Buffalo has its first new brewery in over ten years. After much hard work getting everything built, brewed, and licensed, Community Beer Works, a nanobrewery located on the city’s West Side, launched its first beers this weekend at neighboring Elmwood Avenue pubs Cole’s and Goodbar. The brewery premiered Frank, a generously hopped pale ale, and The Whale, a chocolatey, chewy brown ale, to an enthusiastic crowd on Friday night. The following weeks will feature more “embeering”, as the CBW gents like to put it, the highlight of which will be a five-course pairing dinner at Belgian gastropub Blue Monk on May 1.
“It still hasn’t sunken in yet,” said brewery architect Gregory Patterson-Tanski, surveying a packed house at Goodbar, all enjoying CBW beer, with no small amount of awe in his voice. For the sea of happy drinkers sipping the new nanobrewery’s beer, giving the CBW team high-fives, and enjoying the beautiful summer-like night, it couldn’t come soon enough: the team has put great effort not just into establishing a brewery but in the “community” aspect of their name, and it shows. This town already sees the CBW guys as old friends, and it’s as if they’ve finally showed up to a two-year party in their honor––and they’ve brought beer.
And it’s seriously good beer. Frank, the brewery’s flagship, tastes like it comes from San Diego or Colorado, with waves of gorgeous hop bitterness and citrus but balanced and chuggable enough for a flagship brew. It’s obvious CBW has the hophead in mind, and a grateful city welcomed it with gusto: Goodbar ran out of Frank within hours. That’s okay, because it forced drinkers who may not normally select a darkly hued beer to switch to the Whale. Brown ale is a tough category for a memorable product, but the Whale is a chocolatey, fresh-roasted-coffee-laden masterpiece that’s comfy but not sweet and perfectly roasted for a stick-to-your-ribs pint. Both will be outstanding food pairings––Frank for lighter fare and especially spicy Asian dishes; the Whale for the hearty pub dishes Buffalo does best. Attendees of the Blue Monk dinner will be in for a treat.
“Finally, eight years of drinking has paid off!” laughed head brewer Rudy Watkins, shaking hands with the many folks who have come to associate his face as well as those of Patterson-Tanski, CBW President Ethan Cox, Director of Operations David Foster, and Webmaster Dan Conley, with the inspiring slogan “Embeer Buffalo!” The brewery has started off with a bang doing just that, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.