Auburn, New York is home to Auburn Correctional Facility. The prison is one of the oldest functional prisons in the United States. In 1890, the Facility served as the site of the first execution by electric chair…most assuredly, an infamous moment in time. In a way, Auburn is a typical Upstate New York town, often overcast and gloomy. A town of brick buildings and streets torn by snow plows, pitted from the road salt. Seated in the shadow of the prison.
But, in a way, Auburn is also an atypical NY town. For one, it’s home to Prison City Pub and Brewery, a small brewpub operation that takes its name from its home in Auburn, New York’s “prison city.” In 2016, the pub garnered national acclaim when it’s IPA, Mass Riot, earned the title of the Best American IPA in a blind tasting conducted by Paste Magazine. Out of an impressive number of 247 different IPAs, Mass Riot stood out amongst the bunch as being a “huge, massively tropical, unabashedly juicy hop bomb.” And sure, it’s a damn fine beer. But Prison City is more than just a brewery that cranks out crowlers, and now cans, of Mass Riot to appease the lines of folks who queue up for releases.
Owners Marc and Dawn Schulz, and brewer Ben Maeso, are cranking beers that creatively pair alongside just about all of fantastic food served at the pub. A bevy of hoppy, hazy, NE-Stye pale, IPAs, and DIPAs—Mass Riot just one among the several hop-forward offerings. But these folks also brew Belgian-inspired beers, clean and zippy lagers, and some over-the-top beers, such as Cherry Poppins, a berliner-weisse-style beer brewed with tart cherries, and Puff Puff Shiv, a brown ale that gets hit with boxes and boxes and more boxes of Cocoa Cocoa Puffs cereal.
With world-class execution on the beer and food side, with a killer space to eat and drink, and with friendly, beer-loving staff, it’s no surprise that Auburn and Upstate, New York and beer-lovers all over the country are coo-coo for Prison City.