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The Ultimate Guide

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 best. Read more

Pizza Plant / 7770 Transit Road / Williamsville / 632-0800, www.pizzaplant.com

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.

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

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, www.crabapplesmicrobrewpub.com

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.

Sterling Place Tavern / 1487 Hertel Ave. / Buffalo

This laid-back bar is the perfect spot to catch up with a friend over a delicious craft beer. With 12 taps, there always is at least one authentic German option. A few taps are typically devoted to local Buffalo breweries, to go along with other frequently changing domestic choices from coast to coast. More often than not, a beer will be poured into the brewery specific glass, akin to the style of an old European beer bar.

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

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.

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  • Brian

    How isn't the Ebenezer Ale House ON THIS LIST ??? It's the best combination of Craft Beer and Food in Western New York !!!

    • Guy Zaczek

      Where is this place located?