By Julia Burke, Beer Editor

574056712_2037776481_0To the delight of a very thirsty crowd of Buffalo beer lovers, Blue Monk finally opened its doors this week after months of agonizing delays. The newly renovated bar on Elmwood Avenue was bursting with patrons almost immediately when it opened on Saturday evening, and as the joyful assembly of Belgian beer lovers took in the warm, friendly vibe of the city’s newest gastropub, one drinker said it well. “This is a great night for Buffalo.”

After months of crossing fingers while Blue  Monk dealt with liquor license frustrations and massive renovations, the successful opening of a new business in western New York was definitely something to celebrate.

It was a great night for New York beer as well.

Though Blue Monk is decidedly Belgian in theme and will feature a Belgian menu to match, the pub features no fewer than six New York beers by the bottle and three more on tap amidst its phenomenal 30-beer tap list. Owner Mike Shatzel, of Cole’s (the best beer list in town) fame, shows clear support for New York brewers with his outstanding local selections at both bars.

574056401_2037775267_0Blue Monk’s debut beer menu features beers from Southern Tier, Ommegang, Brooklyn, Ithaca, and Flying Bison – and they’re not just the old standbys. In addition to favorites such as Ithaca Flower Power and Flying Bison Rusty Chain, Blue Monk offers harder-to-find selections such as Ommegang Cup o’ Kyndness and Southern Tier Unearthly. As a Belgian-styled brewery, Ommegang is a perfect fit for Blue Monk, and the bar currently offers three of their brews (Witte, Chocolate Indulgence, and Cup O’Kyndness) alongside world-class Trappist ales, lambics and stouts.

When Blue Monk’s kitchen opens, serving their take on traditional Belgian fare, it’s likely to be the hottest new restaurant of the year.

But in the meantime, there’s enough good beer to drink to keep everyone busy – so here’s to the success of a new local pub with a commitment to local beer!