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A look around Great Flats Brewing

Great Flats Brewing interior

Every month it seems like there's a new brewery somewhere around the region. And one of the most recent is Great Flats Brewing in Schenectady.

The brewery opened three months downtown, and this Thursday had its official ribbon cutting.

Here's a look around the brewery space, along with a few bits about what's going on there.

Pics

Look up, they're at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Who's involved

The two partners at the forefront of Great Flats Brewing are cousins Harry Whalen and Tom Owens.

"Tom is a brewer, self taught, and has been brewing for a long time," Whalen said at the ribbon cutting. "And about two years, we started taking this seriously, and decided, let's do this. As he joked, we decided to go pro."

The brewery

Great Flats Brewing is at 151 Lafayette Street in Schenectady, a block off State Street. It's open Wednesday through Friday 4-10 pm, Saturday noon-10 pm, and Sunday noon-8 pm.

The brewery is in a converted tire service building, so the space has big windows/working garage doors along the entire length. There's a tasting room/event space on end, and the brewery equipment takes up the other.

Whalen said the old service center space ended up working out remarkably well as brewery space because it had a sturdy, level floor and enabled easy access for loading equipment.

"It's made for access," he said of the space. "All the doors are glass, you can see right in there, we could get our tanks in. It checked all the boxes off."

The beer

Great Flats opened with three beers on tap, and on Thursday they were up to seven.

"We do American-style ales," Whalen said. "We do a bunch of IPAs, but we are experimenting with some other beers. We just had a Belgian saison come out, we brewed it with Capoccia Wine Lounge down the street. So we're definitely working with other local producers."

For this Schenectady Summer Night on July 14, Whalen said they've brewed Golden Ale in collaboration with Mad Jack Brewing and Wolf Hollow -- the other two current breweries in Schenectady County. Each brewery has produced a batch, but with a different type of hops so people will be able to sample the three version to get a sense of how the hops influence the flavor of the beer.

The brewery also makes a root beer sweetened with maple syrup.

The name

Great Flats? It's named after the aquifer the runs under Schenectady County and provides drinking water for municipalities there.

"We need water for beer," Whalen said. "And we need good, clean water with the right minerals and the aquifer's got it."

Find It

Great Flats Brewing
151 Lafayette Street
Schenectady, NY 12305

Comments

Do they serve food?

nice review! Keep meaning to check it out. Now more then ever. WIll have to try the rootbeer also!

Side note, check out Table 41. Went for the first time this week. good beer!

@Dave we don't serve food, but we do have a hot dog cart most Wednesdays and Fridays, and we do allow you to bring in/have delivered whatever you like. Slidin' Dirty is just a stones throw away!

A cool space, but they do not serve food. You can bring food with you. We took my dad there for fathers days and I ended up walking two doors down to the Firestone grill (who would not deliver despite being so close) and putting in an order to go. Dad said the beer was ok, but nothing special. There are a bunch of other options for beer drinkers - the Bier Abbey and the Van Dyck spring to mind - that offer good beer and good food, so I'm not sure how well this place will do.

ahh @Jill the Bier Abbey Is closed permanently, so not sure food is the answer. a comfortable place with good beer will do it for me. I like the look of the space. Planning on checking it out soon.

I've visited several times and I was surprised at how well the beer holds up to more established craft breweries, not just in the capital region but in the Northeast in general. The space itself is another highlight - you really feel like you're in a brewery (vs a sports bar like 151 next door) and I hope they continue to be beer-focused. To address the comment above - there really aren't any other options like this in Schenectady and the Bier Abbey is permanently closed.

Surely no one knows about Wolff's Biergarten on Erie Boulevard? Not as toney as The Bier Abbey but has great beer from Germany, Belgium and the States, of course and food to go along with them. Weekend brunches are family and pet friendly as well.

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