The Green Onion Pub

The Green Onion Pub opened in 2009 after years of beer-related discussions among childhood friends every time they were reunited.

Located within the neighborhood’s cornerstone, The Uptown Theater, the pub was founded on the principles of beer culture, conversation, and community.

The owners are all local and, more often than not, behind the bar working. The beer and drink selection is typically atypical and exciting. The TV is always off.

The North Brewery

Zach Pedley and his father, Eric, had a problem. After brewing weekend-in and weekend-out, they had more beer than they knew what to do with.


It became quite an expensive hobby, Zach says. The solution? Open a brewery.

So now Zach brews day-in and day-out, producing both core beers and more adventurous varietals using rhubarb, lavender, watermelons, cucumbers and whatever else comes to his creative mind. The result? The taps in the tasting room are constantly rotating with some kegs getting kicked within a day.

Zach has transformed his home-brew hobby into a labor of love that has earned a loyal following in just a few years. Like Zach, The North Brewery works overtime to keep the fan favorites and vast lineup of new brews flowing.

Check out more of our “Stories on Tap” webisodes.

Zach: “I’ve been home brewing since I was 20. I was taught by my father. I used his home brew equipment and we were brewing probably every weekend, and from there on it’s about four years since we decided to open up our own brewery. My father and I both, we went in on a building and then we went in on a business and it was fun.”

“We would brew every single weekend. At that point, it was a really expensive hobby for us, like maybe we should decide, me and my buddy at the time, maybe we should decide doing this as a full-time career. We were experimenting with new ingredients, ginger, lavender. One time we did a lavender-lemongrass EPA and it turned out pretty good. A couple weeks ago, we just did a cucumber-jalapeno beer which turned out pretty good, and we just did a strawberry-rhubarb ale.”

“We just don’t do one specific style. We have a vast, different styles that are under our belt. We use sours, barrel-aged, all that type of stuff. Most of the beers that we do have, there’s a reason why we’re naming certain things certain ways, but our pop culture reference is because I love pop culture. I just figured incorporating it with my brewery every once in a while, and if people get it, it’s an inside joke between me and the consumer.”

“We never stop creating. We’re always brewing new things, not to say that we don’t brew our old stuff. We still have a select 20 beers that we rotate through that people come to love, like Cerberus, Endorphins, American Dream, but there’s new stuff that constantly we’re coming out with. This summer, we have a series called Vortex and it’s a single hop IPA series, so every week we’re releasing a new single hop and they’re hops that no one really uses such as Yarrow from Germany, Wakatu from New Zealand. We just put a new one up with Waimea, so it’s just different hops that we’re not afraid to start doing new things.”

“One of the beers that we produce and we probably produce two or three times a month is called Endorphins. It’s our IPA. It uses Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, uses Simcoe hops, and it uses CTZ hops, and that beer when it’s on tap, it usually sells out in one day. We let people know on Facebook and online, and people flock down to pick it up.”

“We also have a beer called American Dream that’s not as popular as Endorphins but it’s still pretty popular. It’s a mostly Citra IPA and then what we were known for and we’re still known for is our dark beers. Cerberus, our chocolate oatmeal milk stout, that’s still really popular, and we do a couple different … and we have Black Donald, our Porter, that’s another one that’s pretty popular.”

“All the breweries that are popping up, there’s new ones. There’s always a new one. Every three or four months, we see new breweries popping up and it’s definitely just quality. Galaxy Brewing announced just at our second collaboration, but we did it with Rooster Fish, Water Street, I mean we did … probably half of the breweries that did it were from the central brew region which was pretty cool. We’re definitely working with Water Street on another collaboration and another brewery, so it could be good.”


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Galaxy Brewing Co.

An amateur brewer for more than four decades, Mike Weisel included his son, Seth, in the process early on when he assisted with small tasks.

Seth’s early career in teaching was short-lived as he soon decided to pursue the passion he’d grown up with. He went back to school, this time to complete the master brewing program.

Today, father and son serve up about a dozen in-house creations at a time, including everything from IPAs to fairly obscure German and Belgian styles. St. Stusan, a unique Belgian-style pale ale, recently took home a silver at the World Beer Cup competition. On the restaurant side, Galaxy uses beer in many of its recipes, even serving pork products raised by farmers who use brewery’s spent grain as feed.

