The 10 Best Craft Breweries In New York State

Ithaca Beer Company Glass@PodunkPrincess/TwitterIthaca Beer Co. is using the surrounding fields to grow their own grains and hops for their beer.

While California and Colorado are well-known as great craft beer destinations, New York is proving itself a noteworthy home to some awesome breweries.

Sarah and Giancarlo Annese, authors of “Beer Lover’s New York,” visited nearly 100 breweries all over New York State scoping out the bright stars among the craft beer scene. They shared their picks for the 10 best breweries from Niagara to the North Fork.

The Anneses operate under the Brewers Association’s definition of craft brewery — a brewery with an annual production of fewer than 6 million barrels of beer — but they mainly support drinking any fresh, local beer closest to where you live.

Barrier Brewing Company

Evan Klein, co-founder of Barrier Brewing Co.

Oceanside, NY

Founded: 2009

Evan Klein and Craig Frymark had just expanded to a 30-barrel brewhouse when it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The New York beer community rallied around them, with Simon Thorpe, CEO of Brewery Ommegang, inviting them to brew at his facility. The resulting beer, Barrier Relief, raised money to rebuild.

Blue Point Brewery invited Barrier to join other Long Island breweries on a collaborative brew, Surge Protector IPA, which brought in $US29,000 for Barrier, and another $US29,000 for Sandy relief.

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery

Maspeth, NY

Founded: 2012

Bridge and Tunnel is a one-man, Queens-based nanobrewery started by Rich Castagna, a lifelong New Yorker who has been homebrewing for over 10 years. Each of his beers is named for a neighbourhood story. For example, his flagship beer, Angry Amel Dunkelweizen, recalls a neighbour he had growing up who would threaten to cut the ears off the children playing in the street.

Community Beer Works

Buffalo, NY

Founded: 2012

Founded by a group of homebrewing friends and a Kickstarter campaign, CBW aims to foster the growth of craft beer in Buffalo and give back to the community (the spent grain from CBW's beers is donated to the agriculture non-profit Massachusetts Avenue Project). In addition to a variety of seasonal and special releases, CBW makes four year-round beers.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company

Greenport, NY

Founded: 2009

While the North Fork of Long Island is well-known for its wineries, Greenport Harbor Brewing has captured the focus of both locals and tourists. Founders John Liegley and Rich Vandenburg create a lineup of flavorful beers that are accessible yet stay true to the innovation of the craft beer community. They plan to open a larger facility in nearby Peconic; the original location will remain in use for specialty and limited-release beers.

Ithaca Beer Company

Ithaca, NY

Founded: 1998

Ithaca's tap handles are visible at bars and restaurants throughout the state, but a visit to the brewery itself is a worthwhile trip for seasonal and special-release beers, as well as root beer and ginger beer. The brewery is also, in a way, a farm: The fields that stretch out beyond the patio windows belong to the brewery, where future plans include growing hops and grain for brewing and produce for the taproom's kitchen.

Newburgh Brewing Company

Chris Basso (left) and his business partner Paul Halayko

Newburgh, NY

Founded: 2012

Newburgh's head brewer, Chris Basso, spent seven years brewing alongside Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver before deciding to strike out on his own and open a brewery in an old paper box factory in his upstate hometown of Newburgh. Basso takes inspiration for his beers from not only his work at Brooklyn, but also a background attending culinary school, ensuring his brews are sessionable, balanced, and drinkable.

Peekskill Brewery

Peekskill, NY

Founded: 2008

Family-founded Peekskill Brewery underwent a complete rebrand in 2013 when they hired brewmaster Jeff O'Neill, formerly of Ithaca Beer Company. Peekskill had always put out a solid lineup of beers, but when O'Neill took over he revamped almost the entire list with new, bold offerings like the Higher Standard Imperial IPA, which won the TAP NY Governor's Cup for Best Beer in New York State.

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