Recently I traveled out to the western edge of New York State. I’d never been out there (shame on me) and got to see those cities with fresh eyes. Craft beer is a lifestyle out there, and I was lucky enough to get to see some of the highlights in Rochester and Buffalo. Here are a couple of spots I ate and drank at in Western NY, a region I very much enjoy now!

Drinking in Rochester
Donnelly’s: Neighborhood sports bar with a killer beer selection in the idyllic town of Fairport. The Erie Canal is a block away meaning the crowd varies from tourists to cyclists to locals, and the beer list caters to everyone! When I was there Half-Stack was on and tasting incredible.

Tap & Mallet: Firmly in the Beer Appreciator realm, there are no TVs over the bar. (Brooklyn or Rochester?) Perfectly poured pints, proper glassware and a higher-than-average chance of a beer on cask make this a must visit. The food, especially the cauliflower wings, is incredible as well.

Half Pint: Less than 500 square feet of old-school pub goodness. This spot has everything from the freshest IPAs, the seasonal goodness (I had a pint of Naked Dove Oktoberfest – very good!) and those canned seltzers for the members of your crew who aren’t drinking beer. Situated at a crossroads in a beautiful neighborhood, the car spotting I enjoyed while sitting outside with my pint was worth the trip on it’s own.

Allen Burger Venture: A Mecca of craft and good food in the Allentown (renamed Josh Allentown for football season) neighborhood of Buffalo, this is an outpost of Thin Man Brewing, the local craft beer juggernaut routinely kicking out some incredible liquid. One benefit to that connection is the draft lines are adorned with hard-to-find beers from some of the best breweries out there. The #1 Burger with tater tots is a cannot-miss item. Trust me.

Fattey Beer Co, Orchard Park: A little way outside of downtown Buffalo in the leafy suburb of Orchard Park sits one of the locations of Fattey Beer Co. It’s a combo pub-bottle shop and if they don’t have the beer you’re in the mood for currently, that beer probably doesn’t exist. One of the highlights I couldn’t stop watching as I enjoyed my Thin Man “Fried Mozzarella Space Cowboy” was the TV flipping between weather cams of the world. We were looking at a shot of downtown Köln while thinking about having a Kölsch for our next round, coincidentally.

Eating in Rochester
Red Fern: Got a vegan in your group? They’ll probably know this place already. Locally known as the place non-vegans go to eat amazing vegan food, go here and sit outside (directly across the street from Half Pint) and enjoy a cold Genny with your awesome lentil burger.

Good Luck: Located in the Neighborhood of the Arts, buzzy and chic with a killer cocktail list and beers aplenty, not to mention the best food I had in my short stay in Rochester. I can’t say enough good things about this place and I’ll definitely be going back next time I’m in town.


Willy Merck
Regional Sales Manager NJ/NY