County brewing

It was getting so I couldn’t keep track of all the breweries springing up in the Syracuse area, so I made a spreadsheet and a map.

I remember being semi-excited, semi-bemused back in 1990 when Hungry Charlie’s converted to a brewpub. Chuck’s was a student party bar near the SU campus and the idea of putting a brewpub there struck me as strange. Must’ve struck others as strange, too, because the place closed within months. Then the tanks came out and the Coors came back.

The Syracuse Suds Factory opened not long after. I wasn’t very impressed on my one visit there but they’re still in business. Then the Empire Brewing Company whose beer was better and food was good; noisy, but we used to go there weekly anyway. They closed abruptly at some point, then reopened.

The Middle Ages Brewing Company, a microbrewery, also started up in the 1990s, with beer names and labels that never did much for me but some good beers. Another microbrewery, Relyea, didn’t last very long (and their closing resulted in my getting a huge supply of bottle caps with an “R” on them at the local homebrewing supply store.)

Fast forward to 2016 and there are by my count twelve brewpubs, nanobreweries, microbreweries, and megabreweries (the Anheuser-Busch facility in Baldwinsville) operating in Onondaga County with four more planned. One of them is even in the family, well, my soon-to-be-ex-wife’s family; her cousin and his wife are farming hops and setting up brewing operations on the property their grandfather bought in the 1940s and where we were living up until 2011. In fact their brewhouse is what used to be our storage shed, which moved with us up to Parish and back, and served a short term as our chicken coop. Trust me, it’s been cleaned.

I added another eight out-of-county-but-sort-of-close breweries, seven operational and one planned, as the second page of the spreadsheet and a second layer on the map.

We have a small group (Facebook) who are planning on monthly visits to these breweries, or at least the ones that sell beer on premises. Our first was the Seneca Street Brew Pub in Manlius, last Friday. The way things are going, we won’t have to repeat ourselves very soon.



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