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Mike: My grandfather owned a small brewery in the Lehigh Valley until Prohibition came along. My in-laws, my wife’s family, was in the beer distribution business for 3 generations. I was a home brewer for 40 years and Seth started out brewing by helping me.

Seth: My father has been a home brewer pretty much my whole life. I grew up around a home brewer and would help him grind grains when I was young. To be honest with you, I didn’t really take an interest in it until right around probably just before I turned 21. I went to my dad and said, “Hey, can you really show me what it is I’m doing and why?” He showed me the ropes of home brewing and I loved it.

Our tastes are a little bit different. I’m the IPA guy. The IPAs that come out of here are pretty much mine. My father likes the English bitters, the 42 and Belgian beers. Any given time, we have 12 to 13. We’ve got a 12-tap system and then I generally try and do a cast-conditioned ale as well.

Mike: The industry is growing very fast, very fast. Most of the growth is occurring in the very, very small end, what we do, 10-barrel system, a small micro brewery and a restaurant. That’s where the majority of the growth is occurring not only in Upstate New York, but across the nation as well.

Seth: There’s a lot of great brewing going on in New York State and a lot of great breweries and just really proud to be part of that community.


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Butternuts Beer & Ale

Because his parents never said no. Because he found the perfect farm to cultivate his brewery. Because everybody deserves to drink good beer.

Chuck Williamson took his hard-earned expertise from a kitchen in Queens to a bucolic brewery in the heart of upstate New York, where Butternuts Beer & Ale has grown national recognition.

He was one of the first craft brewers to use aluminum, but the catch is not only his cans. Chuck and his team carefully handcraft their beers at a converted dairy farm just outside of Cooperstown.

From a converted dairy farm outside of Cooperstown, Butternuts aims to create approachable craft beer that appeals to the common man and connoisseur alike.

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Charles: My name is Charles Williamson. I am the owner operator of Butternuts Beer & Ale. I’ve been in business now for eight years. We produce four brands of beer in cans. Pork Slap Pale Ale, Moo Thunder, Snapperhead and Heinnieweisse. These are our flagship beers and we aim to produce a beer that is both approachable and enjoyable. One of the thoughts about the beer was that it was for the common man. It was something that we felt was very approachable. We felt something that was very drinkable. We felt it was something people could identify with. Part of our connection to that was to marry the imagery that we have with our marketing, with our website to not only physically with the beer, but through audio as well. We felt that fanfare for the common man was the perfect translation for what we were looking to do.

It’s being on a brewery, it’s definitely a lifestyle. It’s a sense of community which kind of goes hand in hand with what we do. So one of the things with central New York is its farming history. Obviously, there was a great history in hops dating well back before the 1800s. By 1850 Otsego County was the single biggest hop producer in the world. There’s a spring fed water supply here and it’s been here ever since the farm was establish in the late 1800s. It’s a very flavorful water source. Its low mineral content, it’s got a nice sweet flavor to it which is very important for our brewing needs. When people come here, what we wanted to kind of experience is in fact that this is a very hands on, very family oriented facility. Something that expresses a personal vision. Something that we want to allow people to experience and embrace as well.


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Cooperstown Brewing Co.

With Central New York’s strong roots in baseball and beer, it only made sense that Cooperstown Brewing Co. would bring the two together when it opened in 1995.

The brewery continues to use recipes crafted by famed brewer Alan Pugsley in its English-style ales and the system developed by Peter Austin, considered by many to be the godfather of microbrewing. Cooperstown Brewing makes its ales with Austin’s signature brick-insulated copper kettles, wooden mash tuns and open fermenters.

The brewery uses a 150-year-old strain of Ringwood yeast born in Yorkshire, England, but will soon add some local flavor in the mix. Renowned for hop production in the late 1800s, the Cooperstown area is again filling up with producers that will contribute to the brewery’s recipes soon.

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Ian: Cooperstown Brewing Company started back in 1995, hand-crafting English ales using the Peter Austin system. Old Slugger is the flagship. First brewed back in 1995. It’s a light-bodied pale ale. The second we came out with, Nine Man Golden Ale, nice and light-bodied. Finish out with a Back Yard IPA and a Bench Warmer porter. New to the list this year, we do have a rye wheat induction ale, fitting perfectly into the growth of the brewery. There was definitely a connection back in ’95, obviously for where we’re located to connect beer and baseball. We fit perfectly into the area. Growth from ’95 to like 2010, we were doing really well. Things were going well. The brand was out there. Cooperstown was growing. It was on the map. Distribution was gaining. We had a couple rough years in there a little bit, and as of the start of 2014, Cooperstown Brewing was purchased by Northern Eagle Beverage. It sort of gave us new life.

