The Finger Lakes NY is a region well renowned for its delightful and delicious wine. But did you know the Finger Lakes is also New York State’s premier craft beer destination? The region has quickly gained notoriety among craft beer connoisseurs and beer enthusiasts alike. While there is plenty of information out there about the region’s wineries, we wanted to showcase the many Finger Lakes breweries we visited during our Fall trip to this gorgeous region in New York State.
Finger Lakes Beer Trail
The Finger Lakes Beer Trail promotes the region’s ever-expanding craft brewing industry. The trail highlights over 80 New York microbreweries and brew pubs from Rochester to Syracuse and down to Corning and Binghamton, covering an area of about 210 miles! Referencing the Finger Lakes Beer Trail information can definitely help with the planning of your beer-focused Finger Lakes getaway.
Click HERE to download the Finger Lakes Beer Trail map. (This is the 2018-2019 version.) Visit the Finger Lakes Beer Trail website for the most up-to-date information. Also please keep in mind, the Finger Lakes breweries listed on the map are those who have chosen to promote themselves via membership in the Finger Lakes Beer Trail Marketing and Tourism Association. As such, the map is not necessarily inclusive of all of the breweries located within and around the surrounding area.
Breweries in the Finger Lakes
While there are over 100 breweries in the Finger Lakes to choose from, we only made it to 12 during our 12-day September visit. We’d need a lot more time to visit them all! Though because we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Finger Lakes, no doubt we’ll head back for another visit and have the opportunity to try even more of the local breweries.
Overall, we really enjoyed the beer in the Finger Lakes. There were definitely a few breweries we enjoyed more than others and only two where we didn’t care too much for the overall selection. There were two breweries we enjoyed so much, we went back for a second visit. Keep reading to discover what we consider to be the best breweries in the Finger Lakes!
Breweries in Corning NY
Of course “America’s Most Fun Small Town” (named by Huffington Post) is going to have some great breweries to choose from! The town of Corning is not only home to the world-famous Corning Museum of Glass, it’s also where one of our favorite Finger Lakes breweries is located!
Liquid Shoes Brewing Company
Well, you didn’t have to read too far down to discover one of our favorite breweries in Finger Lakes NY! The newly opened Liquid Shoes Brewing Company has a prime location along Market Street in the Gaffer District of downtown Corning. Liquid Shoes is a small batch brewery offering a variety of brews including IPAs, ales, and stouts. It’s perfectly fine to have a small selection to choose from when you do it right! We thought their ales were spot on! See what’s currently on tap in their tasting room.
Market Street Brewing Company
We went to Market Street Brewing Company with the intention of just grabbing a bite to eat, but we simply couldn’t resist the beer tasting menu! Unlike Liquid Shoes, which has only been open since 2018, Market Street Brewing Company has been around for over 20 years! MSBC is located in a beautifully preserved building, also in the Gaffer district, with a restored, yet vintage interior. Be sure to check their website before visiting as they have varying hours depending on the season.
Other breweries in Corning include: Brick House Brewery, Carey’s Brew House, and Iron Flamingo Brewery.
Keuka Lake Breweries
Most of the breweries near Keuka Lake are located at the southern end of the lake in a charming little town called Hammondsport. We spent a long weekend in Hammondsport and thus had the opportunity to visit 4 of the 5 breweries in town, starting with the namesake brewery.
Keuka Brewing Company
Keuka Brewing Company, the first microbrewery on Keuka Lake, was started by a father and son team in 2008. This was at a time when only wineries dominated the region. They have continued to stand out by serving up some of the most forward-thinking brews around.
Feeling spicy? Try their Afterburner Habañero Ale. Feeling tart? Try the Ghost of Rita Gose. Looking for something rich and robust? Go for the seasonal Fat Stack Maple Pecan Porter (aged in oak barrels). Check out more of their flagship and seasonal beers HERE. We couldn’t get enough of one of their seasonal specialties – a creamy pumpkin ale! It was the perfect companion for our Fall visit to the Finger Lakes.
Brewery of Broken Dreams
We consider the Brewery of Broken Dreams to be another one of the best Finger Lakes breweries. We first sampled beer from this brewery at the Finger Lakes Regional Market which happened to coincide with our visit. On tap at the market was their Old Antics Amber Ale and the Onadock Vienna Style Lager. We were so impressed with their brews that we drove straight to their tasting room to try more!
