The Roc Brewing Co. Rox!

Last week Cathy and I had a great time at the Jazz Fest. Thousands of people braved the heat while waiting for upcoming shows however we decided to pass the time somewhere quiet, and more importantly, with air conditioning. We ended up heading over to the Roc Brewing Co. Opening a little over a year ago Roc Brewing Co. is one of Rochester’s newest microbreweries. The jazz fest was definitely cutting into business but the smaller crowd made for a very relaxing atmosphere and we were treated to some conversation with the co-founder/co-owner Chris. We even heard the story of the Roc Brewing Co’s humble beginnings from the co-founder himself.

But what about the beer you ask? The brews on tap were the Golden Pale Ale, Cullinan’s Revival (Irish Red Ale), Dark Mild, Belgian Blonde, and Don’t Fear The RIPA (Rye IPA). Across two visits I tried all but the Rye IPA and enjoyed them all. My favorites were the Dark Mild, Cullinan’s Revival, Belgian Blonde. The Dark Mild has a delicious chocolatey coffee flavor finishing with nutty undertones. At only 4% alcohol it’s a great choice when you’re in the mood for a few beers but can do without the drunken side effects. Cullinan’s Revival features the deep amber hue expected from an Irish Red but starts hoppier than I’ve come to expect. Complemented by a sweet malty finish it’s quite pleasant to drink. The Belgian Blonde features the signature banana/citrus flavoring of the genre and finishes fairly clean. Quite tasty. Just be careful if you stick to the Belgian Blonde — at 7.6% alcohol content it packs a punch!

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend I’d definitely recommend stopping by for a drink or two. After the fiasco with Genesee Brewery and 13 Cataract Street’s demolition I’m glad I have a Rochester, NY brewery I can be proud of again. One with great beer to boot! The only caveat is Roc Breweing Co. does not yet have a bottling/canning line. They do however sell growlers on-site ;-)

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13 Responses to The Roc Brewing Co. Rox!

  1. Dear Chris and Cathy,
    I would just like to thank you for your support of Roc Brewing Co. As a close personal friend, I can tell you that those guys work incredibly hard to realize their dreams, and really put all they have into their beer, their company, and the community. Your tasteful and valiant comments in their defense are very much appreciated. As for all the negativity…it goes to show, you can’t please everyone all of the time. BTW Eric….even the biggest brewers have “off batches”. There are many contributing factors to that…slightly off ingredients, a number of things can happen in production in a brewing facility, (they can’t be at Rohrbach’s all the time tasting every single batch that comes out of there), It also could be that the place that you have a beer may not have cleaned their lines thoroughly enough, etc. If your buddy is a home brewer…I’m sure he has encountered his own sets of problems.
    Regardless…the point is this. We all have our dreams, and only some of us are brave enough to really truly go after them. It is not easy putting your craft out there for all to comment on in criticism or in praise. It’s personal. It’s their livelihood. Therefore, I say that all the breweries, small companies, artists, musicians, etc in Rochester and the surrounding area deserve our respect and praise for their hard work, dedication, and bravery to live their dreams! We are a community and country built upon the dreamers. Without them where would we be?
    As for Roc Brewing Co, I personally am very proud to call them friends, fellow businessman, and fellow Rochesterians. I believe in them, their endeavors, and their product, as do many in the community and beyond…including a well known beer manufacturer that chose them as one of two breweries in the country to mentor in their Brew the American Dream Program….perhaps you have heard of them…Sam Adams?
    I leave you with this…there is nothing wrong with having an opinion….but before you speak ill of someone…think first. What if it were you reading those comments about your dream, your product, your passion?? What if you worked your tail off, and the approval of one that so generously took the time out to appreciate that hard work was marred by another’s less than kind comments? How would you feel? My challenge to you, friends, and community is to remember that in the end we are all working toward the same goal. To better our lives, and hopefully better contribute to a positive and strong community.
    Cheers to all of the Rochester and surrounding area Breweries, locally owned companies, critics, and dreamers!
    AND Cheers to you Chris and Cathy!! I hope to share a pint with you at Roc Brewing Co. soon!! Thank you again for your praise and kindness!

