Alternative Brews

Your Rating: None
Very Good
14 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

3488 Sheridan Dr
Amherst, New York, 14226-1545
United States

(716) 446-0424 | map

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Added by inebrius

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Ratings: 14 |  Reviews: 9
Photo of BeerOps
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of Vivelepositif
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of spark3148857
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Iamjeff6
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of BillRoth
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of wieserjd
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I have been to Alternative Brews many times over the years and not much has changed. They still have a decent selection of beer, mostly in bottle form. Their taps are mostly macro but they do have a very tasty Hazelnut Brown Ale which is brewed for them by Custom Brewcrafters.

Service can be hit or miss depending on how busy it is and whether or not they have a band playing. They have live music most weekends and it can get quite crowded. Plus the bar itself is not very big so there is very little room for the band and patrons to co-exist.

Alternative Brews is also a cigar bar so plan on smelling like smoke when you leave.

All-in-all its a decent place to have a drink or two but there are certainly better options available.

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Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Ask me how smokey this place is, and you can buy a cigar. I saw about 10 taps, and a cask, though the majority was the usual macro suspects. A pretty good bottle collection, though you can get it all down the road at Premiere. Prices were decent, and this is close to a lot of shopping and not too far from Pizza Plant, so it's a worthwhile Buffalo stop. Middle aged people, a bit on the dark and dingy side bar, but not motorbike scare-away. Had a couple of Custom Brewcraft pints, and it was fresh and inexpensive.

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Photo of CastAStone
4.71/5  rDev +21.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Alt Brews is quite simply the only beer bar in Western New York where the primary emphasis is on the beer. Sure, Buffalo Brewpub and Pizza Plant have maybe two dozen swanky beers available, but my neighborhood bar offers all the major varients of the Buffalo's big six macros (bud, coors, miller, molson, labatt, and genny) and that's two dozen beers as well.

Alt Brews, on the other hand, consistantly offers all of those cheap beers, although you have to ask for them special, because the focal point here is their men of about 100 other beers that they offer. About a third to half are Upstate NY microbrews (saranac, middle ages, bison, buffalo, southern tier, ommegang, cooperstown, brooklyn, etc.) and the rest are microbrews from all over the place. The friendly servers are always talking about the beers they're gonna order next, and they are very well trained to bring the right glassware for the right beer, something other bars often fall short on.

Alt Brews is the only bar in Erie County that is permitted to allow smoking, as it is classified as a cigar bar. As a condition of this status, Alt Brews does not serve food, ourside of bags of chips or cheese puffs.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Located 1 mile from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and with a small outdoor area of tables and chairs, sprouting a big sign out front, Alternative Brews is an easy find for this traveling BlitheringIdiot. Through the front entrance awaits an interior that would make anybody's Grandpa feel right at home like bars used to in the good ole days: Breweriana and beer paraphernalia are all over the walls, and a two tier trim of varied dusty glass soldiers adorns the walls. Buyer beware: This is considered a cigar bar as per New York's state law that if 10% or greater income is derived from tobacco sales, then smoking is permitted, but conversely no prepared food is allowed. Monday through Thursday they allow you to B.Y.O. Food or order in but you have to gree th delivery guy outside. No joke! This place is a smoker's paradise that has so many cancer sticks burning at one time that it smells like burning lungs. It's so smoky (How smoky is it?),that a Coors like would taste like a Schlenkherla. The bar juts across the length of the room that is wider than it is deep. The stool are just plain high metal backed padded chairs. Not the most rump friendly. Fortunately that thought fades like the Phillies chances of the playoffs in September since the draughts are only $3.75 to $5.00 for the upper echelon brews. Bonus points for the barkeep Darryl who was super friendly are hamming it up for the regulars as well as for some newbies like me and a couple next to me. He actually introduced me to a brewer from Flying Bison. Too bad he was rapping shop with a few fellas.

