As if the perfect Garden Walk weekend was not enough, Community Beer Works (CBW) decided to host a soft opening of its new brewery. As droves of people descended upon the city for the country’s largest garden walk, Buffalo’s darling micro brewery decided that it was the perfect time to introduce beer lovers to its new digs (see backstory).
While it was considered a soft opening of sorts, it didn’t take long before word got out that the new CBW was up and operational. CBW fans, walked, biked, and drove to the highly anticipated taproom, to celebrate the occasion. From the beginning, primary partners Ethan Cox and Chris Smith said that there would be no parking lot available, which went against all logic!
Can you imagine a place that people actually have to walk to, or bike to, or take an Uber to… or park a couple of blocks away? That only happens in other cities, right? Not any more. CBW has bucked the trend, by buying into the belief that if people like good beer and food, and a wholesome beer garden atmosphere, they will simply figure out a way to get there.
CBW could have put some limited parking right out in front, but they decided that the frontage would be put to better used as a patio, with cornhole. The front entranceway to the brewery is a giant clear garage door that can be opened when the weather is nice.
The taproom is a giant wide-open space, with two elevated seating areas, one of which accesses a tucked away game room (shuffleboard, pinball, and steel tip darts coming soon). The expansive bar makes it easy to get a drink.
Today, a number of servers were running around taking orders on high-tech, handheld/wall mount order systems. In the back, patrons could pick up their food at a pickup window (limited menu to start), which is located right next to the outdoor beer garden.
Ethan Cox might have been one of the first on the scene, to launch a successful microbrewery, but it was not long after that, that the Buffalo brewery scene took off. I talked to Cox, who said that they would have liked to get the 7th Street brewery, tasting room, and beer garden open a bit earlier on…. but he also said that the end product was worth the wait.
CBW was not the first full fledge brewery. It’s was not the first beer garden… or game room, but what it lacks in “firsts” it makes up in “finests”. CBW has outdone itself with the space, as was readily apparent with customers’ reactions. Everyone was eating it up, and drinking it up.
The new CBW is located just off Niagara Street, somewhat near the Peace Bridge. It’s in a location that is essentially considered the beginning of the Lower West Side. The neighborhood has been pretty sleepy over the years, with not much happening one way or another.
Most people visiting the brewery will find themselves in a new part of town, wondering where they are in proximity to nearby familiar landmarks. And that’s another one of the traits that makes it so special. CBW has always been different.
It was really the pioneering microbrewery that sent a signal to the rest, that the Buffalo beer scene was open for business. At the time, not many people could have imagined what would happen to this city, once the floodgates opened. Today Buffalo is a beer town once again, thanks to early on visionary brewers like Ethan Cox and Tim Herzog (Flying Bison).
This summer, get yourself over to the new CBW, to witness this impressive undertaking in action. We’ve been counting down the days. The time has finally arrived, much to the happiness of beer lovers all over the region.