The new brewery that opened on Seneca Lake’s eastern side last year is a new hot spot for locals, and it’s really easy to see why. Grist Iron Brewing Company not only makes their own beer for the enjoyment of their guests and the community, but they also serve yummy brew food and – get this – they have an inn as well! A little bit of everything.
I’ve now been to the brewery three times, and it’s been fun to see its evolution as a new startup and testing the market to establishing their signature brews and menu. Nestled on a hill overlooking Seneca Lake, the establishment really couldn’t have a better location. It features a pond, green grass, and their two other buildings that make up the overnight accommodations.
Inside, walk in to an inviting, large space. It features a chalkboard to write whatever you desire, a large curved bar, and lots of tables. Behind the bar are all of the metal tanks and equipment for making the brew, as well as a few wine barrels and bottles of wine for wine drinkers (me!). Head into the other room, and you’re pulled in by a large stone fireplace and more tables. The entire front of the building is covered with windows, so that the lake view is as uninterrupted as possible.
First, we will discuss the beer. I’m not a beer drinker at all, so my little tastes didn’t do a whole lot for me. However, this last time I went with a friend, and she gave me her gold star winner for her very favorite. Not just at this brewery…but her favorite she has ever had in her life. It’s called Maxximus Brown, named after the chef’s two year-old son, Maxx. The brewery’s menu describes this beer as “The beer had to suit its namesake so we made a beer with an alcohol kick that’s backed up with a smooth hazelnut flavor.” My friend said that it’s extremely smooth, nutty, and sweet, almost like dessert. I quoted her as saying it was “an explosion of yummy flavors in my mouth.” She was pretty excited. One beer that I tried was a coffee beer, and that actually wasn’t too bad. It was a very strong coffee flavor, and actually went very well with Maxximus Brown when mixed together.
On to the food, this was my favorite part. The first two times I had visited Grist Iron, their menu was like a practice menu for them. It wasn’t set in stone yet and they were just testing what the consumers would like and dislike. This time though, the menu was the real deal, and had some neat new additions. I got mac and cheese (you can tell so much about a place by their basic mac and cheese!) and my friend got pesto mozzarella cheese pizza with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. They were both SO good. Very much comfort food and very perfect for a chilly evening. The chef told us that their best-selling pizza has actually been their mushroom artichoke pizza, much to their surprise. He said his wife came up with it, and he put it on the menu just to prove to her it wouldn’t do well. That backfired! (Awesome choice, Danielle!)
If you’re in the region, I’d definitely say it’s worth giving Grist Iron Brewing Company a try. They have good food, good beer, and a great vista out their windows. Why spend your weekend in a musty dark bar when you could be up on a hill with in-house craft beer and an incredible lake view?
Check out their website gristironbrewing.com for their full menu (it changes seasonally) as well as their backstory, pictures, events, and information on their beautiful inn accommodations.