Brimstone Brewing Company Visit

A visit to Brimstone Brewing Company in Ridgeway

By Willard Brooks   

On a briskly cold sunny Presidents Day myself and Clint Perez, marketing director of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association accepted the invitation to visit Rod Daigle, owner and chief priest of suds at Brimstone Brewing Company in Ridgeway, Ontario. As you drive up to Brimstone, located just minutes from downtown Buffalo, the beery new purpose of this former Methodist church is made plain by the presence of brewing equipment sitting in the back of the building. This arrangement makes it immediately evident that a great deal of thought has gone into the conversion experience which this former place of worship has undergone.

The building was purchased a few years ago by architect Jason Pizzicarola. Rod Daigle—a former Canadian customs officer of 23 years—was looking to get into the brewing business. After meeting at a city planning session where Rod presented a brewing concept for the town, they decided to team up and develop the old church into a multi-use facility with Brimstone Brewery, Crave Local restaurant, and Sanctuary Centre for the Arts.

The Brewery

It came to fruition about two years ago when Brimstone opened as a nanobrewery in the basement of the old church.

The size and scale of a nanobrewing operation is not all that much larger than what homebrewers would make on their kitchen stoves. No dark art, brewing. With this system Rod got a chance to hone his recipes and make the transition from hobby to profession. He attended the Siebel Institute to learn more about professional brewing. The beer was good and this success built the foundation for the recent expansion up to a 15 hectoliter system.

The Beer

“Right now, we have three main beers available” Rod explained, “We have our blond pale ale called Enlightenment, which is our easy drinking flagship, we have our cranberry wheat called Cleric Winter Cranberry, and we have our Sinister Minister IPA.”

Clint and I were lavished with samples of these brews, and this is what we thought.

• Enlightenment Pale Ale 5.5%—pours a golden straw color with a prodigious white head which leaves a pleasing lacing behind in the glass. The mild fruity aroma from a British yeast strain is followed by fruity notes on the palate and an interesting element of more modern hop character. A solid drinking beer which would pair with all manner of dishes and most of life’s occasions.

• Cleric Winter Cranberry 5.2% (seasonal)—nice and spritzy with a medium mouth feel. This beer is an ale blended with cranberry and brewed with barley and wheat malts. It has a very distinct up-front tartness and an aroma that presents at first taste as almost a Belgian-style wild beer. After this, the sip evolves into a medley for fruit from the berries, malt complexity, and a touch of lingering hop bitterness at the finish. A very nice winter warmer type beer that would pair very well with white cheddar cheese and walnuts with crackers.

• Sinister Minister IPA 7.5%—a solid west coast style IPA with an excellent carbonation, solid malt backbone, and very enjoyable hop character from generous amounts of Ahtanum and Mosaic hops additions. This beer is in regular rotation at the brewery—though it sells out frequently due to its popularity. A solid resinous IPA with very pleasing citrus notes and a finish strongly reminiscent of grapefruit rind. Would be an excellent accompaniment to some spicy foods such as a grilled chicken burrito with red mole and black beans or a green Thai curry.

The Sanctuary Centre for the Arts & Crave

Local Fresh Restaurant

Chef Matt MacGregor and his wife Laurie own and operate the farm-to-table catering firm “Crave-Local-Fresh” out of the kitchen area adjacent to the Brimstone tap room. Chef Matt works on a weekly basis to ensure that the food menu and the beer line up well each week. Crave-Local-Fresh uses locally-sourced fresh produce when possible (including the incorporation of house brewed beer and spent grain into recipes).

The Sanctuary Centre for the Arts is many things. It is the company that owns the building and gives a home to the catering company and the brewery. It is also a community arts center which has multiple uses as a center for gallery space, weddings, plays, yoga classes, meetings, beer festivals, craft shows, fundraisers, church gatherings, and concerts. Concerts are a specialty as they are well supported by the intimate space (and the bar with Brimstone on tap).

All in all these three inter-related businesses have created an architecturally well executed integration of the arts center and venue upstairs with the brewery, tap room, patio, and restaurant downstairs.

Getting There

Making the very brief trip from Buffalo to Fort Erie is well worth the effort to be repaid in excellent beer, food, and music. More info and opening hours are below.

• Restaurant Hours: Thu & Fri 5pm-10pm; Sat 12-10 pm; Sun 12-6 pm

• Taproom Hours: Thu & Fri 5pm-10pm; Sat 12-10 pm; Sun 12-6 pm

• Taproom Stage: the brewhouse actually gets converted to a small stage for weekend music.

• The Sanctuary Centre: There are frequent concerts, especially on Fridays and

• Address: 209 Ridge Road N Ridgeway, ON L0S 1N0

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History Repeats Itself

By Brian Campbell (for Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and Artvoice).  Not only has the current Buffalo craft beer boom led to the creation of a wide variety of great local beer, it has also led to a resurgence in local malt production, an industry that was once a staple of our city.

