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Empire Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Empire Brewing CompanyEmpire Brewing Company
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

70 Ratings
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.46%
Active Beers: 29
Beer Ratings: 465
Beer Avg: 3.7
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

120 Walton St.
Syracuse, New York, 13036
United States
phone: (315) 475-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Re-opening as of June 5th, 2007.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%

Brewpub in a basement once ago, closed down and the equipment left behind. Supposedly the building folks own it, but if you'd seen the place, you'd think it was there first and the building built around it, meaning I can't imagine how they'd have gotten it out of there if they wanted to. City without a brewpub, and I say that 'cause I don't consider that other place 4 doors down to, well, I digress. So it's done and you move on, dealing your days with the saving grace of your good beer bars (they do have that) and it should get a little easier every day. And then three years pass and the fermenters re-remembered, bringing it all to the surface again. From the ashes Empire once more...

Parked around the corner snow and slush and sloshed back some. Down the rabbit hole and into the big basement brick room, long and narrow, with alternating large brick archways and squared cut throughs leading to block slabbed outer walled rooms to both sides of center. A small forward raised area off to the left holds six booths & tables, with views over the 7 barrel brewroom to the side. A pair of raised bar tables past there and then a wide "C" shaped wood topped bar off to the right, seating about a dozen. Wines on the barback counter, tiered booze & glassware below, and growlers on both ends of the bar with mounted flatscreens above. A big board with printed tap selections sits above, next to a window in the brick archway there with a 2 row wine rack running it's entire trim, holding nearly 100 bottles, and more booze & glassware below. Bar counterage on the wall adjacent to the bar, and a large horseshoe shaped booth to the rear forward an open kitchen. Track spots, drop ruffled lamps with jellyfish, and half cylinder mounted lighting on the walls. Basementy blotchy brown slab concreteish floors, and colorful paper stars adorning the walls.

Side dining room off the front on one side holds a dozen plus tables & booths, the walls decorated with pint prints, World Beer Cup plaques, GABF metals, and Empire State Brewing & Music Festival prints. Side dining room off the rear on the opposite side holds six booths and some tables down the center, with views of the back of the brew room. Giant cool new but done retro Ellicottville Brewing Co sign on the rear wall there. Across the way, a large piece of art made from flattened Genesee cans.

2 towers of 12 each at opposite ends on the bar. 8 house beers and 5 New York State guest taps (Ommegang Hennepin, Southern Tier Porter, Saranac Bock, Brooklyn Monster, and Bud Light which technically qualifies), and a few bottles from Ommegang are available.

Sampler gives you 6 beers on a round tray. The 4 regular offerings (Skinny Atlas Light, a nice, crisp light beer; the Pale Ale, well hopped, fruity & piney; the Empire Amber Ale, toffee, but hoppy, a good amber; and the Black Magic Stout, solid roasted coffee flavors) and 2 of the seasonals (Downtown Brown, chocolatey niceness, medium bodied, light in color; and the Hefe, unfiltered, with slight banana flavors, quite good). John the bar manager gave me a tour of the brewroom and obliged me with samplers for the remaining seasonals (IPA, somewhat fruity, Amarillo hopped, pleasant; and the Chocolate Mint Stout, you heard me right, sounds freaky, but it was quite good. My first thought is that it tasted like melted chocolate chip mint ice cream, it was a very interesting beer). The Light, Amber, Stout, and Brown were all very good, but the Chocolate Mint Stout was wonderfully unique and I enjoyed it the most. Don't think there was a clunker in the lot and you can't say that for most brewpubs.

On my return visit 3 days later, I found some changes on the tap front. They had added the house Smoked Porter (medium body, good smoke flavor) to the line up, switched out the Southern Tier Porter for the Ithaca Apricot, and the Brooklyn Monster for the Brooklyn Brune, but I was back for that crazy Chocolate Mint Stout. Sat with Tim the brewer for a bit. 30 lbs of dark Belgian chocolate in a Foreign Export Stout and 7 lbs of fresh mint, although it didn't impart enough mint flavor so he went to peppermint extract. And when he said that, I knew why "melted chocolate chip mint ice cream" didn't capture it correctly. And that was because this beer tasted like "Liquid peppermint bark" (you know that stuff that comes in a tin around Xmas time, it's like candy cane with a chocolate edge, this was all that). It was a really nice beer.

