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Type: Brewery, Eatery

300 State St.
Rochester, New York, 14614
United States

(585) 546-3664

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Added by John

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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 8
Reviews by John:
Photo of John
4/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Coming up on Brü’s one-year anniversary, I thought it was finally time to review it. I suggest, and some may agree, that much of time during the inaugural year was spent fine-tuning the restaurant portion of the operation. However, I think I can safely say that after several changes in the (restaurant) management, IMHO Brü has turned the corner.

One thing that has been solid from day one is the beer, some of the best to be found. Dean Jones had been at the helm until the end of Sep 2004 before moving on to become Brewmaster at Wagner Valley. It’s my understanding that he is still assisting the interim brewer until a permanent replacement can be found. Our most recent visit was last week. Of the brews I had, the Scotch Ale was stellar as was the Hefe, the IPA excellent. The wife had the Brüberry Ale (blueberry), which was also quite good. It’s offered with or without real blueberries. She opted to drink it without. They typically have at least 8 house brews on hand in addition to 2 guest brews.

Food is a touch on the pricey side but very good. I had the Brü burger (10 oz. burger w/blue cheese & bacon), my wife, the Thai red curry w/vegetables and Thai noodles. I had Mexican rice as a side and it was delicious, very aromatic. Service was friendly and prompt.

The downtown location is prime, especially in the summer with Red Wing and Rhino games and it’s proximity to Frontier Field. It occupies the space formerly held by Empire Brewing and before that the Rochester Button Factory. The inside atmosphere retains some of the industrial feel but is warmed by the wood of the bar, bar area booths and dining room tables. There is free pool on two tables, foosball and darts (electronic). There are also some leather chairs and couches to relax on. The macro neon in the windows seems out of place. Overall I enjoy my visits here and intend to make them more frequent. Now to get off my lazy ass and review some of the beers!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of wailingwench
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Note: On the last Sunday of the Lilac Festival 2005, Bru was closed. We had 5 in our party, ended up going to MacG's and spending our loot there. Noted that 2 other groups and 4 individuals showed up roughly the same time as us. 15-20 people total. This is bad for business.

In addition, I called ahead of time to verify the Sunday hours. Was informed that they will be open.

Cheers: Bartenders know their beer. Trendy, upscale, low WT factor. Waiter really liked my retro 70's disco shirt. The Scottish Ale is in the top 10 of the best beers that I have ever tried. My girl dug the Honey Maibock. What was supposed to be one beer after the beer fest, turned into 4 each and a side trip to the Korner with 2 other patrons. Pints were $2 on special. Kick ass happy hour. Music was sweet as was the bartendress.

Jeers: Seems like a young people place, with only a couple of young people. Don't we (us young-uns) know a good thing when we have it? The place feels empty even though there is a decent crowd. Reminds me of going to a club, only to find that there are only 20 other people. Would benefit from having an actual entrance into the bar area and somehow sectioning off the restaurant. The patio on the side should be moved to the side.

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Photo of Tut
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I don't have time for a lengthy review of Bru here and have previously commented thoroughly on Pubcrawler, as has the previous reviewer. I suggest people go to that site for responses by Jonathon Wehle and new brewer Eric Watson to recent negative criticism by myself and others. Briefly, after a recent visit following a long hiatus, I changed my views and now think it's time to give Bru some real credit. The three new beers by Eric ( IPA, Robust Porter, 80 Shilling ) are very good and I'm looking forward to others being added. Given the recent closing of Flour City Brewing and the difficulty of successfully operating a brewpub in Rochester, craft beer lovers need to be more appreciative and supportive of the ones we still have.

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Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

A large new space, capacity 477, across from the AAA Ballpark and near the AAA hockey arena. Rochester is trying to revive the area for tourists and residents alike, with an almost military presence of foot and mounted police and patrols throughout the day, but particularly later in the day, as it is near the "hood". It is a risk and likely why they got the space they did. Your pub food, capacity of 12 taps, however only 3 currently for guest brews. The brews were good, and so was the home brewed root beer and the brew ratings and the brewing of Dean Connor is gaining momentum. Torontonians recommended to stop off the new Ferry.

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Photo of sponberg
4.16/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Used to be Empire Brewing Co. Located about six blocks north and across the river from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (if you know where one is, now you know where the other one is). On street parking was readily available, but then again it was almost 11 PM on a Monday night.

Nice, semi-hi-tech atmosphere with lots of wood and stainless. The brewing operations are in plain view of the bar, which I liked. There were about eight beers on tap (give or take), and thw two I had (Hefe and IPA) were both excellent, with especially notable body & mouthfeel. The staff were friendly and seemed knowledgeable. Service was excellent. I have heard that the food is good, but as I was still stuffed from the Dinosaur I didn't get to try it.

