The buzz surrounding our region’s newest brewery began more than a year ago when plans for the facility on the shores of Canandaigua Lake were first announced. You’ll find Young Lion Brewing Co. nestled right in the center of the new Pinnacle North mixed-use development, a welcome addition to a community that is already home to Twisted Rail, Peacemaker, Three Huskies, and Naked Dove (see “Canandaigua Three-Way“). Young Lion’s 35-barrel brewhouse is built for high production, canning, and statewide distribution. Certainly ambitious goals for a start-up, but the partners bring a variety of professional experience and considerable financial backing to make it happen.
My friends and I visited Young Lion during its opening weekend on July 1. The taproom is beautifully built out with plenty of modern and traditional touches. The wide bar surface offers plenty of room to lay out flights and snacks. Additional seating at tables and booths is available around the periphery. The noise level was about average, though we did have trouble finding space at the bar to order when we first arrived. Chalkboard art illustrates everything from the brewing process to the latest draught list. The outdoor patio is another attraction of Young Lion’s location during the warmer months.
A number of guest taps were available for Young Lion’s opening, including selections from local favorite Swiftwater Brewing, as well as New York State-based Nine Pin Cider Works (Albany), Gun Hill Brewing Company (Bronx), and Rare Form (troy). I selected a flight of YLBC beers including India Pale Ale (6.5%), Double IPA (8.8%), Pilsner (5.2%), and New England IPA (7.1%). The Double IPA was the most flavorful, and the Pilsener was crisp and refreshing. The New England-style IPA was not the hazy juice bomb we have come to expect as of late. The regular IPA definitely has potential, and could easily become a standout in subsequent batches.
Snacks and small plates were on the menu, including popular charcuterie boards. There was plenty of staff on hand as everyone got used to the workings of the new house, as customers enjoying their July Fourth weekend piled in. The Pilsner has been canned and is already in distribution (thanks to Remarkable Liquids), allowing Young Lion to make their mark across the Empire State. Over the next few months, I’ll be looking forward to seeing an expanded line-up from YLBC that includes dark beers and other styles.