A little din for the road, the Buffalo spiced shrimp app, and the Jambalaya (shrimp, chicken, smoked ham & andouille sausage). It was a heavy rice dish, not so much a soup or stew, but had some heat, and sure took the fiery red out of my big toe.

Good old school tunes being piped in. Kind of hard to drink my beer and not spill it when my head is singing along to The Delfonics "La-La means I love you." Nice comfortable place, friendly peoples, and great beer here.

slander, May 13, 2008
More User Reviews:
Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

EBC is on the busy stretch of downtown Syracuse in Armory Square, where the locals understand one goes for the best pub crawl in the area. It's typically busy, and it's pretty much half restaurant / half bar. Reservations are required for the restaurant, but the bar is always open for walk-ins. Not only that, anything on the menu can still be ordered at the bar. It's a nice vibe with a mix of industrial and modern, a more retro look outside. It can only be reached under the sidewalk, so it's underground. There is some small outdoor drinking space, though it seems more like a waiting area; there are tables and a counter, but no chairs. The brewery has a good number of beers available in excellent variety, so there's something for everyone. Barmen are attentive, too, and will not hesitate to offer a free sample or several. The service, food, and selection are good, and I enjoyed the beers as well. They serve 12 of their own beers at any time, as well as ciders they brew themselves, with a few guest taps and some bottles.

Brenden, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of gtmitchem
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%

gtmitchem, Sep 05, 2014
Photo of DavidGross
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Had nice outing with IT team. Had Elk burger, was cooked as I asked and was good. Other meals at our table looked good and all was well reviewed. We had many different beers and the wait staff was excellent. Empire also participates in the AHA Member discount, saved me a lot of money, huge thank you to Empire and all other participating members!

DavidGross, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of nyyfanatic213
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

nyyfanatic213, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Cajan style food and amazing beer brewed on the premise. They also feature some outstanding local brews from others. It will be difficult to get in there on a weekend unless you go at the senior's hour before 6 or so. Get the blue corn lobster bisque and be amazed. The waygu burger is pretty good as well.

ClavisAurea, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of Roguer
3.01/5  rDev -26.6%

Amazing atmosphere and decor. The brewpub is below street level, with catacomb-like arches and vaults all in red brick. Dark and cozy.

Beer, sadly, was not particularly good. Out of a flight - four regular and two seasonal offerings - there was not a single beer I would order at a bar or bottle shop. A couple were beers that I might pick over BMC, but that's pretty sad praise for craft beer.

Service was OK; neither remarkably good or poor.

Beer selection was relatively large, representing a good number of styles, but based on my flight, I cannot imagine that you would want many of them. I would still like to try their rye IPA, stout, and bock.

Food was shockingly mediocre, from fries to entree. I really had high hopes based on the menu and the quality, locally-sourced ingredients, but my meal was no better - and perhaps worse - than you might find in a chain restaurant.

Prices are a bit high, and if the taste of the food lived up to the price, I'd knock it down to "reasonable." Again, a lot of their meat, dairy, and vegetables are sourced from local farms, so the price would be quite understandable if the food tasted better.

Overall, I cannot recommend Empire Brewing for a meal or a beer based on my sole trip.

Roguer, Jul 16, 2014
Photo of Jaybirdbrew
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Jaybirdbrew, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of BoSean_Rodriguez
4/5  rDev -2.4%

BoSean_Rodriguez, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of avisong
4/5  rDev -2.4%

avisong, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of dzlle25
5/5  rDev +22%

dzlle25, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of Soukup
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Soukup, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of AMCimpi
5/5  rDev +22%

AMCimpi, Apr 17, 2014
Photo of voxhumana
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

voxhumana, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of thatisgrossman
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

thatisgrossman, Mar 07, 2014
Photo of MadScientist
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

MadScientist, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of JohneHoodlum
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

JohneHoodlum, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of MichaelStoudBeard
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

MichaelStoudBeard, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of david18
2.75/5  rDev -32.9%

david18, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of Baab200
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Baab200, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of boszormeny
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%

Worth a trip if you are in Syracuse. Tons of beer selection and right downtown. Food was great. Came here with a group of ten people. Service was quick and polite. Enjoyed our meals and the brews. There were enough beers that everyone in the group could find something they liked

boszormeny, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of T-34-85
4/5  rDev -2.4%

T-34-85, Nov 29, 2013
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Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, NY
91 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.