Among those leading the local malting renaissance is Queen City Malting, located inside the Barrel Factory in the Old First Ward; Niagara Malt, located at Cambria Vines N’ Bines in Cambria; and New York Craft Malt out of Batavia, run by maltster Ted Hawley, who says he got into malting because he saw a need for locally produced malts and grains.

“I went to a lecture coordinated by Glenda Neff with NOFA-NY (Northeast Organic Farming Association),” Hawley says. “While there, Glenda mentioned there was a need for malting grains for the craft brewing industry. So I switched gears, researched malt and malting and spent a few weeks at the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre in Winnipeg learning everything I could about the art of making malt. I’ve traveled to China, UK, Canada, and all over the United States researching this idea.”

“So far we’ve been selling our malt to brewers and breweries all over the state. We’ve branched out from our base NY Pale Ale malt to include Light Munich, Medium Munich, and Special Roasted malt. There has been a lot of interest in our product and we’re certain that sales will increase as more brewers become aware of what we have to offer.”

With more and more breweries opening on a seemingly daily basis, the need for local malt is more prevalent than ever, a cause Senator Charles Schumer champions as well. He is urging the United States Department of Agriculture to add New York to the list of states where malt barley farmers are covered by federal crop insurance, which he believes will be done by year’s end.

“I think it’s a huge positive step,” Hawley adds. “The odds are stacked against any grains growing in our region due to our climate to begin with and malting barley requires a higher degree of attention anyway. If we truly take malting barley seriously then we need to offer farmers the same governmental insurance that’s offered on the other grains they grow. However, I think the insurance needs to go beyond that to include the very real scenario of a bumper crop of barley that may be pre-germinated on the stalk, or has a high vomatoxin level and is otherwise not suitable for malting. In other words, the farmer needs some insurance against the fact that his barley may be turned away at the malthouse door even though it looks and feels and smells like a viable crop.”

The Farm Brewing Law, put in to effect in 2013, states that, in order to receive a Farm Brewery license in New York State, beer must be made from a percentage of locally grown farm products. Until the end of 2018, at least 20 percent of the hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced in NYS, a number which rises to 60 percent from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2023 and 90 percent after January 1, 2024.

“When brewers use local malt they’re saying they believe in their hometown, that they have a vested interest in the success of everyone involved in this industry, from the farmer to the maltster to the brewer, to the brewery owner to the beer drinker,” Hawley continues. “That’s the most important part—when a brewer uses local malt what he’s really saying is that he believes in the customer. There’s been a lot of talk about the fact that 20 percent local ingredients is too much for brewers to source. I’d respectfully disagree.”

John Russo, president of Hamburg Brewing Company, a licensed farm brewery, says NYS could be headed for a change in the law in the future.

“Right now it is hard to say if it is too much or too little,” he says. “There are two things happening concurrently. One of them is promoting the growth of the New York state beverage industry and the second is trying to grow the farming industry. I personally believe the numbers set in place by our legislators were good to start as it will take a considerable amount of time to build the associated farm industry to the point where competitive pricing and quality ingredients meet the expectations of the brewers and distillers. Thus, I believe there might be a change in the laws in the future to accommodate the direction our industry is headed in. It is important to use locally sourced ingredients to grow business in our region.”

Dave Collins, brewmaster at Resurgence Brewing, says that they are making a concerted effort to incorporate more locally grown malts and barley into their beer.

“We’re slowly mixing New York grown barley into all of our recipes, and we just released a beer that was made with only NY malt [NY Craft Malt] and NY Nugget hops [High Bines Hopyard] called the NY Nugget Smash [“single malt, single hop],” Collins says. “I think the new laws around Farm Brewery licensing are maybe too aggressive, but if we can get to a place where we can rely more heavily on our own NY grain and don’t need to worry about all the other concerns as much it would be a really great thing.”

Staying local is important to also fledgling upstart Big Ditch Brewing Company, according to President Matt Kahn, who says localized ingredients will play a major role in future test batches.

“I’d much rather use locally malted barley than others all things being equal; besides supporting other local businesses, it’s environmentally friendlier due to reduced transportation costs,” he says. “We feel strongly connected to Buffalo. It’s all part of making Western New York a great beer destination. We plan to conduct further test batches using local ingredients and hope to use as much as we can as we grow.”

Local malts and hops will be on display later this year at Farm-To-Pint, a one-of-a-kind beer tasting event created by the Supply Chain Committee of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association to help raise awareness all across the supply chain for the importance of local in out beer. Last year our two farm breweries, Hamburg Brewing and Old First Ward Brewing, along with Flying Bison Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Resurgence, and Community Beer Works. This year’s event is expected to include several more breweries and become much more of a regional event aimed at raising awareness for local beer by also encouraging local bars to put these beers on tap during farm to pint week. Stay tuned to for more information (likely will take place in late May).

For more information about your local maltsters, visit, and Also check out local hops farms such as Niagara Malt, McCollum Orchards, East Prairie Hops, High Bines Hopyard. And Wrobel Farms.