I (Toccara) really enjoyed their Summer Blues Wheat Ale and Davis Street APA, whereas Sam’s favorites were the Tear Hop DIPA, Floating Leaf Brown Porter Ale, and the Shadow Wit Ale. You can see their full list of brews HERE. The Brewery of Broken Dreams is proud to be a New York State Farm Brewery. 70% or more of their ingredients are grown in the state of NY, including 100% of their hops and 100% of their base malts.
Finger Lakes Beer Company
Finger Lakes Beer Company offers a wide selection of beers, including wheats, ales, pilsners, porters, and several specialty beers like their barrel aged Wassail on Nitro. There is often live music going on at FLBC (every weekend in the summer months). And on select dates throughout the year, food trucks are set up on the grounds serving local cuisine. Otherwise, they always have New York cheese, crackers, peanuts, and pepperoni available for purchase.
You are welcome to enjoy their beers in the tasting room/bar or head out to the beer garden and enjoy some yard games with friends and other patrons. Choose from a tasting flight, pints, crowlers, growlers, and kegs… they’ve got it all! For more information about Finger Lakes Beer Company, click HERE.
Steuben Brewing Company
Sorry Steuben, you were one of our least favorite breweries in the Finger Lakes. It may have had something to do with the fact that you were out of quite a few of your beers on the night we visited. I believe there were only 5 to choose from, so our options were somewhat limited. While Sam may have enjoyed one of your hoppy IPAs, I was left feeling unsatisfied with options for a crisp, smooth, and refreshing beer. The venue, live music, atmosphere, and scenic lake views were noteworthy, so maybe we’ll have to give you another try when you’ve got a little more to offer! (Readers: For reference, you can check out their potential beer options HERE.)
Abandon Brewing Company is another Keuka Lake brewery located on the north side of the lake.
Seneca Lake Breweries
Seneca Lake is the largest of the Finger Lakes. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are more breweries around Seneca Lake than any other Finger Lake. The largest cluster of breweries can be found on the Eastern side of the lake, including another one of our favorites.
Grist Iron Brewing Company
Grist Iron Brewing Company has it all… gorgeous views over Seneca Lake, delicious food (house smoked BBQ and oh, those tots!), incredible beer, weekly live music, and even nice lodging options! Hands down, Grist Iron is our favorite Finger Lakes brewery. Their house-brewed beers are made in the traditional American style, each made unique with a special twist. Pumpkin was the flavor of the season during our Fall visit to the Finger Lakes and Grist Iron’s pumpkin ale (served with a cinnamon sugar rim) won the award in our book! We liked it so much we had to go back for a second tasting.
Looking for lodging in the Finger Lakes? Check out this post detailing where we stayed, or take a look at The Lodge at Grist Iron. I think next time we’ll stay at The Lodge, so we can have daily access to the awesomeness that is Grist Iron Brewing!
Rooster Fish Brewing
Rooster Fish Brewing had the most unique tasting beer of all of the Finger Lakes beer we sampled. Really, where else can you drink a spicy sriracha blonde ale? They have a rotating offering with at least 5 craft-style small batch beers and up to 4 seasonal and special brews. Rooster Fish proudly holds the title as one of the first New York State Farm breweries and uses locally grown hops (from Pedersen Farms). Their location in the heart of downtown Watkins Glen, steps from Seneca Lake, is the perfect stop-in on a walkabout town. Check out their events page and catch a live music session while enjoying their deliciously unique beers.
Seneca Lake Brewing Company & The Beerocracy Pub
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a traditional Tudor-style British pub at The Beerocracy at Seneca Lake Brewing Company. It’s the only dedicated cask ale brewery in the state of New York. Cask ale is unfiltered and is best served at cellar temperature (between 52 and 57 degrees). This warmer temperature allows the flavor to blossom and empowers the unfiltered texture. Experience a true British pub environment, culture, and traditions.
The pub is a cell phone free environment. If you’re caught using your phone in the pub, you’ll be fined $10 (which is generously donated to a local charity). So unplug for a bit and enjoy conversations with friends, the bar keepers, and fellow patrons. Seneca Lake Brewing Company also offers on-site lodging (May-October). Book a stay in one of their two glamping tents and enjoy the beauty of Seneca Lake and the surrounding area.