  2. Tough crowd! We wanted to try Roc Brewery. So we stopped in a couple of times, found the owners welcoming, really enjoyed the beers we tried. Chris decided to write a post about it. Is it really such a bad thing to feel positively about a local business getting it’s start?

  3. As someone who has lived in Rochester for going on a decade, I resent the fact that so many people get angry at anyone for pointing out something even vaguely negative about this city. Earth to Cathy, Rochester is far from perfect and maybe some constructive criticism is what this city needs to join the ranks among some of the more favorable cities of equal size to live in.

    Now with that being said, it’s unfair to shoot down Nate’s opinions of Roc. Seems like those guys (who are very nice!) have a lot of friends/families/allies in the area that will defend them to the death. BUT, to be honest, my buddies and I used to enjoy Roc more than any of the other above mentioned breweries in the greater Rochester area – until we realized the beer quality changed with each new brew. One of my friends is a homebrewer himself, so I feel like I have a different perspective on the beer quality at Roc than maybe most. I just specifically remember ordering the Golden one day and being like WTF IS THIS. It tasted so obviously different than it usually did. Not to say I haven’t had a good brew there (I have, many times) there just seems to be something off.

    Comparing all of the breweries in the area is generally unfair as they are all very unique, but in my humble opinion I think the guys over at Roc have a long way to go.


    • Nate, I meant specifically breweries IN Rochester.

      Naked Dove, being in Canandaigua, is clearly finger lakes. I have yet to visit there but I plan to by the end of the summer. I had their Amber from Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake and it was pleasant. Custom Brewcrafters is in Honeoye Falls — again not Rochester. Their Cream Porter is quite tasty. Rohrbachs. They do contract brew a few of Roc Brewing Co’s beers. The 3 beers they brew for Roc Brewing Co. account for 75% of the beers I like out of Rohrbachs. The other one being their Blueberry. Nothing against Rohrbachs at all. I just haven’t been wowed by any of their own beers.

      As for your argument that the others brew better beer. I would argue no. The fact the I enjoy several of the Roc Brewing Co’s beers more than I enjoy most of Rohrbachs own brews shows just that. Everyone has their own tastes and preferences. That’s why variety is so nice. Everyone can make their own decisions which breweries beer they enjoy more. As for me, I always like to support the underdog.

      • Well, first, Rohrbachs brews for Roc Brewing, any of their commercial offerings (they produce kegs for Roc of their more ‘popular’ beer).

        If you’ve only had CBs Cream Porter, you’re slighting yourself. Their White Hop is a wonder, the Margaux Belgian is terrific, Krystoff is simply delicious, and they also brew the awesome OT 20 for Old Toad. ALL hands down better than Roc.

        Everyone has their own taste, yes. But, counting the breweries from Canandaigua and Honeoye Fall (which I would so count seeing that they’re considered Rochester beers), I wouldn’t even put any Roc offering in the Top 10 local beers. Don’t Fear the RIPA is pure garbage.

        Also, there isn’t a single Roc Beer that comes close to anything that Three Heads is putting out, not a one. Their new black lager just crushes Dark Mild.

        • Wow. So bitter towards these guys. What did they ever do to you? I enjoyed Roc Brewing Co’s beer. Cathy (below) enjoyed their beer. We’re not alone in liking the beer. I guess you just need to move on.

      • No, by all means, enjoy. Truly.

        If you think they’re the only brewery in Rochester, good luck to you! Enjoy the Kool-Aid(tm)!

        • First, Chris never said they are the only brewery in Rochester, so you are (again) trying to make a point that has already been discussed and dismissed. You clearly have some reason to dislike the Roc guys, otherwise you wouldn’t be so adamantly shooting them down. Of course, the other possibility is that you’re just one of those people who always bashes their hometown and never has anything good to say about it.

          Your commentary has devolved into put-downs and cliches. Accept the fact that people have different opinions, that yours isn’t “right”, and that there’s something great about showing support for local people endeavoring to create a successful business.