Last but not least, get into your local pubs and brewery tap rooms to taste new brews made from local ingredients. Currently or coming soon these local breweries will offer brews from local ingredients:

• Community Beer Works: Saison #2

• Flying Bison Brewing Co: Barnstormer Pale Ale

• Hamburg Brewing Co: House Dressing

• Old First Ward Brewing Co: Therapy Session Pale Ale (coming soon)

• Resurgence Brewing Co: NY Nugget Smash

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Brewers & Bruisers at Buffalo River Works

By Erik Wollschlager

It is no secret that the city of Buffalo’s recent expansion is tied to its growing craft brew industry. This growth requires two things—people to brew it and people to drink it. Thankfully for all of us, there are plenty of both. These two ingredients come together in an amazing location for a wonderful Bermuda Triangle of awesomeness at the rapidly developing Buffalo RiverWorks. On Friday, February 6th, the Queen City Rollergirls (QCRG) opened their 2015 season with an exhibition match at Buffalo RiverWorks—a one of a kind facility that will cater to brewers, bruisers, and drinkers alike.

“These girls love their beer,” says Mama Chops, spritely events coordinator for QCRG and RollerMom extraordinaire. In between hugs and high-fives from everyone passing by, Mama explained just how deep their love really is. “A lot of these girls even brew their own beer—each team brewed a batch for our Beer & Beards hombebrew competition.” She laughed at the suggestion that someone might brew a ‘Bruiser Belgian,’ replying “Chicks dig IPAs.” Willard Brooks, President of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association puts it this way: “The roller girls stand out as a group of strong women whose absolute verve and elbow grease goes to great lengths to promote local craft beer. And they have done a great deal with us. Back in 2013 we worked together on the Buffalo Beer Geek Festival at Artisan Baths and Kitchen. In 2014 we worked together at the Buffalo Brewers Festival at Canalside as well as on their awesome 1st Annual Black Rock Pub Crawl during Buffalo Beer Week. There are lots of ideas are flying around about what we might work on next—more details are sure to evolve—stay tuned.”

According to Mama, “Last year, the beer week Black Rock Pub Crawl for Beer Week went awesome and we are looking forward to hosting again.” As she surveyed the barebones structure where the bout was set to take place, she breathed in the floating dust and smiled. “This is going to be awesome.”

The bout was indeed awesome. It was a high-scoring affair, and aside from a few injuries, the violently graceful match passed without a hitch. When the dust settled, reigning champs the Nickel City Knockouts came out on top of the contending Suicidal Saucies. Following the final whistle, the girls and the crowd headed over to Pearl Street Grill & Brewery for the afterparty. “Buffalo is just a big backyard,” says Chris Herr, head brewer at Pearl Street, the Pan-Am, and the soon-to-be facility at RiverWorks. Chris has family ties with the organizers of QCRG and seems to be excited to be working hand-in-hand with the organization. While the brewery at Riverworks may still be as much as a year off, the planning stages have begun. Chris also chuckled at the suggestion of a “Bruiser Belgian,” and said “You know, I haven’t given it that much thought. We’re going to brew the Lake Effect Stout and the Trainwreck (Pearl Street & Pan-Am’s signature pale ale), but the rest of the beers we’ll be brewing will be unique to the facility.”

In the brief time that Chris has been brewing at Pearl Street, his mark has been made on all of the beers available. “We’ve upgraded our malt, moving to the next level available. It costs a bit more, but it makes a better beer, and that’s really what’s most important.” Chris said he’s tweaked some of the standard recipes, “I’m hoping that next time someone comes in, they take a sip and think ‘This is a bit different.’” Pearl Street will be debuting a new beer in the coming weeks—an ale brewed with an experimental hop variety. “The nose is heavy with peach,” Chris said, with a faraway look in his eyes that betrayed his excitement, “it’s definitely a unique flavor profile.” Pearl Street will announce the debut through their social media and e-mail newsletter, so be sure you’re in the know when this and other exciting beer pours.

The Devil Dollies will face off against the Alley Kats for the second half of the two-part Icebreaker exhibition bouts on Friday, February 13th. The first official QCRG bout is scheduled at RiverWorks for Friday, February 27th, when the Knockouts will face the Alley Kats. Season tickets for QCRG will be available soon—these events at the city’s incredible new entertainment complex are not to be missed, and will quickly sell out. Grab a beer, choose a side, and let the ladies know what you think of their jam. After the bout, join the afterparty, because the only thing better than watching these girls knocking each other down is joining them to knock a few back.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 

Contacts:   January 29, 2015     Earl Wells/Danielle DelMonte  e3communications                 716-854-8182 (office)



Who:    Willard Brooks, Chairman, Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, Members of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association    Volunteers from various enthusiast clubs, including the Buffalo Beer League, Buffalo Beer Geeks, Queen City Roller Girls, Sultans of Swig, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, and the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association.

