Exploring New York’s Finger Lakes Beer Trail
New York’s Finger Lakes region is known for its picturesque scenery and world-renowned Rieslings, however, many don’t realize it is also home to a number of award-winning craft breweries. In fact, the region boasts over 75 breweries located along the Finger Lakes Beer Trail which spans roughly 200 miles across the central part of New York State.
From small farm-based nanobreweries to cutting-edge microbreweries producing over 20,000 barrels a year, the Finger Lakes craft brewing scene is sure to leave any beer lover satisfied—and maybe convert a few wine lovers, too.
With so many breweries to choose from, deciding where to go can almost be daunting. To help get you started, here are a few recommendations ranging from World Beer Cup award-winning breweries to a farm brewery that malts its own barley.
Galaxy Brewing Company | Binghamton, NY
Located in a renovated landmark building in historic downtown Binghamton, Galaxy Brewing Co.’s mission is to offer beer that is out of this world. In April 2014, they won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup competition for their St. Stusan Pale Ale against 45 other entries in the category of Belgian-style blonde ale.
Once a century-old packaging center, the Genesee Brew House has transformed the 9,200 square-foot space into a beer destination, featuring interactive exhibits, multimedia content, gift shop, a steam-fired 20-barrel pilot brewery and pub-style restaurant. Their small-batch brews change frequently and run the gamut from Pilsners to imperial black IPAs. Tours of the pilot brewery are free and can be taken on the hour when guides are available.
Hopshire Farm and Brewery | Freeville, NY
Situated on 35 acres, Hopshire Farm and Brewery is a family owned operation that combines the family’s belief in New York agriculture, local foods and great beer. They offer seven flagship brews, categorized as Mellow, Middling and Mighty. A local favorite is their Beehave, which is made with 100% New York-grown ingredients, including basswood honey from Morse Mills Honey Co. in nearby Moravia.
The FarmHouse Brewery | Owego, NY
In 2012, Marty and Natalie Mattrazzo established FarmHouse Malt in Newark Valley, the first commercially licensed malthouse in New York State since Prohibition. But they didn’t stop there. Having received their farm brewery license in late 2013, they finalized their beer recipes and opened The FarmHouse Brewery in nearby Owego in 2014. Be sure to try their “Bessy,” a classic cream ale made with New York State grown organic corn and Willamette hops.
Ithaca Beer Company | Ithaca, NY
Ithaca Beer Company is one of the Finger Lakes region’s most recognizable craft beer brands, exemplifying the “Spirit of the Finger Lakes.” With a rotating selection of small batch seasonal brews and year round award-winning beers, the Ithaca Beer Company is a local favorite. One of their best-selling brews is “Flower Power” which is hopped and dry-hopped five different times throughout the brewing and fermentation process. Their impressive new facility featuring a state-of-the-art brewery, beer garden and taproom is the perfect place to enjoy a Finger Lakes day.
Wagner Valley Brewing Company | Lodi, NY
Wagner Valley Brewing Co. is a small craft-brewing operation located along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. What sets them apart is their conviction for adhering to the Reinheitsgebot purity law for their standard brews. One such brew is their Sled Dog Doppelbock, a true Bavarian-style doppelbock specially brewed with imported Munich Malts. This complex brew has garnered numerous awards including a Great American Beer Festival silver medal in 2005.
Rooster Fish Brewing | Watkins Glen, NY
Rooster Fish Brewing’s first official beer, Black Walnut Nut Brown Ale (now known as Original Nut Brown Ale) was unveiled in 2004 at the Crooked Rooster Brewpub. In 2013, Rooster Fish Brewing opened a new, modern brewing facility in the original Watkins Glen firehouse (which also houses their Nickel’s Pit BBQ). Every Rooster Fish brew is crafted by hand in small batches using Seneca Lake water and the finest and best quality organic malts and hops, mostly from New York State farmers.
Market Street Brewing Company & Restaurant | Corning, NY
Theresa and Pelham McClellan founded Market Street Brewing Company & Restaurant in June 1997 on historic Market Street in downtown Corning, NY. One of first breweries in the Finger Lakes region since Prohibition, Market Street Brewing is a prime example of the microbrewing renaissance. Located in a historic building, lovingly restored by the McClellans, they always have six fresh beers on tap, which can be enjoyed with a delicious meal in their dining room, all-season bier-garten or rooftop seating area.
For more information about these breweries and others located along the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, visit FingerLakesBeerTrail.com. Here you will find suggested itineraries, travel information, and the area’s most comprehensive calendar of craft beer related events.