Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub

BEER AVG
3.68/5
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

120 Walton St
Syracuse, New York, 13036
United States

(315) 475-2337 | map
empirebrew.com

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

EMPIRE BREWING COMPANY, est. 1994, is an award-winning brewer of handcrafted ales and lagers in the heart of downtown Syracuse. We aspire to provide customers with the finest all-natural ingredients available by utilizing fresh locally sourced products from over sixty Central New York farmers. EMPIRE FARMSTEAD BREWERY, est.2016, is the largest Farm Brewery on the East Coast. Over 22 acres were developed for educational and beer production purposes. Boasting a new 60 bbl automated brewhouse, the Empire Farmstead Brewery is producing kegs and bottles for regional, national and international distribution. Bottled lineup includes 3 time consecutive Great American Beer Fest gold medal winner; Skinny Atlas Light, White Aphro, Slo Mo’ IPA, East Coast Amber Ale, and World Beer Cup gold medal winner; Black Magic Stout. Located in Cazenovia, NY, the property also grows hops, lavender, vegetables, herbs, and fruits for use in the brewing process and to support the needs of Empire’s downtown brewpub.

Added by BeerAdvocate

BEER STATS
Beers:
42
Reviews:
210
Ratings:
881
PLACE STATS
Score:
91
Reviews:
58
Ratings:
97
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
8.13%
 
 
Taps:
0
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 97
Reviews by Roguer:
Photo of Roguer
3.01/5  rDev -25.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.25

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.

 1,235 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of jacknyr08
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Dantitus
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of mynie
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Stopped by around 4 PM on a cold and dark Wednesday. The pub is right in the middle of downtown Syracuse, a city where the architecture is pretty so as to deflect attention away from its horrific climate. You descend some steep metal stairs and then step into a large, cavernous basement bar that is bricky and woody and very warmly lit.

The bar has the feel of most other, nice brewpubs that opened between the early 90's and the early aughts, falling somewhere between a sports bar and a middlebrow restaurant. Large metal brewing kettles sit behind a glass partition, in full view of the bar. The bar itself is long and polished, and there's a chalkboard listing all the tap options. It feels nice: clean, but lived-in, very homey.

The staff was friendly and the bartender knew a fair amount about each beer. The tap selection was broad (about 15 house beers), with a good combination of older school brewpub flagships (stout, IPA, etc) and more adventurous new styles (beer with tea in it, beer brewed with asiatic hops that taste like mud, etc).

As to the beers... they were all solid, but all forgettable.

So, I dunno. If you find yourself in Syracuse, I'm sure there are more options. The place right across the street, for example, seemed to have a taplist of non-house beers that was much more impressive. But Empire was still worth visiting, I feel, as it's a warm and welcoming example of an older school brewpub, free from garish trappings of most of the places that have opened more recently.

 1,520 characters

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of entenduintransit
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of Gawz
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of frykid
3.94/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Been here quite a number of times....try to stop in when in Syracuse

very nice brewpub, good selection of Empire beers and ales always on tap. Good selection on the menus

 174 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Located in a very spacious, old building in the heart of Syracuse. Large bar area with two more large eatery area's.
The place to go before a show, stopped in for the second time during Phish's summer tour stop at the Lakeview Ampitheatre. Place was booming, good vibe and the service was able to keep up.

Food is good and beer quality about the same.

 359 characters

Photo of Mdf12180
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Large basement partitioned with brick archways separating dining and bar areas, giving the place a somewhat intimate feel. Huge C-shaped bar. Over a dozen beers on tap - wide and varied selection. Friendly, efficient bar staff.

 228 characters

Photo of RancidAggro
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Dingbat1477
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Love this place. Beer keeps getting better and better.

54 characters

Photo of brewaddict
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Been to Empire Brewing a number of times throughout the years when traveling "upstate" to visit family. It's in a cool basement location with a modern style decor. A glass window behind the bar looks in on a number of fermentation tanks. Never seen anyone actually working back there, but it's a nice touch. Service has always been friendly and prompt. The food, while a little upscale, has always been good. I'm particularly fond of the Gumbo and Jambalaya. Beer selections are good combination of in house and local offerings.

 536 characters

Photo of RUN-4-B33R
4.88/5  rDev +20.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of Sabtos
3.25/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

From the outside it is effectively a scaled up dive bar, but upon entering, it's a large restaurant with brewing production on display from behind large windows. As we perused the menu, we watched a brewer scooping spent grain out of a tank.

Service is attentive and knowledgeable and the selection is moderately large and varied with some classic takes and new twists. The beer didn't blow me away, but it wasn't bad either.

Food is all right, with a nice selection, although a couple of side dishes had me wondering if they were pre-processed frozen foods.

 560 characters

Photo of kelseyr713
5/5  rDev +23.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This might be my favorite restaurant. The food was amazing, atmosphere is great, our waiter was super friendly and knowledgeable. There were tons of choices for both food and drink, and I definitely want to go back here again. It's also cool to see the brewery part through windows inside the restaurant.

 304 characters

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A neat step-down space, decent food, with a range of beers. Many are quite delicious, and represent a range of styles. The service is reasonable, if a touch slow during our Sunday morning visit. If I'm in Syracuse again, I'd return, and would recommend it.

 259 characters

Photo of MacQ67
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of LXIXME
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of eluvah
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25

Was there on a Wednesday night, not crowded. The service was slow. Had two beers, price was reasonable. Had Aphrodisiac Ale and Two Dragons. Both were decent, but I have had better. May have tried one more since I wasn't driving but the service was so slow, the person I was with wanted to leave. Had fish tacos that were unimpressive.

 335 characters

Photo of Martelljw2
4.18/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Cooker_stp
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of SyrAQse
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of craftaholic
4/5  rDev -1.5%

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Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub in Syracuse, NY
3.68 out of 5 based on 881 ratings.
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