March Madness, the best part of the college basketball season, is upon us. It’s the time when endless brackets are filled out, most ultimately busted, and countless predictions are made. It’s also a time when the hopes and dreams of many hinge on every shot. Every game is do or die, survive and advance, win or go home. It’s also the one time of year that non-traditional fans of the sport tune in and pay close attention. Its water cooler fodder, its bragging rights. In other words, it’s exhilarating.

And this year, all of that excitement, all of the pomp and circumstance, is coming to downtown Buffalo. The Queen City will host first and second round matchups on March 17 & 19 at the KeyBank Center.

If you’re coming into town for the games, then chances are you’re going to be thirsty. Luckily for you, there are a plentiful amount of breweries, beer bars and taprooms to wet your whistle before, between and after the games have been played. Some are within walking distance from KeyBank Center, some you can easily drive or rideshare to, and you can also catch a ride on the NFTA Metro Rail.

What sort of steward for the Western New York beer scene would I be if I didn’t make things easier on those looking for a fresh pint or three? I have taken the best places to grab a local beer in the area and broken them down by vicinity to the KeyBank Center.

Walking Distance (Under 0.5 miles)

  • Hofbrauhaus Buffalo, 190 Scott Street, Buffalo (939-2337)
  • Labatt Brewhouse – 79 Perry St, Buffalo (Open March 17 & 19, 11a – 7p)
  • Pearl Street Brewery – 76 Pearl St., Buffalo (716-856-2337)
  • Pizza Plant Canalside, 125 Main St. #110, Buffalo (716-626-5566)
  • SATO Brewpub – 110 Pearl St. (716-248-1436)
  • Southern Tier Brewing, 7 Scott St, Buffalo (716-436-7999)
  • The Draft Room – 79 Perry St, Buffalo

Driving/Rideshare Distance (0.5 – 2 miles)

  • Belt Line Brewery & Kitchen – 545 Swan St., Buffalo (402-1756)
  • Big Ditch Brewing – 55 E. Huron St., Buffalo (716-854-5050)
  • Buffalo Brewing Company – 314 Myrtle Ave., Buffalo (868-2218)
  • Flying Bison Brewing – 840 Seneca St., Buffalo (873-1557)
  • Lafayette Brewing Company, 391 Washington St. (716-856-0062)
  • Old First Ward Brewing – 73 Hamburg St., Buffalo (855-8948)
  • OSB Ciderworks – 517 Main St., Buffalo (1-585-233-4381)
  • Other Half Brewing Buffalo – 1 Seneca St., Buffalo (409-4379)
  • Resurgence Brewing Company – 55 Chicago St., Buffalo (716-768-6018)
  • Riverworks Brewing – 359 Ganson St., Buffalo (716-342-2292)

A Little Further Out (2 – 3 miles)

  • Community Beer Works – 520 7th St., Buffalo (759-4677)
  • Thin Man Brewery – 492 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo (923-4100)

If this is your first time in Buffalo, our beer scene is world-class. And you don’t have to just settle for my word on it, experience it for yourself. Grab a pint or a flight of something local. There is a 100% chance you are going to find something you like, so grab a crowler, growler, cans or bottles to bring home and share with your family and friends. Welcome, we’re more than happy to have you.

If you have any questions or want some more information, please email me at I am always available and happy to help.

Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).