Buffalo’s booming beer industry has dug a huge foothold in the local market. One of the best things about the region’s breweries is the innovative and delicious brews that continue to flow from taps, cans and bottles in a perpetual river of creativity.
Because there are so many options, and brewmasters are constantly churning out original takes on traditional styles and even inventing new ones, each brewer’s flagship beer can be easily overlooked - but don't. These cornerstone beers put the breweries on the map. They are always available, always good and deserve a ton of recognition. So don’t forget to help yourself to one of these fantastic flagship beers.
Here are just four to try as part of our new occasional series on the "old standbys."
Hamburg Brewing Company's Irish Red
If you’re stopping at Hamburg Brewing, you must have the Irish Red. The brewery may be known more for some its seasonal beers, but the always-available Irish Red is one of the best of its style brewed in the area.
Featuring a pleasant mixture of caramel and roasted malts, Hamburg’s Irish Red is a welcome break from the bottomless stream of heavily hopped ales. Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but Hamburg Brewing brings that promise to beer lovers at its gorgeous facility for the other 364 days.
42 North Brewing Company's Wallonia Wit
Bright, crisp and refreshing, this lovely Belgian brew is a reason to visit 42 North’s East Aurora taproom. Low in IBUs, Wallonia Wit is a great take on the style. The beer uses only two hops (citra and waimea) and two malts (pilsner and wheat).
The malt keeps the beer nice and dry, while the hops add some fruit. There is also a nice spice flavor that is common in a wit - especially coriander and ginger.
Wallonia Wit is always available at 42 North, and has a flavor that fits every season, making it a great year-round beer.
Ellicottville Brewing Company's Blueberry Wheat
This is the beer for people who don’t like beer. At EBC, the Blueberry Wheat is practically a cornerstone. A pleasantly dry wheat ale, Blueberry Wheat has plenty of fruit flavor, without the overpowering, unnatural sweetness that a lot of berry drinks (especially adjunct beers) carry. Visitors can count on this beer to be on tap at any of EBC’s four locations.
Served with a fistful of fresh blueberries, few desserts will quench a thirst like this Southtowns tradition.
[Related: EBC featured in a guide to hearty dark beers]
Steelbound Brewery's Alpha Ralpha
Steelbound Brewery in Ellicottville is fairly new to the Buffalo market, but the Cattaraugus County brewery has hit the ground running. Alpha Ralpha was one of the first beers from Steelbound that was readily available north of the 219, and it is a great offering for American Pale Ale lovers. The hops impart a smooth and tropical flavor that is balanced nicely by the malt profile.
Alpha Ralpha is unwittingly easy to drink; at 6.6 percent ABV, it lacks the boozy punch that some IPAs can deliver. This flagship is a great offering from Steelbound.
[Read more: 5 beers perfect for the Buffalo winter]