I tend to overuse the term “game-changer” – me, circa 1993: “ ‘seaQuest DSV’ is a game-changer!” – but occasionally, it is justified. When I called the gorgeous, über-chill Hamburg Brewing Co. a game-changer in December, I was on the money.
And when I once again wield that overused terminology to describe Buffalo’s Resurgence Brewing Co., it is undoubtedly warranted.
You have likely read about Resurgence already, the brewery and beer garden on Niagara Street that was talked about with barely restrained glee months before opening its doors. It sounded like an ideal addition to the expanding Buffalo beer scene, a unique business in a smart location.
Ask any of the throngs of 20-, 30- and 40-plus-somethings that filled Resurgence to the gills on a recent Wednesday evening, and they’ll tell you it is ideal.
For starters, the place is huge – almost breathtakingly so. I was stunned at the size of the indoor beer-hall space, and pleasantly surprised at how much room there was outside, as well. This was an unseasonably chilly summer evening, which meant more folks than normal inside.
But it did not feel overcrowded. If anything, the long, packed tables made the surroundings appear relatively intimate. For many, however, what sets Resurgence apart is the simple, well-designed outdoor beer garden.
The buzz, both inside and out, was obvious, even more so when a giant game of Jenga came crashing to the floor. Loud? A little, but that added to the fun.
During our visit, the beer list included a Session IPA, the Resurgence IPA, the Dry Hopped Kolsch, the makes-me-curious-but-not-enough-to-try Loganberry Wit, the wonderfully titled Smokey the Beer, the Summer Road Trip IPA, the “El Jefe-Weizen” and a Summer Saison. (Several other beers are mentioned online, including the only-in-Buffalo Sponge Candy Stout.)
All were priced between $5 and $7, but I opted for an $8 flight, choosing the Resurgence, Session and Summer Road Trip IPAs, as well as the El Jefe-Weizen. Later, I enjoyed a Summer Saison, and while I am an admittedly easy-to-please beer enthusiast, I highly praise all five.
I was curious what the beer snob verdict would be. Everyone I have talked to – two from my group, a couple of co-workers, and some other friends – said roughly the same thing: Good, and may get even better a few months down the road.
That is an encouraging sign for Resurgence, especially with the beloved Community Beer Works nearby. And Resurgence, of course, also has the scene itself, a key element in its early success.
If anyone in your party is not drinking, however, pickings are slim, with soda and water making up the entirety of the list. A small but interesting food menu includes Martin Cooks’ Resurgence Platter, chips and salsa or guacamole, hot pretzel sticks, meat pies from the English Pork Pie Company, and burritos from Gramma Mora’s.
A noticeably large contingent of visitors was eating. Other visual details that stood out included a small smokers’ area outside, several visitors on bicycles, and a TV being viewed by almost no one. After all, Resurgence is a place to savor the beer and the scene. Television, while welcome, is mostly unnecessary.
Resurgence Brewing Co. is only a few months old, and any negatives have time to be fixed. (I heard some grumbling that the bar stopped serving at 9 that night, but hours are hours.) With such a vibrant mix of young and old drinkers, a visit almost felt like a glimpse into Buffalo’s beer-y future.
A beer garden, on Niagara Street, filled on a Wednesday night? With Jenga, to boot? At the risk of repeating myself, that sounds like a game-changer.
Resurgence Brewing Co.
Where: 1250 Niagara St. (381-9868, www.resurgencebrewing.com)
Scene: A large, aesthetically pleasing beer hall/beer garden.
On tap: Session IPA, Resurgence IPA, Dry Hopped Kolsch, Loganberry Wit, Smokey the Beer, Summer Road Trip IPA, El Jefe-Weizen, Summer Saison.
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday; 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday; 1 to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.