Sunday, December 6, 2009

Empire & Syracuse Beer

Without coming off like I'm flogging a dead horse on the topic, I still wonder why people think beer at Empire Brewing Co is so good. We're all entitled to our opinions and by no means do I fancy myself as a beer connoisseur, but I do feel like I'm taking crazy pills by not liking it. Or more specifically, I feel like it's implied that I'm supposed to based on the awards, reputation, and hype. The variety and the selection that's there is perfect and I love the growler option, but I do not like 7 out of the 10 home brews currently on tap. A few of which I can barely stomach and the other 3 I have yet to try.

To get right to it, it essentially tastes like carbonated water with too much flavor that has an off-putting and lingering finish. The ingredients are all there I suppose, it just doesn't taste brewed or like anything is really coming together as it should.

I don't doubt that they do positive things for the city (promote local food, local music, run festivals, are keen on energy usage, etc...). I suppose that's why I'm so apprehensive about the discussion in general. I'd rather not bash a place that does such good for a city that I love. And I'd rather not bash such a substantial place that is putting out local beer - especially considering 'cuse's once proud and rich beer history.

Maybe I'm just in the minority, but considering both Middle Ages and Empire, Syracuse beer seems to be overly hoppy for the most part. I'm not saying we should bring back Haberle into the fold, but it would be nice if there was more beer brewed locally that wasn't as such.

At any rate, I ask this: what are your thoughts on Empire's beer or any other beer for that matter in Syracuse?


Jim Johnson said...

I do love Empire, but moreso for the awesome Blues Brunch and their food. Their beer is... eh, alright. I'm a Magic Hat, Ithaca Brewery kind of guy and I generally like my beer hoppy (IPAs are my favorite), but yeah, I've never thought Empire's beer was anything more than acceptable. The Tusk or Clark's are the places I go when I want to make a point of getting some good craft beer.

You want a bar that really brews crap beer, look no further than Suds. Man, that stuff is terrible.

Josef Lorenz said...

indeed. haven't tried it yet, but i've heard nothing but bad things. perhaps i should bite the bullet and give it a shot :P

Jim Johnson said...

Yeah, I really dislike Suds all around. They do the standard pup fare (chicken tenders, wings, fries, mozz sticks, etc) fairly well, but it's not like you can't get that next door at PJ's. Their beers are bad and the layout of the place is weird and uncomfortable. I guess they get points for a decent amount of outdoor seating. A bar can never have enough outdoor seating.

Josef Lorenz said...

true true. and honestly, cuse doesn't have enough of that (i've noticed way more outdoor-ish bars and seating in buffalo and even utica).

don't like the layout of suds either. i never know where i'm supposed to stand when i go in there.

Jim Johnson said...

Seriously, is Walton Street really necessary? I think it would be awesome if they closed it down, planted a few trees in the middle Ithaca Commons-style, and let you roam around or grab a seat anywhere when you're out.

Josef Lorenz said...

indeed. i'm sure it would be attacked by the "where am i supposed to park?" crowd though. but yes, it would be nice if it was closed off. (i think they actually do this in the summer for a weekend unless i'm mistaken).

Syracusah said...

I'm a fan of Empire's brew- particularly the Black Magic Stout and that beet beer they had on tap this summer. But I'll give the overly hoppy nature of the IPA. And I love going into Middle Ages on a hot summer day for their beer tastings but damned if their brew isn't sharp and fairly tasteless. More flavor, less hops!