What:   The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (BNBA) will hold a volunteer ‘thank you’ event to kick off a new year of beer festivals and celebrate the ever-growing craft beer industry in Western New York.

When:        Thursday, January 29th at 5p.m.

Where:       Resurgence Brewing Co.    1250 Niagara St.  Buffalo, NY

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (BNBA) will hold its first event of 2015 to thank its many volunteers and kick off a new year of craft beer events throughout Western New York. The event will feature locally made craft beer from Resurgence Brewing, Hamburg Brewing Company, Big Ditch Brewing Company and others

For more information about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, please visit



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Buffalo Beer League Happy Hour at Resurgence Brewery Thursday Night at 5PM

For a lot of people in Western New York, there are two seasons: Beer LeagKleenKanteen_Pint_BNBAue Softball season  and Beer League Hockey season. The trouble with these two seasons should be glaring to many – if one does not play hockey or softball, they’re missing out on the whole Beer League experience.

Or so one may think… Fortunately, for the beer loving Buffalo Niagara region, there is also the Buffalo Beer League, a group that the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association partnered with to help further it’s mission of spreading the gospel of good local beer.

Buffalo Beer League was founded in 2010 by beer enthusiasts Brian Campbell (whose name you may recognize from the pages of Artvoice) and Scott McMillan.

“When we started Buffalo Beer League, all we wanted to do was try something new and drink good beer,” said BBL co-founder Brian Campbell. “Drinking good beer with good people, aKleenKanteen_Pint_BBLll while promoting local businesses and breweries and doing whatever we can do to help further the Buffalo craft beer scene. It’s all about having fun, drinking local and drinking better beer with good friends.”

As everyone knows, the success of craft beer is a based on hard won local expansions that have allowed small local breweries compete with large multi-billion dollar companies. A classic David and Goliath story of epic proportions in which both David and the everyday beer drink win.  The most effective weapon that local breweries really need are local followers who drink their beer, support their festivals right here where the beer is made.


“The BBL and BNBA are indispensable partners in the promotion and growth of the craft beer scene in our region,” Paul Marko of Download Design adds. “Both are determined to educate and unify everyone, from seasoned enthusiasts to the person new on the craft spectrum.”

On Thursday, January 29th at 5pm, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, the Buffalo Beer League, are hosting a membership appreciation event of epic proportions at Resurgence Brewing Company (1250 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14213 (716) 381-9868). The event is an opportunity for members to sample beers from Resurgence Brewing, Hamburg Brewing, and Big Ditch Brewing. This incredible event is free to all members, and if you’re not currently a BNBA enthusiast member, have no fear! BBL will be selling Enthusiast memberships at the door!

Membership, as it is said, does indeed have its privileges. Each BNBA enthusiast member receives an amazing stainless steel pint glass (pictured here). This BNBA-BBL co-branded Kleen Kanteen pint is your secret handshake at local bars & breweries – flash the BNBA-BBL co-branded cup at your participating purveyor, and they in turn knock $1 off of the price of your pint. Mr. Goodbar, Resurgence Brewing Company, Community Beer Works and Hamburg Brewing Company. Big Ditch Brewing Company will offer the discount program when their tap room opens this spring.

But the coolest thing is that your Enthusiast membership helps the Buffalo Niagara Brewer’s Association do it’s work to advocate for Buffalo’s fastest-growing industry.  As a member, you get to be an active participant in this growth. BNBA is host to dozens of events throughout the year, including beer festivals and the annual 10 day celebration of everything local beer, Buffalo Beer Week. Last year’s Beer Week presented hundreds of events, and included breweries throughout Western New York and Ontario.

You may be thinking that the cost of membership to such an illustrious organization is followed by many zeroes, so prepare to be amazed: an annual Enthusiast BNBA membership costs only $40. The pint glass, the discounts, the events, pub crawls – all just $40. It is easy to sign up for your BNA Enthusiast membership with the BBL – online registration is available at and the site is set up so one can pay with PayPal or one can pay in person at any of the official BNBA-BBL events.  More information on BBL events can be found on their Facebook pages at

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Buffalo-area brewers pouring it on

Bar owner Mike Shatzel bet on craft beer when he opened Blue Monk in 2010. A magnet for craft beer lovers, the Elmwood Village brew pub regularly stocks Community Beer Works beer and rotates other local breweries into the lineup. “If the beer’s good, I’ll put it on,” he said.

Jan 23, 2015, Buffalo Business First, By Allissa Kline. [original]

Jeff Ware’s new West Side brewery has one mission: produce high-quality beer that people want to  buy.


But the salesman-turned-entrepreneur is well-aware that Resurgence Brewing Co., the seven-month-old brewery and beer garden located in a worn-down industrial district on Niagara Street, could do much more if it keeps drawing buzz, crowds and praise. It could be a spoke in the wheel of Buffalo’s economic renaissance.