I hope to hit this place again next time in town - very good beer, good atmosphere, and a bunch of BAs, how can you go wrong?

Thanks again to John, Murtyman, and GreatPondBrewer for staying up late on a school night to hang out and have a couple of pints. Very fun group of BAs, the Rochester crew.

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Housed in the old Empire Brewery in Rochester, directly across from Frontier Park (home of the Rochester Red Wings), Bru has put forth only modest changes structurally from its predecessor, but those changes are for the better. There's a bit more of a pub feel, as the techno-bar look has been softened. There are three distinct areas: a large bar, complete with working vats on one side and a serious plasma TV screen above the taps and bottles. This section looks out onto Exchange St. and, further over, the baseball stadium. Then there's an open area dominated by two large pool tables, separated off from the main dining area by a glass partition. Overall, a good feel.

The service was excellent. Note: fortunately for us, it was early (5:30) on a slow Monday night, so we had two waitresses and a server pretty much all to ourselves. By the time we left, there was a great deal more activity throughout. The selection is modest, but comprehensive, as Bru introduces up its new varieties slowly but steadily. I had three different house brews, all on tap: an IPA, an Oatmeal Stout, and the Scotch Ale. Each was worthy in its own right (see reviews), but I especially appreciated the IPA. We were also lucky to get to visit with the Brew Master, Dean Jones, an engaging and spirited man, fresh in from Michigan, who was happy to explain Bru's philosophy and objectives.

I went for the basic 10oz. hamburg, which was complemented by some crisp, thick, batter-fried chips--both were dleicious. I'm happy to see this place back in business, and I think they'll do well.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This trip to Bru was the first trip I'd made back to the building since it had changed over from Empire Brewing. The inside was mostly familiar, retaining parts of the Empire feel. Theres a very open feel to the restaurant, with an open kitchen on one side of the main dining area, and on the other side the beer fermenting tanks, in plain view through the glass. We went pretty early, so it really hadnt picked up, but it was beginning to hop by the time we left, around 7:30. Good atmosphere, although I'll admit I still prefer the dark cozy feel of MacGregors, but that cant be expected from a bigger Brewpub. The service was very friendly, even though our first waitress had to punch out early because she took the wrong medication. The new waitress took up the job nicely, and was just as friendly as the first. Overall service was very good. The selection of beers was fairly limited, and except for a few choices, such as the Ithaca Double IPA (which I had the night before at MacGregors), the tap selection was limited to Bru's house beers. These were very good, as between 4 of us we tried most of them: the Oatmeal Stout, the IPA, the Hefe Weizen, and the Scotch Ale. All of these beers were good, and some, such as the IPA and Hefe, were quite noteworthy. Small selection, but a good one for the most part. The food was very good as well. I personally had the cheese quesadilla, which was wonderful, and for dinner the Cincinnati Chili. The chili was pretty good, but but chese biscuits and the balsamic vinegarette for my salad were exceptional. Ample portions, had to save some of it for later. Overall a pleasing experience, one that I would do again anytime.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

After allowing for a few weeks of acclimation I went back. Stupendous. This place is certainly taken the correct path in creating good beers and good atmosphere. They have added a ton more beers to the line up and more are in the hoppers. Try the hefe- as it is especially tasty. Met the brewer Dean Jones and he is a class act who keeps himself super busy brewing non-stop. This is a must stop in Rochester.

Looks basically the same as Empire did. Plenty of exposed beams and brick from the old button factory. All the equipment is still within view behind glass and the back extends way back to the kitchen area. They have some new televisions and the pool tables look a lot nicer.

Service was very good for an almost entirely new staff. The bartender was talkative and seemed to appreciate good beers. He was super excited about the hefe-(more on this in a sec).

THE BEER- ...was pretty good... so far. Its fixing to be a lot better. Right now they have 3 beers of their own on tap. Blonde, Kolsch and Pale. Tasted the pale and although it was very subdued it was a wonderful session brew. Right now the other taps are currently "guest" beers from Rogue, Flying Dog and even Rohrbachs. However, plans are in the works for some exciting brews. Totally unfiltered hefe- is almost ready and there was both an IPA and an Oatmeal Stout in the fermenters.

All in all it looks like they have started in the right direction. Looking forward to a couple more visits in the near future. Especially to try the food, which looked really promising.

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Brü in Rochester, NY
Brewery rating: 0 out of 5 with 0 ratings
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