Would you like to drink more sustainably? Do you simply prefer craft brews? Maybe you just want to get roaring drunk and feel guilt free.
Well, you’re in luck. If you aspire to sip libations that will support small and local brewers, the North Country has lots of options, most of which have sprung up in just the last decade. There are enough offerings for a veritable beer tour (NCPR Beer Tour 2015, anyone?).
This list doesn’t include larger breweries or establishments that don’t have a home base for visiting and touring, but it is a pretty comprehensive directory of the craft beer joints that you can visit for happy hour or dinner in the region. Cheers!
Taprooms AKA Beer Not Food
St. Lawrence Brewing Company, Canton, N.Y.
Founded by Ken Hebb in 2012, SLBC sells beer all over the North Country; as far away as Syracuse and Saratoga Springs. You can stop by the taproom for trivia night on Thursdays, a tour on Fridays, or for karaoke and open mic night on Saturdays. They brew seasonal and year-round beers, ranging from Shitake Stout to Maple Porter. There are also a few specialty brews served only at the taproom and dependent on the season: think Bacon Brew and Rhubarb Sour Ale.
Raquette River Brewing, Tupper Lake, N.Y.
This operation works out of a shack-like structure in Tupper Lake, with “small batch, hand-crafted” beer served in the front room; the brewing happens in the back and echoes the brewery’s origins out of a garage. There are five regular beers: IPA, IPW, Pale Ale, Red Ale, and Blonde Ale, but there can be as many as eight on tap. Recently a barbeque food truck set up shop next door, and since there are picnic tables just outside the brewery, you can spend a perfect summer night enjoying and little B & B.
Barkeater Craft Brewery, Lowville, N.Y.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarkEaterCraftBrewery
Barkeater brews and serves its ales in its dark and cozy taproom, where it also serves Tug Hill Vineyards wine. It is only open Thursday through Saturday normally, but starting in July it will be open on Wednesdays for the summer. There are usually five beers on tap that run the gamut from light Apricot Pale Ale to dark Renee’s Rye Stout.
Paradox Brewery, Schroon Lake, N.Y.
Paradox Brewery takes a lot of its inspiration from its location. In addition to five core beers, there are seasonal libations such as Adirondack Farmhouse Rye and Black Fly Porter. The Off-Trail Series, one-off delights that are on tap until they run out, currently has five offerings. The question is not whether to drink, but how on earth to choose! You can stop by their taproom for a taste Friday through Sunday afternoons, but you’re also likely to find them at the Kinderhook Farmer’s Market or set up at Beer Festivals around the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Toboggan Company Microbrewery, Gouverneur, N.Y.
For a microbrewery only in its second year, ATCM is moving along! They serve five permanent ales, and a single seasonal brew for each season. After years of brewing in a barn for fun, longtime buddies Kevin Archer and Dale Freeman opened their microbrewery last year. They refer to themselves as “two stupid brewers.” One can taste their not-so-stupid beer on Saturdays in their small taproom.
Common Roots Brewing Company, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
Common Roots’ name is a nod to family history, as its founders, Christian and Bert Weber, are another sibling dream team. They started to think about a microbrewery back in 2005, and finally realized their vision in December 2014. They have nine brews so far, five of which are currently on tap. The taproom is open all week except Tuesdays, and tours can be arranged by appointment.
Ausable Brewing Company, Keeseville, N.Y.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AusableBrewingCompany
Dylan and Dan Badger , the brewers behind ABC, are crafting more than beer. They’re crafting a local, laid back atmosphere for people to wind down and eat tacos on the weekends! Unlike most breweries, ABC is on a farm and regularly includes a bonfire. Their usual seven or eight beers on tap all have personality, with names like North Country Common, Jungle Hustler, and The Cultivator. In June they erected and debuted an outdoor pavilion to join the picnic tables, which are being put to good use on Thursdays and Saturday nights, when food trucks roll in and live music can often be heard. There’s even house root beer and ginger soda for the underage and non-drinkers.
Gastropubs: Serving Up Beer and Dinner
Blue Line Brewery, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bluelinebrewery
Another young business, Blue Line started serving all American “pub grub” alongside its many craft beers in 2012. From their dark Forest Home Black lager to lighter offerings like Lake Flower Cream Ale, there is something for everyone among the seven regular beers. There’s a deck, the prices are reasonable, and open mic nights and community partnership dinners abound. Specials like Wing Night and $2 pizzas keep the locals happy and the brewery full.