“Breweries help cities come back because they’re visible,” said Ware, 33, whose team spent $1.2 million to turn a former warehouse into a brewery. “You can see it, touch it and taste it, so it’s tangible evidence of the change happening in that city or town. We just want to make good beer, but if something more happens, we wouldn’t be the first brewery to change a neighborhood.”

Small craft breweries such as Resurgence are breathing new life into communities across the country, including parts of Buffalo, where a long-overdue brewing rebirth is underway. In a city that had more than 30 breweries at one time, the newfound demand for locally made beer is real and the economic potential is huge — for the city and the region.

According to the national Brewers Association, craft breweries in New York state contributed $2.2 billion to the economy in 2012.

There is no breakdown of the regional impact, but a glance at the number of new breweries, brew pubs, distilleries and suppliers shows there has been and will be economic growth.

At least 15 breweries and brew pubs operate in Western New York, with at least seven within city limits. Farmers grow hops. Malt houses such as Niagara Malt and Queen City Malting spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy equipment to supply malt to brewers.

The financial investment is not going unnoticed. Tom McManus, CEO of KegWorks, said his 16-year-old beer supplies company experienced a dramatic rise in sales to those involved in the local craft brewing industry.

“There’s some decent investment going into this — millions of dollars,” McManus said. “These are some serious people investing serious money.”

Brewing wasn’t always such a novelty in Buffalo. In the latter half of the 19th century, the city was dotted with breweries, distilleries and malt houses. But the once-robust industry came to a halt in 1920 when Prohibition outlawed the production, transportation, import and sale of alcoholic beverages.

By the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the damage was done in Western New York.

Eventually, beer-making behemoths Labatt USA, Molson Canadian and Budweiserdominated the market, and they still do, though nationwide beer sales have declined.

But something else is happening within the craft beer segment. Sales and production rise every year.

In fact, the craft beer market generated a whopping $33.9 billion in 2012, according to the Brewers Association. That figure includes breweries, wholesalers and retailers, as well as non-beer products such as food and merchandise sold in brew pubs.

Experts say the demand for “more flavorful” beer is leading to a cultural shift in consumer drinking preferences. Younger drinkers especially are turning away from national brands in favor of craft brews.

That’s where opportunity awaits for Buffalo, according to Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara, which promotes tourism in Western New York.

The expanding brewing industry is good for residents — it means more jobs and more dollars — but it’s also another draw for tourists who want a “well-rounded experience,” he said.

“What’s really exciting is that breweries are popping up in new areas of Buffalo like Niagara Street and Larkinville,” Kaler said. “These are all areas that are developing along with great other assets, and the breweries are adding to that. It’s exciting because they’re drawing people into other areas.”

That includes Buffalo’s Old First Ward, where the new owners of Gene McCarthy’s Bar now brew their own beer, and Larkinville, where Flying Bison Brewing Co.’s $2 million production facility and tap room came online last fall. Tim Herzog co-founded Flying Bison in 1995 and began selling beer in 2000. For the next 12 years, Flying Bison was the only production brewery in Buffalo, until Community Beer Works began selling beer in April 2012.

Today the company is owned by Utica-based F.X. Matt Brewing Co., which put up the dollars for Flying Bison’s new facility.

Herzog said the dearth of local breweries was caused by a lack of awareness about craft beer and the overwhelming influence of mass producers.

“For a long time, it seemed like we were beating our heads against a door,” Herzog said. “But in Buffalo, in the last four or five years, there’s been a complete cultural shift in terms of beer. We’re at a point now where we could see 10,000 barrels a year coming out of Flying Bison, and that’s still in just Erie and Niagara counties, maybe a third county if we add one.”

Bart Watson, staff economist for the Brewers Association, said the brewing industry in New York is “growing very rapidly,” in part because of the state’s newly adopted craft beverage laws. The most recent legislation, signed into law in November, allows producers to serve pints on-site.

Still, craft beer sales comprised just 7.8 percent of beer sales nationwide in 2013 — and just 6 percent in New York state — which means there’s lots of room for growth.

Watson said he expects total sales in 2014 to top 10 percent when the latest data is compiled.

Of course, the viability of brewing in Buffalo depends on quality — no one wants to drink bad beer — but it also depends on the region’s ability to sell itself as a beer destination.

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association was formed in 2013 to raise awareness of the region’s brewing scene as a tourism magnet. The originator of the annual Buffalo Beer Week wants Buffalo and Western New York to be known for beer, much like Portland, Seattle and Asheville, N.C.

“I think we need to do everything we can to get our arms around this industry and promote it because it is such an opportunity for our region,” BNBA Chairman Willard Brooks said. “There’s a multiplying effect that comes from this, so making sure we get above the noise and get recognition as a beer destination is critical. That’s the biggest challenge and it’s extensive.”

In an effort to kick up awareness, the New York State Brewers Association is launching the “Think New York, Drink New York” advertising campaign with the help of $250,000 in state funding. The group has 130 brewery members statewide.

