Buffalo’s ongoing ascent has been aided by legions of urban-centric devotees, ones intent on reestablishing the city as the region’s rightful epicenter and, in the process, relegating its suburbs to supportive status.
But even the most bleeding-heart Buffalovers can find common ground with suburbanites on one area location: East Aurora. With its brick-lined Main Street, artisanal ambiance and vibrant collection of centrally located bars and restaurants, the Southtowns outpost acts as a well-planned and palatable complement to what’s developing in the city.
The same could be said about the historical village’s newest beer-slinging beacon, 42 North Brewing Company.
Named after its locale on the 42nd parallel and tucked off East Aurora’s Main drag on Pine Street, the creative and cultivated operation is emblematic of its neighborhood. The village bloomed with the Elbert Hubbard-led arts and crafts movement in the late 19th century; perfected the five-and-dime store via Vidler’s; and concocted the region’s (arguably) greatest chicken wing at Bar Bill.
Now, it can add 42 North's brick-and timber-hewn brewery to its roster — and not just as a place to grab a casual beer between antiquing or before a flick at its Aurora Theatre.
[Gallery: See Sharon Cantillon's photos from 42 North Brewing Company]
Its rustic beer hall conveniently welcomes village visitors to get comfortable for a few rounds, all while offering multiple reasons that make it hard to leave.
When the weather’s rough, patrons can huddle in its side game room, which hosts such amenities as shuffleboard, SuperChex bubble hockey and Cue Ball Wizard pinball, all while those lingering near its entrance can team rounds of Red Jacket Ale (5.6 percent ABV) with games of Trivial Pursuit at pub tables. The outdoor beer garden offers a secluded location lined with strung lighting that’s conducive to first dates or a slowly enjoyed Enforcer Double IPA (10 percent) with your leashed dog.
But whether inside or outside, visitors can enjoy nine in-house selections (and one outside offering) that trumpet the brewery as one of the Buffalo area’s most promising.
Geographically situated near some of the state’s most full-bodied hops, 42 North’s brew team puts that access to good use with its Borderland IPA. Smooth, refreshing and manageable at 6.8 percent ABV, it’s welcoming to any level of craft draft explorer, and acts as a great gateway to those interested in embracing the brewery. Team one of these with its BreadHive soft pretzels or Mexican sandwiches (with locally sourced chicken and vegetables) and you’ve got a nice little afternoon.
And as it tries to accentuate its village’s craft-beer cred through distribution (with cans and bottles available) and successful events like May’s sustainability-focused Full Circle Fest, 42 North already has good neighboring company.
[Gallery: See photos from 42 North's Full Circle Fest]
Growler geeks have been venturing down 400 for fare from nearby bar and beer store hybrid Aurora Brew Works since 2012; and more carloads of bearded tulip-glass tilters will arrive with the opening of a 70-tap Griffon Gastropub location in the coming months. That positions the nascent brewery to grow its profile, all while giving urban loyalists another East Aurora-related excuse to acceptably venture outside city limits.
Because if good beer isn’t a reason to make an exception, then this region’s increasingly progressive populace has truly lost its way.
Where: 25 Pine St., East Aurora (805-7500)
Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 1 p.m. to midnight Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
Beers on tap: 10
Weekly specials to note: Bring your own mug and get $1 off drafts on Wednesdays; and meet, run then drink with the East Aurora Runners Club for $1 off pints on Thursdays.
Grab some merch: Brewery offers everything from stylish T-shirts and hoodies to glassware and water bottles bearing the 42 North name and logo.
How to pay: Cash or card.
Parking: Plenty of room in surrounding lots.