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Empire Local Grind

April 3, 2013

Empire Brewing started in 1994 serving the Syracuse area from their flagship brewpub. As I’ve mentioned before, I really love the brewpub model, and I think it’s a great way for breweries to start. It not only helps to establish you as part of the community*, but it also helps craft beer as a whole by bolstering the notion that fine beers are something you can drink with finer food in a complimentary fashion. However, the one problem with brewpubs is that if you’re successful as a brewery, they will eventually be too small for you, which is exactly what Empire has learned. They are now contract brewing out of Brooklyn (not far from where I live actually), and like all good breweries are extremely forthright about it.

The other evening, I had a chance to try their Local Grind, a coffee stout that a friend highly suggested the moment I sat down at the bar. The beer poured a dark black with a surprisingly white head sitting atop it. A strong roasted coffee scent came off of the beer, promising the tastes to come. I really liked the mouthfeel of this beer because it was so smooth, it almost tasted like it was a cask beer while still clearly being draft. Just phenomenal. The taste itself opened up with a big, rich, dark chocolate flavor that gave into the roasted coffee flavors the nose promised. When the beer comes to an end it’s like a well made cup of coffee.

Overall, this beer is worth a taste if you can get your hands on it. For those of you who have never had an Empire before, I highly suggest the brewery.

*: Fun story, through the late summer and early fall my restaurant was pouring the Empire White Aphro, and one afternoon a man who had gone to school in Syracuse had come in. He was so elated that we had Empire on tap that he only had a taste of the other beers, and just sat enjoying the Empire and going on about the fun he had in their brewpub. That’s being a part of the community, right there.

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