We had new recipes coming on board, distribution’s back out there. We’re back to the day one, Alan Pugsley recipes of ’95. We’re starting to transition into a whole new game for us. When folks travel to this area, they’re looking for something local. You’ve got Omme Gang up the street, you’ve got Cooperstown Brewing, you’ve got Butternuts Beer & Ale. All of us are producing different tastes, different styles. I think as far as the craft world in general, that’s the best thing about it, is there’s something different everywhere you go. There’s something different in every store. You can pick and choose and you find the little miracles within the shelves. I guess that’s what I like. I think our brand definitely sticks out. We produce a good English ale, and we’re looking forward to what we can come out with next.


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Good Nature Farm Brewery

Matt Whalen and Carrie Blackmore believe people care more about a product they’re connected to.

Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room uses local ingredients in its farm-to-glass beer to give a sense of ownership to their ever-growing fan base. That commitment has built a community around Good Nature and upped the capacity of the brewery 10-fold in a short time.

Check out more of our “Stories on Tap” webisodes.

Matt’s background as a chef gives him an adventurous spirit and intense attention to detail when crafting his recipes. And just to think: He and his wife could have been making soup.

They met at a farm-to-table restaurant, where Matt headed the kitchen and Carrie handled the ingredients grown nearby. When devising a food-related enterprise to call their own, organic soup made the short list.

Thankfully, they switched their vision from tin cans to kegs and bottles. In addition opening Madison County’s first brew house in two centuries, Good Nature lays claim to being New York state’s first licensed farm brewery, which flags it as a producer committed to using locally grown ingredients.


Good Nature produces a number of limited releases in addition to its core line and they tend to get a little adventurous. Rabbit in the Rye PA, a collaboration with a favorite local band, blending music with brew. Good Nature’s 10 percent ABV stout pays tribute to the “Great Chocolate Wreck” of 1955, when a train bound for Nestle derailed just yards from where the present day brewery is located.

In a way, every release is limited.

Everything’s done in-house, from corking their own bottles to delivering their own kegs.

Like Whalen says, life’s too short for bad beer. So it’s important for this small team to keep that personal touch.

Good Nature’s tasting room in downtown Hamilton – crafted in large part by Matt himself – is open 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.


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F.X. Matt Brewing Co. / Saranac

Nick and Fred Matt returned to the family business two decades ago determined to put the century-old F.X. Matt brewery on the forefront of the craft movement with Saranac beers.

Today, a second member of the fourth generation – Nick’s son of the same name – joins the team amid a boutique beer boom led in large part by F.X. Matt.

The brewery and the award-winning craft beers produced here make it an upstate destination and landmark in the industry. Visitors enjoy a tour that’s part brewery and part museum. F.X. Matt proudly houses Victorian opulence and artifacts from many, many decades past in addition to its signature copper boil kettles and state-of-the-art bottling operation.

“Growing up in the family business, it was always my goal to come back and work here,” Fred says. “I think that being part of something that is yours and your family’s … it’s in your blood.”


Francis Xavier (F.X.) Matt arrived in Utica via Germany four generations ago and founded the West End Brewing Co. in 1888, although beer has been brewed on this site since 1853. Known for decades as makers of Utica Club – the first beer licensed for sale following Prohibition – the Saranac line of brews quietly debuted in the 1980s and took off after the Adirondack Lager earned gold at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival in 1991.

Nick (Chairman and CEO) and Fred (President and COO), the third and fourth generations of Matts, have since guided the F.X. Matt Brewery and Saranac to the forefront of the craft beer movement. Among Saranac’s contributions to the industry are variety packs that have grown from the original “Trail Mix” to seasonal offerings released four times each year.

Nationally known craft beer advocates, Nick and Fred are quick to point out that less than 50 breweries dotted the U.S. That number tops 3,000 today, giving the industry great strength and variety. The bar is consistently raised, they say. They’re happy with the competition and confident in their brewers.


Today, F.X. Matt a top 20 producer of beer in the U.S., known for its endless selection of styles and limited-release High Peaks Series. The dedicated band of Saranac brewers craft more than 65 different recipes in a year, including an IPA recently resurrected more than 100 years after the brewery’s founder last made a batch.

