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Brews ‘n’ BBQ: Syracuse

Eat, drink, and drink more if you watch FSU.

Microbrewery Plant At Yellow Chilli Restaurant Photo by Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

One weekly feature Tomahawk Nation readers are familiar is our Question and Answers series from Jon Marchant. Jon gets some great insight from our partner SB Nation websites for each week. This week, Syracuse is on the table.

But I wanted more - a few years back, myself and another TN writer were doing Craft Beer reviews of the local breweries in FSU’s opponents’ hometowns. Since Jon was already talking to folks about their teams, I figured we’d toss in a couple questions about what everyone cares most about:

Beer and BBQ.

The Central New York area isn’t normally a place I’d think of when discussing BBQ, but they’re definitely a place where good craft beer is made.

Jon got some insight from Steve Haller of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician:

Best BBQ in the greater area is probably Ray Brothers in Hamilton, a 45 minute drive east. But if you’re in Syracuse proper, you have two options, the classic Dinosaur BBQ and Limp Lizard. I’m a Limp Lizard guy, for consistency and quality over the years. Ribs and pork are great, though I’d give the brisket nod to Dino. Everyone says go to Dinosaur. Dino is good, but it’s more of an ambiance thing and definitely a place worth visiting, but I wouldn’t give it the crown for the best food itself.

The Limp Lizard huh? I thought that was just a nickname for Cris Collinsworth.

Brisket for me is where the bar is set in a BBQ joint. Everybody has at least solid pulled pork. Ribs are relatively easy. Poultry doesn’t quite do it for me. Brisket? That pencil thin slice of heaven? Yessir. Sounds like Dinosaur is the play for first timers visiting the area.

What’s on tap, Steve-O?

I’d give best brewery a toss up between Willow Rock and Buried Acorn. Both are within the city limits and put out great product. Buried Acorn has a line of mixed fermentation and unique aged brews that would hold up with a lot of the more well known offerings around. Willow Rock is just top notch all around and consistent in the quality of what you get, no matter the brew. In a nostalgia nod, they also are producing the classic Syracuse area Congress lager, based off the original recipe, which is a nice touch.

The Congress Lager is actually a really cool story - immigrants came to Central New York and had a traditional German lager family recipe. I’m personally more of a hop-head than a sour/funk/aged guy, so I’d probably head over to Willow Rock if I went.

Thanks again to Steve for his insight.

Hopefully, this is a helpful guide for those who happen to venture up to Syracuse or the Central New York area looking for good Q and brew. Join us next week when we get back to the South, and we tell our friends from North Carolina how their BBQ is completely backasswards.