While across the way on the weekend we had dinner at King Arthur's Steakhouse and Brewery in Oswego, New York and we were very glad we did. I had a little problem with the camera but I expect that you get a sense of the place from these photos. The building is quite impressive and is on one of the main corners downtown in this small city of 18,000 or so on Lake Ontario. The dining area is split into two, a bar and a restaurant. The site also has conference rooms on the second floor as well as suites for overnight on the third.
Lew Bryson, in his book New York Breweries, does not cover the spot as it came into being after his first edition came out - but he does provide notes from his visits over the last couple of years at his websites' updates page for New York:
Opened in the Buckout-Jones building (1st & Bridge Sts., Oswego, right by the river), site of a former brewery (Buckout). Strongly medieval in theming. Visited 8/12/03: not good news, I'm afraid. Very cool place, great location, but two beers were horrible, others mostly flawed, one good one. A new brewer had just been hired, I'm hoping for the best.
12/19/04 Update: Just saw on Pubcrawler that former Empire Syracuse brewer Andy Gersten is brewing at King Arthur's. This is great news for both the pub and Andy; glad to see him working and them getting his excellent beers!
4/22/05: Andy Gersten has moved on to Sackets Harbor (excellent news for them), will be replaced by former Flour City (and Empire Rochester) brewer Greg Smith.
The beer was excellent. Earlier in the afternoon, I had taken a long drink of Oswego water and thought how good it was, soft and likely drawn from the lake. The beer had that quality as well. I scribbled some notes from the sampler. The brown as lighter on hops than most US browns, had a nice medium body with some chocolate notes. The APA was malty with some crystal sweetness and good green hops. The IPA was higher test with lots of fresh green hops and loads of fruity malt. It went really well with a blue cheese toped Delmonico with garlic mash totties - which is something of a testamony to its size. The oatmeal stout was thick espresso mocha with a rich creamy yeast. It could take on a scoop of Hagan Daz vanilla as a float. I thought the Old English did not have any noticeable stale or soured quality that should be part of the style and, yet, the Bitters was a light green English hopped clean sip. Drinky drama trying to think it all through.
All in all, despite the shifting brewmasters over the last two years that Lew notes, I think they have achieved quality. The ingredients are clearly first rate and the choice of yeast is particularly well suited to the local water - something not often achieved by many good brewers wanting to copy a style rather than express what is local. Two litre growlers were available for take-away. We refrained but if I was passing though, I would definitely pop in for one of the IPA and another of the Oatmeal Stout.