Selection consisted of 10 taps. Kudos for emphasis on local brews like Ithaca Brown, Flying Bison Aviator Red, Custom Brewcrafter's Oak Aged Wee Heavy, to Franciskaner and Guinness. A welcome bottle selection in the Coke cold box which ran the gamut of Sam Smith Imp Stout, Middle Ages Druid Fluid, Syracuse Pale Ale, and several Brooklyn, Southern Tier, Blue Point, Otter Creek, and Stone. Lots of German and English brews too.

Food is chips and cheese puffs for a buck a bag. If you are into smoking stogies, they sell fresh dated hand rolled. As far as "Could you bring your Mother here?" Sure, if she is already dead and in a box from smoking Camel unfiltered like Andrew Dice Clay, 'cos she'll fit right in. Otherwise, park hat hearse and wheel her gurney to the restaurant nextdoor.

Last call: Rename this joint The Chimney: Smoke meets five out of ten fun local beer taps. Also, I dig he carpet and held going to the bathroom for my nearby hotel room.

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Photo of wailingwench
2.79/5  rDev -27.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.5

Positives: Buy one get one free happy hour from 4 to 7. Smoking allowed. Excellent blues music. 19 taps, Flying Bison, the odd Custom Brewcrafters keg, and Souther Tier sometimes on tap (they seem to rotate). Bartenders rock.

Negatives: Poor selection of taps. Tap selection is inconsistent. They rotate through five taps. There have been some truly awful beers on tap. Bottles are way overpriced. Pints are way overpriced. Located in Amherst. No elbow room. The last time I went there: we went inside to get a couple of beers. My friends went to the bathroom. When I came back, three full beers and a pack of smokes were missing. The bouncer denied dumping our beers and taking our smokes. The previous time to that, the lights were turned on at 1217 and everyone was told to leave. We had just purchased beers and were told drink up. Yes, two bad times out of hundreds is not much, but it's too many.

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Photo of motleybrew
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Food generally stunk as it amounted to practically peanuts and nothing more (NA is not accurate as there is food, it just is not consistent, or pretty). atmosphere was OK. Was tainted by too much cigar smoke which was somehow allowed though it is illegal. Service was chatty but ok. selection of beer was really decent. nice crop of local brews and some unusual stuff in bottles. i wish the food was as good and that i could eat and drink ithout choking on someone else's cigar. I go here now and aain for a brew after work and I am not usually disappointed by the Flying Bison on tap (i'll have to visit THAT brewery)...I can also like the daily music (live) and even the verbose bartender. It is a pub, and a brew one. Have your smoking mask on as you approach. Don't expect to eat.

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Photo of CBFanWish
4.14/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

The best selection in Buffalo area. They carry over 150 different bottled beers and about 20 rotating taps. This usually includes DFH and always Custom BrewCrafters. Not bad. They are very comfortable and have have a knowledgable staff. When I'm in the area I will be stopping here more often. They also have a decent cigar selection. If you're not a fan of cigars, this is not the place for you, but I am a smoker and I feel that it's a great place. Stop by this relic in NY bars that still allows smoking. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of fattyre
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A sort of non descript place between some strip malls. Very average bar looking area inside.
They carry a dozen or so drafts including a few locals. They have a pretty large bottle selection which carries some locals and a lot of Northeastern beers, as well as a few imports. When last we were there they were selling shots of Utopias in port glasses for $10. I took this as an opportunity to try something that I may not otherwise get. The bartender was friendly and let us fondle the bottle and take some pictures as well. While not extremely knowledgable he was better than average and very friendly and we were never left wanting. They seem to have some live music although on the occasions when I was there it was mostly via a jukebox.

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Photo of inebrius
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A brew jewel among the strip malls and sooty mounds of snow that line the curbs of Northern Buffalo. Atmosphere is classy bowling alley bar. About 20 above average taps and 150 bottled. Big ass honey-stained oak bar snakes its way across the joint, a few electronic diversions and jukebox finish it off. The whole vibe is really neighborhood bar with a shitload of beer. Show up on the weekend for live blues, or happy hour for serious pounding while the draft is two-for-one. Nice place.

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Alternative Brews in Amherst, NY
Place rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 14 ratings