A new brewery has opened up in The Hydraulics/Larkinville (The Hydraulics is the area between Larkinville and downtown Buffalo). Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen has taken up space at 545 Swan Street, just around the corner from 500 Seneca. The addition of the brewery to the mix goes a long way towards creating some density in the neighborhood – not just refurbished historic buildings, but quality amenities. And speaking of Buffalo’s Belt Line, it would be great to see some additional connectivity between Larkinville and the heart of the city, maybe in the form of The Galloping Goose?
During a mini-brewery tour on Saturday, my wife and I stopped into Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen to poke around.
First of all, The AP Lofts building (the former Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company warehouse) is yet another site for sore eyes. This building is a phenomenal key structure that will set this city apart from others. If we only had a few more of these around to rehab… but at least we are restoring the few that remain. They are so important when telling the history of Buffalo, while promoting the city’s vibrant future.
Speaking of vibrant, when we stepped inside the brewery’s tasting room, it was packed. Both the bar and the seating areas were alive with patrons who were excited to get a glimpse of the interior, and a taste of the craft brew offerings. Brewery owners Christina Braun, Mark Boccabella, and Matthew Myers have done a fine job with the buildout, and have incorporated a lot of historic imagery into the layout, which helps to tell the tale of the district, and Buffalo’s Belt Line.
According to the current trio of owners who said, “There is strong connection between the brewery and the Moor Pat in Williamsville. Christina’s husband is Peter Braun who is partners with Mike Shatzel. Greg Baker will be a future partner and he will be in charge of our kitchen – and Erik Greiner is our head brewer.”
Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen occupies space within 4,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial/retail space fronting Hamburg Street. Project amenities include a community room, business center, professionally managed leasing office, fitness center, outdoor patios and green spaces, a laundry facility, climate-controlled indoor parking, and 147 mixed-income apartments. Belt Line will certainly be an anchor for the project, and will significantly add to the brewery tourism in Larkinville. The tasting room features flat screen TVs, a brewery gift shop, and garage doors that will open to the street during warmer months.
This brewery was the second new brewery that we visited over the weekend. Both were jam packed. Not only are people traveling further for craft beer, they are also becoming more familiar with districts such as The Hydraulics/Larkinville – Larkinville was not even on the map, or anyone’s radar, until 6 years ago when Larkin Square opened (see Larkin timeline). Now, we’re seeing the district reach a level of maturity that has everyone excited – not only to support the pioneering businesses, but to see what’s coming next (see 111 Hydraulic Street). One day, looking back retrospectively, Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen will be considered another key component of the revitalization of this former industrial neighborhood.