo and it’s no coincidence that many other brewers in Buffalo cut their teeth at Community Beer Works or have connections with the brewers there. The brewery and taproom on the west side of Buffalo is open Thursday – Sunday and has an exhaustive list of rotating options. You will not be able to try them all in one visit. Their food menu will keep you full so you can keep trying different beers. You’ll want to do so as you could spend all day at Community Beer Works trying their award-winning Whale brown ale. It was voted best beer in New York in 2017 at the TAP New York Craft Beer & Food Festival.
Big Ditch Brewing Company (Buffalo)
A stop at the Big Ditch Brewing Company in downtown Buffalo during your Buffalo brewery hopping tour is definitely in order. The location is industrial-chic, and the gastropub serves excellent food. They only have three signature flavors, and the rest are rotating options that they brew throughout the year. You can get a flight so you can try a few different flavors, and don’t be ashamed if the punny beer names are what draw you in. They are open every day of the week. I recommend visiting for brunch so you can order a mimosa flight, which comes with the traditional OJ and prosecco version and some Big Ditch-created versions using their own brews.
Resurgence Brewing Company (Buffalo)
Resurgence Brewing Company recently moved from an intimate location on the west side of Buffalo to a large brewery and taproom with a beer garden on Chicago Street in southern Buffalo. It’s the perfect brewery in Upstate New York to visit if you want to hang out in a beer garden in the summer. They usually have over a dozen beers on tap for you to try, so get a flight if you’re not sure what to order. They’re open Tuesday – Sunday and have a restaurant that serves food as well. Resurgence Brewing Company is focused on creating a space for their community to gather and their beer garden vibe ensures that.
Breweries in Rochester, NY
K2 Brothers Brewing (Rochester)
K2 Brothers Brewing is on the southern shore of Irondequoit Bay on Lake Ontario. It’s an excellent brewery in Upstate New York to visit if you want to see what the brewery scene is like in Rochester. They’re open Tuesday – Sunday in a large space that includes a beer garden. Two brothers run the brewery. They have an extensive rotating list of beers on tap and some killer food options like the K2 Burger. K2 Brothers recently brewed a beer called R.I.S. for Ukraine, and sales are donated to support the refugee crisis in Ukraine. Make sure to check out their events too. They have live music, movie nights, and more. It’s the perfect place to settle in and feel like a Rochester local.
Iron Tug Brewing (Rochester)
Iron Tug Brewing has a small selection, and they make sure that every beer they have is done to perfection. They even have a delicious hand-crafter hard seltzer if you’re not a big beer drinker and are just tagging along with some friends. They have a charming outdoor patio space so you can soak in some sun while you drink the Shore Leave Cherry Cobbler Sour. You should try one of their sours no matter what. They’re open every day of the week so you can stop in the afternoon after you’ve visited one of the many beaches in Upstate New York on the southern shores of Lake Ontario this summer. They don’t serve food though so keep that in mind when making plans.
Swiftwater Brewing Company (Rochester)
Swiftwater Brewing Company identifies as a farm brewery, which means they work with the local farms in the surrounding area to use fresh and seasonal ingredients in both their drink and food options. Housed in a large, industrial space on the banks of the Genesee River in the historic South Wedge neighborhood, Swiftwater is one of the best breweries in Upstate New York to visit to better understand how a brewery can be the center of a community. They have a great outdoor patio space, and they’re open Wednesday – Sunday. They have a ton of vegan and vegetarian options on their food menu and an excellently well-rounded list of rotating beers to try.
Three Heads Brewing (Rochester)
Three Heads Brewing is the biggest brewery in the area. They have some flavors that might make you hesitate – Creamsicle Tangerine Orange Sour for example – but you should definitely try them all. The odder sounding, the better it will be. They have a large beer garden and food trucks are usually scheduled for the weekends. Three Heads is open every day. On the weekends, there’s often live music. Unlike most of the other breweries on this list that don’t directly sell food, you can also bring in outside food if you want to spend the whole day. They even encourage you to support a couple of the restaurants across the street from the brewery.
Rohrbach Brewing Co. Railroad (Rochester)
Rohrbach Brewing Co. is the first craft brewery in Rochester, NY so when you visit, you’re checking out a piece of recent history. You can visit the brewery and beer hall on Railroad Street in downtown or the brewpub restaurant in Gates, outside of central Rochester. Rohrback has a solid set of flagship options to taste, as well as seasonal and small-batch options that you should check out every time you visit. There is delicious food available at both locations, but the beer hall primarily has wood-fired pizzas, and the brewpub has a more extensive gastropub menu. The brewpub is also open every day and the beer hall is only open Wednesday to Sunday. The ambiance at both is wonderful – both are cozy, German-inspired spaces that make you want to settle in for a few hours.
Breweries in Central New York
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown)
It’s so easy to skip right through the area between Syracuse and Albany in Central New York, but you would be remiss to do so. One of the reasons why is Brewery Ommegang. You might recognize Brewery Ommegang’s insignia if you’re a fan of the television series Game of Thrones (or like me, maybe you grapple with still calling yourself a fan after that disastrous shitshow of a final season), you might recognize Ommegang as the brand that partnered with HBO to create brews that honored characters and storylines from the show.
You can visit Café Ommegang for some food and to taste one of their many beers or ciders from Thursday to Sunday. Or you can do a guided tour and/or tasting through the brewery to get to know this New York state brewery institution. There are often events going on, including full-blown concerts, so check their events calendar. Ommegang should be on every beer lover’s list to visit.
Willow Rock Brewing Company (Syracuse)
Willow Rock Brewing Company is an unpretentious addition to the brewery scene. It’s on a side street in the outskirts of Syracuse. They have a small, but well-rounded set of flagship flavors and a large rotating list of seasonal options. Willow Rock also has four hard seltzer flavors that they brew themselves under the brand name Leaf Hard Seltzer. It’s a great Upstate New York brewery to visit and sit on their outdoor patio for a relaxing afternoon with your dog. The brewery usually has food trucks on the weekends. They’re open every day of the week so after you’ve explored one of the most interesting cities in Upstate New York for the morning, head over to Willow Rock.
Saranac Brewing Co (Utica)
Saranac Brewing Co. is one of the oldest breweries in the country. In fact, after Prohibition was repealed, Saranac, then known as The West End Brewing Co., was the first in the United States to obtain a license and start selling beer again. Saranac has won dozens of awards over the years, including being voted one of the best beers in the world at the Brussels Beer Challenge several times. Unfortunately, as of 2022, they are not doing tours of the brewery in Utica. They do still have a Taproom that’s open Monday – Saturday where you can try whatever options they have on tap that day.
2 thoughts on “29 Cool Breweries in Upstate New York to Visit”
You did Upstate NY and totally skipped the Capital Region? Many great breweries in the area!
We didn’t skip it. It’s right there. 😀