Upstate Brewing Company to open new location in Watkins Glen


Established in 2011, Elmira’s UPSTATE BREWING COMPANY created a cool local buzz before expanding to a narrow Watkins Glen taproom (as of January ’23). At its original Elmira location, the white overhead doored tavern (with silver grain silo, black wood-tabled patio and covered back deck) unveils many one-off stylistic delights, a few recurring staples and a good few leaning towards fruited sour or IPA.

Large windowed brewtanks hold the favorable fizzy fare dispensed at the U-shaped, blue aluminum-sided, black concrete-topped bar. There are six granite top tables, one community table and colorful paintings furnishing the sterling wood-paneled white-wall designed interior.

I visited the Elmira location prior to my long weekending Ithaca/ Watkins Glen/ Canandaigua brewpub tour in November ’23.

Spritzy lemon fizz tingled caramelized chestnut, wattleseed and hazelnut nips for amber-browned flagship, Common Sense Kentucky Common Ale, an easygoing pre-Prohibition throwback with light maple oats sugaring contrasting leafy hop astringency.

Polite straw-hazed American Lager plied dry pilsner malting to mild lemon candied tartness and musky fungi soiling.

Middling copper-hued Vienna Lager let lemon sugared fizzing get spicy Noble hop herbage then become sedately dry.

Perfumed pumpkin pie spicing consumed autumnal Pumpkin Pie Ale, leaving brown-sugared cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg spicing atop nutty caramel toasting.

Lemon-limed jelly bean tartness and mild salted peanut buttering engaged lactic fruited sour, Peanut Butter & Jelly Ipso Lacto, a moderately acidic mauve-pinked Berliner Weiss variant. 

Sessionable yellow-hazed Upstate IPA caressed yellow grapefruit spicing, bitter orange rind dryness and sour lemon zesting with distant piney hop bitterness.

Crayon-like fruit waxing guided Nectaron NEIPA, buffing its oated wheat creaming with yellow grapefruit-embittered gooseberry, guava and green grape tannins as well as peachy mango tanginess, hiding the mildest piney bittering.

A collab with nearby Corning’s Liquid Shoes, Disco Nugs NEIPA, let yellow grapefruit and orange rind bittering relegate its salty vodka-licked green grape and gooseberry souring over delicately creamed oats.

Crisp tobacco roasted nuttiness guarded Big Brown English Brown Ale, leaving subtle chestnut and acorn illusions on its subtle chocolate wheat base.

“Velvety” Mary Jane’s Veil Imperial Hazelnut Stout fortified its creamy dark chocolate foundation with pasty hazelnut, picking up peanut-shelled pistachio, Brazil nut and walnut shards as well as faded vanilla latte, creme de cocoa and caffe macchiato snips.