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6 great places for craft beer

Show of hands: Who loves beer? We thought so. But who knows some of the best places in Western New York to partake of the varied craft beer choices showing up on menus? Here are five places that you will consider among the

Blue Monk / 727 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo / 882-6665 /

The No. 1 spot for beer in Buffalo. A giant blackboard listing the 32 taps showcases craft brewers from around the globe. Belgian and American beers are often joined by German, Italian, Dutch and Norwegian offerings. Patrons typically order by the number of the tap, instead of attempting to properly pronounce their choice to the bartenders. If one of the taps doesn’t suit you, a bottle list of more than 75 high-quality options is available.

Photo by Derek Gee/Buffalo News

The Griffon Pub / 2470 Military Road / Niagara Falls / 236-7474,

With nearly 50 craft beers on tap, the Griffon Pub is more than just an eater's paradise in Niagara Falls [Resto reviewer Andrew Galarneau gave it 8 plates out of 10]. Supporting local and regional breweries like Big Ditch, Southern Tier and Great Lakes -- while also housing an impressive list of West Coast brews -- the offerings are helpfully split into categories by type, from lagers to stouts and ales. Expansion plans point toward a 100-tap restaurant opening in Clarence in December 2014.

Photo by Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

Ebenezer Ale House / 4348 Seneca St. / West Seneca / 674-2337,

You know beer is central to the Ebenezer Ale House when its website posts the list of brews before the food menu. The offerings are frequently updated online, and the vast array of bottles (Rogue, Duvel, Dogfish Head, Rochefort, among many others) should intrigue even the most die-hard of craft-beer fanatics. Local choices include Big Ditch, Flying Bison, Ellicottville and Southern Tier. Heck, there's even Tyskie on the menu.

Photo by Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Pizza Plant / 7770 Transit Road / Williamsville / 632-0800,

What Pizza Plant lacks in ambiance is more than made up for with the only tap and bottle list in the area to rival Blue Monk. Twenty eight taps plus one cask conditioned beer include only high-quality offerings. The bottle menu of 30+ choices has interesting, hard to find beers from an array of styles, including some great sour beer options, such as Oude Gueuze Tilquin. Bottles can be enjoyed at the bar, or taken home for a nightcap. Second location is at 5110 Main St., Williamsville.

Photo by Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

Gene McCarthy's / 73 Hamburg St. / Buffalo / 855-8948,

Gene McCarthy’s has been serving beer for decades, but within the last few years has become a stop for craft beer lovers. The long, slightly uneven bar remains the same. Old photographs hang in the same spot they’ve occupied for years. What’s changed is the blackboard opposite the bar, that lists the 11 taps. McCarthy’s focuses on beer from states that border Lake Erie, primarily New York state craft brews. Alongside the mainly local taps, McCarthy’s just recently started serving its own beer brewed next door to the bar, under the name Old First Ward Brewing.

Crabapples / 3298 Genesee St. / Cheektowaga / 895-2911,

Crabapples doesn’t try to be fancy. The beer isn’t trying to be fancy either. Almost all of the 38 taps are poured into pint glasses for $3 a beer. Gulden Draak, Piraat Ale and Petrus Aged Pale being served in pint glasses? Some beer snobs might be astounded at the quality of beers being poured into pints here, but owner Peter Orfanos relishes the opportunity to have craft beer not just be available, but also approachable to everyone.

Photo by Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

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