Executive Director Paul Leone said Buffalo’s brewing industry is “growing at a pretty good clip,” but there’s lots of room to sell more craft beer here.

“As long as the quality stays up, then the industry will continue to grow,” Leone said. “As soon as it drops, then you’ll see it decline. People are not going to drink poorly produced beer.”

Quality is top of mind for most brewers. They know that one bad beer will affect the reputation of the industry, so brewers test in small batches to ensure they have a top-notch product.

And their efforts are paying off. Community Beer Works, the city’s first nanobrewery, garners consistent praise for its beer and last March landed on a Business Insider list of top 10 craft breweries in New York state.

The company’s production facility is located just off Niagara Street, near Resurgence. It recently opened a satellite site at Hydraulic Hearth in Larkinville, a new restaurant that will serve only Community Beer Works beer.

“This is about a desire for things that are local, things that are seasonal or regional or have some sort of relationship to where they’re from,” co-founder Ethan Cox said. “And I don’t think it’s a fad because I think it’s the natural state. This is all kind of how it was.”

But how far will the local brewing scene be able to grow? Is there a point at which the market can’t absorb any more breweries?

Brooks said the city alone would support around 20 breweries, as long as the market share for craft beer continues to increase.

Others are hesitant to put a number on the total possible breweries. But there is a consensus from brewers that the demand for local beer will keep rising.

Back at Resurgence, Ware said the reception to his small business has been overwhelming. And it’s all part of what’s happening on a broader scale in Buffalo and Western New York, which he said is undergoing its own resurgence.

“You can see people want to come downtown and do cool stuff, and the breweries are part of that,” he said.

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Buffalo Beer Week 2014


BuffaloBeerWeek_2014_WebBuffalo, NY – Buffalo Beer Week will once again dominate the local craft beer scene as the 10-day celebration returns for its fifth year. Running from Thursday, September 25th – Sunday, October 5th, 2014 Buffalo Beer Week will once again feature dozens of unique events at bars, pubs, restaurants, breweries, and other craft beer destinations throughout the Buffalo Niagara region, including many breweries that have opened over the last few months.

“One thing is clear: Buffalo loves beer and for that reason Buffalo Beer Week celebrates Buffalo!” said Willard Brooks, Chairman of Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, which organizes the annual festival. “Our Beer Week honors Western New York’s rich brewing history while showcasing the tremendous revival of our craft beer culture that’s currently sweeping the region.”

The 10-day lineup features dozens of events – from tastings at local pubs to ticketed special events and nearly everything in between – including a ceremony to unveil the third annual class of inductees into the Buffalo Beer Hall of Fame which this year honors Bill Metzger of the Great Lakes Brewing News, Peter Kreinheder of Ellicottville Brewing Company, and Phin de Mink of Southern Tier Brewing Company.

This year’s featured events include:

Buffalo Beer Week Launch Party Thursday, September 25, 5-10pm at Templeton Landing (2 Templeton Terrace, Buffalo NY 14202). This event will benefit the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association. Please visit for tickets.

Buffalo Beer Goddesses One Year Anniversary Party Thursday, September 25, 7-10pm, at Mr. Goodbar (1100 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo). Join beer-loving women, from aspiring brewers to homebrewers to interested drinkers and everything in between. Enjoy the malty mojo of beer and grab a pint with the Buffalo Beer Goddesses upstairs at Mr. Goodbar. On tap is a limited release of craft beer from Flying Bison and Three Heads. For more information visit the Buffalo Beer Goddesses Facebook Group:

Brewed in Buffalo Release Party Friday, September 26, 7 pm – 12 am at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle (612 Fillmore Avenue near the Broadway Market in the city of Buffalo). Various breweries will provide exclusive new brews along with a Polish food buffet. Participating breweries include Resurgence Brewery, Community Beer Works, Big Ditch Brewery, Hamburg Brewery, New Buffalo Brewery, Southern Tier Brewery, Pearl Street Brewery, Black Bird Cider Works, Ellicottville Brewing Co. and Old First Ward Brewery.

Locktoberfest Saturday, October 4, 12-5 pm, in Lockport on Canal Street along the Erie Canal. Includes: cultural programs; narrated tours of the Lockport Locks Historic District; an expanded Community Market; sampling of regional craft brewers and wineries; children’s activities; farm fresh produce & artisan demonstrations; and Erie Canal-themed music, art and photography. There will be beer for sale along with a commemorative glass from Big Ditch, Blackbird Cider, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing Co, Hamburg Brewing Co., Old First Ward, Southern Tier, & Woodcock Brothers.

Food Pairings and Tastings, Pub Crawls and more! Throughout the 10 days of events and activities, various pubs, restaurants, and retail shops will provide beer dinners, beer and food pairings and pub crawls in communities such as East Aurora, Williamsville, and Black Rock. See website and 64 page program guide on display around the region for full details.

