Raising the Bar: The Best 5 Breweries in Syracuse
Eastwood Brewing Company
For an outsider, Eastwood Brewing Company can be pretty intimidating. As soon as you walk in, you get the feeling that the people crowding around the bar on a random Wednesday afternoon meet there regularly. The bartender passed out hugs as frequently as she poured drinks.
The best part about Eastwood? The reasonable prices. For just $3, one can taste a generous sampling of four beers, ranging from the light wheats to the darker stouts.
Be sure to bring a group of friends with you when you go. There are board games scattered throughout the establishment and a Pac-Man arcade game for old time’s sake. The generous display of Syracuse memorabilia makes this a go-to place for any proud Orangeman.
Empire Brewing Co.
This industrial brewery and restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Syracuse. Its underground location gives Empire Brewery a speakeasy vibe and makes beer lovers feel like they are part of a special club. Empire prides itself on being eco-friendly and serves locally-sourced food, along with award-winning beer.
The menu includes unique items from jambalaya to bacon mac and cheese. But nothing could out-do the ironically named Bentley burger. There was nothing classy about devouring the stacked angus beef sandwich topped with lettuce, pickles, onions and a chipotle mayonnaise sauce, but it is definitely worth it. This hearty burger can be washed down with the refreshing Peach Buzz beer—a summer wheat mixed with peach puree, giving the drink its sweet aroma. For a more in depth take on Empire Brewing Co., check out our other story.
Willow Rock Brewing Company
Tucked away just south of the Syracuse University campus, Willow Rock Brewing Company proves that small brewhouses can sure pack a punch. Willow Rock focuses on perfecting its American style craft beers, offering four different flagship brews year-round. Additionally to the flagship brews, Willow Rock often has seasonal brews on tap that include test batches or one-off brews. Its standout brew, Orange 44, combines the flavors of four different malts, hops, and a bit of orange peel. The cozy tasting room is perfect for anyone looking to catch up with friends over a drink or two.
The one downside to the brewhouse is that it is small and does not offer a lot of beer choices. However, the brewhouse has plans to expand its operations so you can expect more from this small powerhouse.
Syracuse Suds Factory
Do you want a brewery where you can just relax and unwind from a long day at work? Syracuse Suds Factory is definitely the place for you. Are you the type of person who likes to sit at the bar and read a book while trying out some local brews? If so, this place should be the first on your list.
The building itself is also cool: it has the feel of an old-time firehouse, with its brick walls and hardwood floors. Also be sure to bring your appetite. This place has an amazing menu. The bratwurst and sauerkraut will immediately transport you to a beer hall in Germany, and the open-faced reuben sandwich is big enough to split.
Middle Ages Brewing Company
Fans of Dinosaur BBQ May have good reason to make a trip to Middle Ages Brewing Company: The Dinosaur’s house beer, Ape Hanger Ale, comes from Middle Ages. The list of beers available at this brewery are long and impressive, and since it’s the longest continuous brewing company in Syracuse, you can expect a crowd full of regulars when you walk in the door.
One drawback? Its limited hours. Middle Ages is open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, but closes at 6 p.m. on most weeknights. The best time to go is Saturday afternoon, when you can take your time and enjoy several of the brewery’s most popular beers, including Bourbon Barrel Dragonslayer and the Double Wench. Many beers at Middle Ages can be found throughout Central New York, but nothing beats having a flight or two at the brewery, which is housed in one of the older buildings in Syracuse, the Sealtest Ice Cream Factory. The longest continuously running brewery in Syracuse, Middle Ages is one you definitely need to add to your list.