Livingsgood Restaurant & Brewery, Peru, N.Y.
They currently have nine house beers – highlights include Maple Vanilla Porter, Peruvian Pils, and Bear Swamp Stout- plus guest taps and bottled beers. The restaurant works with local farms to create their large and eclectic menu, and there’s even a designated gluten-free menu for those with dietary restrictions.; all seven of The Seven Deadly Sins Burgers can be ordered bun-less, for example. They also bring in live music about once a month. If you’re looking for a time to visit, the One Year Brewery Anniversary Party on August 22 would certainly suffice! Tuesdays are also Burgers & Beers night, where both come for an easy $10.99.
Sackets Harbor Brew Pub, Sackets Harbor, N.Y.
SHBC can boast that it is “one of New York State’s oldest continuing microbreweries featuring both a working brewery and dining establishment” – which shows just how recent the local beer movement is, since they opened in 1995! The brewery produces about thirty-five distinct beers each year, with around ten on tap at any given time. You can accompany drinks with upscale pub food such as duck nachos and Sackets Harbor Bisque, and a view of Lake Ontario. Fun fact: it’s all housed in an old New York Central Railroad Station building.
Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid, N.Y.
Three hundred and fifty barrels of beer a year – that’s how much the GABC has produced annually since 1997, when the Kane Family opened up their brewing company as a branch of Adirondack Steak and Seafood. There are currently nine beers on tap (they are always changing), and the brews pay homage to the Adirondacks – Whiteface Stout is an excellent example. The food is American pub fare with a little international flair.
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, Lake Placid, N.Y.
This brewery is an oldie of the area, since it has been in business since 1996. Following local popularity and the infamous Clinton incident (interns visited LPPB, introduced Bill Clinton to the popular Ubu Ale, and three cases were subsequently ordered by the White House), demand outgrew supply and production was moved to Matt Brewing, the company behind Saranac beer. Beers produced bt LPPB have won numerous awards, the brewpub is in the top 7 percent of brewpubs nationwide in terms of production, the extensive menu offers everything from flatbread pizza to barbeque, and the space is welcoming. Tours of the brewery are Saturdays at 4:30!
Wood Boat Brewery, Clayton, N.Y.
This local joint is a microbrewery and gastropub, so the emphasis is often more on the food. Wood Boat Brewery is better known for its pizza than its beer, but at any time there will be one to three brews on tap to enjoy
Adirondack Pub & Brewery, Lake George, N.Y.
Informative and organized tours of the brewery are offered Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so make sure to coincide your trip with one of them to explore the fifteen barrel brew house, in operation since 1999. The APB produces five year-round and seven seasonal ones, to be accompanied by typical pub fare that’s cooked fresh to order. Fun fact: there are four annual events that celebrate the brews, which include a Fall Harvest Beer Dinner, which is five courses of beer-pairings as prepared by the chef. You can check out a virtual tour here.
Plattsburgh Brewing Company, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
“Fresh brews and fresh food” is the claim at this recently opened (2013) gastropub, which currently offers four brews with names like The Plucky Rooster Ale and The Angry Musket IPA. The menu has detailed beer and wine pairing suggestions; the kitchen incorporates local and seasonal produce into the menu, as well as their own homemade pasta.
Davidson Brothers Brew Pub, Glenn Falls, N.Y.
Rick and John Davidson opened their namesake brew pub in 1996. They had no experience with brewing or the restaurant business. However, but they must have done something right, because 19 years later they’re still open, and make over 20 crafted brews. They serve an upscale classic pub menu that goes beyond normal burger offerings. Brewery tours are encouraged: “just call or drop by.”
Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, Glenn Falls, N.Y.
This is much more than beer and food joint. With an ice cream window, ice cream cake business, enormous menu, and home-brewed ales and sodas, CCAC is an event. The retail store resplendent in mugs and branded shirts speaks to local devotion, which is understandable when you see the many ales on tap (currently thirteen). A few that caught my eye: the Sagamore Stout, Bluesberry Ale, and Pathfinder’s Porter.
Tags: breweries in the north country, craft beer, drink, economy, food, microbrew, microbreweries, new york state craft beer, north country breweries, north country craft beer, north country gastropubs, upstate new york breweries