“Since its inception in 2007, Buffalo Beer Week has become one of the most highly anticipated craft beer celebrations in the region and the various events continue to bring visitors from across Upstate New York, Southern Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania to Western New York,” Brooks continued. “Successful growing festivals like Buffalo Beer Week and our first Buffalo Brewers Festival this past summer are unique ways we are celebrating the rebirth of craft brewing in the Buffalo Niagara region as well as successfully promoting the region as a destination for beer enthusiasts from all over the world.”

For more information about all of the great events taking place during Buffalo Beer Week, please visit

About Buffalo Beer Week: Buffalo Beer Week (BBW) promotes Buffalo’s growing craft beer culture by putting on a ten-day celebration in Erie and Niagara counties that attracts beer tourism, fosters knowledge of our regional brewing heritage and serves as a showcase for Buffalo’s breweries, restaurants, pubs and other businesses with ties to the craft beer community. Established in 2010, BBW is a growing annual celebration, featuring multitudes of festivals, dinners, tours, pub crawls, tastings and meet-the-brewer nights at area bars, restaurants and other locations throughout the Buffalo Niagara region — as a growing organization, BBW promises to become one of Buffalo’s mostly highly anticipated annual tourism events. Visit for more information.

About The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association: The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association exists to unify the Buffalo Niagara craft beer community in order to increase regional sales of craft beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness, consumer education, and to monitor and assure a thriving craft beer and brewing industry within the Buffalo Niagara Region. For more information about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, including membership, please visit

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Contacts: Brian Campbell –  Scott McMillian

BBL members can receive $1 off pints at Mr. Goodbar, Resurgence Brewing Company & Hamburg Brewing Company

Buffalo, NY – Craft beer fans rejoice – The Buffalo Beer League (BBL), the enthusiast wing of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, is now accepting new members. The local beer club was started by friends and passionate craft beer lovers Brian Campbell and Scott McMillian.

For $40 a year (those who sign up now will have their memberships extended through December 31, 2015), BBL members will enjoy a plethora of perks and benefits, including a Buffalo Beer League/Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association branded Kleen Kanteen stainless steel pint glass, which gets members $1 off New York beer at participating bars and breweries, a list that includes Mr. Goodbar, Resurgence Brewing Company, Hamburg Brewing Company and Big Ditch Brewing (once open). KegWorks will also sell the pints and offer discounts to BBL members.

“When we started Buffalo Beer League, all we wanted to do was try something new and drink good beer,” said BBL co-founder Brian Campbell. “Drinking good beer with good people, all while promoting local businesses and breweries and doing whatever we can do to help further the Buffalo craft beer scene. It’s all about having fun, drinking local and drinking better.”

BBL members will also gain early entry to all Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association festivals and events and access to purchase admission tickets before anyone else, as well as the ability to take part in exclusive VIP tours and tastings at participating bars and breweries.

“The BBL and BNBA are indispensable partners in the promotion and growth of the craft beer scene in our region,” Paul Marko of Download Design adds. “Both are determined to educate and unify everyone, from seasoned enthusiasts to the person new on the craft spectrum.”

Find out more information on the BBL on Facebook at, Twitter (@buffbeerleague) and Instagram/Untappd (@buffalobeerleague).

Find out more information on the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and sign up for a BBL membership at

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Rain Doesn’t STOP Buffalo from loving their Beer!

By CRAIG WHEELER  -  July 28, 2014


Last weekend the rains poured down like the beer from the taps at Canalside. What I mean to say is that it didn’t stop for hours. HOURS!!!!! Well rain be damned, Josh and Rebecca accompanied me down to the Buffalo Brewers Festival put on by theBuffalo/Niagara Brewers Association. When it was all said and done with, I was soaked and maybe a little more tipsy than I would have liked. No worries; Rebecca served as our designated driver! However, the rain really didn’t bother me all that much. By the time we left the Buffalo Brewers Festival, I had tasted at least 35 different types of beer. So that rain hadn’t stopped me or the more than 1,500 Buffalonians who attended from having a good time.


While the weather was terrible, the beer was fantastic with over 80 different selections to choose from. Brewers large and small came to Canalside, such as Brooklyn, Ommegang, Flying Bison, Community Beer Works, Hamburg, Resurgence, and Rogers Beer just to name a few. Some smaller breweries brought one or two kegs of beer to sample, while some of the larger breweries brought three or four kegs and switched out when the keg was tapped. There was a VIP tent thatMeopened at 2 PM, which had private tastings and a pig roast as well as comfy seating. Live music played most of the time with a tent set up in the middle of Canalside with bales of hay and tables to enjoy food.

There were, of course, food trucks. The Whole Hog, and The Cheesy Chick, as well as Pizza Plant and JD’s Smokin Grill and Bars and a few others served up awesomeness, and coupled with all the fantastic beer, made the event a total success. The Tinder Box was even there selling cigars, which I was happy to sample.


The real star of this show was the beer! I will point out that I’m not a huge fan of IPAs (just a little too hoppy for me, but too each their own). Some of the IPAs had me going back for seconds!