Two Goats Brewing
While Two Goats Brewing definitely wins for most scenic views, we thought their beer was just ok. Maybe we were getting ‘beered out’ by this point. It certainly wasn’t terrible, just not our favorite. We each just got a pint, rather than a flight (because they strangely don’t offer flights). Maybe we would’ve found something more to our liking if we had sampled more. Two Goats was actually recommended to us by some very knowledgeable and beer-savvy locals. I have no doubt that they offer some excellent beers; we just didn’t happen to sample any that day.
Here’s a look at their beer menu. The tasting room and dining area is located in a renovated 19th century barn, complete with a deck providing sweeping views of Seneca Lake. The building is powered by solar. Two Goats only serves one entree in their establishment – a roast beef sandwich, made with naturally-raised local beef from Schrader Farms.
Wagner Valley Brewing Company
Wagner Valley Brewing Company is one of the oldest craft breweries in the Finger Lakes. Started in 1997, it was the first craft brewery on Seneca Lake. It is located on the grounds of Wagner Vineyards, so it’s one of few locations in the Finger Lakes where you can sample both beer and wine! Wagner Valley Brewing Company currently offers 12 beers on tap, rotating between light to dark and bitter to sweet offerings. Choose from sours, bocks, IPAs, pilsners, lagers, hefeweizens, porters, and even a delicious non-alcoholic root beer.
The Ginny Lee Cafe, also located on the grounds, is a lovely option for lunch overlooking the vineyards and Seneca Lake. Pair delicious entrees with some of Wagner’s award-winning beer or wine for the most delightful afternoon in the Finger Lakes. You can read more about our time around Seneca Lake, including our visit to Wagner Vineyards and the Ginny Lee Cafe, HERE.
Other breweries near Watkins Glen NY and Seneca Lake include: Lucky Hare Brewing Company (which we hear is amazing, though we didn’t get the opportunity to visit) and Scale House Brewery. War Horse Brewing Company, Bottomless Brewing, Twisted Rail Brewing Company, Lake Drum Brewing, WeBe Brewing Company, GAEL Brewing Company, and Glass Factory Bay Brewing, are all located in Geneva, NY near Seneca Lake.
Cayuga Lake Breweries
By the time we got to Cayuga Lake, we had been in the Finger Lakes region for over a week and dare I say, we had gotten our fill of beer! As such, we wanted to switch over and enjoy some of what the region is most well known for – WINE! We enjoyed several stops along the Cayuga Wine Trail. You can read more about our visit to Cayuga Lake and its wineries, including a stay in a cozy cabin at a vineyard, HERE!
Bacchus Brewing Company
In our quest to visit more wineries near Cayuga Lake, we inadvertently visited yet another brewery! Americana Vineyards in Interlaken is the second home to Bacchus Brewing Company. Americana offers a special price if you’re interested in a combination beer and wine tasting. I sampled the wine, while Sam did a beer tasting. He reported the beer was moderate in flavor, though he honestly wouldn’t recommend it. Bacchus typically has 10 beers available, including their blonde ale, red rye, IPA, Flora’s Fate pale ale, bearded brown, and cyclhops IPA, in addition to a few other rotational brews.
Felicia’s Atomic Brewhouse and Bakery
We didn’t actually visit Felicia’s Atomic Brewhouse and Bakery, as they were closed on the day we visited. We had heard from a friend about this unique combination and wanted to try it for ourselves. We’re so sad we missed the opportunity. Beer paired with cupcakes?! We were so excited to try it! Well sadly, as it turns out, you will not get to try this for yourself either, as Felicia’s Atomic Brewhouse and Bakery has since permanently closed. Co-owners Amelia and Leah opened Felicia’s when Leah was in the middle of cancer treatment. 3 years in, they decided that it was time for them to reclaim their lives, giving up the business and focusing on what they deemed were more important things.
We leave Felicia’s in this post as a reminder that 1) life has its share of ups, downs, and re-shifted focus and 2) there are always new and exciting ventures popping up in the Finger Lakes. Many of the breweries we’ve mentioned here are still in their infancy. Some will make it; others may not. And because there are so many new Finger Lakes breweries being established each year that passes, there will more great breweries added to the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. What does this mean for us?! Another trip to the Finger Lakes is definitely in our future!
Do you have a favorite Finger Lakes brewery we missed on our first visit? Let us know, so we can put it on our list for next time!