Beer on the Road: Syracuse NY

In October 2015, I had an opportunity to travel to Syracuse NY. I like to reflect back on my travels, what memories remain after two years, what were the standouts. As usual, I like to take in as much of the beer scene my schedule will allow. Sometime more, but too often less than I'd like — if possible even arriving a day early to allow a few hours in the day for a solo dinner at a good brewpub.

Empire Brewing

It was late and I was a bit road weary. My first stop in Syracuse was Empire Brewing, on Walton St for a quick bite and to sample their beers. When visiting a brewpub for the first time, I often gravitate to the Belgian-styles or big stouts or sometimes whatever stands out as unusual or interesting. And Empire had a wide range to choose from. 

It has a roomy taproom and was busy. I ate at the bar since this is usually non-assuming location if you are new in town. Plus the service is usually good since the staff are front and center, not roaming too far from view.

EMPIRE BREWING COMPANY is a contemporary downtown bar and grill with a brewery on the premises.
— Empire Brewing, Syracuse NY

I tasted the Roasted Pumpkin Ale since this fit into the "interesting" category. A good ale, not over spiced, I thought. My second tasting was the Black Magic Stout on nitro. Probably my favorite of the evening. And to finish my time at Empire that night I had to try their Belgian Dubbel. Dubbels are one of my favorite style and while this one was nice, but was not what I was use to.

My time was short and I figured I would return later in the week with a group of colleagues and of course to complete my tasting. I had another stop to make before making my way to my hotel.

The Blue Tusk


Not far away from Empire Brewing is The Blue Tusk. This is a place to go for some of the best beers from around the world. All About Beer included it in the 125 Places To Have A Beer Before You Die. It was also listed in the 2010 Beer Traveler issue, 150 Beer Bars.

It didn't disappoint and held true to their reputation. I was in NY state and they had Ommegang Fleur de Houblon Summer Ale.

Dinosaur Bar-b-Que

Our local host wanted our group to experience Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. We had a wait to get our tables but it certainly was worth it. BBQ joints are always full of flavor and personality and Dinosaur had this in abundance. The food was excellent and our server had as much vim and vinegar as anything on the menu. Highly recommended in you find yourself in Syracuse (eight locations, seven in New York and one in Connecticut). 

Burned out from life on the road, the Dinosaur settled in 1988 in downtown Syracuse, N.Y., as a quick-service lunch/dinner bar-b-que joint. In 1990, the restaurant tripled in size, adding a full bar, full service dining and live music.
— Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

While the Syracuse NY location was the original, we had a Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Baltimore for a short time.


Since visiting the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse NY I've been able to experience a lunch, beer and atmosphere at their Baltimore location. It opened in 2017 but abruptly closed in January 2018. We were there shortly after it opened for the day, so business was light, but steadily building. The service, food and beer selections were all excellent. Again, my wife thinks I'm a foody genius in finding these places. She was raving about the combination of foods they included on top of her salad. I had a Citralaxy from Burly Oak of Berlin, MD. I know thi brewery and trusted they would create a great beer and the suggested ingredients from the name made it sound like a winner — and it was. Again, highly recommended.



So my time in Syracuse was a memorable one. Great beer and food experiences make this a place I need to get back to soon. I'm sure I've just scratched the surface but one needs to leave some room for the next visit.