  • Shmaltz Brewing Companies – “Death Of A Contract Brewer” was a Malty IPA, with hints of chocolate and coffee that got my taste buds ready for more beer.
  • Hamburg Brewing Companies – “SamuRYE” felt like a stiff kick to the face. Full and hoppy and in your face like Bruce Lee!
  • Keuka Lake Brewers – “Imperial Amber Rye Ale” was by far one of the best beers I tasted with it’s flavors more subtle than an aggressive IPA. It had me going back for thirds!

My favorite beers are generally very heavy or very light; I’m not much of an in between kinda guy. Some of the porters and stouts were mind-blowing!

  • Rogers Beers out of Rochester had a “Double Chocolate Porter” that tasted like a chocolate parfait in your mouth!
  • Galaxy Brewing Company had a “Vanilla Porter” that was my favorite beer of the day hands down!
  • Keuka Lake also had a “Saison Noir” that was to die for, which had some citrus flavor coupled with a much fuller flavor than I would have thought. It was a favorite of some of the Brewers as well!
  • SingleCut Brewsmiths “Kim” was a Hibiscus Sour Lager that tasted as if you had stuck a hand full of sour gummies in your mouth! Pucker Up!

Tim Herzog

At a tasting with beer event that featured foods by Premier Gourmet and chocolates by Ben Johnson of Blue Table Chocolates, the samples were paired up with brewers who selected beers to fit the flavor profile of the food. By far, the best pairing was a dark chocolate truffle with Resurgence Brewery’s Loganberry Wit, which–when paired together–drew all the raspberry and blackberry flavors from the beer as you ate the chocolate. It was to die for! Brewers then were available to answer questions and generally talked beer when they could with the patrons!

This festival, the first of what is set to become an annual event, was there to highlight all the great things going on in Buffalo as it comes to food, brewing and sustainability. Willard Brooks, president of the Brewers Association, told me that more events are coming up this year; Buffalo’s 5th Buffalo Beer Week 2014! The events are helping to showcase a Buffalo the likes of which we haven’t seen in years–confident, full of fun, and ready to believe good things are ahead!

To learn more about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, click on there link here -

Also check out the Buffalo Beer League – on twitter at @buffbeerleague and membership is available click here



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Buffalo Brewers Festival attracts large crowd with craft beer, music, food trucks

By Michelle Kearns | Buffalo News Staff Reporter |


Julie Ciolek serves a McKenzie’s Hard Cider to a patron during the Brewer’s Festival at Canalside in Buffalo. Rain didn’t hinder Saturday’s turnout. Mark Mulville/Buffalo News

Julie Ciolek serves a McKenzie’s Hard Cider to a patron during the Brewer’s Festival at Canalside in Buffalo. Rain didn’t hinder Saturday’s turnout. Mark Mulville/Buffalo News[/caption]

Crowds came out to Canalside on Saturday in spite of rain for the first Brewer’s Festival to sample beer from 30 New York brewers and dine on food truck fare.

“This is quite the turnout for how bad the weather is,” said Brian Campbell, a founder of the Buffalo Beer League tasting club, stepping out of the rain and under a tent to talk Saturday. “It just goes to show that our local beer community can support more events like this. … We’re experiencing a boom.”

As the festival began Saturday afternoon, music played and so many people stood by the beer tents with small tasting glasses, and umbrellas, that the taps and servers were obscured. As the first event organized by the newly formed Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, the festival attracted beer aficionados, music fans and foodies.

About 1,000 sprang for advance tickets, from a $40 regular entry and tasting glass to $75 VIP passes.

Niki Klem went for the VIP ticket because it came with a tasting of pork dishes made with meat raised at T-Meadow Farm in Lockport.

“There’s a neat Rust Belt artisan food and drink revival,” she said.

Klem usually prefers wine, but the sour taste of the pale beer in her glass pleased her.

“It’s like beer and vinegar,” she said. “I like the tartness.”

Tania Klemm and friend Sarah Hulings lounged in Adirondack chairs sheltered from the rain beneath the Skyway overpass.

They came from Erie, Pa., to hang out and hear the blues and jazz of the headline act J.J. Grey & Mofro. Klem liked the Andromeda IPA beer she tried by the Binghamtom Galaxy Brewing Co. The wet weather wasn’t getting in the way of her fun.

“You have a few beers,” she said, “and you forget it’s raining.”

Inside the VIP tent, Noah McIntee, the brewer at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, was trying a Session ale by Flying Bison. It was a perfect pallet cleanser – light, hoppy and refreshing.

He was standing next to Lockport T-Meadow Farm owner Rich Tilyou. Both were waiting in line to sample pasta Bolognese with pork and bison and other dishes made with T-Meadow pork raised on grain leftover from beer making.

Pearl Street was one of two breweries sending from 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of spent grain a week to help feed T-Meadow’s 150 heritage breed hogs.

“Their waste is our benefit,” Tilyou said. “So it’s a full circle.”

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