While far too large to regularly use local ingredients, the Matts remain dedicated to the Utica community and Central New York, hosting the after-party that follows the famous Boilermaker Road Race as well as weekly concerts dubbed “Saranac Thursdays.”

The experimental brews that come out of its lab are actually crafted using equipment purchased from Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room, F.X. Matt’s nano-brew neighbors to the south, and for many years Saranac fans were tapped to help harvest hops from a local farm that went into a very-limited-release wet hop ale.

“We certainly as a family had had a tradition of making things that were unusual and having success with them,” Nick says, citing the IPA that his grandfather brewed in 1914 and numerous variations of Utica Club over the years as examples. “But, the quality of the product is absolutely the most important thing and I think that comes down from my grandfather.

“As a brewing philosophy, we have made beers that are distinctive, that are different, but they’re also very drinkable.”

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Copper Turret

The historic building houses nine taps and 75 varieties of bottled beer.

The Colgate Inn

In the tradition of European taverns with a restaurant located below street level, Colgate Inn’s Rathskellar offers guests an additional unique dining experience. Home to Flight Nights and local live music, the Rathskellar features more than 20 craft beers on tap.

The Ale House

“The beer joint of your dreams,” featuring dozens of constantly rotating craft beers on tap.

Brewery Ommegang

A trip to Cooperstown, New York, with its classic Main Street and iconic Hall of Fame is like a trip back in time. And the trip to get there is timeless – rolling hills and sparkling waters far from the interstate.

Whether it’s across the country or in your own backyard, this quiet corner of New York state will transport you.

Nestled in the bucolic beauty, you’ll find Brewery Ommegang. The hop bines that line the winding driveway signal you’ve arrived at a destination for craft beer fans, who are greeted by the farm-style building’s signature arch when they arrive.

It’s here that some of the finest Belgian-style ales in the country are crafted – here, among these humble surroundings that include a small hop yard and a large field that doubles as an outdoor amphitheater in the summer.

Ommegang was established 20 years ago on a former hop farm – the first farm brewery founded in the U.S. in more than a century at that time. Nearby aquifers supply the brewery with one of Central New York’s best water sources. Carefully selected hops and grain create world-class beers.


Brewmaster Phil Leinhart has been the steward of these resources for the past 12 years. Well-traveled and well-established in the brewing industry, he was introduced to the area while visiting his brother.

He got his start with English ales at Manhattan Brewing Co., one of the first brewpubs in the country, back in 1984 before moving on to Anheuser Bush. Brewery Ommegang wasn’t his first taste of Belgian-style ales by any means, but they ended up being extremely influential.

“I found the beers to be very interesting, quite different from anything I’d really had and I started exploring those styles from Belgium,” he says.

Leinhart studied chemistry in college, which gave him a sound, scientific base for brewing that is particularly advantageous for Brewery Ommegang processes.


Belgian-style ales are driven by microbiology, drawing flavor from distinct yeast strains and higher-temperature top fermentation.

“Brewing science is kind of like music,” Leinhart says. “You learn the fundamentals and then there are all kinds of different styles that play off those.

“Science at some point becomes art,” he says. “They blend into each other.”

Brewery Ommegang has built a creative culture with an innovation team that includes everyone from brewers to marketers. They routinely release new beers, recently branching out into IPAs that include Nirvana and Neon Rainbows.

Brewery Ommegang beers are distributed coast to coast and a favorite among craft brew fans, especially the popular and much-sought-after “Game of Thrones” that has place them more prominently on the map in recent years.

That came about when HBO approached the brewery about putting together beers inspired by characters. The innovation team went to work creating recipes that captured the personalities. It was a huge hit.

A fun project for Leinhart and the other brewers here, the GOT beers don’t define Ommegang though.

“It’s a sense of creativity and striving toward excellence,” Leinhart says of the Ommegang brand. “It’s continuous improvements, continuously tweaking the process to make the beer better and better and better.

“It’s looking at your process really closely and making it as good as you can,” he says.

The hop history of Central New York has also been an inspiration. The brewery works with Cornell University, funding research of hop varieties and outreach to local farmers and aspiring growers. Hopstate NY was their first brew to feature New York hops exclusively and Ommegang plans on expanding the local theme.

It makes them an important piece of the continuing resurgence of not only hops, but craft beer making in Brew Central.

“Central New York is just a beautiful area and that coupled with what’s going on in the craft beverage industry … it’s just a great place to come,” Leinhart says.

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