Buffalo’s breweries excel in innovation, noodling on new fermentations and flavor combinations, casting curious eyes to desserts, fruits, funky yeast strains and elsewhere to create beers that, in the best possible way, broaden the boundaries of good taste.
Align your compasses and head about 30 minutes southeast of Buffalo to the handsome village of East Aurora, home to 42 North Brewing Company (25 Pine Street, 716-805-7500; 42northbrewing.com). Sit in the warm, rustic taproom and sip crazy-good sour ales. There’s the piña colada–inspired Gose Colada; Blueberry Crumble Pie Gose; and Halt, Who Gose There?, fermented with a quartet of Norwegian yeast strains and packed with raspberries and blueberries.
Next, beeline back into town to bend elbows at Labatt Brew House (79 Perry Street, 716-254–0564; labattusa.com/brewhouse), the Canadian company’s first American innovation brewery. Inside the 3,000-square-foot space, carved out of a warehouse built in 1919, you’ll find a ten-barrel pilot system pumping out experimental beers such as a lavender-infused saison, a pale ale packed with spruce tips and gingerbread ale that recalls Christmas cookies.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, stop at the landmark 1895 Dun Building, the city’s first steel-framed high-rise, where the basement contains the izakaya-style Sato Brewpub (110 Pearl Street, 716-248-1436; satorestaurantgroup.com). At the Japanese-influenced concept, married couple Joshua and Satomi Smith pair pan-fried gyoza with steaming bowls of rich ramen, grilled chicken skewers called yakitori (trust us, try the skin and heart) and house-brewed beers that look (far) east for inspiration. Grab Bento, a cream ale made with miso, and the J-POP series of sour ales flavored with fruits such as yuzu, a zesty Japanese citrus.