First Sip: Big Ditch Brewing Company

Quick Info: Big Ditch Brewing Company is a production brewery with an attached tap room/restaurant located in Downtown Buffalo on the corner of E. Huron and Ellicott. The production brewery opened in August 2014 and Big Ditch started distributing their beers to local bars and restaurants shortly thereafter. In late May 2015, the two level taproom and restaurant was opened to the public. They currently offer three beers year round with several seasonal and limited releases. The restaurant menu has a fairly standard menu of pub food split up into shareable plates, burgers, sandwiches and other entrees.

Our Experience: We’ve visited Big Ditch Brewing Company twice over the last 2 months. On our first visit we visited the restaurant on a ‘test night’ before it was open for the public and tried some food along with beer and on our second visit we just had a couple drinks. When walking into the taproom for the first time, we were blown away by how well designed and large it was. It honestly felt like a brewery that you’d visit in a bigger city. We saw early construction drawings online but were still awestruck. The large mural on the first floor is an eye catcher and the wood design of the main bar is really cool. The taproom has two levels, upstairs is primarily for hanging out and having a couple drinks while the first floor has a hostess stand and plenty of seating for dining.

Pretzels (Big Ditch)Mural (Big Ditch)On our first visit, the restaurant wasn’t open to the public but we were encouraged to try some items off the menu to help them work out the kinks. We originally intended to sit at a table but were told waits were in the 90+ minute range, so we decided to grab some seats at the bar and order food right there. We tried some simple and small dishes off the menu. The cheddar beer soup was thick and had a little sour kick that we enjoyed. The fresh cut french fries were crispy, salty and had a good amount of skin left on the potatoes. The garlic mayo and red pepper ketchup were good choices for a dipping sauce. The pretzels were freshly baked, so they were still warm soft. Our only big disappointment was the sausage, it was unfortunately under seasoned and the inside of the sausage was incredibly dry. That night we stuck to most of our favorites from the brewery, notably the Hayburner IPA which is an excellent and well balances IPA.

Our second visit found us grabbing a couple beers on their second floor before a show at Mohawk Place on a Saturday night. The place was packed. The crowd was basically spilling out into the streets and filling up their private room as well. It was refreshing to see so many people hanging out downtown on a Saturday night. We grabbed a table on the second floor and enjoy a couple pints of their FC Buffalo collaboration, Big Ditch FC (Fashionably Crushable). It was a really refreshing wheat beer with a bunch of citrus/fruity notes and a little hoppiness, perfect for the humid night.

View of 1st Floor (Big Ditch)Summary: We walked away from Big Ditch really impressed with what they’ve unveiled to Buffalo, not only in their excellent craft beer (in our opinion it’s up there with Community Beer Works) but also with a gorgeous taproom that would impress any out-of-towner. The place is still incredibly busy on the weekends but that will probably continue through most of the summer (It’s a good problem to have). The menu isn’t revolutionary but fairly standard for pub food. In our opinion the beer and location are the main draw while some of the menu can be a nice compliment.

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